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Posts Tagged ‘Forty Creek Whisky’

2019 Rum Howler Favourite 20 Canadian Whiskies: #2- Forty Creek Special Release Limited Edition Whiskies 

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 21, 2019

Forty Creek Founder John Hall

When I began to review spirits in general, and Rum and Canada Whisky in particular, some of the most exciting spirits to taste and review were the whiskies from the Forty Creek Distillery. This was because prior to 2007 the major distilleries which produced almost all the whisky bottled in Canada had very little real competition, and innovation was not a high priority (or at least from my point of view it did not appear so).

John Hall was the genesis of change.  He opened the Kittling Ridge Winery & Distillery in 1992.  The distillery portion (which would become the Forty Creek Distillery) was the first major distillery to be built in Canada since 1974. and once it was producing whisky, John Hall’s impact on the landscape of Canadian Whisky was profound. And, the release in 2007 of Forty Creek’s first Special Release Limited Edition Whisky made this clear.


These Limited Edition whiskies became an annual affair. Each one gave the Whisky consumer in Canada a new twist on the Canadian spirit, and, since 2008, I have bought a few bottles of each annual release. My growing collection is a source of great enjoyment, and I look forward with anticipation to each year’s Special Release.

Here are some links to a few of my reviews for some of my favourite Forty Creek Limited Edition Special Releases:






Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisky Review | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Cocktail Hour: The Asylum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 1, 2016

Today’s cocktail is a variation of the Ward 8 Cocktail which I introduced to my website three weeks ago (see here). The Ward 8 is basically a Whiskey Sour made with lemon and orange juice and sweetened with grenadine. My new cocktail, The Asylum, is quite similar. However rather than using grenadine to sweeten the cocktail (and a maraschino Cherry as the garnish), I instead added a small amount of Brandied Cherry Syrup and one of my home-made Brandied Cherries as the garnish (see recipe here).

If you examine my recipe for Brandied Cherries you will see that I not only soak the cherries in a mixture of sugar, water and brandy, I also add cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice. These pungent spices within the Brandied Cherry Syrup add a wonderful layer of flavour to both the brandied cherry and to my final cocktail.

Asylum SAM_2727I chose to call my new libation The Asylum, which is not only a reference to a place which might contain a section called Ward 8 (the original cocktail of inspiration), it also pays homage to another of my favourite writers (and a Canadian to boot), A.E. Van Vogt. His short story Asylum (Astounding Science Fiction, May 1942) was written during the Golden Aged of Science Fiction (which A.E. Van Vogt is often credited with ushering into existence with his short story Black Destroyer).

While the work of Van Vogt is unfortunately slowly being forgotten, it should be understood that his early stories had a huge impact on science fiction and pop culture. His novel The Voyage of the Space Beagle was almost certainly the inspiration for Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek. His early story Discord in Scarlet, likewise inspired the novel and the movie, Alien. And the villains in the story for which my cocktail is named, Asylum bear such an uncanny likeness to villainous Wraith from the well-known television series Stargate Atlantis that it is undeniable that the hand of Van Vogt was leaving its impression once again.

The Asylum

2 oz Canadian Whisky (Forty Creek Confederation Oak)
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Fresh Orange Juice
1 tsp Brandied Cherry Juice
1 tsp Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
Brandied Cherry (see recipe here)

Add the first five ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a Brandied Cherry

Enjoy Responsibly!

If  you are interested in more cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


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Forty Creek Evolution!

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 10, 2014

Forty Creek Evolution is the eighth of the yearly special Limited Edition Releases from Forty Creek Whisky, and there will be only 9,000 bottles produced! Of course, once again Forty Creek is offering (for a limited time) Canadian Whisky lovers an opportunity to reserve their own bottle number of Forty Creek Evolution. Customers can reserve any number between 0003 and 9000. The Reservations are being offered between May 21st and June 16th, 2014, and you can choose a number that has special significance for you. Maybe it is a special birthday, an anniversary of significance, or perhaps something whimsical like the date that your favourite hockey team last won the Stanley Cup, it is really completely up to you!

Reservations open at noon on Wednesday, May 21 at 12:00 p.m. EST, and the numbers are reserved on a first come, first serve basis. More information about the Reservation process can be found using this link:

You may reserve more than one bottle. However, due to provincial and federal regulations Forty Creek cannot ship whisky bottles. They must be purchased and picked up at the distillery in Grimsby, Ontario after the whisky is released later in the fall. (The whisky release weekend is scheduled for Saturday, September, 27th and Sunday, September 28th, 2014.)

johnhallHere are some notes on Forty Creek 2014 Evolution Limited Release from John K. Hall, Whisky Maker:

“Every year I look forward to introducing a new limited edition Forty Creek taste expression. This year is no exception. I am so proud to introduce Forty Creek Evolution to you and our family of Forty Creek Whiskies.

Forty Creek Evolution is my 8th limited release. Each of my limited whiskies has a taste of its own, yet remains characteristically true to the Forty Creek family. The limited releases have provided me with a canvas to grow as a whisky maker. This year’s release is an evolution of not just the whiskies that I have made but as I have evolved as a whisky maker.

I am very excited to share Forty Creek 2014 Evolution with you as it offers a glimpse into this journey. After all, that is what whisky making and whisky tasting is all about. It is a journey of discovery and evolution.

Most of the whiskies in this bottle began their journey 12 years ago. Initially, these whiskies were aged in American White Oak for 3 years. I then selected the barrels and re-distilled the aged whiskies in my copper pot still to further concentrate their wonderful flavours. This whisky was then re-barreled into French Oak casks that had previously held my Cabernet Sauvignon and aged for an additional 9 years! Finally, I introduced some of my favourite personally held barrels to the mix for balancing.

Evolution starts with fig, dates, anise, blackberry, black currants and bell peppers and then evolves into deep forest notes, cinnamon spice flares, cloves, nutmeg, chestnut and tobacco. There are wonderful hints of vanilla, sweet clover and butter, evolving milk chocolate, soft roasted oak, peach and apricot. Then comes a comfortable earthiness to this whisky that just constantly evolves. So, I have appropriately called it Evolution.

This whisky’s journey will become very clear to you as you discover the ever evolving complexities, subtleties, aromas, tastes and flavours that Evolution has to offer. “

PS: Once I have a bottle shot, I promise I will share it with everyone!



Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

# 10 Canadian Whisky – Forty Creek Portwood Reserve 2012

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 16, 2013

rum_howler_badge- 25WHISKYForty Creek Whisky (as you know if you have been following this countdown) has for the past several years produced a special limited release whisky and allowed the public to participate in its release by offering to let those who pre-order the whisky to choose their own numbered bottle(s). These special release whiskies are built upon the foundation of the company’s flagship whisky, Forty Creek Barrel Select, and are actually versions of this whisky which have spent additional time finishing in certain selected oak barrels. Last year’s special release was the Forty Creek Portwood Reserve – 2012 Whisky.

PortwoodWhat makes this whisky special is that this edition of Forty Creek Whisky has been finished in Port Wine Barrels. The whisky was produced at 45 % alcohol by volume and was limited to only 6600 bottles.

I almost decided not to include the Portwood Reserve in my Countdown, not because I felt it wasn’t worthy (it definitely is); but rather because this particular bottling is almost gone. When I checked the AGLC and LCBO listings, I discovered that the Portwood Reserve is only available in very limited quantities as this whisky is almost sold out. My suggestion to those who are fans of Forty Creek Whisky is that if you do not have this whisky or if you want to gift a bottle this Christmas, you had better act fast. The Number 10 Canadian Whisky in my Christmas Advent Countdown, the Forty Creek Portwood Reserve (2012), will be all but gone by the end of this year.

You may read my 2012 review here:

# 10 Canadian Whisky – Forty Creek Portwood Reserve 2012

“… The scents and smells rising into the breezes above the glass remind me of dark ripe BC cherries, blackberries and raspberries. Some dry fruit sensations (reminiscent of raisins and prunes) are part of the overall fruit and berry aroma. Subtle but firm impressions of cinnamon and cloves join in with a bit of sweet Demerara sugar thrown in for good measure …

Glowing embers of cinnamon and cloves seem to take hold of the whisky in the exit. Rye spices, ginger and cardamom join in with vanilla and Demerara sugar chasing them.This is a beautiful sipping whisky!


Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on # 10 Canadian Whisky – Forty Creek Portwood Reserve 2012

# 13 Canadian Whisky – Forty Creek Confederation Oak

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 13, 2013

rum_howler_badge- 25WHISKYForty Creek Confederation Oak was built upon the foundation of John Hall’s flagship whisky, Forty Creek Barrel Select, and is basically a version of this whisky which has been finished in Canadian Oak Barrels. These oak barrels were made from oak trees (growing only 40 miles from the distillery) which began their growth in Canadian soil approximately 150 years ago at the time of Confederation (the birth of Canada as a nation), hence the name chosen for the whisky, Confederation Oak.

Confederation oakWhen I spoke to John Hall (Forty Creek founder and Whisky Maker) about this whisky, he mentioned that Canadian oak trees are heavier and more dense than American oak due to the harsher Canadian climate. As a result, the oak barrels made from these trees impart a different flavour characteristic to the whisky. The vanillans are more pronounced, and the wood tannins seem to be slightly stronger. In fact, John told me he almost scrapped this whisky altogether when after the first and the second years of ‘finishing’ in the Canadian oak barrels, the whisky was, to him, harsh and unappealing. But rather than scrapping the whisky, he allowed time to take its course. To his delight the whisky mellowed considerably after the third year of finishing, and the desired flavour profile for his whisky was achieved.

And what a flavour that was, John Hall’s Forty Creek Confederation Oak ranks Number 13 in my Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown. Here is a link to my review:

# 13 Canadian Whisky – Forty Creek Confederation Oak

“… The aroma from the glass begins with typical Canadian Whisky notes of light rye and oak.  Soon, however, I begin to notice caramel corn and light baking spices building, then a strong indication of the new oak barrels imparting their fresh tannin into the liquid as fresh scents of honeycomb, vanilla, cedar and toffee rise into the breezes above the glass. As the glass breathes, the oak becomes firmer and a certain smokiness from dried fruit develops. Fresh sap, raisins, dried apricots and spicy toffee are all apparent in the fully decanted glass …”

I am very happy that Forty Creek is a distillery that believes in patience. The extra time this whisky spent in the new oak barrels has paid handsome dividends. The result was not just a good whisky. Rather it is a whisky that is so good I shall be hoarding it, and I will dole out a dram here and a dram there just for special occasions and just special friends.


Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies


Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on # 13 Canadian Whisky – Forty Creek Confederation Oak

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