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Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve

Review: Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve (Handcrafted) Canadian Whisky   (88.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted October, 23, 2012
(Re-scored November 2016)

The Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve, (like all Forty Creek Whiskies), is built upon Whisky Maker, John Hall’s, foundation of three separately distilled grains: barley, corn and rye. Each grain is distilled and aged in oak separately. When each whisky is ready, the three finished whiskies are blended together and ‘married’ in oak once more allowing the three to become one.

Indeed, John Hall’s flagship whisky, the Forty Creek Barrel Select is a perfect example of that concept of marrying three separately distilled and aged grain whiskies into one. The Copper Pot Reserve is a more ‘premium’ version of the Barrel Select. Mr. Hall chose his best grain whiskies as the base for the Copper Pot. He aged these best whiskies a little longer to bring in more flavour from the oak, and then he chose the best of these whiskies to marry together in oak once more to complete the final blend. The Copper Pot Whisky is bottled at 43 % abv (rather than the traditional 40 %) allowing this premium whisky to showcase its robust flavour.

forty-creek-copper-pot-sam_2894In the Bottle 4/5

The Copper Pot Reserve uses the same bottle as the Forty Creek Barrel Select. It is a medium tall brown whisky bottle curved at the shoulders, tapering to the knees and then widening slightly at the ankles. The labels are copper coloured which would work really well on a clear whisky bottle, but on a dark brown bottle I think the label blends in a little and loses its ‘pop’. Fortunately the white lettering contrasts well with the label making everything easy to read.

In the Glass 8.5/10

The whisky enters my glass as with a ruddy red and brown hue which looks a little like old copper piping. I gave my glass a slow tilt and an even slower twirl and discovered moderately thick legs slowly drooping down the inside of my glass back towards the rest of the whisky. The initial nose of the whisky brings oak and rye spices into the breezes above the glass with an effervescent orange peel zest riding the coattails of the spice. As the glass sits, green tobacco and orange marmalade jump in with a soft punky caramel tainting their scent. I detect some cinnamon and ginger rising up from the glass and my sense is that the Copper Pot is going to be a very interesting and complex whisky. (It might just be word association, but I also seem to catch an obvious scent of fresh copper tubing.)

In the Mouth  53.5/60

The first sip of whisky is all spice and everything nice as the spirit heats the mouth with the alluring spiciness of oak, rye and orange peel zest. Embers of cloves and cinnamon stir in the background, and it takes me a moment or two to notice the dark caramel and chocolate flavours that lie beneath. The second sip of whisky reminds me of an old-fashioned Christmas complete with bittersweet chocolate, fresh-baked fruitcake, and mixed nuts freshly broken from their shells (walnuts, hazelnuts, and lightly bitter Brazil-nuts). I have not tasted anything quite like this. The whisky is sweet with flavours of chocolate caramel and demerara sugar; it is bitter with citrus pith, mixed nuts, coffee and cocoa; and at the same time it is deliciously spicy with Christmas and baking spices!

When I add an ice-cube (which at first I was reluctant to do) the result was a whisky that oozed bittersweet chocolate and dark caramel which of course forced me to pour another glass just so I could add ice again.

In the Throat 13.5/15

The whisky exits the mouth full of spice and with hints of rum-like Demerara sugar. Echoes of bittersweet chocolate, espresso coffee and freshly cracked walnuts seem to fade into that sweet spiciness. I found I could still can taste cinnamon and cloves a full 20 minutes after the glass was consumed.

The Afterburn 9/10

This is one of the very best whiskies I have tasted this year. It has everything I want in a whisky, a rush of spice that lingers throughout the taste experience, wonderful caramel and chocolate flavours balanced perfectly with a mildly bitter, but soft nuttiness, and a staggering complexity which is off the charts.

Forty Creek has taken their Barrel Select whisky to a new level with the Copper Pot Reserve!

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Serving

copper-pot-on-ice-sam_2897Copper Pot on Ice

Rum Howler Rocks Tumbler (chilled)
2 1/2 oz Forty Creek Copper Pot

Add Ice to your tumbler
Pour the Forty Creek Copper pot over the Ice

Enjoy Responsibly!

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


I am always asked what my numbers actually mean. In order to provide clarification, you may (loosely) interpret the scores as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)




7 Responses to “Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve”

  1. acrocosm said

    Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve immediately reminded me of a rum, but I spent a minute figuring out which rum it was. The answer finally came to me. It tastes and smells very similar to Appleton Estate Reserve and Apple Estate Extra, with perhaps less of a spice blast. The spices are all there, but it’s more tempered.

    I’m a decently experienced taster of brown spirits and I find this whisky to be unlike anything I have yet tried. It does have a whisky quality beneath the Jamaican spicebox, but if you told me it was an unusual rum, I’d almost believe it. Certainly complex. After a few more sips, a bitter gooseberry note reminiscent of Redbreast Irish pot still whisky emerges as well. Perhaps it’s similar to the younger version of Diplomatico as well, if memory serves. Try some Appleton Reserve and then some of this and tell me if you see a similarity. I don’t have any on hand to compare.

    • I do notice a bit of a rum-like quality to the Forty Creek rums, and perhaps you are right with the reference to Appleton as the rum which is sort of similar with lots of orange peel zest, cloves and cinnamon. Having said that, if I was to pick a rum which is similar to the Copper Pot I would say that it reminds of a Demerera rum.

      I suspect neither of us is completely right or completely wrong. Cheers!

  2. Mike said

    Hey Chip, glad you enjoyed this whisky as much as I did. I also noticed that adding an ice cube took it to a new level and really enhanced all the flavours. This is one of the few whiskies that I will buy twice in a row.

    • portwood said

      Ice taking whisky to a new level and enhancing all the flavours …. now that’s a unique perspective.

      Most people would say ice has the exact opposite effect on the taste of whisky, but, different strokes for different folks …

      • Hi Portwood

        I think what is going on is that ice has a non linear affect on taste. In the case of the Copper Pot, the ice seemed to suppress some of the spice and sweetness allowing the more bitter chocolate free reign. As I said in the review, the whisky was so good that I only reluctantly added ice, But once I did… wow!

        I mentioned the very nice impact that the ice had in my review, and was very pleased that Mike had a similar experience. Validation is always appreciated.

        How about you try it, and let me know what your experience is….

      • Mike said

        If adding water is known to “open up” a whisky, why should adding ice be any different?

        • Hi Mike

          As near as I can glean from the literature there is a protein that is active in our taste receptors called TRPM5. It is rather complicated, but when TRPM5 is heated it sends a stronger electrical signal to the brain (IE:when the temperature of food or fluid is warmed) and vice versa. Because TRPM5 plays a particularly important role in our perception of sweetness, cooling our whisky with ice actually has the impact of muting our perception of the sweeter tastes within the whisky to a greater degree than the other taste perceptions within. (My experience is that ice also mutes some spicier flavours as well.)

          Whereas a drop or two of water seems to open all (or at least most) of the flavours, ice will instead mute most of the flavours. My point to Portwood was that in the case of this whisky, the total effect of the ice was for you and I, a positive experience. Because temperature does not act on all flavour sensation equally, its addition does not necessarily imply a negative overall effect. It actually resulted (for you and I) in a better overall flavour balance.

          Portwood was technically right in that ice will not enhance all flavours in a whisky. In fact the overall flavour impact is probably somewhat reduced by the addition of ice. Having said that, it is not correct to assume that this reduction in flavour impact is negative to our overall enjoymnet. Think of ice cream. It tastes much better cold, even though it has far more sweeter flavour when it is melted. That is because when ice cream is cold, the balance of flavour is more to our liking.

          Sorry if that was a long and complicated answer, and if anyone else has any information on this topic I would love to here from them as my knowledge in this area is rather limited.

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