Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve
Review: Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve (Handcrafted) Canadian Whisky 90/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted October, 23, 2012
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.
In 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 9/10
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 54.5/60
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.
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)