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Forty Creek Double Barrel Lot 263

Review: Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve Canadian Whisky (Lot 263)    92.5/100
a review By Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on December 11, 2017

John Hall opened the Kittling Ridge Winery & Distillery in 1992. The whisky he developed, named Forty Creek, is like none other on the landscape of Canadian Whisky. John chose three grains as the base of his Whisky. He distilled a corn whisky and aged it in heavily charred white oak barrels; he distilled a rye grain whisky and chose to age it in a lightly charred white oak; and he distilled a barley grain whisky to age in medium charred white oak. Interestingly, Mr. Hall chose to distill each grain only once, as by distilling only once, he believes the distillation captures the best that each grain has to offer in terms of flavour. The blend is then married in John’s own sherry casks to create what he calls his meritage. This serves as the base for the family of Forty Creek  Whiskies.

For the whisky which is the subject of this review, Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve, one more step is taken. The final blend is set down in first run bourbon barrels for a final period of aging before it is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle: 5/5

Forty Creek has used the same style of bottle for each of their last five special releases. I love the original look of the bottle and the attractive/professional graphics and labeling which are employed.

In the Glass 9/10

I poured out a small sample of the whisky into my glencairn glass and began my review with a good look at the whisky before I began to nose it. The whisky has a nice copper colour and leaves a moderately thick sheen of whisky left on the inside of the glass which  releases long slender slow-moving legs.

The air above the glass brings me a nice melding of rye and oak spice, sticky marmalade and cigar tobacco. There is a bit of maple wisping around in the air as well

As the glass breathes the maple becomes more distinct, the rye spices build as does a nice oak and cedar woodiness. There are bourbon-like indications of corn as well as honeycomb, baking spice (vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon) and light wisps of coffee and chocolate. This is very nice indeed!

In the Mouth 56/60

I wrote these brief tasting notes a few months ago when I tasted the spirit in a blind format:

Absolutely wonderful! We have caramel, milk chocolate and polished oak all melded into a luscious whisky.

The flavour includes maple and corn carried by rye spice, firm oak tannins, tobacco and wood spices which dry the mouth. Honeycomb, orange peel spice, and marzipan also seem to bobble within the oakiness adding complexity to each spirit.

Simply put this tastes just grand!

In the Throat 13.5/15

The finish is bold and spicy. It is also much longer than I remember from previous visits with just enough sweetness to carry the bold rye and oak spices to their destination.

The Afterburn 9/10

Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve is part of a new style of Canadian Whisky which has developed over the past five years. This is a style with a fuller, more complex, oak forward flavour profile. This whisky style is eminently suitable for sipping neat or over ice. It also happens to work extremely well in Old Fashioned cocktails.

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


As always you may interpret the scores I provide 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 more 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)

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