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Forty Creek Heritage

Review: Forty Creek Heritage  (93/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka the Rum Howler)
Published December 14, 2017

Forty Creek Whisky has a very nice annual tradition of producing a special limited release whisky which is built upon the foundation of the company’s flagship whisky, Forty Creek Barrel Select. These annual special releases each seek to bring new character to the Forty Creek family. This year Forty Creek sought to go back to their roots with the release of Heritage.

According to the press release issued this past Spring when the whisky was announced, this year’s special limited edition whisky was crafted selected barrels of Forty Creek corn, rye, and barley whiskies. The blended whiskies were then married (or finished) in toasted American Oak barrels to release elegant vanilla flavours and to highlight the bold wood spices of the toasted oak. The whisky was released in the fall of 2017 just in time for the Christmas buying season.

In the Bottle 5/5

Forty Creek uses the same style of bottle for each of their annual special releases. I have always loved the look of this bottle and the attractive/professional graphics and labeling which are employed. My growing collection of Forty Creek Special Release bottles are one of the major attractions which always please my guests when they see them on my Whisky shelf.

In the case of the Forty Creek Heritage the spirit arrives in an attractive cardboard box which includes tasting notes on the side and a useful description of the whisky upon the back of the box. In my mind, this is a perfect whisky presentation.

In the Glass 9/10

In my glencairn, the whisky shows me a nice rich hue of copper just turning the corner towards bronze. When I tilt the glass and give it a twirl, it shows a thickened sheen of liquid, the crest of which drops medium-sized legs which hang stubbornly before finally sliding back down into the whisky below.

Nose:  Oak and cedar with honeycomb maple and corn syrup. Vanilla and baking spices evolve as do impressions of canned apricots, hints of marmalade and walnut. Yumm!

I think what I like the best about the Forty Creek Heritage is how the aroma above the glass continues to build as I let the spirit breathe. The oak and cedar spices are firm and the combination of maple and corn syrup impressions seems to fit right in beside the woody spices. Rich tobacco, and hints of burlap begin to appear, and I think I could enjoy the merry little breezes above my glen cairn almost as much as having a sip.

In the Mouth 56/60

Okay, I was wrong. Sipping the whisky is much nicer than enjoying the aroma.

Flavour: Bourbon-like with strong oak and cedar flavours tempered by honeycomb and maple. Vanilla and pungent baking spices (nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and clove). Bittersweet chocolate, toffee, tobacco and roasted walnuts.

The whisky is not as sweet as the nose implied, but there is enough sweetness to balance the oak and cedar with the pungent baking spice. As I sip the flavours begin to meld together making it hard to decipher more flavour descriptors. I quickly realize that this is not a bad thing. I am enjoying the whisky too much to do much more writing anyways.

In the Throat 13.5/15

The whisky is smooth although the oak and cedar spice gives the tonsils a gentle tap as the spirit slides past. Bits of cinnamon add to the heat however everything stays comfortable as both vanilla and maple smooth out the ride. A touch of menthol appears as do bits of bittersweet chocolate. Yumm!

The Afterburn 9.5/10

Forty Creek Heritage is a yummy whisky. It surprised me in my tasting sessions as my understanding from reading the distilleries media information was that the spirit was perhaps a little younger than previous limited editions. Either I misread those media briefs, or the barrels selection for this whisky was particularly astute. No matter, whether a tad younger than or not, this whisky is quite wonderful!

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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