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Forty Creek Victory

Review: Forty Creek Victory (2019 Limited Release)  (84/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka the Rum Howler)
Published November 30, 2019

Forty Creek Whisky has an 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.

The 2019 Limited Release, Forty Creek Victory, commemorates the 205th Anniversary of the Engagement at the Forty which was a battle during the War of 1812 which occurred almost on the very ground upon which the Forty Creek Distillery is situated. In creating this years limited edition release, Forty Creek’s Master Distillery decided to do a little experimentation with a four year old Forty Creek Whisky, high wood vanilla staves, a ten year old Corn whisky and Starboard Wine.

The process of making the Victory Whisky began with selected barrels of a four year old blend of rye, barley, and corn whiskies which were aged in ex-bourbon barrels. Chosen barrels (about half of them) were then then extra matured for an additional time with high wood vanilla staves added. During blending some 10 Year Old Corn Whisky was added as was touch of Forty Creek’s own 1999 Portuguese-style Starboard fortified wine.

Forty Creek Victory was bottled at 43 % alcohol by volume.

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 on my Whisky shelf.

In the case of the Forty Creek Victory the spirit arrives in an attractive cardboard box (not shown) 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 8.5/10

As you can see by the bottle shot, it was a little cold and snowy on the first day that I sampled the Forty Creek Victory. Fortunately the new tasting room in my house was nice and toasty warm during my sampling sessions.

When I poured the whisky into my glencairn, I noted the spirit was a warm amber/copper colour with a noticeable orangey/red tint. Perhaps a bit of the colour from the fortified wine is showing through.  The breezes in the air bring fine oak spices forward along with just a hint of alcohol astringency. The spirit seems youthful and perhaps just a little brash. Hints of red licorice augment the spice, with notes of vanilla, and grain (rye predominantly) beginning to peak though.

As the glass breathes, that initial astringency seems to have vanished replaced by notes of orange peel and more grain spice. Some fruitiness is apparent, sort of a combination of raisins and canned apricots. Some maple and cinnamon have joined in and I have decided it is time to take a taste.

In the Mouth  51/60

The whisky brings a nice light sweetness forward in a flavour which resembles a combination of butterscotch with a hint of red Turkish Delight candy bar. Grain and wood spice follow giving the spirit a bit of pep. There are unfortunately more hints of alcohol astringency which adds a very thin burn to that peppy bite. The whisky is fruity with flavours of apricot, and canned peaches combined with raisins and red cherry. Vanilla and baking spices join the mix and the entire combination of flavours gives me an impression of those Colts Port Cigars I would sometimes indulge in when I was younger.

In the Throat 11.5/15

Although the spirit is medium bodied the finish seems oddly shortened, I expect due to the prevalence of youthful whisky in the blend. I can feel the oily smoothness of the older corn whisky as I sip; but it is the light burn of the 4 year old whisky that I feel as I swallow.

The exit is sweetened with the Port Wine flavours heightened in the exit which fortunately helps with the thin burn of the younger rye. When I add ice to the dram, sipping is comfortable, although we still encounter a little alcohol heait at the very back end of the swallow.

The Afterburn  8/10

This year’s Limited Release from Forty Creek has me on the fence somewhat. I like the whisky, but I have to admit I would be hard pressed to pay the $79.95 retail asking price this time around. It is that light burn that I commented on in both the delivery and the exit which has me concerned. I guess I just feel like this particular Forty Creek expression has relied to heavily on young whisky which (in spite of the addition of 10 year old corn and fortified wine) could not be smoothed over.

My final score is 84/100 which means we have a spirit which can be sipped over ice, but is also one which should be priced somewhat lower to give the consumer a fair bargain.


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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