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Forty Creek Resolve (2020 Limited Release) 

Review: Forty Creek Resolve (2020 Limited Release)   (86/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka the Rum Howler)
Published December 05, 2020

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 2020 Limited Release, Forty Creek Solve is a tribute to Master Blender Bill Ashburn and his dedication (and resolve) to create some of the most awarded Canadian whiskies over the past 20 years. He constructed this complex whisky with an elevated spice profile rounded out with a drop of vintage Villard Noir Port.

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

In the Bottle 4.5/5

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 Resolve though, it appears that for the first time, the spirit does not arrive in the usual attractive cardboard box which in the past included tasting notes on the side and a useful description of the whisky upon the back of the box. That’s unfortunate as I always loved the box presentation which I felt elevated the brand.

In the Glass 9/10

Colour: A Rich Bronze/brown colour which reflects the added colour from the Port Wine Enhancement.

Legs: Thickened Legs reflecting a heavier body which has resulted from both aging and the Port Enhancement

Nose: Brown sugar combined with both oak spice and baking spices (Vanilla, cinnamon and cloves with a nice hit of ginger). Walnuts with raisins and dates lurking as well. Graham wafers, marzapan and marmalade make an appearance as the whisky breathes. This is complex and inviting.

In The Mouth 51/60

All of the influences of the nose speak within the flavour profile which makes for a spicy whisky with a robust flavour profile; however, there seems to be a battle between the Whisky and the Port enhancement within the glass. The whisky wins the battle, but the dash of Port within seems to sabatage rather than elevate the Canadian Spirit. The result is a complex spirit which seems just out step with itself. When I add ice to the glass, the marriage of elements is more harmonious and I also notice some nice cocoa and coffee flavours oozing out.

I like the whisky; however, my feeling is that it is more suited to Old Fashioned Cocktails  than it is to being sipped neat or over ice.


Old Fashioned Cocktail

1 1/2 oz Forty Creek Resolve (2020 Limited Release)
1/2 tsp simple syrup
1 dash bitters
2 large ice cubes
1 twist of lemon or orange peel

Add the first three ingredients to a rocks glass over the ice cubes
Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink. (This will release the oil from the orange zest into the drink)
Drop the peel into the cocktail if desired.

Please 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!


In The Throat  13/15

The medium bodied spirit has a mid-length finish with a lingering oaky spiciness punctuated by raisiny flavours of the port enhancement.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

I suspect this whisky will be somewhat polarizing. My feeling is that I would have liked the flavour much more without the drop of vintage Villard Noir Port added. As indicated in the review, I felt this element undermined rather than complimented the overall Canadian Whisky flavour. I admit that this may be more of a personal bias on my part rather than a flaw within the whisky.

Credit where credit is due, Forty Creek Resolve spirit has a wonderful nose and a complex, robust flavour profile, and my positive score reflects these qualities. Had I felt that the whisky was more harmonious, the score might have reached the 90s.

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)


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