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. For starters, John has chosen 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.
When Mr. Hall makes his Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve, one more step is taken in the maturation process. The final blend is set down in first run bourbon barrels for a final period of aging. This Double Barrel Whisky was introduced in the fall of 2008. As a collector, I purchased and saved a few bottles from the first release, and eventually selected one of those (Bottle number 0043 from Lot 240) to review. It is a few years later now and my Christmas Advent Countdown has given me a good excuse to review a more current bottling from Lot 247 (Bottle Number 05089). This is because Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve is the Number 17 Whisky in my Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown.
Here is a link to my review of that bottle from Lot 247 (Bottle Number 05089).
“… my nose detects the scent of maple syrup and rye spices with a nice rich oak and cedar woodiness from both glasses. This is a very bourbon-like nose complete with light indications of corn and almond as well as a honeycomb and vanillans …”
The use of young first rum Bourbon barrels (for the final stage of maturation) brings more fresh oak flavour forward creating a more complex (although perhaps also a slightly rougher) final spirit. I see this as a step forward for Canadian Whisky …
Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here: The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies