Forty Creek Heart of Gold Weekend 2013


The countdown is on for the launch of Forty Creek Heart of Gold, John K. Hall’s latest whisky masterpiece. Hall will crack the seal on this skillfully crafted new whisky at his open house weekend to be held September 28 & 29 at Forty Creek Distillery in Grimsby.Each September flocks of whisky lovers return to Forty Creek like swallows to Capistrano. An expanded program for 2013 promises even more whisky camaraderie this year. According to Twitter quite a few eager whisky enthusiasts are looking forward to their first whisky weekend at Forty Creek, so, if you are a newbie come and say “Hi,” to me. I’ll be there all weekend and it’s my first Forty Creek Weekend too. I’m hoping to meet as many of my Twitter buddies as possible over the weekend.In addition to pouring his new whisky, John Hall will be signing bottles and posing for photos, so bring your i-Phone. Visitors can join free tours of the distillery and barrelhouse (Hall calls it his whisky cellar) and enjoy barbecue fresh from the Southern Smoke Food Truck.Hall is also leading a WhiskyCast podcast tasting. Mark Gillespie, Johanne McInnis and I will discuss a range of Forty Creek whiskies for later broadcast on Mark’s weekly Whisky Cast show. This taping is currently full, so if you are interested in attending check at the gift shop to see if there are any last-minute openings. Either way, there are loads of other free things happening all weekend.The distillery is about an hour outside of Toronto, towards Niagara Falls. Although it is close to a GO Train station, some whisky veterans have rented limos so they can ride home in comfort after a day of whisky revelry. Yes, it’s a genuine gala whisky event.Hall made just 9,000 bottles of Heart of Gold. These will be available on allocation across Canada (except for Quebec) and in Texas where Hall is revered as something of a whisky guru. Heart of Gold is a departure from Hall’s earlier special releases which tended to showcase specific flavours within a carefully balanced whisky framework. His careful balancing act remains but Hall has clearly shifted gears. This whisky is all about long-developing complexity.Sweet oak sugars – he must have used some new wood – lend succulent flavours of butterscotch, real maple syrup and delicate barley sugar while hot gingery pepper adds its classic tangy zip. Fruits lean first towards prunes and ripe dark fruits, then gently meld into the sourness of dry apricots.  Hall says this is a “rye-forward” whisky and this becomes obvious in the floral fragrance of sweet spring flowers, the earthiness of dusty rye and the wispy tang of a willow smudge. Heart of Gold is immediately accessible on the nose and on the palate, but time spent sussing out the background notes is well rewarded. With Heart of Gold, the evolution of spicy rye at Forty Creek takes another step forward.Join me and hundreds of other whisky lovers at the unveiling of another Forty Creek special release. It’s destined to become an instant favourite and a sought-after collectors’ bottle.Forty Creek Heart of Gold is reviewed here.