Forty Creek Barrel Select (40% alc./vol.)


Creamy, sweet corn whisky with dusty, earthy rye, ripe red fruits, sherry, sweet-and-sour sauce, floral perfume, ginger, cinnamon, hot pepper, and hints of citric peels. Fruity & Spicy. ★★★★Many Canadian whisky connoisseurs consider Forty Creek whiskies to be the most exciting recent arrivals on the Canadian whisky scene. They exemplify those whisky profiles that we love here in Canada: hard spicy rye, nutty barley, and sweet succulent corn. How odd, but typically Canadian, it is then, that Forty Creek achieved its first successes, not in Canada, but in the USA. Canadian whisky is very popular in America, though the best sellers tend to be a little sweeter than the Canadian palate prefers. Leave it to Texas though, that hotbed of Canadian whisky lovers, to put Forty Creek on the whisky map. Believe it or not, the highly recommended Barrel Select is the entry-level whisky of the Forty Creek line although it certainly holds its own against its more expensive siblings.Nose: The very expressive nose begins with rich caramel, fruity sherried notes, and dusty rye. It smells almost like creamy corn whisky as the rye is quite mild at first. Some typical sour rye notes that remind you of pickles or sweet-and-sour sauce are followed by something floral. Again, this is typical of rye whisky, but the rye Christmas spices are very faint indeed. Finally, some citrus notes surface—orange peel this time, then lots of ripe fruit— sweet, over-ripe plums, juicy, rich Vancouver-Island blackberries and tartish black currants. Very fruity.Palate: A first impression of sweet fruits and creamy toffee turns into an ever-changing menu of rye spices and pepper. Sweet-and-sour notes meld into the vaguest tangy, zesty bitterness in the middle. Zesty bitterness is not only one of the many great things about Canadian whisky, it helps define its signature taste. This is the element of the Canadian whisky profile that keeps the palate fresh and responsive.Though it tastes and feels a lot like corn whisky, the rye keeps poking its head in with spices, pepper, bushel-baskets of ripe red fruits, dry grain, a slight earthiness, and freshwater plants. There are hints of sweet cream sherry, then burnt sugar, more toffee, and then increasingly peppery spices with more cinnamon/ginger notes. Lots of lingering heat hovers over a sweet foundation.Finish: Medium, sweet, peppery, and fading. Although it seems medium in length, it never totally goes away despite the underlying citric zest. Rather, it lingers over cinnamon, ginger, and white pepper, with hints of dusty rye.Empty Glass: For such a flavourful whisky there is surprisingly little left in the glass the next morning. Slight hints of toffee and caramel, a whiff of pickles, and hints of black licorice that were not present in the whisky itself. If you work hard at it, you might even convince yourself that there are some elements of prune juice here. But what remains is certainly more of an invitation to conjecture than a definable trace.When John Hall began making whisky, he didn’t leave his wine making experiences behind. Rather, he used these skills to make a whisky from rye, barley, and corn, each distilled and aged separately, before he blended them to create what he calls his “Meritage” whisky: Forty Creek Barrel Select.At $28.95 Forty Creek Barrel Select is a genuine bargain. I’d say it was underpriced if I was sure no one from the distillery would find out.Highly recommended★★★★Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve is reviewed here.Forty Creek Confederation Oak is reviewed here.Forty Creek John's Private Cask No. 1 is reviewed here.Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve is reviewed here.