John Hall returns with the Forty Creek Port Wood Reserve. His first batch (Lot 60) was released 3 years ago and disappeared quickly. It’s looking like Lot 61 isn’t going to last long either. Only 6600 bottles have been produced, of which 1200 have arrived at the LCBO at about $70 a bottle. Here in town it looks like Ira Needles, Highland, Laurelwood and Uptown Waterloo have received a handful each – the rest have shipped across Canada and a good chunk to Texas (apparently a huge market for Forty Creek.) This stuff isn’t making it to Christmas.
The Port Wood takes the varietal whiskies and brings them together to age for an additional 2 years in vintage white oak port barrels. (Forty Creek distills and ages their corn, rye and barley separately before bringing them together. A meritage. Typically distillers use a mash bill where a specific combination of grains get distilled to produce a finished product. We had the chance to try John Hall’s corn distillation and it could easily stand on its own as a worthy “Canadian bourbon”.)
If you want real tasting notes do yourself a favor and check out Davin de Kergommeaux over at Canadian Whisky – he’s forgotten more than I will ever know. I’m the whisky equivalent of arriving at NASA for an interview armed with a paper mache diorama of the solar system.
I mean I’m sitting here nosing my glass wondering how one develops the sense to parse out each bit of aroma and give it a name. I get prunes and honey. It’s fruity and round with hints of cola and strong rye tones. But it’s a good review that sets me on the right path and gives name to those flavors that are, quite literally, on the tip of my tongue.
I mean golden sultanas?! At first I’m wondering where that comes from, but after several sessions I recognize it hidden in the back. Drinking it I get peppery heat with hints of cherry. It’s a nice warming glow and oh so smooth. It feels like a big fall drink. Chunky sweaters and fall leaves. Even the colour in the glass is reminiscent of autumn.
But it’s not whiskey, it’s in its own category. (I like how someone referred to it as a Port Bomb.) If you’re looking for an introduction, the Double Barrel Reserve from Forty Creek is where you should start. It is the prototypical Canadian whisky. The classic poutine you need to try before you go off and order the Montreal Smoked Meat version. Frankly both deserve space on your shelf.
Got blisteringly drunk on the stuff, though I feel like a dumbass downing the stuff like it’s lite beer. I guess that gives you some indication of how smooth it is. You’re supposed to linger with this but, like a bag of Oreos, the next thing you know you’ve polished off an entire sleeve. And just like that I’ve equated this to poutine, oreos and dead leaves. Just do yourself a favour and grab a bottle.