For our first Canadian Whiskey of the entire Whiskey Wednesday series, we try one of the most acclaimed Canadians (to the extent that any Canadian is acclaimed), Forty Creek Barrel Select.
Forty Creek is made by Kittling Ridge, a winery and distillery in the Niagara area of south Ontario. Independently owned, Kittling Ridge makes wine as well as a wide variety of spirits including brandy, liqueurs, rum and vodka as well as Forty Creek, a blended Canadian whiskey.
Forty Creek has won some accolades and certainly has sought to separate itself from the ocean of Crown Royals and Canadian Clubs. Let's give it a try.
Forty Creek Barrel Select, (Kittling Ridge Distillery) 40% alcohol ($20.99).
The nose is very distinct...fruity and sweet, more like a Cognac or even a rum than a whiskey. The whiskey is light on the tongue. It's syrupy though not as sweet as I would have guessed from the nose, and you can definitely taste the influence of the sherry casks along with a strong caramel flavor. I'm guessing it's mostly corn because I didn't detect anything in the way of rye flavor. The lightness is such that it almost evaporates on the palate leaving very little in the way of finish except for a quick but pleasant woodiness on the way down.
The lightness and the character make this a very different drink than the whiskies I'm used to. In some ways, I don't know quite what to make of the stuff. It's pleasant enough but doesn't really satisfy me with the full flavors I expect of a Bourbon or Scotch.
While I have no immediate plans to try new Canadians, I have been on the lookout for interesting ones and will hopefully sample more in the future.