Review: Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

A blend of 100% rye, corn, and malted barley whiskies
Distiller Forty Creek (Grimsby, Ontario)

This whisky came out in 2012, and since then has become one of my favourites and my pick of choice in general for my staple Canadian whisky – largely because of the incredible flavour and price. Forty Creek Barrel Select, though also a wonderful whisky, sits a few dollars below Copper Pot….and I think it is worth paying every cent of that extra for this version.

Copper Pot is created with a blend of single grain rye, malt, and corn whiskies which are then blended together and re-barreled before bottling. Copper Pot comes in at 43%, higher than the nearly ubiquitous 40% for Canadian whiskies – which much better suits this whisky.

Review (2012)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: ~2012

Nose: Much bolder than the barrel select; the signature forty creek toasted oak comes forth, alongside port, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, raisins. It’s fairly complex – even with a touch of mint and a sense of some sweetness! Caramel develops as the glass airs. I find I also get traces of chocolate and a bit of earthiness, and even a few wisps of smoke.

Taste: Fairly smooth citrus entry with some good nice oakiness (lots of toasted oak!). Spicy rye builds up followed by a vanilla fade followed by warming dry rye once again. The whole whisky has a bit of a port wine feel to it also. The whisky also can seem to change as you drink it, as if you are drinking a different one every time. Toasted oak, cloves, honey, and a bit of nuttiness also feature. There’s some good underlying sweetness throughout as well, and pretty nice mouthfeel as well…quite brilliant.

Finish: A long dry lingering spicy rye finish, with some nuttiness and a touch of grape juice. Eventually the spice dies down to vanilla, particularly if one drinks some water after. After some time there is even some black olive coming through…which to me is a manifestation and development of some of the earthiness found in the nose.

Very good (especially for the price!). Complex and interesting, with good spice and flavor balance. The finish is great and leaves a spicy and dry aftertaste. The finish even seems to nicely affect the water that is drank after the whisky.

Score: 88/100

Value: 91/100 (based on $30)

Review (2015; Blind)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2015

It should be noted that this outperformed Forty Creek Confederation Oak Batch F, Barrel Select, and Double Barrel not only in my own blind tastings in 2015 but also overall at the Canadian Whisky Awards in 2015. Tasting notes:

Musty and a bit earthy, with some good orange peel, apple seeds, maple, aged balsamic vinegar, toasted oak, leather, and a very intriguing wisp of smoke here and there. Also, an array of spices with clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice - and some really nice cinnamon on the end, too.

Score: 89/100

Value: 94/100 (based on $30)

Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: ~2016

I wanted to see how one of my favorite bottles continued to fare.

Lots of toffee. Caramel, toffee, toasted oak, orange peel, oak, candied nuts, and maple sugar. The oaky and spicy cereal notes breed complexity in the background. The palate is big and broad, with lots of oil and spice notes, orange, toasted oak, milk chocolate and a corn-driven, sweet vanilla finish abounding with Ferrero Rocher. Terrific.

Score: 88/100

Value: 91/100 (based on $30)