Review: Forty Creek Three Grain Canadian Whisky 20th Anniversary / by Jason Hambrey

Forty Creek Three Grain 2.jpg
Blend of rye, corn, and barley whiskies
Distiller Forty Creek (Grimsby, Ontario)

This whisky is made according to the original recipe of Forty Creek Three Grain, a whisky which was released as part of the initial core range of Forty Creek but then discontinued in favour of marketing barrel select. This, now a 20th anniversary release, includes some of the original liquid which went into those original blends. It has been re-released as a tribute to the original bottle.

Lots of fans have clamoured over the old Three Grain release - I even recall an unopened bottle selling for $1000 second-hand between two Forty Creek enthusiasts in the parking lot of Forty Creek during a whisky festival. I respect the enthusiasm… I’ve always preferred barrel select which remains one of the best Canadian whiskies for the price.

Review (2020)

  • Batch: 20th anniversary

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2020

The nose actually has a decent influence of corn, nutty grain, and light floral and spicy character – three grain, indeed! It has a different feel than the recent special releases, with a much softer and subtle character. It does hearken back!

It is classically Canadian – the nose has corn husks, lilac, orange peel, vanilla, baking spices, sugar caramel. The palate starts sweet with orange, baking spices, vanilla, toffee, caramel, and slowly leads to a dry spicy finish full of dried fruit.  It is a bit less fruity, and a bit more grainy.

It is very similar to the old three grain whisky – but is different in a few respects. While similar in profile, this one has a sharper character, more depth, and vibrancy.  I like it more than the old bottle, and it is quite a bit less brash than many of the latest special releases.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average at $60. Higher if you are a Forty Creek fan….perhaps significantly. It’s one of the few releases that has really hearkened towards the initial style of the distillery.