Review: Forty Creek Portwood Reserve Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Port Cask Finish
Blend of barley, corn, and rye whiskies
Distiller Forty Creek (Grimsby, Ontario)

This whisky has been a special release at Forty Creek in two separate years, in 2012 and in 2009. The flagship Barrel Select from Forty Creek spends some time in sherry barrels - here is a different look, with Port casks now imparting their influence. I find Forty Creek can work quite well with win casks, so I'm always interested to try them.

Review (2016)

  • Batch: Lot 061

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2012

The nose has lots of nuts , candied fruit, balsamic vinegar, and good grain notes. Musty oak, and lots of dried fruit too, along with some particularly rich rye grain. Raisins, olive oil, cinnamon, fruitcake – I think Forty Creek does quite well in wine barrels. Very complex and rich.

The palate is sweet and spicy, with lots of grape and rancio. Raisins, currants, and lots of spice. Wow! This is full of flavour! It doesn’t quite come together, though, dominated by the port and not supplemented enough with the grain. Cherry pits, and a very interesting aspect of grain – lentils! Some nice earthiness to it, cinnamon, and a bit of black olive and milk chocolate. Very complex. The finish has lots of raisins and dried fruit, along with some toasted oak and tannin. Also some green cardamom, along with some fresh grape, clove, cinnamon, rancio…lightly dry.

I have quite an affinity for good port finished releases. This is a very nice one, and quite to my liking. However, the palate and finish could work together a bit better…

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average. A reasonable price (70$) for a whisky this good.