Review: Forty Creek Victory Limited Edition Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Forty Creek Victory 2.jpg
4-10 yrs
Blend of barley, corn, and rye whiskies
Distiller Forty Creek (Grimsby, Ontario)

It’s the fall, so it’s a season of very nice limited releases from Canadian distillers. Forty Creek is bringing us “Victory” this year, named to celebrate the 205th anniversary of the engagement at the Forty - a battle that was fought at Forty Mile Creek where American forces were defeated by British forces.

This whisky follows a bit of a similar theme to last year’s release - with special wood maturation and wine blended in. The whisky started as a rye-forward, four year old blend of rye, barley, and corn whiskies which were aged in ex-bourbon barrels. Half of this liquid was then matured for 4-5 months with high toast vanilla staves which give a lot of woody vanilla to the mix. Then, it was “punched up” with a 10 year old corn whisky matured in new, heavily charred American oak and some 20 year old starboard wine (a fortified wine made with baco noir grapes). The wine had previously been aged in Forty Creek barrels.

So, two whiskies in a row using extra wood and some port…will we see a third next year?

Review (2019)

  • Batch: Lot 013

  • Bottling Code: BG/HG24228 15:11:20

  • Bottling Date: 2019

The nose is sweet, fruity, and nutty. There is toffee, hazlenuts, orange zest, vanilla, prunes, dried pine lumber, and dried cherry. I couldn’t quite nail the pine notes for a while until I also realized they weren’t fully pine, but also walnut wood – which is neat! There is something decidedly woody about the nose, and it’s almost as if you can smell the tannins coming off of it. There is a light grain character – like dried wheat, too. The rich oiliness of Forty Creek is present here – most similar to copper pot – of Forty Creek’s standard lineup.

The palate is oily and very much Forty Creek in character. We have rich toffee, hazelnut oil, and the toasted oak notes I always get in Forty creek. It has a nice growing sense of tannins, with a medium body flavour wise and somewhat light, mouthfeel-wise. Woody, but not as woody as some previous Forty Creeks. Pretty decently balanced between the sweet, toffee, dried fruit, and wood. But, with that, there’s a wine-like fruit influence and even a touch of pleasant almond, appleseed, and oxidized wine notes towards the finish. The finish has some bean sprouts, wet grain, oak, toffee, maple, dried currants, prunes, walnuts, and a slight dryness.

As with all of Forty Creek’s special releases, this is full of complexity though it lacks the elegance of some of the earlier special releases. I still would like to see it a bit older, but, this is pretty good stuff! I prefer it to last year’s release – I’m quite pleased with it. Stylistically, it’s probably most similar to Heritage in terms of the last number of releases – but still quite a bit different. I’m glad they continued to bottle this at 43% instead of 40% - it makes a difference.

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

Value: Average, at $80.