Labrador Tea

Review: The Forager Botanical Whisky by Jason Hambrey

The Forager Botanical Whisky Forty Creek 1.jpg
Blend of barley, corn, and rye whiskies and a mix of botanicals
Distiller Forty Creek (Grimsby, Ontario)

Here is something different in the “flavoured” whisky camp, but this is “flavoured” in the way that gin might be considered “flavoured” vodka (is that heresy?). The Forager is produced by infusing Canadian whisky with a series of botanicals:

  • Juniper Berries (from Georgian Bay)

  • Labrodor Tea (from the Laurentians of Quebec)

  • Mugwort (from Creemore, Ontario)

  • Sweet Fern (from the area northeast of Algonquin Park)

  • Spruce Tips (from Nova Scotia)

These botanicals are infused to the whisky, without any sweetener added - so this is a very different product compared to nearly all the “flavoured whiskies” in stores, most of which have industrial flavourings and sugar added.

I’m suprised more of this category hasn’t been explored - I think the category has some potential.

Review (2020)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2020

The nose is very Forty Creek – toasted oak, oily, citrusy – but with a herbal, piney edge which is unique. No surprise, given the infusion. I would have expected this to be quite heavy on the botanical flavours – but no, they are light enough that one might think they haven’t been added at all and fermentation has made a good go at creating the flavours. This isn’t anything like gin.

The taste has lots of pine characters, but also that classic Forty Creek whisky characteristic. The pine notes continue with a nice citrus note (from the whisky)  almond, nice baking notes, nut oils, and a bit of white pepper. The finish is full of baking spices, orange peel, and light juniper. Spruce, at the very end.

The back of the bottle recommends making a “forager and tonic” with this, but I’d go more in the direction of an old fashioned, or an old pal.

I like this quite a bit more than Forty Creek Spike, which is one of the better flavoured whiskies (but that category isn’t my style).

$35 at the LCBO.