While at the Forty Creek whisky weekend this week, I had quite a few opportunities to sample Forty Creek’s special release this year: Heart of Gold. The 2013 special release from John Hall is certainly fabulous. A warning, though, is that it is a little different than what is typically done with rye whisky and some may not appreciate it as much as expected. John Hall has been spending over 10 years nurturing this special whisky, trying to let the rye shine through especially well. It is a whisky worth spending quite a bit of time with, especially as it gets much better as it airs (I recommend, along with many others, to let it sit half an hour and see how it improves!)
Nose: Sharp, grassy rye in a way that is not usually presented and one which I have mainly found in new makes. there are also aromas of sourdough, and, surprisingly, lasagna. The creamy and floral nature of the whisky, I suppose, lend itself to such an aroma. It certainly is full of complexity and intrigue, and morphs with time. 28/30 (93%)
Taste: not as sweet as many of the other forty creek whiskies, which took a few people at my table by surprise. Again, the sharp, grassy, and spicy rye shines through and it is smooth in the middle of the palate. It has an interesting citrus note as well, which one of the reviewers pointed out, rightly, to be marmalade. additionally, it is floral as advertised. 27/30 (90%)
Finish: it is long and lingering, and also unique – not generic. After I had tasted all of the other 8 whiskies in the lineup, the heart of gold was the finish which remained, and I could tell it was from the heart of gold because of the quality of rye flavour left in the mouth. 18.5/20 (93%)
Conclusion: I love the uniqeness of this whisky, and certainly it is different from any presentation of forty creek beforehand. I love it for its complexity and uniqueness, but it certainly might be a bit different for many. 19/20 (95%).
Overall score: 92.5/100