Review: Forty Creek Confederation Oak Canadian Whisky (Batch D)

Confed Oak 1I have wanted to do a batch review of this one for some time. This whisky is partially matured in Canadian Oak casks, being the only major whisky producer to do so. These very carefully made casks are limited in quantity, but have quite thick staves (1.5″), which means that they can be re-used and rejuvenated for a longer period than regular casks. Regardless, the interaction with the wood is a bit different each time – and I’ve been interested to see how the batches change, if indeed they do. This bottling is from batch D, and I have already reviewed batch B, which was one of my favourite whiskies. Below the review is a direct batch comparison from some of my samples I had left over. I’ve already seen batch E in the stores, so this it’s amazing how quickly we’ve moved through this.

Nose: Sweet, with light corn and some rich, buttery maple notes too which continue to grow with time. Vanilla, also, emerges with time. It still holds the signature toasted oak, baked bread, and lightly earthy characteristics which are prevalent in Forty Creek. There is a touch of stale bitterness here, unfortunately. Still quite a complex offering but it doesn’t fit together as it should. 26.5/30 (88%)

Taste: Rich and sweet, with grape and vanilla – but not that spicy or sharp. Toasted oak notes and tannins are felt, and some of that oakiness is quite rich. The light acidity also keeps it nicely in check. Delivery is quite nice, but here the balance is such that the sweetness is a tad too high, I think. Still controlled, and long though – it draws out the flavours nicely. 27/30 (90%)

Finish: There is lots going on – vanilla, oak, currants, dried fruit, coconut some tingly spices…a bit dry with touches of tannin too and a bit of bitterness. The bitterness doesn’t help, and it’s not singing in harmony, though the feel is good. 16.5/20 (83%)

Confed Oak 2Conclusion: Frankly, I’ve been quite surprised at this. It’s still quite nice – but it shows flashes of brilliance with some awkward bits rather than just being brilliant, as I’ve seen from this bottling before. More below. 17.5/20 (88%)

Overall: 87.5/100

 

After conducting an initial review, I was quite surprised and conducted three reviews (two blind) with both batches – and my suspicions were confirmed: this bottle I have of batch D is certainly not as good as batch B. In the blind tastings, it took me less than 3 seconds to differentiate with confidence between the batches. Really too bad to see a bad batch (relatively- it’s still quite decent!) of what is one of my favourite whiskies.

On the nose, B is far richer, vibrant – alive – with more going on and fitting together much more in balance. On the palate it’s sharper, clearer in definition, and with more flavour – more fruit and earthiness, for sure. It leads more slowly into a longer finish. The finish is also cleaner, and bigger, with more development. Overall, as I’ve said, richer, longer, and more elegant.

Batch D is a bit dustier, and a bit flatter. The taste almost feels watered down, and the bitterness on the nose and finish is there too.

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9 thoughts on “Review: Forty Creek Confederation Oak Canadian Whisky (Batch D)

  1. Pingback: Review: Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve Canadian Whisky (Batch B) | Whisky Won

  2. Absolutely love Confed Oak! I’ve only had the first two batches and both of them were my idea of the perfect after-dinner sipper.
    Worried to hear that the D batch is not as appealing though. What does this bode for the E batch??

    • yes, the first two batches were superb. The batches since that I’ve had have been good, though this is the first I’ve reviewed since batch B. I haven’t had E, so I don’t know what it is like. I imagine the quality will still be high, since the previous stuff has been so, but we’ll have to see. It is one of my absolute favorite whiskies so it better get back on track…

  3. Pingback: Review: Gibson’s Finest Venerable18 Year Old Venerable Canadian Whisky (2015) | Whisky Won

  4. According to Davin`s upcoming review of batch D on Whisky Advocate, John was able to source some more wood for new barrels.

    http://whiskyadvocate.com/2015/05/11/the-10-highest-rated-whiskies-of-the-summer-issue/

    I don`t know if that means batch D has the new ones, batch E, or if it is still far in the future when the the new barrelled whisky will be bottled.

    Have you ever tried batch C? I bought a bottle last year expecting something sublime like Davin`s original review or your review of Batch B but I haven`t tasted it yet. I didn`t realize there could be such variations between the batches.

    • I may have tried C at a tasting, but not knowingly – I didn’t get a bottle of it, that is. I was a little surprised at the variation and would have doubted my review if not for the blind tasting. I don’t think batch D is from new wood yet – I’ll write them to see if I can confirm.

  5. Pingback: Review: Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve (Batch F) | Whisky Won

  6. Pingback: Review: Forty Creek Confederation Oak Canadian Whisky (Batch C) | Whisky Won

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