Here is a legend of a Canadian whisky, near impossible to find now (you’d have to find someone still with a bottle willing to give up) – the first batch of Forty Creek Confederation Oak. It was the first whisky to be matured in Canadian oak in the modern era, and was originally a limited release from Forty Creek before it was put into regular production – crafted from trees which whisky maker John Hall himself bought (a bit more background on my post of Batch B). This sample was graciously sent to me by a friend, who gave me the last half oz of his bottle (#548) which had been open more than 4 years, so oxygen has done some work on this, but here is the review of the sample.
I struggled for some time with whether to even rate this whisky. With whiskies like this, regardless of the rating, I will immensely enjoy it for the sake of its significance (even though I know this one is delicious). However, for completeness sake, I did.
Nose: Caramel, toasted oak, vanilla, woody earthiness, dried corn maple, and some fruity elements as well. It evolves to show more nuttiness, maple, and lots of dried fruits with a sherry-influenced feel. 28/30 (93%)
Taste: So syrupy – maple syrup dominates the palate, and the feel is very syrupy and mouthcoating – as if you are drinking oil which coats the mouth and lingers a bit. Toasted oak, candied orange, cinnamon, milk chocolate, nutmeg, clove, and a lingering sweet, dry, vanilla-tinged spiciness at the end. Fabulous creamy mouthfeel – magnificent. Being open so long certainly can’t have brought too much disintegration to this whisky. On the palate, one of the best I have ever tasted from the feel to the complex layering of flavour. 29.5/30 (98%)
Finish: Fabulous mouthcoating feel. Largely vanilla, spices, and oak, though there is more subtlety bringing in other elements – it lingers very nicely. Elegant. 18.5/20 (93%)
Conclusion: There aren’t too many canadian whiskies that I would describe as “elegant”, a sublime whisky put together well and with a great mouthfeel, integration, and subtlety – but this is definitely one. Fabulous stuff from Forty Creek. This is a bottle I would have loved to have in reserve. The confederation oak series has changed batch to batch, but this one is pretty magnificent. This, along with batch B, are both stuff of legend. 19/20 (95%)