Monday, January 28, 2008
Forty Creek Barrel Select
It's Monday and we're going to have a week of international/non-Scottish whiskies here on the Malt Mission. We'll start with a drop that is up for a Bang-for-Buck award in the 2007 Drammies. These are the final few days to vote, so get busy! And don't forget to vote in all categories or your vote may not be counted.
By law, Canadian whisky must be made in Canada, matured in oak casks for at least three years, and be bottled at AT LEAST 40% abv. Typical, but not mandatory, ingredients are rye, corn and barley, and even though the whisky is usually not >50% rye, Canadian whisky is often widely referred to as "rye". There is also an old law that stipulates distillers may add 9.09% "flavouring ingredients" to their final product. Kind of hard to respect a product that allows such "additives", although in most cases it probably is improved by these flavourings. Sorry, but after 5 years of serious 'study' of whisky, I am pretty comfortable to admit that Canadian whisky is little more than a popular mixer for ginger ale around the world. In recent years Canadian Club and Crown Royal have released small batch, extra-aged and special releases, but with 60+ years of standardisation and lack of innovation (since the boom period of bootlegging during prohibition era America) there is still a lot to be done.
For over 30 years, John Hall has been making wine at Kittling Ridge Winery in Grimsby, Ontario. For 15 of those years he has been distilling various spirits using a copper pot still. His innovation and experimentation is to be commended. His whiskies have recently won accolades from critics who know their grain-based, oak matured spirits. Why? Let's taste.
Reviewed by the folks at Whisky Magazine twice over the past few years with slightly different reactions, HERE (editor's choice) and HERE. Listen to John Hall on Whisky Cast Episode 118 HERE.
Sumptuous and sweet with a spicy rye core. Nutmeg, melted vanilla ice cream, egg nog, buttered corn.
Texture is thin and silky in the mouth, spicy with a lot of toasted oak character. Corn syrup, toffee, vanilla extract, cinnamon and cloves, crepes, grilled cheese on white bread, stewed stone fruits (apricots, plums) and a touch of pepper.
Very pleasant drinking whisky, pleasantly sweet with good complexity if not much flavour development. Very well-priced. Innovative, resourceful, and proudly Canadian, John Hall's whisky may single-handedly save the tarnished name of Canadian whisky.
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