Whisky Advocate

New Forty Creek “Confederation Oak Reserve”

May 12th, 2010

Very interesting. Details here on their website. I hope to get a review sample from John Hall and will let you know my thoughts at that time.

No Responses to “New Forty Creek “Confederation Oak Reserve””

  1. PRJack says:

    One can only expect good things from Hall. And if this is true to the previous limited releases (Double Barrel Reserve; Port Wood Reserve) then it will be stellar.

    In speaking to Hall – who is about as genuine and nice as they come! – he admitted that he likes making these limited editions for the people who buy his products and as such he doesn’t want to over-price things so that only the elite can get their hands on them. Spoken like a true craftsman and gentleman.

    • Mike says:

      Funny that John Hall would comment about not wanting to overprice his limited editions, when they are among the most expensive Canadian whiskies on the market. Not to knock the guy, but come on, $70 is not cheap for an NAS Canadian whisky, considering you can get some fine 20-year-plus Canadians for under $60.

      Anyway, I do like his products and might consider buying this one out of interest.

      • PRJack says:

        My apologies to the moderators of this thread but I’ve got to rant here.

        Oh come on Mike. There are “fine 20-year-plus Canadians for under $60”? You are kidding, right?

        IF there is another distiller who will hand sign your bottle, make time to chat and provide a premium spirit that in Canadian prices would be sold for much, much more if it were say Scotch or Tequila or what have you, then PLEASE introduce me.

        I do NOT like Canadian Rye whisky. But the special release by 40 Creek are not only truly unique but they’re also damn good.

        Take the time to look at some of the other ‘limited edition releases’ of other premium spirits and then let’s talk. I’m a tequila aficionado myself and I love the products from Voodoo Tiki Tequila (despite the silly name). However, when they’re ‘limited edition’ sold for US$900/bottle I balked. Heck, even the plonk from Canadian Club, Gibsons and Wisers pale by comparison to the 40 Creek special releases … and the prices are comparable.

        But hey… to each their own.
        Na Zdrowej!

        • Mike says:

          Danfield’s 21 year old: $59
          Canadian Club 20 year old: $55
          Century Reserve 21 year old: $39
          Alberta Premium 25 year old: $29

          It’s pointless to compare Canadian whisky prices to those of Scotch or tequila; most 18-year-old Canadian whiskies sell for less than the average 12 year old single malt Scotch, and even reposado tequila often goes for $90+.

          As you pointed out Forty Creek limited bottlings are craft products and I’m very glad to see something different being done with Canadian whisky. I just don’t think John Hall is doing us a favour by “only” charging $70 a bottle. Barrel Select is reasonably priced but the limited editions are almost 3 times as much. Like I said, I won’t rule out buying them, but it definitely makes me hesitate. They seem to cost so much on account of their limited availability, which makes sense I guess but Double Barrel Reserve has been on the market for a few years now and I’m starting to see it marked down often because stores can’t move it at $60.

          • PRJack says:

            IMO none of the products you’ve listed are in the same bracket as the 40 Creek special releases.

            But I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  2. Had a chance to try this at Spirit of Toronto. PRJack, it is stellar. The bottle numbering program is very interesting also. A very luxurious whisky.

    • PRJack says:

      Great to hear Jason! Thanks!
      I’m lucky to have a couple of numbered Port Barrel bottles and will have matching numbers for the Confederation Oak Reserve. I agree that the numbering program is cool.

  3. Tanguy says:

    Just wondering how I could get a bottle numbered in Detroit Michigan?

    • PRJack says:

      I’d say the first step to go to the site and reserve a numbered bottle (or two). Then plan a short trip to the distillery (considering where you are that’s easy!) and pick up your bottle(s). Stay long enough in Canada and I bet the bottle(s) would be within your allowance of what you can bring back.

      • Neil Fusillo says:

        Make a vacation out of it when you head to pick it up. Forty Creek is over in the Jordan winery area on the ‘Wine Route’ in Southern Ontario. There are a couple of dozen wineries down there between Jordan and Ontario on the Lake. Some of them are… not fantastic. But several of them have some outstanding wines. You can hop from winery to winery and do tastings, eat at nice restaurants, talk with the owners of the wineries, and then swing by Forty Creek and take a tour and pick up your bottle of whisky.

        It’s really worth the trip.

    • Rick Duff says:

      If you don’t care about the bottle #.. with the quantity coming out, it’s sure to be in the LCBO stores.. so about Christmas time you could cross over to Windsor and pick up a bottle.

  4. Seth Nadel says:

    I always liked Forty Creek. They aren’t big sellers, but still good.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      I love Forty Creeks standard bottling, Seth. I should pick some up again soon. Out of interest, would you say that your most favorite whiskies the ones that taste awesome and have huge sales?

  5. Neil Fusillo says:

    I loved their port-finished release from 2009. I did NOT buy enough bottles of it, though. I gave one to my father, and he was visibly disappointed when I told him there were no more.

    As always, I’m looking forward to this release.

  6. Luke says:

    John, a general question:

    Are Canadian Whiskies of 46%-Plus ABV available and, if so, is there a noticable improvement in Nose/Flavour?

    I defer to your experience.

    • TheMandarin says:

      Yukon Jack is smartly bottled at 50%….wait people just call it a whiskey but its a liqueur and I once ordered it at a bar thinking it was whiskey.
      Notes of Orange Robitussin, paint thinner and glue. Sticky as a jar of honey.

      • sam k says:

        Haven’t touched the stuff in 30 years, having then consumed enough to make me as violently ill and incoherent as I’ve ever been on alcohol…period.

      • PRJack says:

        oddly enough, I remember a drink called a Double Jack that was equal parts Jack Daniels and Yukon Jack that wasn’t bad. Then again… that was many years ago and my tastes have changed!

    • sam k says:

      Luke, that’s been my hang up with Canadians since forever. The new Crown Royal Black is bottled at 90 proof, I believe, but I have found whiskies from north of the border to be relatively spineless, mainly (but not only) because of their inability to look beyond the legal basement as regards the definition of “whisky.”

      I’ve had Forty Creek’s standard bottling, and it’s definitely better that the average Canadian (which isn’t much of an endorsement, sadly), but it’s still not something that inspired me to want to buy a bottle. That could easily change with an increase in proof. That said, I really do admire what Mr. Hall is doing within the genre, but every single bottling 80 proof? It’s like something they need therapy to overcome. To each his own.

      Step it up, you guys up North! The world of great whisky isn’t just passing you by, it’s making you look like you’re running backward. Really…you are allowed to bottle whisky at 86, 90, 100 proof or anything above or in between! Hell, even (God forbid…gasp!) cask strength!

      How about a new motto for the industry? “Canadian whisky…we’re not allowed to make it any weaker!” And don’t even get me started on the 9.09% thingy.

  7. PRJack says:

    We learned our weak Whisky making from the US’s practice of making weak beer (unless it’s craft brewed, but that’s different, and we can go toe to toe there).
    Step it up you guys down South! You need to be making beer that a) has flavour and b) is over 4%? 😉
    (Just funnin’ with you sam k… no offense intended)

    Truth be told the market is so small up here that it isn’t profitable for most distilleries to make ‘specialty spirits’. Competition is tight as it is, but with import specialty spirits coming in and more often than not being cheaper than what can be produced here – it’s not good for business. It also doesn’t help when some of the distillers are owned by the ‘bigs’ (e.g. Diageo, etc) who don’t allow the making of products that would compete in any way with any of their other products (the best Irish Cream in the world is (was) made by Bushmills but they’re not allowed to make it since Diageo – owner of Bailey’s – took over the Distillery).

    The flip side is that there are a few small independent distilleries slowly popping up – like Kittling Ridge, parent of 40 Creek – and they are starting to ‘experiment’ with unique things. But don’t expect to see any of that heading South of the border… heck, I’d wager that most of it can only be acquired at the distillery itself and that will be the way it is for the time being.

    That’s rather how our entire craft brewery market came into existence. And because we Canucks drink a hell of a lot of the stuff certainly contributed to why we have such a competitive beer market in general.That alone makes it profitable to create and sell unique brews.

  8. Rick Duff says:

    I stopped by the distillery this weekend and purchased and tasted this. It’s another awesome whisky from Forty Creek. The Canadian Oak does have a bit of a different flavour.. due to it’s tighter grain. I found it very pleasing.. smooth but fantastic character.
    Did you ever get your sample?

  9. PRJack says:

    I got a couple of bottles and it pains me to say I’m somewhat disappointed.
    IMO this whisky fits into what Mike was talking about above… Good, but I didn’t feel it was worth the price. Especially when you compare it to the previous Port Wood release which I think was a steal at $70cdn.

    Maybe I was so blown away by that Port Wood whisky, that that made for a high bar to clear. But the bottom line for me is that the Confed Oak Res tasted too much like rye – granted a very nice rye.

    It does serve to make a stellar rye manhattan though!

    • Rick Duff says:

      I don’t disagree with you. I do feel it’s overpriced. I like the Rye aspect of it though.
      My favourite Forty Creek is their 3 Grain.. great whisky at a great price. Their every day stuff is stellar too.
      The port is really nice. It’s on sale now for $60.. including all LCBO’s.

  10. Gary says:

    I was expecting to miss out on this Forty Creek product, but to my great surprise it appeared on the shelves of a local liquor store near Dallas, TX.

    Anyone know how many bottles were allocated for U.S. distribution?

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