Whisky Advocate

Review: Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve

October 26th, 2010

Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve, 40%, $70
One of the finest Canadian whiskies I have ever tasted. Creamy and seamless from beginning to end. Gently sweet, with orange creamsicle, marzipan, sultana, praline, maple syrup, and a hint of coconut macaroon. Forty Creek whiskies have always been very good, but none have ever had the right stuff to reach classic status. Until now, that is. An outstanding, very distinctive whisky!

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 95

26 Responses to “Review: Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve”

  1. Gary says:

    Hmmm, that sounds very interesting. I have enjoyed 40 Creek and will have to pick up a bottle of this.

  2. George Jetson says:

    Wow, pretty high praise John. It sounds like Mr. Hall has outdone himself again. Some of the descriptors you are using in the review remind me very much of the notes I took for Bush Pilot’s PR. If this one is even close to approaching that status, it’ll be worth a trip across the border for sure.

  3. Andre Girard says:

    This is truly another great whisky from John K Hall. Great balance and complexity, very sweet with nuts, maple syrup and a hint of citrus. You must definitely get one of these. Great canadian stuff again.

  4. lawschooldrunk says:

    Where in the USA is this available? (Is it?)

  5. I couldn’t agree more! There stuff is great. I live probably no more than 30-45 minutes from the distillary & it drives me nuts that our distributor in WNY does not carry this whisky. I had the chance to talk to John Hall and share some of the Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve as he shared the story behind it with me at Spirit of Toronto. If ever in Canada you have to pick some of this up.

    • Scott says:

      Jason Southern Wine and Spirits distributes 40 creek across all of NY. Sometimes you may have to hound a salesperson for an item that they don’t usually ship upstate though. But in the 5 years I’ve worked in NY state we have always been able to get this one.

      • Getting Forty Creek hasn’t been the problem. It’s these small batch releases we can’t get. We were able to get the 3 Grain a while back, but haven’t been able to order the Port Wood Reserve, Double Barrel Reserve, or Small Batch Reserve in the past.

  6. Tom says:

    Three weeks ago, I made a ten and a half hour trek to visit the distillery and pick up the numbered bottles I had on reserve. They have many amazing tasting wines and spirits there that you can sample. I went for three bottles and ended up taking home two additional bottles of the Double Barrell Reserve, a bottle of the Oh Canada maple liqueur and a 375ml bottle of icewine brandy which was truly amazing. It was well worth the drive!

  7. Rick Duff says:

    You can also find it at almost all Ontario LCBO stores. The port wood is on sale and it’s spectacular as well. If you go to the distillery, pick up a bottle of 3 grain. For $27 you won’t be disappointed.
    Note though: I have not found this at the Duty Free locations in Buffalo or Detroit.
    I picked up my bottle a little over a week ago. Great stuff!!
    I find lots of Rye notes in this bottling.. more than some others of these special bottlings of theirs.

    • John Hansell says:

      Rick, I really enjoyed the three grain. I thought that was phased out years ago? Is thiss a NEW Three Grain?

      • George Jetson says:

        Yeah, me too. I’ve been hoarding my last six-pack of Three Grain and doling it it out in dribs and drabs. It was my favorite “regular” release from 40 Creek. That’s great news if it is re-released and not just NOS somewhere.

      • Rick Duff says:

        I think it’s old 3 Grain and available only at the distillery. I sure hope they never run out!

  8. Jon W. says:

    Droooool…I will be hunting down a bottle of this.

  9. Bill Andrews says:

    Three Grain, to the best of my knowledge, has always been available at the retail outlet at Kittling Ridge / 40 Creek.

    Anytime I’ve been there, its been there 🙂

  10. Yello to Mello says:

    Great release and I like the unique wood notes. I still want to taste it head to head with the double barrel and never got around to doing it yet.

    Does anyone know if the Port Wood reserve is available at Kittling? I slept on that release and it was the smallest release. This confederation release was 16.5K bottles.

    • Rick Duff says:

      I did not see it on the shelf.. but it might be worth a call. It was my favourite of all of his releases. The Double Wood is still in great supply.. and on sale at the LCBO for $55 currently.

  11. Ray Abraham says:

    Good stuff!

  12. DavindeK says:

    Hi John,

    The Three Grain is available at the distillery. They didn’t discontinue it, they just put all their focus onto the Barrel Select. It’s the same Three Grain and worth the drive.

    I am just delighted to see you and I agree so much about the high quality of Forty Creek in general and the Confederation Oak in particular. I saw these barrels sitting in the warehouse well over a year ago as John patiently waited for them to be ready. He sure does have a well-tuned palate because he got it just right.

    I found a bit more wood on the palate than you talk about, but it is Canadian wood, clean fresh and new, not old and bitter. To me the wood in this tastes more like some of the 1960’s wood from Gooderham and Worts bottlings. That’s saying a lot.

    I spoke with John Hall on Friday and he said he expects it to sell out by Christmas.

    This is the kind of Canadian whisky that connoisseurs need to taste before they make assumptions about the category as a whole.

    Confederation Oak does not really remind me of Bush Pilot’s but I have not yet done a serious head to head although I have tasted both in the same tasting session and the notes came out different for each. Perhaps on the weekend I’ll HTH them.

    Thanks again for supporting Canadian whisky so faithfully John; we have some fantastic whisky up here, if only someone could figure out a way to get it across the border.


  13. Derek Stewart says:

    The small batch Forty Creek whiskies are hard to find even within Canada. On the west coast we rarely get them. In this case I was lucky enough to get my dad (in Ontario) to snag a couple of bottles for me.

    Now I have even more reasons to go for a visit. I hope whiskies like this will show the big Canadian distillers what is possible if you experiment a little.

  14. Mike says:

    Finally got a bottle of this stuff. It took a good while to grow on me. I’m convinced the whisky is much better now than when I first opened it. And boy, is it good!

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