Forty Creek Barrel Select Review

Forty Creek Barrel Select

40% abv

Score:  87.5/100


Oh man, is this nice.  The sweet smells and flavors of fresh baking.  All of my early memories, heavy laden with Canadiana and prairie life, are brought forth with a vengeance.  Gramma making homemade bread and buns, sweet fruitcakes, grains and cereals…farmlife.  Serious nostalgia here.

Forty Creek is a blended Canadian whisky produced in Grimsby, Ontario from rye, barley and corn.  According to wiki, each grain is fermented, distilled and aged separately (between 6 and 10 years) before vatting.  Some of these are sherry-finished.  Unique and interesting.  Just like the whisky itself.

For the malt enthusiasts out there…c’mon…branch out.  Live a little.  Canadian whisky can be quite stunning, and for the minimal investment required to nab a decent bottle (<$30), what have you got to lose?  It is a refreshing change, and adds an element of smooth, sweet and unbelievably rich flavor to your whisky collection.

Back to the Barrel Select…

The nose carries the downhome scents of oven-fresh baked goods, as mentioned, but rounds these out with a whiff of smoke, creamy caramel and shake of vanilla and nutmeg.  Yeah…it really is that nice.  Most of this is also be found on the palate, with a bit of chocolate and fruit as well.  The depth of this whisky and the waves of intensity are surprising considering this is a mere 40% abv.

The finish is of medium length and carries lingering chocolate.  Damn, is this nice.

Rewarding and satisfying.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

10 thoughts on “Forty Creek Barrel Select Review

  1. David

    Have you tried the Confederation Oak? I was really impressed with it. Not as complex as some single malts but a real cracker!

  2. David

    Forty Creek’s new specal release came out this month in Ontario, and I just saw it’s become available at Kensington in Calgary. PORT WOOD RESERVE. It’s sat in Canadian port pipes for 2 years after prior maturation. I wouldn’t put it up there with Amrut’s Portonova, but I quite like it. I’d love to see a review by much more experienced palate.

  3. David

    I understand this is a special weekend at 40 creek. They are releasing Heart of Gold. Anyone try it?

    Although I have enjoyed a couple of the special releases, I find they taste a little dilute. This one’s released at 43%. But is it worth seventy dollars at the LCBO?

    1. Jeff

      I haven’t tired that one, but I have sampled the Copper Pot and thought it wasn’t bad; still in the 80’s, but there’s a real tannic/metallic tang to it which might appeal to some people.

    2. Cameron

      I’ve had a go at most of the Forty Creek bottlings and the Heart of Gold is a good leap above anything else they’ve done in my opinion – it has beautiful spice and a breakfast oatmeal thing going on. Reminded me of the aroma from those brown sugar and cinnamon oatmeal packets I used to love on cold mornings at school, maybe with some cooked strawberries dropped in. I find that much Forty Creek (and much Canadian whiskey) has a fruit syrup sweetness that dominates but in Heart of Gold it takes a comfy back seat to the spices, and the finish absolutely top notch.

      1. ATW Post author

        Good to know. Thanks, Cameron. I’m about to do a feature range tasting on Forty Creek. A mate of mine, Piers, has been kind enough to help out with some samples. Watch this space.

  4. Robert

    The Canadian whisky I had in the past has included …. Crown Royal. I used to drink it now and then in Coke, just to get the buzz. I haven’t tried any Canadian for about 30+ years, but thought I would give a couple a try. Picked 40 Creek Barrel Select ( on your recommendation) and Crown Royal XO (based on high mark by Whisky Advocate). Really like the 40 Creek, especially the sherry influence, but the XO is a bland whiskey that makes me want to reach for a Coke to pour in to give it some flavor. I guess I should have just listened to you!

  5. Robert

    I’ve had the same bottle in my cabinet from my 2014 response, still nearly full, and have decided to go back and try it again. It’s obviously not my favorite whisk(e)y, as it’s been there so long. Whereas Clynelish, Glenmorangie 10, Compass Box (any of them), Ardbeg, Wild Turkey, Laphroaig, yada yada, are gone fairly quickly once they’re opened. It’s decent whisk(e)y, maybe an 84 to me, and fairly enjoyable neat. I’d put it in the same category as Weller 12, Maker’s Mark, Four Roses, Glenlivet 12, as something I’d definitely drink, but not run out to replace when gone. I’m obviously a single malt guy, and that has never changed, but this still makes for a good variation from my typical drink.

    1. skeptic

      If you ever decide to try again, I’d recommend the slightly more expensive Confederation Oak. The newer special releases are a little “dodgy” now and for the same price you can get something that was initially a special release and is now part of the standard offering and quite good.


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