According to the laws of Canada, a Canadian whisky must be mashed, distilled and aged in Canada. To improve marketability, it may contain caramel (as may Scotch whisky) and flavoring, in addition to the distilled mash spirits. Thus, much of the spirits used in making a Canadian whisky, prior to aging, may have less grain-derived flavor than typical single malts or U.S. “straight” whiskeys. As with Scotch and Irish whiskey, the alcohol content of the spirits used may exceed 90%. All spirits used in making a Canadian whisky must be aged for at least three years in wooden barrels of not greater than 700 L capacity. The final whisky must contain at least 40 percent alcohol by volume. As with Scotch and most other whiskies, the barrel used for aging may be new or re-used and may be toasted, charred or left raw.
Historically, in Canada, whisky that had some rye grain added to the mash bill to give it more flavor came to be called “rye”.
Although many Canadian whiskies are still labelled as “rye”, the modern mash bill for a Canadian “rye” whisky often contains little or no rye grain, and their flavor is derived in other ways (such as flavor development from the aging process, blending with stronger-tasting Canadian whiskies, and the addition of flavorings).
Forty Creek Barrel Select
Distilled in small batches in two pot stills, this spirit derives its complexity from several sources: the fruity-spicy rye spirit that ages in very lightly toasted casks, the nutty barley spirit from casks with a medium level of toasting, and the rich sweet corn spirit from the very heavily charred casks. The final touch is given to the blend in sherry casks, which give it plenty of sweet fruitiness and aromas of honey, nuts, spices, and roasted notes.
The nose is fairly subtle and sweet, with obvious sherry unfluence. Hints of beeswax, brown sugar, and spice. Light-bodied, with the characteristic tang of Canadian blended whisky but also the spice, orange peel, and chocolate notes of a good sherry cask. A distinctive effort.
Sweet, appealing, very full bodied and spicy, thanks to the addition of rye. Aroma of fruits, woods, spearmint, honey and sherry. The original “deluxe” has become quite sweet and more of a mixing whisky, but the Reserve is still quite worthy to be called a sipper.