the whisky lounge - a journal tracking a whisky maturation project involving a newly-acquired oak cask and a significant amount of patience

Friday, April 25, 2008

The True North Strong and Free

I got a letter from my buddy Rob who has appeared in this blog a few times before. you'll remember he has recently taken his Whisky Works whisky out of the cask. I learned that he's jumped across the pond to try aging a Canadian whisky. Specifically, he's experimenting with a bottle of Forty Creek Barrel Select.

I've never been one to keep quiet about my opinion of most Canadian whisky. Maybe it's because I've only ever had the dirt-cheap stuff, but I've not really found one that suits my palate. I've tried Forty Creek before, however, and wasn't turned off. I guess it's my favourite of the limited number of Canadian whiskies I've sampled. Rob seems to like it quite a bit. In any case, here's what he had to say:

"It's been in the wood for about two weeks now. The cask has given the rye a spiciness. It has also sucked out some of the sweetness. It's getting quite tasty. I think priming the casks with only water must have that effect on the whisky. It draws our the sweet and leaves a 'raw' taste to it. I quite like it."

I asked him to clarify what he meant by "a raw taste" and he replied simply that he meant spicier and less sweet: essentially it's becoming dryer as it ages, rather than sweeter.

Rob and I have noted the same things: the cask seems to impart a strong spiciness to the spirit. I quite like it. And it's incredibly powerful: when my buddy Jim was over the other day, he decided to do a home made blend of some Té Bheag and the Whisky Works I have here, and we found that even a few drops of the latter gives the former a FAR longer finish, with a solid oak and cinnamon flavour. That's right: only a few drops. Damned strong stuff!

Remember that it's only a few weeks until the Spirit of Toronto show. I'll be there, as will Rob, along with Premium Bottlers (the guys who make the Whisky Works kit) and a number of other players in the whisky and spirits business. Hope to see some of you there!

Cheers,

Ian

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