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Beppi Crosariol, wine columnist in the Globe and Mail's Style section in 2010. (Fred Lum/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)
Beppi Crosariol, wine columnist in the Globe and Mail's Style section in 2010. (Fred Lum/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

Pick of the week

Forty Creek John's Private Cask No. 1, Canada Add to ...

  • Rating 92
  • Price $69.95

John K. Hall has a restless spirit. His fans – I’m one – are grateful. The founder of independent distiller Forty Creek Whisky in Grimsby, Ont., he specializes in making and maturing three types of whisky – rye, corn and barley – then blending them into a single bottle. The result is a drink with an intriguing flavour arc. Rye contributes tongue-tingling spice, corn supplies mellow sweetness and barley a bold essence of Scotch-like cereal flavour as well as earthy depth. Mr. Hall made just 9,000 bottles of this special, premium release, which was drawn from 23 barrels he had set aside over the years. Every whisky barrel matures in its own way, developing unique flavours. With most large-scale brands, those nuances become obscured as thousands of barrels get blended together to produce a standard house style. Here Mr. Hall liked the character so much he decided to reserve the barrels and bottle them separately. He also modified the proportion of each grain in the final blend compared with his other high-end whiskies (but keeping the recipe secret). It starts out sweet, smooth and opulent, with flavours suggesting fruit, creamy chocolate and toasted-almond nuttiness. Then it carries through with a kick of spice and lingering coconut. It’s dessert for a he-man lumberjack. While it’s best served straight up at room temperature, a splash of water or small ice cube won’t defeat it. The longer you linger over a dram, the more it will play with your flavour imagination. Available in limited quantities in Ontario (through select LCBO stores and the distillery), British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

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