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Forty Creek Confederation Oak Whiskey
Forty Creek Confederation Oak Whiskey

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Our Price: $69.95
Size 750ml

Quantity in Stock:4

Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve 750ml  Hard  to find!

Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve is the fourth special release from whisky maker John Hall’s Kittling Ridge Distillery. At 16,800 bottles, this is also Hall’s largest special release. Hall produces Confederation Oak Reserve with his traditional Forty Creek “Meritage” process whereby he ages the corn, rye, and barley spirits separately before blending them together. He then re-barrels the blend for a period of marrying prior to bottling. However Confederation Oak is very much a unique whisky in that the marrying process takes place in barrels made from Canadian white oak trees that grew in a forest just forty miles (65 km) from the Grimsby distillery.

For the most part, Hall uses American Bourbon barrels imported from Kentucky and Missouri for his Forty Creek line. But when he found a grove of local oaks, he realized they would be ideal for making whisky. He shipped the logs to a Missouri cooperage where they were made into barrels, custom toasted, and shipped back to his distillery in Grimsby. It turns out these trees first took root more than 150 years ago, at the time of Canadian Confederation. This is why Hall chose the name Confederation Oak Reserve. Sensitive to ecological concerns, Hall is quick to point out that these older trees were being culled from a sustainably managed forest on the principle of “no tree before its time” and their removal helped promote the growth and reproductive vigour of younger trees that were left to take their place.

Long cold winters ensure that Canadian white oak is much more dense than American although both are the same species: Quercus alba. Slow growth in the harsh Canadian climate imbues the oak richly with vanillins. A veteran winemaker, Hall refers to these qualities as contributing to a Canadian “terroir.”

Barrel selection is paramount at Kittling Ridge Distillery and since each cask has its own personality, the whiskies are tasted as they mature. Only when each of the individual whiskies has achieved the desired flavour profile are they married together in common barrels. Fortunately Hall is a very patient man. The months he thought it would take to polish this already mature whisky in Canadian oak eventually turned into years. Although he had seasoned the barrels carefully, after a year in Canadian oak the whisky was so loaded with extreme aromas that Hall feared he would end up having to re-distil it. Instead he decided to let nature take its course and after leaving the whisky in the Canadian oak barrels for two additional years, his patience was finally rewarded. Time had smoothed it out creating this exciting, Canadian oak special release.

Notes from John Hall, Whisky Maker

I have worked with many types of oak barrels, first as a wine maker and then as a whisky maker. Every wood, whether it is from a bourbon barrel, port barrel, sherry cask, French, Balkan or American oak, creates a distinctive taste expression. As a proud Canadian whisky maker, I have always been curious what a Canadian whisky would taste like aged in a Canadian oak barrel, because most Canadian whiskies are aged in American oak.

To my delight, I discovered some massive Canadian white oak trees that were growing only 40 miles from the distillery! They must have started growing just before Confederation in 1867 because they were 4 feet in diameter and over 150 years old. The selected trees were harvested from a sustainably managed forest employing the principle of “no tree before its time.” This forest has a mixture of young trees coming up in the understory, mature trees in full productive vigor, and old trees whose growth has slowed. These older trees block sunlight and rainfall from the younger trees and when over-matured, need to be removed.

I thought I could give them a second career as whisky barrels. Canadian and American white oak trees are the same species. However, the cooler growing conditions in Canada result in slower growing trees that are more dense than their American counterparts. Consequently, the aromas and flavour profiles of Canadian oak are very different due to the Canadian terroir.

This is truly an iconic whisky. Canadian whisky, aged in Canadian oak barrels, harvested from trees that first rooted themselves in Canadian soil 150 years ago during Confederation.

Tasting Notes

Forty Creek Confederation Oak is the colour of old gold and is a very full bodied whisky.  To the nose it is a big whisky with constantly evolving aromas and flavours. Beginning with a maple-raisin-vanilla-fig, layers of praline, banana, butter cream, honeyed nuts, marzipan, spice and orange blossoms. As it lingers, dark dried fruits and anise evolve. On the palate it has a very rich entry; soft, round and dry. Full bodied with vanilla, butter cream and pepper spice which is nicely framed with oak, walnut and smoke.  An exceptional finish that has great depth. A long lingering finish with fading spice and white pepper.   Excellent balance and vibrant flavour. A whisky to sip and cherish.

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