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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Forty Creek Canadian Whisky

Tasting Notes Review

Forty Creek

Forty Mile Creek begins on the flats of Niagara, high above the Escarpment, embracing the bounty of numerous grain farms. The creek flows over the escarpment at Beamer’s Falls, flows onward to Grimsby and finally empties into Lake Ontario at Grimsby Harbour.


The Distillery is nestled between the southern shore of Lake Ontario and the majestic backdrop of the Niagara Escarpment, in the town of Grimsby.


It was there in the mid 1700’s that settlers discovered a creek with a waterfall, which they named Forty Mile Creek. The original name of the community, which developed along the banks of the creek, was “The Forty”. This name was based on the belief that the location was forty miles from the mouth of Niagara Falls.


They decided “The Forty” was an ideal place. The fertile plains provided a natural place for the growing of grains; the falls provided the power for Grist Mills and the natural harbour at Lake Ontario provided ease of transportation.


In March 2014, Forty Creek Distillery Ltd. was purchased by Italian Drinks company Campari for $185.6 Million Canadian Dollars. The sale included 100% of the distillery, including all Forty Creek facilities and whisky stocks


John Hall Whisky Maker

John Hall, Forty Creek Whisky Maker and proprietor of Kittling Ridge Estate Wines & Spirits. With over thirty years winemaking experience.


John won wide recognition in the Niagara wine industry, both as a winemaker, and creative businessman. After thirty years, he was ready to embrace a new challenge, and explore the craft of distilling spirits. Where an artist has several canvases on which to paint, the winemaker is limited to one "canvas" a year: a harvest. And, while every winemaker appreciates the patience required to make wine, John soon realized that distilling fine spirits such as whisky requires even greater patience and equal passion. Where some wines might age in oak for two or three years before release, his whiskies age for six, eight, twelve years or more!


With a penchant for fine whisky and a knack for innovation, John has translated his winemaking experience into the art of distilling. Most distillers traditionally blend a variety of grains together, ferment, distil and age. Instead, John treats each grain separately, as though it were a varietal wine. He believes that being a first generation wine & whisky maker gives him the freedom to be innovative & explore. "Sometimes, when you have generations behind you, that can hinder you from trying new things, or taking chances. My ultimate goal is to provide customers with a memorable taste experience and quality products they can't find anywhere else."

Kilttling Ridge Distillery.

Kittling Ridge Wines & Spirits

297 South Service Road

Grimsby, ON L3M 1Y6


Tel: +905.945.9225

Forty Creek Barrel Select Tasting Notes


“Aromas of Honey, Vanilla and apricot fuse with toasty oak, black walnut and spice.”


Forty Creek Barrel Select is distilled in small batches in our copper pot still and patiently aged in white oak barrels hand-picked for their unique characteristics. A selection of light, medium and heavy char barrels create a richness and toasted earthiness in the spirit. Vintage sherry casks impart a subtle complexity.


This unique barrel selection process results in a whisky where aromas of honey, vanilla and apricot fuse with toasty oak, black walnut and spice. The flavour is rich & bold.


Only Available In Canada and USA

Notes from John Hall, Whisky Maker:

Forty Creek Whiskies

“To make a great whisky you must start with great grains. Grain selection for Forty Creek is all about flavour and quality. We choose rye for its spiciness and fruitiness, barley for nuttiness and Indian corn or maize for strength, body and weight.”


“The Forty Creek Whiskies are made as ‘single malts’ where each grain is mashed, fermented, distilled and matured separately. This differs from many North American whiskies, which use a ‘mash bill’ that blends several grains together at the beginning of the whisky making process. Making Forty Creek Whiskies as single grain whiskies, and then blending at the end of the process allows me to capture each distinctive flavour and nuance of the three grains.”


“Forty Creek Whiskies are distilled using 2 small copper pot stills. Each of my pot stills has its own personality and provide a particular character to my whiskies. The smaller still is a 600 litre pot & the larger still is a 6,000 litre pot. The art of capturing the heart of the distillation is one of the handcrafted elements of using the traditional pot still. Both the heads and the tails of the distillation are discarded.”


“The length of time a whisky spends in a barrel is often considered the most important aspect of quality. But, remember, a fine whisky is not created by age alone. Paying particular attention to the choice of grains, the copper pot distillation and the barrel selection, captures nuances and subtleties of flavour that result in a whisky of distinction. The ageing process then enhances and develops the character of the whisky.”


“For Forty Creek Whiskies, each single grain is aged in its own special barrel. Each barrel is hand picked. Lightly toasted oak barrels are used to enhance the fruitiness & spiciness of the rye whisky. Medium toasted barrels are used to enhance the nuttiness of the barley, and heavy charred barrels enhance the smoothness & body of the maize. Finally, vintage sherry casks are used to round off some of the blended whiskies. Some of these whiskies will be in the barrel for ten years. This makes the barrel selection process vital to the development of a great tasting whisky.”


“The blending of a whisky is about more that just creating consistency. It’s about creating a defining style, an expression of craftsmanship and establishing a heritage for my whisky. It’s a matter of taste. Every barrel ages differently. No two barrels are alike, therefore every barrel must be tasted to determine if it has developed the defining style for Forty Creek. It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it!”

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