You know, it's nice to have a Canadian whisky that doesn't feel like the butt of someone's joke.
If you're not sure what I mean, I can tell you this: Canadian whisky is derided for a lot of people for being—among other criticisms—watery, flavorless, and adulterated with other added colors and sugars. I don't necessarily think these criticisms are fair when leveled at the category as a whole, but let's just say I don't think the entry level version of Canadian Mist or Black Velvet is going to change anyone's mind for the positive if they're on the fence.
I'm glad Forty Creek distillery bossman John Hall is out there doing the lord's work in making a range of what I'd consider good Canadian whiskies. Apparently Hall came to whisky from the world of winemaking, looked at his competition, and said: "I can do better." Maybe it wasn't a hard bar to jump over, but I'm glad he did it.
The hallmarks of what attracts people to the regional style are definitely here in this bottle, so the 40 Creek Copper Pot Reserve serves as a decent ambassador to the best parts of Canadian whisky. Quite truly, it checks a lot of boxes: it's very agreeable, unpretentious, unctuous, clean-finishing, and a great whisky for any regular working stiff to have at the end of a long day without worrying about having to take out a second mortgage.
Assuming our working stiff likes maple.
Now, I was first willing to chalk this taste impression up to my subconscious mind shouting the most obvious associations at me. (I mean, what else do we Americans identify as distinctively Canadian beyond Dudley Do-Right?) In this case, I don't think my palate or nose is wrong. The Copper Pot Reserve positively explodes with maple and butterscotch. In some cases, the richness almost seems too decadent, like being able to drink a maple-glazed donut or a pecan pie.
There's a little bit of sweet potato and grain whisky in the finish, but again both are shouted down by maple syrup and butterscotch candies. If you're in the mood for a sweet whisky that can be enjoyed neat as a glass of dessert, this will be right up your alley. If you don't have a sweet tooth, I can almost categorically assure you this will not be your thing. If you're looking for a cocktail whisky, I'd steer you towards something where the core flavor is a little less sweet and a bit easier to balance.
It might strike you as a strange association, but I couldn't help but think of Danzig when I was writing this particular review. Twist of Cain is a great song in my book, but my god is it simple. Same with the Copper Pot Reserve: buckle in for maple and butterscotch, because that's what you're getting across all metrics.
Still, sometimes a good riff is all you need. Not everyone is in the mood for a 13-minute Rush song every moment of their lives, and I'm glad the Copper Pot Reserve is on my shelf.