Forty Creek
Bill Ashburn

Master
Blender

For me the pleasure of making whisky is in trying to push the boundaries, trying to do things differently... and trying to find new flavours and expressions.

The most important thing is to have a passion for what you do. Myself and everyone at Forty Creek that works to create the products, the people that market them, the people that sell them, we're all passionate about what we do, and it shows.

Bill Ashburn

On 27th July, 1987 Bill Ashburn arrived for his first day on the job as a Blender at Reider Distillery, where today stands the Forty Creek Distillery. It was through the blending of eau de vie at Reider that Bill evolved his passion for flavour and product development.
Bill's craftmanship and relentless pursuit for creating ground-breaking whisky blends helped carve a new path for Canadian whisky in the 2000s. This earned him Canadian Master Blender of the Year, and helped earn Forty Creek the title of Whisky Maker of the Decade in 2020.

Awards

Awards

2020 Whisky of the year

Canadian Whisky Awards

2020 Whisky Maker of the decade

Canadian Whisky Awards

2020 Canadian Master Blender of the Year

New York International Spirits Competition

2020 Canadian Distillery of the year

New York International Spirits Competition

A Spirit of Innovation

For Bill, it all starts with what if...

What if... I blended whisky with rum.

What if... I foraged my own botanicals.

Bill's spirit for innovation and imagination with the 9.09 rule in Canadian whisky has led to the crafting of many limited releases over the years.

  • 2000  Barrel Select launched as a General Release
  • 2000  Original Three Grain launched as a General Release
  • 2007  Small Batch 6000 bottles
  • 2008  Double Barrel 9000 bottles Lot 240 – First fill bourbon barrel secondary aging
  • 2009  Port Wood 3000 bottles– Port barrel secondary aging
  • 2010  Confederation Oak 16500 bottles – Canadian Oak barrel secondary aging
2000-2010
  • 2011  John’s Private Cask 9000 bottles
  • 2012  Port wood  6600 bottles – Port barrel secondary aging
  • 2013  Heart of Gold 9000 bottles Lot 1972
  • 2013  John’s Private Cask 9000 bottles
  • 2013  Original Cream Liquor launched as a General Release
  • 2014  Honey Spiced launched as a General Release under Spike
  • 2014  Evolution 9000 bottles – French Oak Cabernet Sauvignon barrel secondary aging
2011-2014
  • 2015  Three Grain Harmony 9000 bottles – Finished with 22yo rye
  • 2016  Founders Reserve 12000 bottles - Barley forward blend
  • 2017  Heritage 16500 bottles - toasted Oak finish
  • 2018  Unity 15000 bottles - High mocha wood treatment, port finished
2015-2018
  • 2019  Victory 15000 bottles - Vanilla wood treatment, port finished
  • 2019  22 year Rye - 102 bottles Bill Ashburn's Magnum Opus 100% rye
  • 2020  20th Anniversay Three Grain - 9200 bottles
  • 2020  Resolve Lot 14- 6400 bottles– High spice wood treatment, port finished- no reserved number bottles offered
  • 2020  The Forager Botanical Whisky launched as a General Release - Hand harvested, botanical infused whisky
  • 2020  Nanaimo Bar Cream Liquor launched as a General Release
  • 2021 Masters Cut Lot 15 -7800 bottles– 5yo cask strength, pot distilled- no reserved number bottles offered
  • 2021  Foxheart - still in production - Whisky infused with premium 12-year-old Caribbean rum
  • 2021  Taproom - 15000 bottles - Secondary aging in Bench beer-washed Confederation Oak barrels
  • 2022 Art of the Blend Lot 16-9600 bottles- finished with a hint of Winter Harvest Wine
2019-2022

Q&A with
Bill Ashburn

Q and A

how is whisky made?

The start of the process of making whisky is very similar to making beer. Various grains, typically corn, wheat, rye barley (both malted and unmalted) are ground using a mill to create a rough flour.

These grains are then cooked and with the help of enzymes and pure water the starch in the grains are converted to sugar. Yeast is then added and the fermentation process which is the conversion of sugar to alcohol and CO2 takes place.

The resultant beer is then distilled using either pot or column stills to concentrate the alcohol and flavours. After distillation the distillate is reduced with pure water and filled into wood barrels. The barrels are put away in the barrel warehouse and monitored for flavour development. Once the barrels have reached the desired level of maturity, the spirit is then dumped from the barrels.

At this point the whisky can be blended to produce the appropriate blend or diluted to bottling strength and bottled.
Bill Ashburn

what is whisky neat?

Whisky Neat is a way of drinking whisky that allows the full natural flavours and aromas of Whisky to be enjoyed. When you order a Whisky Neat it will be one to two ounces of whisky at room temperature poured into a glass. No ice or water is added. Sipping on this allows you to get the full experience of the character of the Whisky.
Bill Ashburn

What goes well with whisky?

Whisky can be a very enjoyable experience in terms of gathering with friends and family. In social situations it should be savoured and enjoyed. In terms of food, whisky is very versatile.

Whisky and dark chocolate are harmonious together. When considering food, whisky and grilled steaks are a natural fit, as well as smoked salmon.

Cheese goes well with whisky with the rule of the thumb being lighter flavoured whiskies paired with lighter flavoured cheese and as the flavour of the whisky increases, so should the flavour of the cheese that it is paired with.
Bill Ashburn

Does whisky contain sugar?

Most whisky contains only trace amounts of sugar. Distillation removes any sugar remaining in the fermented liquid. Trace amounts of sugar may occur as a result of the blending process but the perceived sweetness in whisky comes from all of the wonderful and varied flavour components within the liquid not from sugar.
Bill Ashburn

Distillery

Visit us for a complimentary tasting flight of whisky.
Distillery

Shop

We deliver our full range of whiskies direct to your door. *Ontario only.
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Cocktails

Mix it up with your favourite whisky in some of these classic cocktails.
Cocktails

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