Whisky Review: Forthwest Shiny Apple

, | July 13, 2023

Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. 

The Hood River starts from two different points on Mount Hood. From there it travels through Hood River county, down to the city of Hood River, where it finally makes its way to the Columbia River. To many, the name “Hood River” is all inclusive of the city, river, and county. Incorporated in 1895, the community began mostly based on logging the abundant fir trees of the area. Then, it became a very productive and well known agricultural area, with its focus on the now famous “Hood River Apples,” as well as pears. For a time in the late 1980’s and through the 1990’s, Hood River became “The Windsurfing Capital of the World. Today, it’s still known for the apples and pears, and windsurfing, along with world famous skiing, kiteboarding, local wineries, and small breweries.

And, it’s also become well known for having the Northwest’s oldest and largest distillery. 

Hood River Distillers began in 1934. They started off making wines and brandies from the excess and waste from the Hood River Valley’s fruit production. Taking the excess and waste from the apples, pears, and berries of the region, their original capacity was 300,000 gallons a year. Hood River Distillers moved to its current location on the Hood River waterfront in 1969. Originally, they were the bottlers of the now well known Pendleton Whisky.

Today, Hood River Distillers produces 1.25 million cases of spirits per year. The newest addition to the Hood River Distillers family of spirits is the Forthwest Whisky collection. This collection includes the 5-year old blended Forthwest Whisky, Forthwest Spice of Life Whisky, Forthwest Giant Peach Whisky, and sticking with their roots as part of the Hood River Valley, Forthwest Shiny Apple Whisky.

While flavored whiskeys are not a new thing, the distillery is trying to be innovative with it’s process and choices. From the words of Dave Ballew, President and CEO of Hood River Distillers, “Hood River Distillers has been making spirits which have endured for generations. While this means perfecting old standards, it also means innovating. And, making more than just great products, it means making powerful, provocative brands that have the potential to move their category in a new direction. Forthwest Whisky exemplifies this vision.” 

What I’m reviewing here is the Forthwest Shiny Apple Whisky, an apple flavored expression. Like the other Forthwest whiskies, it is a Canadian whisky. In this particular case it is 3 years old and bottled at 80 proof, having been cut with local glacier-fed spring water from Mt. Hood.

Forthwest Shiny Apple review

We review Forthwest Shiny Apple, part of a new line up of mostly flavored whiskies released by Oregon-based Hood River Distillers. (image via Hood River Distillers)

Tasting Notes: Forthwest Shiny Apple Whisky

Vital Stats: 80 proof (40% ABV), 700 ml, $29.95 msrp

Appearance: This whisky is a lovely, very light colored amber. 

Nose: There is definitely a sweet apple scent, or apple cider scent, with a hint of spice and smokiness.

Palate: There is a nice hit of spice to the tongue, followed by the sweet apple flavor, and vanilla.

Whisky Review: Forthwest Shiny Apple


As someone who grew up in the Hood River Valley, and grew up surrounded by apple orchards, when the distillery states that the nose “immediately puts you in an orchard at harvest”, I can attest that they are correct. The nose immediately took me back to those days, and also reminded me of the annual Hood River Harvest Festival, with the smell of the apples, and apple cider all around.

If you are looking for a tart apple flavor, this is not it. It is very much apple, and very real apple flavor, but it is a very sweet apple flavor. That’s not a bad thing at all, I just want to make sure that I point out that distinction. Many people look for, or expect, more of the tartness or sourness associated with most apple flavored products. This whisky is fantastic. It is absolutely great on it’s own, and would be great in a cocktail as well. I’m hoping to try adding some to some hot apple cider later this fall. 

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James Logan

Just an average guy with a background in food service and retail management. In my mid 20’s I developed a deep love of whiskey based drinks. After receiving a bottle of 15 year old Scotch whiskey as a birthday present, I soon began a yearly ritual of trying a new...