Whisky Review: Forthwest Spice of Life

, | July 11, 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 Spice of Life Whisky, a flavored whisky described by the brand as having “the untamed scent of orange peel and ginger meet flavors of nutmeg, clove, cinnamon and butterscotch.” 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 Spice of Life review

We review Forthwest Spice of Life, 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 Spice of Life Whisky

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

Appearance: This whisky is a nice reddish-amber color. 

Nose: There is definitely a lovely scent of multiple spices, and a bit of fruitiness. There is also a lovely hint of butterscotch.

Palate: There is a nice touch of spice that hits your tongue right away, but that is quickly followed by a wonderfully sweet butterscotch flavor.

Whisky Review: Forthwest Spice of Life


This is a fantastic flavored whisky. If you love butterscotch, you definitely will want to give this one a try. I was pleasantly surprised by how sweet and flavorful this whiskey is. Generally I feel like most flavored whiskies are best suited for use as a mixer in cocktails. However, I feel like this particular flavored whisky is great on its own.

User Review
0 (0 votes)


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...