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The 2011 Rum Howler Awards – (Whisky Wrap-Up)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 6, 2011

All of these awards are based upon side by side tasting sessions held over a period of several weeks. I  began at the start of September slowly tasting different whiskies from my private collection of bottles and bringing only the very best forward for the final tastings which took place over the last two weeks. Only spirits which I had tasted in the past year (between October 1, 2019 and September 30 2011) were considered.

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky Value
(under $30.00 in my market of Alberta)

and the Winner is:

Potter’s Special Old Whisky

Honourable mention to Gibson’s Finest Sterling Canadian Whisky and Chinook Canadian Whisky

As I indicated in my Rum Howler Vodka Awards, the taxation and storage fees in my locale can add up to $18.00 a bottle to the price of a 750 ml spirit. It is rare to see anything on the shelves of the local liquor store for less than $22.00. This means that my standard for this category, being only those whiskies which are under $30.00, is a tight standard indeed. But even at that low price quality can be found in my marketplace as evidenced by the three final nominees. In head to head tasting, serving each whisky in a couple cocktails (the Buckeroo and the Horses Neck) as well as sipping each neat, the competition was close.  However, the Potter’s Special Old Canadian Whisky rose to the occasion and captured the award.

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky Value
(under $60.00 in my market of Alberta)

and the winner is

Alberta Premium 30 Year Old Rye Whisky

Honourable mention to Glenmorangie, The Original 10 Year Old, and Basil Hayden’s Straight Kentucky Bourbon

All of the nominees are wonderful spirits. I tasted each of the three finalists neat, at room temperature to determine the winner and reaffirmed my belief that the Alberta Premium 30 is an absolute gem of a whisky. It not only was by far the best tasting whisky in the under $60.00 range. It was by a full $10.00 less expensive than its two rivals , and if you possibly can still find a bottle on a liquor store shelf, do not hesitate…. buy it!

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Blended Whisky

and the winner is:

Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey

Honourable mention to Canadian Club 30 Year Old Whisky, and Gibson’s Finest 12 year Old Canadian Whisky

In Canada we pride ourselves on having the best and smoothest blended whisky in the world. However, in my side by side tastings of each of these spirits neat, I found I preferred a little of the Irish this time. The Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve has a suave sort of creamy sweetness that doesn’t cloy at the palate after the whiskey is sipped. Things are smooth and refined in a finish which is long and satisfying.

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Single Grain or Single Malt Whisky

and the winner is:

Alberta Premium 30 Year Old Rye Whisky

Honourable mention to Highland Park 25 Year Old Single Malt, and Dufftown 1984 (Signatory)

I suppose it might be a little disconcerting to some that I have combined the Single Grain and the Single Malt category this year. They are after all two different styles of whisky. However, due to my limited tasting experiences with single grain whiskies this year, I decided to consolidate the two categories. I was after all curious how a $50.00 Canadian Single grain whisky would stack up against the competitors which cost up to 6 times more in my local liquor store. The Alberta Premium 30 Year Old did more than just stack up, it proved to be the best in side by side tastings. It just goes to show that the top price does not always reflect the top quality.

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And finally the Award that I am sure you have all been waiting for:

The Rum Howler Award for Best Overall Whisky
(Age, price and style irrelevant, her I am only concerned with what is the Best!)

and the winner is

Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey

Honourable mention to Alberta Premium 30 Year Old Rye Whisky, and Highland park 25 Year Old Single Malt

Even I have to admit my surprise when I chose the Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve over the Alberta Premium 30 year Old Canadian Whisky, and the Highland Park 25 year Old Single Malt Whisky. But when I began my taste comparisons I fell in love with the Jameson all over again. If you have not experienced Irish Pure Pot Still flavour, then you will have to take my word for it that it is quite wonderful. After 18 years of aging they have morphed into something that resembles a creamy soft punky toffee embedded in honeycomb and light marzipan and tainted with flavours of sour mash bourbon. The oak flavours weave in and out, and all of this comes together in a wonderful display of balance. The whiskey has such a beguiling delivery, that I was hooked right from the very first sip, and I suspect you will be too.

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And there you have it, my Rum Howler Awards for Whisky all wrapped up. Here is a recap of Today’s awards:

The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky Value (under $30.00 in my market of Alberta)   Potter’s Special Old Canadian Whisky

The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky Value (under $60.00 in my market of Alberta) Alberta Premium 30-year-old Whisky

The Rum Howler Award for Best Blended Whisky   Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Whiskey

The Rum Howler Award for Best Single Grain or Single Malt Whisky    Alberta Premium 30-year-old Whisky

The Rum Howler Award for Best Overall Whisky  Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Whiskey

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2 Responses to “The 2011 Rum Howler Awards – (Whisky Wrap-Up)”

  1. Ryan said

    Wow, Alberta Premium 30 over Highland Park 25! Availability of quality Canadian whisky is very poor where I live, and as such, I have not had any good ones, and so I do not have much fondness for the category, so that is a shocker for me. Too bad Alberta Premium is not available in the US as far as I know, certainly not in Pennsylvania where I am.

    • Alberta Premium 30 Year Old is well deserving of its awards. We have a lot of quality whisky in Canada, but when I travel through the US, all i see on the liquor shelves is our bottom shelf brands. Great Whiskies like the Wiser’s Legacy, and Wiser’s 18 Year Old, Century Reserve 15 plus, and the Alberta Premium are sadly lacking from your store shelves. Hopefully over time this will change.

      I am finally starting to see decent bourbon on the shelves up here, so it is kind of a two way street.

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