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Archive for the ‘Cocktails & Recipes’ Category

Review: Chivas Regal 12 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 13, 2014

chivasregalChivas Brothers were established at the turn of the 19th century (1801) as a grocery store in Aberdeen, Scotland. The company gained a strong reputation for luxury goods, and as a result they began (in the 1850′s) to produce a premium blended scotch whisky to meet a growing demand from their customers for a more refined whisky than was available at that time. Chivas Brothers cemented their reputation for producing quality whisky, and even today they are considered by many to be the standard-bearer for premium blended Scotch whisky. The company is currently owned by Pernod Ricard, and the home of their blended whisky brand, Chivas Regal, is the Strathisla Distillery (founded in 1786) located at Keith, Moray in the Speyside whisky producing region of  Scotland.

SAM_1022 Blood and Sand

Blood and Sand

Chivas Regal 12 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky is Chivas Brothers’ flagship whisky. The blend includes both grain and Single Malt Whiskies which have all been aged a minimum of 12 years. Their line-up also includes 18 and 25-year-old blended whisky expressions. Although the Company is owned by Pernod Ricard, in Canada the Chivas Brand is distributed by Corby.

You may read my full review here:

Review: Chivas Regal 12 Year Old

“… the initial aroma is very pleasant with notes of butterscotch entwined with vanilla and herbal notes of lemon grass and heather. As the glass breathes, I begin to notice more woody tones with scents of willow, and sandalwood mixed in. A bit of sweet maltiness comes through as well as just a small dab of grainy spice …”

For your enjoyment I have included a classic Scotch Whisky cocktail (Blood and Sand) which tastes absolutely great with the Chivas Regal.

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Belvedere Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 12, 2014

SAM_1003 Lemon MartiniBelvedere Vodka is (according to their website) “the world’s first luxury vodka“. It is a four-time distilled spirit produced in the Polish town of Żyrardów from Dankowski rye and water pulled from Belvedere’s own underground artesian wells. When I sampled Belvedere for the first time, I had several friends over, and we tasted the Vodka as part of a private tasting event which included 2 other Vodkas each representing a similar style, but each at a different price range. The aim of the tasting was to see whether we could taste the difference between economy, premium and ultra-premium spirits in a relaxed almost-party like setting. (The three Vodkas included in the tasting were, Khortytsa Platinum Vodka (priced at $17.95), Sobieski Vodka (priced at $25.95), and Belvedere Vodka priced at ($48.95). The prices given are based upon current LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) price listings.

After the tasting event, I continued my examination of each spirit putting each brand through the paces of my Vodka Review Methodology. This is of course the review for the Ultra-Premium Belvedere Vodka imported into Alberta by the Western Canadian distributor Charton Hobbs who provided my sample bottle for this review.

You may click on the following link to read my full review which includes my suggested serving, the Lemon Martini.

Review: Belvedere Vodka

“… The aroma was clean with a soft lemony spiciness rising into the air. When I sipped on the spirit, I was surprised at the firmness of this soft lemon flavour. I should stress that the flavour the vodka presented in the glass was not harsh or vegetal. Rather it was a soft lemon-like flavour which featured an underlying cereal-like earthiness running through the spirit …”

Please enjoy my review!

Interesting Note: Yesterday I was invited to be a guest judge at the Vodka Olympics (hosted by the good folks at Aligra Wine and Spirits). A group of jurors (about 10 of us) tasted and scored 12 different Vodkas in a completely blind format. Reinforcing my perceptions during my review (which was written about a week ago), Belvedere was revealed to be the third best vodka in the grouping. It turns out that Belvedere actually is a true ultra-premium Vodka. (Incidentally my personal score card had it rated number 1!)

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Review: Lemon Hart Original Demerara Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 10, 2014

Lemon Hart and ColaLemon Hart is an iconic rum brand with roots which stretch back to the late 18th century when Mr. Lemon Hart began to supply rum to the British Royal Navy. By 1804, production of his “Lemon Hart Rum” was moved from his small merchant office in Cornwall, England to a larger facility in London. Over 150 years later the rum was  being produced at the Hiram Walker Distillery in Ontario, Canada. True to its roots as a Navy Rum, the brand remained a Demerara blend with the base rum bulk shipped from Guyana to the Hiram Walker Facility where it was aged and blended with a small amount ( 1.5 %) of Canadian Rum for tax purposes.

Cuban SpecialThe Original Lemon Hart rum is now blended with 100 % Guyanese distilled and aged rum. It is bottled in Canada by the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC) for Mosaiq, and I have confirmed that all of the previous Guyanese marques for this the rum have remained the same as before. Thus the difference between the old blend and the new blend comes down to the scrapping of the Canadian rum content as well as the differences which aging in Guyana rather than in Ontario, Canada will impart to the final rum.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Lemon Hart Original Demerara Rum

“… the spirit brings forward aromas typical of a dark rum. Licorice stained molasses with hints of cinnamon and cloves are obvious with additional indications of fine oak spices underneath. Bits of vanilla well up as do impressions of cocoa, oolong tea, dry fruit, and nicotine stained tobacco …”

Please enjoy the review which includes my suggested serving, the Cuban Special.

Cheers Everyone!

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Review: Diamond Club Black Label Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 6, 2014

GEPRGETOWN SOURTwo years ago I was offered a rare trip to Guyana, South America to visit the home of El Dorado Rum, Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL). The trip was part of a media tour designed to bring more awareness to the El Dorado brand and the wonderful rum which the Diamond Distillery produces (see my write-up of the distillery tour here). One of the more interesting finds I came across when I was in Guyana was a bottle of whisky produced by Demerara Distillers called Diamond Club Black Label Whisky. I happened to see it during a media tour of Georgetown (the largest and the Capital city of Guyana) in a local liquor store, and the whisky was selling for less than 3 bucks Canadian per bottle.

I had no idea that the folks who made El Dorado Rum, also produced a Black Label Malt Whisky, and I was of course very curious about the spirit. When I quizzed the folks at the Diamond Distillery, I was told that the base malt for this whisky is produced by Inver House (who own Balblair, anCnoc and Old Pulteney), and that they will occasionally ship bulk malt whisky to Guyana where it is blended (or stretched) with locally produced cane spirit, and sold as their Blended Malt Whisky.

You may read the full review by clicking on the following excerpt link:

Review: Diamond Club Black Label Malt Whisky

“… I detect light butterscotch aromas, some fine wood spices complete with hints of ginger and cardamom, bits of heather and some lightly pungent and lightly spicy tobacco in the breezes complete with a light malty sweetness …”

Enjoy my review which includes a nice cocktail suggestion, the Georgetown Sour.

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Sobieski Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 4, 2014

SAM_1001 SobieskiSobieski Vodka is (according to their website) the number 1 selling premium vodka in Poland. It is a true Polish Vodka distilled on a multi-column still from 100% Dankowski rye which was harvested in the low-lying Mazovia (Masowse) region of Poland. The spirit was named ‘Sobieski’ to pay homage to King Jan III Sobieski (1629 – 1696) who is generally regarded as the last great King of Poland whose spirit of indomitable will remains even today as an integral aspect of the Poland’s national character.

When I sampled Sobieski for the first time, I had several friends over, and we tasted the Vodka as part of a private tasting event which included 2 other Vodkas each representing a similar style, but each at a different price range. The aim of the tasting was to see whether we could taste the difference between economy, premium and ultra-premium spirits in a relaxed almost-party like setting. (The three Vodkas included in the tasting were, Khortytsa Platinum Vodka (priced at $17.95), Sobieski Vodka (priced at $25.95), and Belvedere Vodka priced at ($48.95). The prices given are based upon current LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) listings.)

SAM_1002 Yellow BirdAfter the tasting event, I continued my examination of each spirit putting each brand through the paces of my Vodka Review Methodology. This is of course the review for Sobieski vodka imported into Alberta by the Western Canadian distributor Charton Hobbs who provided my sample bottle for this review.

You may click on the following excerpt to read the full review:

Review: Sobieski Vodka

“… When I threw back a shot of Sobieski, I was very pleased at how clean and smooth the spirit tasted. When served well chilled, the Vodka displayed no burn at all, only a nice spicy glow which heated the palate lightly and slowly crept down the throat …”

I hope you enjoy my review which includes a nice cocktail recommendation, my own Yellowbird of Sunshine, which mixes Sobieski Vodka with lemon juice and Maraschino liqueur (and tastes absolutely delicious).

Pravda!

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If you are interested in a direct comparison the previously published review for Khortytsa Platinum Vodka can be found here.

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Review: Torres Jaime I Brandy (30 year Solera)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 2, 2014

SAM_1013Torres Jaime I is produced in the Penedès region of Spain by Miguel Torres. This distinctive brandy is named for the founder of the House, Jaime Torres Vendrell, and is produced from old soleras which were aged from selected distilled wines. In fact, some of these soleras began their lives as distilled Pardella Wines destined for the Torres 10 Brandy, but were instead kept aside to serve as reserve stocks. To make the Torres Jaime I, these reserves were enriched with some of the House’s best soleras, the oldest of which were aged 30 years. The final piece of the puzzle (so to speak) was the addition of a small amount of aged 1972 eau-de-vie of Folle Blanche lees (which is normally used to produce high-quality pot-still brandy).

Although I reviewed this lush, well aged brandy about two years ago; yesterday, I added a new cocktail to the review.

You may read my full review with the added cocktail, Brandy Février, here:

Review: Torres Jaime I Brandy

“… The Torres Jaime I exhibits a dark, lush copper colour in the glass. The brandy is complex, assertive and very intense. In fact, the bouquet from the glass has the ability to fill the room when it is poured. The aroma is oak stained and very rich… “

Please enjoy my review of this excellent aged Brandy, Cheers!

Posted in Brandy and Cognac, Brandy Review, Cocktails & Recipes | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Khortytsa Platinum Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 20, 2014

SAM_0459 The Minted Vodka DaiquiriThis past Sunday, my friends and I spent the afternoon (while watching the football games) sampling and comparing three different Vodkas which represented similar styles, but different price ranges. The aim of the tasting was to see whether we could taste the difference between economy, premium and ultra-premium spirits in a relaxed almost-party like setting. (Basically the way vodka is normally enjoyed by most casual consumers.) The three Vodkas we chose were, Khortytsa Platinum Vodka (priced at $17.95), Sobieski Vodka (priced at $25.95), and Belvedere Vodka priced at ($48.95). The prices given are based upon current LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) price listings.

Over the next several weeks I will be posting the results of our findings in the form of a review for each Vodka. This review is for the Khortytsa Platinum Vodka which held up very well against the higher priced competition. I should note that I reviewed this particular brand about a year and a half ago, my tasting notes this time around were very similar; however, my enjoyment of the Platinum Vodka seems to have increased, and this increased enjoyment is reflected in my revised scores.

You may read my full review by clicking on the following review excerpt:

Review: Khortytsa Platinum Vodka

“… The first sip reinforced the nose with the spiciness of grain evident and a firm but mild citrus flavour. A lightly bitter taste was present which reminded me of spruce bark and thyme. Despite this light bitterness, the vodka appears smooth and easy to sip. It is up to the individual sampling the Vodka whether that light bitter taste is appealing or not …”

Enjoy my latest review for Khortytsa Platinum which includes a nice cocktail suggestion, the Minted Vodka Daiquiri.

Budmo!

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Review: The Wild Geese – Golden Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 24, 2013

grumThrough the period from the 1580′s to the end of the 18th century Irish soldiers (mercenary or otherwise) were often used as regimental combat troops for the continental European armies. These Irishmen joined the foreign armies for many reasons; some may have merely been adventure seekers; some were obviously looking to strike a blow against their historic enemy England; and some may have seen the military as a means to advance their standing both financially and socially via a military career. What ever the reasons these young men joined the continental forces, it is a sad fact than many hundreds of thousands of these Irishmen died fighting in foreign Armies far from their homeland.

The Wild Geese Rum Collection is the companion to the Wild Geese Irish Whisky Collection. While the Wild Geese Irish Whisky collection sought to bring the Story of the Wild Geese and their struggles in European Armies to light, the Wild Geese Rum Collection continues the saga bringing to light the story of some of these Wild Geese who after service in the continental armies of Europe found themselves transported to America and the Caribbean where many worked upon the Rum Plantations in the new world.

I received samples of the entire rum collection from the brand developer, Protege International, and I shall begin my review series with the Wild Geese Golden Rum which (in the UK) is bottled at 37.5 % alcohol by volume. You may click the following excerpt to read the full review:

Review: The Wild Geese – Golden Rum

“… Rising from the glass to greet my nose is an impression of sweet butterscotch, canned apricots, orange peel, almond and vanilla. I allowed the glass to breathe a few minutes, and noticed some additional fine oak spices entering the breezes above the glass …”

This is an outstanding cocktail rum and my review includes a few nice recipes at the end, The Spence Cocktail, and my version of the Hemingway Daiquiri.

Please enjoy the review and the bar drinks!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Lemon Hart Navy Spiced Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 19, 2013

SAM_0991Lemon Hart is an iconic rum brand with roots which stretch back to the late 18th century when Mr. Lemon Hart began to supply rum to the British Royal Navy. By 1804, production of his “Lemon Hart Rum” was moved from his small merchant office in Cornwall, England to a larger facility in London. Over 150 years later the production of the blend had shifted to the Hiram Walker Distillery in Ontario, Canada.

Under the direction of new brand owner, Mosaiq, the Lemon Hart brand has been re-energized, and two new additions to the Lemon Hart family, Lemon Hart Navy Spicy Rum and Lemon Hart Original One Hundred British Proof Rum (available in the Travel Duty-Free market) have recently been launched. The spiced rum (which is the subject of this review) is an 86 proof offering (43 % alcohol by volume), developed for Mosaiq under the direction of former Hiram Walker Master, Mike Booth.

Here is an excerpt which you may click to link to my full review:

Review: Lemon Hart Navy Spiced Rum

“… Things begin with a candied sweetness reminiscent of Butterscotch and/or Rum & Butter Lifesaver candies. Within that candied aroma I sense the spiciness of cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom as well as perhaps a touch of orange zest. There are obvious vanilla notes, a very light indication of treacle and hints of tobacco and oak which appear …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a nice recipe I choose to call, the Spiced Metro Swizzle!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews, Spiced Rum | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Plantation Original Dark 73 % Overproof Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 14, 2013

SAM_0340 Zombie PlantationCognac Ferrand has long a history of providing Cognac Casks to various Caribbean rum producers based upon the rum producer’s need for quality oak casks to age their rum. Because of this long history Cognac Ferrand has over time developed solid relationships with many of these producers. Based upon these relationships they have been able to acquire certain unique batches of rum from various Caribbean sources. Typically these rums are brought back to France to be finished in their own warehouses and of course in their own Cognac Casks.

The Plantation Original Dark 73 % Overproof Rum  is Cognac Ferrand’s ‘tiki style’ overproof rum. The base rum is a column distilled rum from Trinidad which was aged in oak barrels in Trinidad before being transported to France.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

Review: Plantation Original Dark 73 % Overproof Rum

“… Within this rich aroma I can smell a strong butterscotch/caramel toffee which seems to rise up in waves out of the glass. Banana peel, marmalade and marzipan appear as well in a bouquet that despite the astringency is very inviting. Rounding out the nose are some very nice baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon, and brown sugar) which build up and remind me of my Mom’s cinnamon buns baking in the oven …”

Please enjoy this review which includes a nice Tiki style recipe, Zombie Plantation!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dark Rums, Overproof Rum, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

 
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