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Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

Rum Howler 2014 #17 Canadian Whisky – Canadian Club 20 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 8, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Canadian Club Whisky (C.C. Whisky) is blended before it is aged, and this process, which has been called  ‘Blended at Birth’, is the foundation for the entire portfolio of Canadian Club Whiskies. The particular whisky which is examined in this review is the Canadian Club 20 Year Old Whisky. It is a blend of rye, rye malt, corn, and barley malt spirits which were set down to age together 20 years ago. In fact, I believe that the actual blending formula of base spirits for the 20-year-old Whisky is the same as the blending formula used for Canadian Club’s flagship brand, Canadian Club Premium, which is of course the 6-year-old Whisky which anchors the Canadian Club brand.

Canadian Club 20 YrAlthough the 20 Year Old was originally intended to be a specialty bottling when it was first introduced, the whisky became a standard bottling when Beam Global acquired the Canadian Club brand. It remains a Limited Edition whisky with each bottle individually numbered.

Here is a link to the review of the 17th best Canadian Whisky in the World today:

#17 Canadian Whisky – Canadian Club 20 Year Old

” … Toffee and caramel poured out of the glass with deep oaky accents and rich baking spices. Rye scents followed as did that full dank corn aroma which is so typical of the Canadian Club line-up. …”

I enjoy the Canadian Club 20 Year Old immensely, and if you need a special gift for the Canadian Club aficionado this Christmas, this whisky certainly fits the bill.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rum Howler 2014 # 17 Rum – Angostura 1824

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 8, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014The House of Angostura traces its beginnings to 1824 when German doctor, Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert, who was then a Surgeon-General in the Venezuelan Army, created a blend of aromatic herbs which he called “Amargo Aromatico” and which would become the world-famous Angostura Bitters. Although the company he created to manufacture these bitters was originally founded in the town known as Angostura (later to be renamed Bolivar City), the company was relocated by his successors (his younger brother and son), who  moved it to Port of Spain, Trinidad in 1876.

Angostura 1824 SAM_1380Of course the House of Angostura remains famous for its world-class bitters; however, it has also become well know for the rum which is produced by their five column still, under the direction of Master Distiller, John P. Georges. Angostura 1824 pays homage to the company’s humble beginnings in Angostura, Venezuela, and it is the #17 rum in my countdown of the best rums of 2014.

Here is a link to my new review:

# 17 Rum – Angostura 1824 (12 Years Old)

“… As the glass breathes, the breezes in the air begin to display a few more woody sap-like notes of cedar, a ripple of maple, and nice aromatic baking spices (brown sugar, cloves cinnamon and nutmeg). There are indications of tobacco and toasted walnut rising into the breezes as well a few hints of dry fruit and raisin, bits of licorice, and a tar-like scent …”

The Angostura 1824 is a magnificent rum. The flavours are rich and inviting, and although we taste a strong impression of oak and orange peel spice, the complimentary flavours of caramel and chocolate bring the rum into a wonderful balance making the spirit easy to sip and enjoy.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Rums of 2014 here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2014

Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rum Howler 2014 #18 Canadian Whisky – Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 7, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve was built upon the foundation of Whisky Maker, John Hall’s flagship whisky, Forty Creek Barrel Select, and is basically a version of this whisky which has been finished in first run bourbon barrels for a final period of aging. This Double Barrel Reserve Whisky was introduced in the fall of 2008, as one of the distillery’s annual limited edition releases. However, the reaction to this ‘double barrel’ whisky was so positive that John Hall decided to make the Double Barrel Reserve a regular member of the distillery’s whisky line-up.

This is the first of the Forty Creek whiskies to crack my Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014 Countdown, I do not think I am letting too much out of the bag to say it will not be the last. Forty Creek makes great Whisky!

FC DBR

The (Canadian) Godfather

Here is a link to the review of the 18th best Canadian Whisky in the World today:

#18 Canadian Whisky – Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve

” … my nose detects the scent of maple syrup and rye spices with a nice rich oak and cedar woodiness from both glasses. This is a very bourbon-like nose complete with light indications of corn and almond as well as a honeycomb and vanillans …”

The Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve (Lot 247) is a step towards a new style of Canadian Whisky. The use of young first run bourbon barrels brings more fresh oak flavour forward creating a more complex (although perhaps also a slightly rougher) final spirit. I see this as a step forward in the evolution of Canadian Whisky made for consumers who relish a stronger oak presence in their whisky.

This stronger oak presence allows for more creativity on the cocktail front as well as my new (Canadian) Godfather recipe at the conclusion of the review testifies.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rum Howler 2014 # 18 Rum – Rum Nation Barbados Anniversary Edition

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 7, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Rum Nation is an Italian company created by Fabio Rossi. His company is headquartered in Italy; but Fabio purchases select rums from various distillers in the Caribbean and the Americas. As a result Rum Nation provides a rather unique assortment rums from various Caribbean producers. His Rum Nation Barbados Anniversary Edition (12 Years Old) celebrates the first 15 years of Rum Nation (2001 to 2014) as an independent bottler of unique rum.

This Bajan rum was distilled from sugar cane molasses upon a column still in Barbados at the facilities of R.L. Seale in 2001 (Batch Number L14/059). It was matured in the Caribbean (in Ex American Bourbon casks) for the majority of its aging life. However the rum was transported to Italy to be finished in Piedmont (the Italian area of the Nebbiolo Wine) for the last 18 to 24 months. For finishing, the rum was transferred to Ex Spanish Brandy and Ex sherry Oloroso casks before being bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

SAM_1126 FINE DALLIANCE

A Fine Dalliance

The Rum Nation Barbados Anniversary Edition (12 Years Old) enters my Countdown of the Best Rums of 2014 as the 18th best in the world.

Here is a link to my recent review:

# 18 Rum – Rum Nation Barbados Anniversary Edition

“… Within the rum, flavours of oak spice and dark brown sugar take center stage with wonderful accents of vanilla and baking spices. Butterscotch, toffee and molasses lie underneath. My palate was also tickled by black licorice, hints of salt, some zesty orange peel and a dollop of marmalade …”

Rum Nation has never failed to disappoint me with any of their rum offerings, and the Rum Nation Barbados Anniversary Edition is no exception!

The review contains my new cocktail recipe which, just like this bajan rum, surely is A Fine Dalliance.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Rums of 2014 here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2014

 

Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rum Howler #19 Canadian Whisky – Schenley OFC

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 6, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Schenley OFC is currently produced at the Lethbridge, Alberta Distillery by Schenley Distilleries. The Distillery in Lethbridge Distillery usually referred to as the Black Velvet Distillery, as this is where Black Velvet Canadian Whisky is produced, and, as well, it is referred to as the Palliser Distillery, as it is also where brands such as Danfield’s Canadian Whisky (a Palliser Brand) is produced.

Alas, the Schenley OFC brand seems to have disappeared from the shelves of many liquor stores stateside, and I suspect that this is related to industry consolidation where for reasons beyond my understanding, solid money earning brands are dumped in favour of the economy of scales which are achieved by promoting fewer brands names across a portfolio.

Schenley OFC LabelThankfully, the Schenley OFC is still found on the shelves of many liquor stores here in Alberta. It is a whisky which I hold in high esteem, and one which I felt I ought to re-visit this year on my website.

This revisitation resulted in its placing at #19 on this year’s Rum Howler Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#19 Canadian Whisky – Schenley OFC

” … As you allow the glass to breathe, the air above the glass becomes enriched with dusty grain fields, sandalwood and oak spices, hints of cinnamon and clove, and a touch of almond-like marzipan. If you like a typical dry Canadian Whisky, you will like the nose very much …”

This is a very satisfying Canadian whisky. We have that light bourbon influence which has become all the rage in whisky today, but the makers did not forget that this is a Canadian whisky first. That nice rye flavour works well in combination with the vanilla and honey bourbon aftertaste.

It also makes a great Canadian Caribou cocktail!

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014

 

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rum Howler 2014 #19 Rum – Pumpkin Face 23

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 6, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Pumpkin Face Rum is a new brand of rum being distributed in Canada by Pure Global Imports. The rum inside the cool looking pumpkin shaped bottles is apparently a blend of selected rums from the Dominican Republic.

According to the brand owner (Itsko Imports Inc. of Beverly Hills, California), Pumpkin Face 23 is an ‘ultra premium’ Dominican rum which was produced in 1980. The rum was aged in oak for 23 years, however it was also at some point during the maturation process ‘rested’ in stainless steel vats for 10 years before being bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Pumpkin 23This unusual rum in its very unusual bottle checks in as the 19th best of 2014!

You may click the following link to read my full review:

#19 Rum – Pumpkin Face 23

“… The colour resembles a darkened penny, and the initial aroma is rich with smells of chocolate caramel and oak spices. I decided to allow the glass to breathe and was delighted at how the oak spices seemed to meld into the chocolate caramel as the rum decanted. Rich toffee and tobacco aromas evolved from the glass with hints of treacle, brown sugar, and baking spices straining to push through as well.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Rums of 2014 here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2014

 

Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rum Howler #20 Canadian Whisky – Crown Royal Reserve

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 5, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Crown Royal Canadian Whisky is currently produced in Gimli, Manitoba, at the Crown Royal Distillery. The distillery and the brand are owned by Diageo, and I think it is fair to say that Crown Royal is Diageo’s flagship Canadian whisky brand. In 1992, a premium version of Crown Royal was introduced as Crown Royal Special Reserve. This whisky was produced from specially selected casks which were tasted and monitored closely by the Crown Royal Master Blender. These ‘premium casks’ represented whiskies with special character, and they were allowed to age longer with the aim of producing a more premium whisky. In the fall of 2008, this more premium Crown Royal Special Reserve was relaunched as Crown Royal Reserve Canadian Whisky.

CRReserveI have to admit that I seem to have mixed reactions whenever I taste this particular whisky. When I originally scored it in 2010, I was underwhelmed; but, when I re-scored the spirit in January of 2013, my impression of the whisky had improved considerably.

As well, I have noticed that in blind tastings (when serving as juror for the Canadian Whisky Awards) I seem to have different reaction each time I sample a different bottle.

This time when doing my tastings for the Rum Howler Top 25 Whiskies of 2014, it seems to have improved just a little from its 2013 score, and the result is that the Crown Royal Reserve is the number 20 Canadian Whisky in this years countdown!

You may read my 2014 review here:

#20 Canadian Whisky – Crown Royal Reserve

“… Things begin with rich notes of oak and cedar mingling with rye grain and butterscotch. The punky corn accent so familiar in all Crown Royal whiskies is very apparent; but it is much more subdued in this expression … “

My Canadian Whisky Countdown has reached the top 20 with the Crown Royal Reserve. In my opinion, this is a whisky appears to vary from batch to batch. Fortunately though, those variations seem to be diminishing over time, and the Crown Royal Reserve seems to be finding out who she wants to be.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rum Howler 2014 #20 Rum – Dictador 20 Year Old Solera

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 5, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014We have reached into the top 20 rums of 2014, and Dictador is making its second appearance.

Dictador is produced in Colombia on the Caribbean coast at Cartagena de Indias City. Rather than being produced from molasses, the rum is produced from the virgin honey of sugar cane which has been distilled upon a stainless steel alembic, and aged using Dicatador’s unique take on the solera-style aging system. Although the rum is produced upon a stainless steel alembic, the inner workings of this still contain more than enough copper such that it functions in basically the same manner as a copper pot still.

Dictador 20 SAM_1387The Dictador 20 Year Old Rum, is a solera aged rum which is taken from the solera at the point where the age of the rum within that solera row is at least 20 years of age.  Some older rum is certainly within those barrels as well.) This rum is bottle at 40 % alcohol by volume.

You may read my newly revised review by clicking the following link:

#20 Rum – Dictador 20 Year Old Solera

” … I would suggest that oak and caramel dominate the rum, but in spite of the age of the rum, (which is apparent on the nose), the oak flavours do not attack you with sharp tannins and citrus zest. Instead, The oak flavours have melted into the caramel like flavours and appear to the palate as a yummy oak and caramel syrup that carries hints of other the flavours within it …”

The Dictador 20 year Old Solera Blend is extremely well crafted and balanced. I enjoyed how the differing flavours melted together with the caramel and oak. This is a suave, yet rich rum experience!

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Rums of 2014 here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2014

 

Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

# 23 Canadian Whisky – Canadian Club Small Batch Classic

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 2, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Canadian Club Whisky is the oldest (and arguably also the most influential) Canadian Whisky brand in the world. It is sold in over 150 countries world-wide, and sales in Canada are unmatched by any other whisky brand. The company has been granted numerous Royal Warrants from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II, and it has been reported that Canadian Club was the whisky of choice when Al Capone smuggled thousands of cases of Canadian Whisky into the USA during prohibition.

Recently there have been some changes in the Canadian Club family. One of the brands which has undergone a revamping is the Canadian Club Classic (12 Years Old) which has been replaced by the Canadian Club Small Batch Classic  (also 12 Years Old). The newer version of the whisky has a new bottle (shown below) and the two words, “Small Batch” have been added to the label. My understanding is the whisky is now constructed from a smaller selection of aged whisky (oak barrels) in an effort to bring a fuller flavour and more smoothness to the blend.

Classic Small batchIn my opinion the new approach has been very successful as this Canadian Whisky is ranked number 23 on my list of the Best Canadian Whiskies of 2014.

You may read my latest review by clicking the link below:

Review: Canadian Club Small Batch Classic

“… The initial breezes above the glass bring forward scents of caramel and oak which are melded nicely with dabs of light tobacco and spicy orange peel. As the glass breathes, I notice some rye spices and some sweet corn pushing though … “

The Canadian Club Small Batch Classic (12-year-old) seems to me to be a different whisky than it was before. I taste more oak and cedar in the taste profile, and the result is a richer-fuller taste experience than what I remember from the previous Classic 12 Year Old.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014

 

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

# 23 Rum – Dictador XO Perpetual

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 2, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Dictador is produced in Colombia on the Caribbean coast at Cartagena de Indias City. Rather than being produced from molasses, the rum is produced from the virgin honey of sugar cane which has been distilled upon a stainless steel alembic, and aged using Dicatador’s unique take on the solera-style aging system. Although the rum is produced upon a stainless steel alembic, the inner workings of this still contain more than enough copper such that it functions in basically the same manner as a copper pot still.

DictadorXOStatements on the Dictador website speak to a difference in the aging regimen used for their XO rums. Although the information is not specific, it appears that the major difference is in the oak selected. The intent seems to be to create a different rum flavour profile for the rum connoisseur.

This new rum flavour profile is (in my opinion) very appealing, and it has landed the Dictador XO Perpetual at the number 23 spot on my 2014 countdown:

Here is a link to my recently revised review I wrote for this outstanding rum:

# 23 Rum – Dictador XO Perpetual

” … I sense a wonderful butterscotch sweetness underneath a bouquet of oak and baking spices (vanilla, brown sugars, and cinnamon). Orange peel wells out of the glass, but if you are patient the orange peel soon melds with the butterscotch to give the air a lovely impression of marmalade …”

The Dictador XO Perpetual is a rum which carries a bit of flamboyance through its delivery. I found it especially good in an Old Fashioned cocktail the recipe of which is shared at the conclusion on my review.

Cheers everyone, enjoy my countdown of the World’s Best Rums!

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Rums in the World here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2014

Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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