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Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

Top 10 White Rums Countdown # 9 – Newfoundlander’s White Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 24, 2013

op10RUM 550

We travel across Canada to find the Number 9 White Rum on the Rum Howler Countdown List.

Newfoundlander’s Rum, made a splash about four years ago with a new style and presentation that rejected the pirated clichés of the rum marketing gurus, and instead embraced the heritage of Newfoundland’s rocky shores and its naval tradition. Stunning artwork from Canadian artist David Blackwood adorned the labels in narrative designs that told a story of the  proud Newfoundland people who live their lives near and on the sea. It is a life bound by tragedy and hope.

Newfoundlander’s Rum is a blend of 3 aged Guyanese white rums, a 2-year-old, a 5-year-old, and a 7-year-old rum.  The blended rum is shipped to Newfoundland in stainless steel tankers where it is bottled and distributed by NLC.

Newfoundlander's Rum 4 - whiteHere is a link to my recently revised review of Newfoundlander’s Rum:

#9 White Rum – Newfoundlander’s White Rum

“… The rum exhibits a pleasant soft texture with light oily feeling in the mouth. The light caramel flavour of the rum is firm, and I taste no bitter off-notes. There is a tinge of alcohol bite which tastes slightly sharp, but I also taste the light candy flavours I noticed in the nose and an every so soft progression of mint. Vanilla notes are present,  as is a light almond flavour …”

This white rum really mixes well and boosts my cocktails to a higher form!

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Note; You may follow my Countdown list of the 10 best white rums here:   The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 10 White Rums

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The 2013 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 20, 2013

RH-winner2013It is that time of year again when I present my annual Rum Howler Awards where I recognize the best spirits which I have had the pleasure of sampling over the past two years. You see, I save my sample bottles after writing my reviews, and have a fun little tasting competition (usually with a few friends to help me). The aim is to determine which spirits are truly the best. My gin tastings were completed a few weeks ago, and I have complied the results for The 2013 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Gin.

This has been a good year for Gin. The Spirit has become more than just a base for Gin and Tonics and Martinis; it has become part of the cocktail revolution which is underway on both sides of the Atlantic (and threatening to cross the Pacific as well.) In fact, it could be said that walking side by side with the Cocktail Revolution is a new Gin Revolution. While London Dry Gin still dominates the landscape of juniper, we are at the forefront of the development of new variations upon the pinene theme. I see varieties of gin aged in oak (see review here); I see specialized flavoured gins (see review here); and I see distillers experimenting with local botanicals and spices in an effort to bring new taste profiles forward (see review here). We are even witnessing the resurrection of an heretofore almost forgotten styles of gin (see review here).

This year, I invited one of my gin loving friends to help me in the judging process which occurred during two lazy Sundays in September. Each spirit was served in three cocktails (Grange Cocktail, Gin and Tonic, and a Dry Gin Martini) as well as served neat with no ice.

And without further ado, it is time for me to reveal the recipients of my 2013 Rum Howler Awards for Excellence in the Production of Gin. These Awards are for the best Gin Spirits, I encountered in the year 2013:

The 2013 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Gin

(Use the above link to find the Awards Page.)

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Davin Turns Canadian Whisky into Gold!

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 13, 2013

Davin de Kergommeaux

Davin de Kergommeaux

Davin de Kergommeaux, like myself, is a true devotee of our great Canadian Spirit, whisky!  He has created his own website (Canadian Whisky) where he publishes various articles about our mutual passion and of course his fantastic reviews of the Canadian Spirit. He has also been instrumental in launching the first ever fully independent Canadian Whisky Awards! These awards have highlighted not only the best tasting whiskies made in Canada, but they also award special achievements by Canadian Whisky Distillers in areas of innovation, brand extension, and media/advertising.

So when I found out that my whisky reviewing friend, Davin de Kergommeaux, had written a book devoted to Canadian Whisky; I was very eager to give it a good read, and review here on my website.

When I announced my verdict that Davin’s Book, “Canadian Whisky: the portable expert ” is the most complete story of Canadian Whisky ever written, and a wonderful read to boot; even Davin thought I was being perhaps a little generous.

But once again, the Arctic Wolf was right on track, and a couple of days ago I got the word. Canadian Whisky: the portable expert” won gold at the 2013 San Fransisco Spirits Competition as the Best Wine, Beer, or Spirits book of 2012.

Davin, you are a great friend, and I extend my heartfelt congratulations towards your success. (Success you have certainly earned by the way!) CW GOLD

And for those who are curious, here is a link to my original review:

Book Review: Canadian Whisky: the portable expert

Posted in Awards, Books, Extras | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

3rd Annual Canadian Whisky Awards

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 18, 2013

award blankThe winners of the 3rd Annual Canadian Whisky Awards were announced in Victoria B.C. on Thursday, January 17th, 2013. The whisky awards are the result of the efforts of Spirit Writer and Author, Davin de Kergommeaux whose has organized and published the awards since their inception (in 2010) on his website Canadian Whisky.

The Awards were broken down into broad groupings which reflect the designated markets in which Canadian Whisky is sold. These grouping are:

Domestic Market  (if the whisky is sold strictly within Canada
Export Market (if the whisky is sold strictly outside of Canada) and
Multi Markets (if the whisky is sold both in the domestic and the export markets

Specific Awards were designated for each market as well as a Canadian Whisky of the Year Award designated for the top Canadian Whisky regardless of intended market.

And of course, Awards of Excellence were presented for outstanding achievement in the areas of Innovation, Line Extension, and Canadian Whisky Profile.

So without further ado, here is a link to the Awards:

 2012 Canadian Whisky Awards

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Top 30 Rums Countdown # 1 – Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 24, 2012

Top 30Ron Millonario XOPeople always ask me, (when they find out about my website), what my favourite rum is. I usually hedge my bets and say something about how it depends upon my mood or what time of year it is. And for the most part, that is a truthful answer. Some spirits seem to taste better in the winter when it is cold, and some seem to find their sweet spot in the summer it is warm and the barbeque is grilling some hot dogs. But if I am really honest, I must admit that there are a few rums which seem to always find my sweet spot regardless of mood or time of the year. The Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial is one of those great rums which never disappoints me. It never disappointed any of my Judging Panel either!

So without any further hoopla, allow me to introduce the 2012 Rum Howler Rum of the Year, judged by my Panel of Judges to be the Best in the World!

# 1 – Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial Rum

“…  When I took my first sip of this rum, my immediate reaction what to exclaim, “Oh, that is lovely!” and subsequent sips and samplings have done nothing to dissuade me from this initial reaction. The main flavours of caramel/molasses, oak spice and baking spices seem to be perfectly melded together. Hints of raisin, figs, tobacco and chocolate seem to provide just the right accent to make this a suave mouth watering rum …”

The rum has it all, great depth of flavour, wonderful consistency from nose to mouth to finish, and wonderful balance between all of its elements. I simply love it, and my Judges did too!

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Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Top 30 Rums Countdown # 3 – El Dorado 21 Year Old Special Reserve Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 22, 2012

Top 3021yo-rThe Demerara Distillers Ltd. Master Blender is credited with the creation of El Dorado 21-Year-Old Rum which uses a blend of rums selected from their world-famous stills: their ancient Enmore (wooden Coffey still) and Versailles (single wooden pot still); and the metal Albion (Savalle still). All of the rums in the blend have been aged in oak for a minimum of 21 years, making this one of the oldest production rums in the world. This 21 Year old Rum is part of a family of luxury cask aged rums which also includes a 12-Year-Old Rum,  a 15-Year-Old rum and a 25-Year-Old Rum, all of which have previously set their mark upon my countdown of the 30 best rums in the world.  In my opinion (and in the opinion of all but one of my judges) this 21 Year Old Special Reserve Rum is the absolute best rum that Demerara Distillers produces. It is also number 3 in my list, of the best rums in the world:

#3 – El Dorado 21 Year Old Special Reserve Rum

“… The immediate nose is full of baking spices, orange peel, vanilla, and dry fruits. There are absolutely no medicinal notes or harsh scents associated with the aroma. As the rum decants, I begin to sense glimmers of almonds and hazelnuts weaving through the tapestry of smells, and I sense a building oakiness which is bringing more spice to the fore. The fully decanted glass is steeped with brown sugars and toffee and even features a vague impressions of anisette and apricot brandy …”

Nosing the glass is delightful!

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Top 30 Rums Countdown # 4 – Zacapa XO (25 Year Solero) Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 21, 2012

Top 30Ron Zacapa XO 25Earlier in my countdown when I introduced Ron Zacapa Centenario (23 Solero), I spoke of Ron Zacapa’s  ‘House above the Clouds’ and the aging process known as Sistema Solera. It turns out that Ron Zacapa produces not just one outstanding luxury sipping rum, but two. The Ron Zacapa XO (25 Year Solero) is blended from solera aged stocks which range in age from 6 years to 25 years. This rum, like its slightly younger sibling, is aged in a mixture of solera aging barrels which include American Whisky casks, and Sherry and Pedro Ximenez wine barrels. However, the difference is in the finish, which is where, for the Ron Zacapa Xo (25 Year Solera), cognac casks are introduced into the aging regimen.

It is probably just a matter of preference, but for the record, every Judge (including myself), on my Judging Panel, showed a slight preference for the Cognac finished Ron Zacapa XO which arrives in  the number 4 spot in the Rum Howler Top 30 Countdown of the Best Rums in the World.

# 4 – Zacapa XO (25 Year Solero) Rum

“… Scents of mild toffee and spice combined with a rich oak and vanilla aroma rise from the glass to the delight of my nostrils. There seems to be a light orange citrus weaving through the aroma. The spices I can identify by smell are vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg with just a hint of cloves. The toffee smells of deep dark brown sugar with the firm imprint of real dairy butter. The aroma has nice nutty accents tempering the oak and holding its harsher tannins at bay …”

A rum full of complexity with almost perfect balance and smoothness. A delicious, sweet rum that had my taste buds absolutely reeling with delight.

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Top 30 Rums Countdown # 5 – El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 20, 2012

Top 30El Dorado 12 Year OldThe El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve Rum is blended from aged stocks (the youngest being no less than 12 years old) from the original Wooden Enmore Coffey still, the original metal Diamond Coffey still, as well as from the ancient Port Mourant double wooden pot still which was used to produce ‘navy’ rum for the English Admiralty. All of the Demerara Rum produced by El Dorado is aged exclusively in American oak (bourbon barrels). Demerara Distillers Ltd. (DDL) has built a reputation for outstanding quality. Their use of old traditional stills in conjunction with modern stills and distilling techniques have helped them earn world-wide acclaim for their Luxury Cask Rums.

I guess I am adding to that acclaim, by declaring the El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve one of the top 5 rums in Rum Howler Top 30 Rums of the World countdown:

# 5 – El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve Rum

“… Oak and wood spices provide a nice backdrop for the sweet baking spices (vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves) and rich molasses that rises into the breezes above the glass. There are hints of spicy orange peel, and fresh citrus fruit which appear and disappear within the aroma …”

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Top 30 Rums Countdown # 6 – Ron Zacapa Centenario (23 Solero)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 19, 2012

Top 30Ron Zacapa 23 SoleraThe rums of Ron Zacapa are made from virgin sugar cane honey which is harvested and processed in southern Guatemala. The cane honey is fermented, distilled and then brought to maturation at the ‘House above the Clouds’ through the aging process known as Sistema Solera. The Ron Zacapa Centenario (23 Solero) is blended from these solera aged stocks which range in age from 6 years to 23 years. The aging barrels used are a mixture of American Whisky casks, and Sherry and Pedro Ximenez wine barrels.

The combination of solera aging and the variety of reused barrels creates a highly complex rum with a rich aroma and flavour which my Judging Panel and I have ranked as the number 6 rum in my Rum Howler 2012 list of the Best Rums in the World:

# 6 – Ron Zacapa Centenario (23 Solero)

“… The initial aroma which rises from the glass is full of brown sugar, molasses and baking spices. Some lighter notes of orange peel and marmalade work their way upwards with a mixture of toasted walnut, and dried fruit (raisins, dates and a touch of prunes). The rum grows in the glass with the baking spices (nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and deep dark rich brown sugar) in particular gaining strength and vigor in the breezes above the glass …”

About the only flaw this rum has is that it is so hard to find in my locale!

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Top 30 Rums Countdown # 8 – Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 17, 2012

Top 30Plantation Gran Anejo GuatemalaThe Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo is a Guatemalan rum produced from sugar cane syrup (rather than molasses) on a short column still. The rum is aged for a minimum of four years in bourbon casks in Guatemala after which it is transported from Guatemala to France by Cognac Ferrand to be placed in used Cognac casks for a finishing time of five months. The rum was bottled at 42 % alcohol by volume as part of Cognac Ferrand’s growing line-up of Plantation Rum.

The Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo is proof positive that column distilled rum does not necessarily have to be aged for 8, 10 or 12 years to reach full flavour and complexity. Although the rum in this blend was stated to me as being aged for four years, I (and my Judging Panel) tasted a complexity and balance of flavour which is normally associated with much older rums. The proof is in the bottle:

# 8 – Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo Rum

” … The initial nose is of rich molasses accented by dark tobacco and cocoa. A certain fruitiness rises into the air with scents of raisins and dates accompanied by the more pungent aroma of prunes. The chocolate aroma seems to grow in the glass more quickly than I was expecting, and I am really loving the effect it is having on my senses …”

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