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Archive for the ‘Extras’ Category

Gin and Tonic Challenge – Polo Club and Tonic

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 7, 2014

Polo Club and TonicThere is a growing movement in the past ten years by American distillers (particularly small micro distillers) to produce a new North American style of gin (American Dry Gin) which is less dependent upon juniper than traditional London Dry Gin. The new American Dry Gin is an attempt to feature a broader and more balanced flavour profile, and the chances are that some of you have already encountered and enjoyed this new style of gin. Although this new type of gin is still in its evolutionary phase, it promises to bring more variety into the gin category, and perhaps offers a new take on the classic Gin and Tonic.

Polo Club American Dry Gin is a product of Minhas Micro Distillery located in Munroe, Wisconsin. According to the press information provided to me by MCBSW Sales (agents for Polo Club in Alberta), their American Dry Gin is an artisan spirit crafted in small batches from “ultra clean neutral grain spirit” and steeped with botanicals which include juniper, lemon peel, coriander, and licorice. The neutral grain spirit is apparently distilled ten times using a patent pending process (US Patent Application Number 13/843036) on a copper pot still.

When I reviewed Polo Club earlier this spring, I noted that this particular gin appeared to carry a very assertive spiciness alongside the juniper which pushed its way through the cocktails I constructed. The influence of this additional spice was very apparent when I mixed my standard Gin and Tonic cocktail for the Polo Club. As a result, the Polo Club and Tonic has earned a very respectable G & T Score in my Rum Howler Gin and Tonic Challenge.

The G&T Score for the Polo Club American Dry Gin, based on my standard G & T cocktail is 85/100.

Just so you do not have to keep track of these scores yourself, I have constructed a separate page to keep a running tally of all scores as they are published, and you may refer to that page here:

Rum Howler 2014 Gin and Tonic Challenge

As well you may read my published review of Polo Club American Dry Gin here (which includes my aforementioned standard Gin and Tonic Cocktail):

Review: Polo Club American Dry Gin

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Posted in Awards, Extras, Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gin and Tonic Challenge – Tanqueray and Tonic (T&T)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 6, 2014

Tanqueray and TonicTanqueray Gin was originally produced by Charles Tanqueray in London, England in 1830 at the Bloomsbury Distillery. The distillery prospered through the nineteenth century; but after being in production for over one hundred years, it was badly damaged in the bombing raids of World War II by the German air force. One still survived, and this still affectionately called “Old Tom” was moved to the new facilities in Cameron, Scotland where Tanqueray gin is currently produced.

Tanqueray Gin, is a London Dry Gin distilled four times with the botanicals infused prior to the fourth distillation. According to the Tanqueray website: Juniper, Coriander, Angelica root and Licorice are the four major botanicals used in the gin’s construction. The spirit is bottled at different proofs for different regional markets, and as I live in Canada, the bottling proof  of my sample bottle is 40 % alcohol by volume.

When I reviewed the Tanqueray Gin I noted that everything about this gin is pleasing. It has a firm juniper flavour which is tempered and accented by a nice lemony spiciness and a gentle earthiness which lays underneath. As a cocktail gin, it mixes very easily into each of the classic bar drinks, the Lime Gimlet, the Dry Martini and of course the standard Gin and Tonic. I also noticed that when I replaced the lime in the G & T with a large squeeze of lemon (see recipe here), the results were equally impressive.

My G&T Score for the Tanqueray and Tonic is 86.5/100.

Just so you do not have to keep track of these scores yourself, I have constructed a separate page to keep a running tally of all scores as they are published, and you may refer to that page here:

Rum Howler 2014 Gin and Tonic Challenge

As well you may read my published review of Tanqueray Gin here (which includes the aforementioned Gin and Tonic (Lemon) Cocktail ):

Review: Tanqueray Gin

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Posted in Awards, Extras, Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gin and Tonic Challenge – Caorunn and Tonic

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 5, 2014

Caorunn and TonicCaorunn Gin (a product of Inver House Distillers) is hand-made in small batches (about 1,000 litres per batch). This Scottish gin features (six traditional botanicals; juniper berries, coriander seed, orange peel, lemon peel, angelica root, and cassia bark and five Celtic non traditional botanicals; rowan berries, heather, bog myrtle, dandelion, and coul blush apple). It is produced using a quadruple distilled grain spirit as its base, with the flavours from the hand-picked botanicals infused into the spirit when the distilled vapour of the final distillation passes through the trays of the Balmenach Distillery’s vintage 1920’s Copper Berry Chamber which of course contains the botanicals.

When I reviewed Caorunn Gin (April 2013) I found that although the spirit had a traditional flavour profile, this traditional flavour was accented by sharp wisps of dandelion and rowan berry flavours. I found these flavour accents mixed very well with lemon juice in the cocktails I constructed. Therefore, in addition to the standard Gin and Tonic  Cocktail (see recipe here) which I was using as my base mixed drink for the competition, I also constructed a modified Gin and Tonic cocktail for Caorunn Gin using a bit of lemon juice in conjunction with the Lime (see recipe here). It turned out that this alternate construction was my preferred G&T cocktail (see photo left) for the Caorunn Gin, and my G&T Score for this gin is based upon the preferred cocktail.

The G&T Score for the Caorunn Gin based on my preferred cocktail is 83.5/100.

Just so you do not have to keep track of these scores yourself, I have constructed a separate page to keep a running tally of all scores as they are published, and you may refer to that page here;

Rum Howler 2014 Gin and Tonic Challenge

As well you may read my published review of Caorunn Gin here (which includes the aforementioned Gin and Tonic #3 Cocktail):

Review: Caorunn Gin

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Note: I should point out that this series of Gin and Tonic Challenge publications occurs in no particular order. Every day or so I shall grab one of the sample Gins from my review shelf and build one or two Gin and Tonics. If that particular gin has not been reviewed on my website, I will publish a review and I will also assign the spirit a G&T Cocktail Score out of 100. Only when all of the featured Gins are have been examined (one at a time) will I declare which Gin I feel is the Rum Howler 2014, best spirit for Gin and Tonics. I plan to have fun this August, I hope you do too!

 

 

 

Posted in Awards, Extras, Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Escape to El Dorado

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 8, 2014

El dorado Flight

Escape (with the Rum Howler) to El Dorado

I have been invited by the great guys (Bill and Graham) at UNWINED – Fine Wine, Spirits and Ales in St. Albert to be the guest host for an El Dorado Rum event on Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 (7:30 pm).

I will be taking everyone through a vertical tasting Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) unique portfolio of  El Dorado Rum.

 Here is the list of Demerara Rums I will be presenting:

El Dorado Spiced
El Dorado Cask Aged 5 Year Old
El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve
El Dorado 15 Year Old Special Reserve
El Dorado 21 Year Old Special Reserve

During the event I will be sharing my experiences from a recent trip to Guyana where I was given the opportunity to tour the DDL facilities witnessing the rum production first hand. This was during an important time when the company was transferring rum production from their Old Plant with its amazing Heritage Stills, to their new modern multi-column production facility.

I will be discussing the implications of the new plant and how we may expect Demerara Distillers Limited and their amazing El Dorado Rum to evolve going forward.

Please contact UNWINED – Fine Wine, Spirits and Ales (#2 512 St. Albert Trail – 780 458 477) for tickets which are an amazingly low $25.00 each!

 

Posted in Extras, Festivals and Events | 2 Comments »

WHAT IS RUM NATION ?

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 24, 2014

Reimonenq and Fabio

Master Distiller, Leopold Reimonenq and Fabio Rossi in Guadeloupe

Fabio Rossi was born in 1961, and he grew up among the bottles of fine wine and spirits which were imported by his father, Mario Jr., who had been dealing in wines and liquors since 1956. (His father was the first importer of Laphroaig whisky in Italy, and he also imported wine and spirits brands such as Rhum Barbancourt, several Bordeaux Chateaux, and Champagnes such as Salon.)

Fabio began his life in the spirits trade as a Oenologist (one who has studied winemaking). After his studies, Mr. Rossi left the wine business and started up a whisky company in Edinburgh (Wilson and Morgan) acting as an independent bottler of Single Malt Scotch Whisky. His interest turned to rum, and in 1999 Fabio Rossi founded Rum Nation. The 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 of rare limited edition rum bottlings.

Recently, I was provided with a lengthy interview of Mr. Rossi which had been conducted by Luca Chichizola, the brand ambassador for Fabio’s whisky brand Wilson and Morgan. Luca is a computer engineer who apparently also has some skills in journalism. The interview was sent to me to provide me with more background information regarding Rum Nation and Mr. Rossi’s philosophies towards selecting his fine rums. Because I felt the information provided in the interview would be of interest to my readers, I asked for and received, permission to publish it here on my website.

You can read the full interview by clicking on the following link:

WHAT IS RUM NATION ? (An Interview with Fabio Rossi)

I hope everyone enjoys the interview as much as I did.

 

 

Posted in Extras, Interviews | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Rum Howler is Number 1 on Google

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 16, 2014

Wiser's Red LetterIt all began in the Spring of 2007 when my Brother-in-law (Merv) reached into his liquor cabinet and pulled out a bottle of Wiser’s 18 Year Old Whisky which he had bought 25 years earlier with the intention of sharing it with a friend on a special occasion. The occasion wasn’t really that special, I was just traveling through Calgary with my family and decided to stop by to say hello. But Merv decided that this visit was the special occasion he had been waiting for. And his generosity set everything in motion for what was to follow. You see, as touched as I was by my brother-in-law’s generosity, I realized that at some point I would need to reciprocate. Therefore, when I arrived back home in Edmonton, I set out to find a special bottle which I could share with him (should he ever manage to tear himself away from Calgary and come up to Edmonton to visit me).

So a week later, I found myself in one of those boutique Wine and Spirits stores asking the manager for some help to find a special whisky. I settled on Wiser’s Red Letter Whisky and happily went home to show my wife (Maureen) the $150.00 bottle of whisky I found. Her reaction set me further along the path I had started, as rather than scolding me for spending a ridiculous amount of money upon a bottle of whisky; she said, “I thought Merv liked Gin.”

SAM_0968 TanquerayShe was right of course; although Merv had shared a very special whisky with me, if I was to truly reciprocate, I would have to find a special bottle of gin to share with him. So I went back to the boutique store, asked about gin, and came home with a bottle of Tangueray No. 10. This time my wife (who is ever helpful) said, “What about the rest of your family?”

My head fell; because again, she was right. I wasn’t worried about my friends, they would be cool with just about anything as long as it was cold. But the members of my immediate (and some of the extended) family tend to be a tad jealous of each other. If it became known I had bought a special bottle to share with Merv, then the others would expect the same treatment. So I ambled back to that boutique liquor store a few more times, and by the time I was done, I had bought 2 bottles of rum (Flor de Cana 7 Year Old Rum and Matusalem 12 year Solera Blender), a bottle of vodka (Wyborowa Exquisite), a bottle of Tequila (Herradura Reposado) and a bottle of The Macallan 15 Year Old Fine Oak Single Malt Scotch to go with my bottles of Tangueray No. 10 and Wiser’s Red Letter Whisky.

I was hooked of course. It was so much fun going to that liquor store, tasting samples from a few of their open bottles, and then choosing something special to bring home. I soon had many more bottles and a brand new liquor cabinet to house them in. I explained to my wife that I had learned that there were many different styles of both rum and whisky, and surely when a special guest arrived I should have some sort of selection for them to choose from. And the Vodka, Gin and Tequila were needed in case someone was partial to those spirits instead. It was all part of my effort to be a good host when special guests arrived. Of course, I wasn’t fooling anyone, my wife and I both knew the real reason I was continuing to go back and forth to find new bottles. It was because I had caught the collecting bug, and it had bitten me hard.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI continued to taste and collect different spirits over the next few years, and I discovered I was growing particularly fond of rum. So much so, that I began to haunt the online forums trying to locate the best brands for my collection. I enjoyed this research especially reading reviews of various spirits and comparing what I tasted to what was being written. Soon I got the idea into my head that it would be fun to write my own reviews about the spirits I had been collecting.

It turned out that all that research I had done to find the best bottles, and all that tasting I did before adding each new prize to my collection had served me well. I began my writing by placing a few somewhat brief ‘reviews’ on my favourite rum website, “The Ministry of Rum“. Although I was strictly an amateur, my reviews (and my quirky style) seemed to strike a chord with the other collectors and members of that website. One of those members had his own rum website, “Rum Connection” and he invited me to be a guest reviewer on his site. After writing a few reviews for Rum Connection (which were received extremely well), I decided that I should open my own review website which I did in the late fall of 2009.

My writing and my website have attracted a loyal and growing following which opened many doors for myself and led to some wonderful opportunities. This includes invites from rum companies who have offered to fly me down to look over their operations (see here), and similar invitations to all manner of rum and whisky festivals all over North America. As well, I began to receive requests to act as a Spirits Judge at some of the major Spirit’s Competitions in Canada and the USA. In fact I have served three times on the jury for the annual Canadian Whisky Awards, as well as twice in the same capacity for the International RumXP Competition at Rum Renaissance in Miami.

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The Rumhowler at Kaieteur Falls, Guyana

The Rum Howler at Kaieteur Falls, Guyana

This all brings me to the point of this article. Recently, it has come to my attention that my website, The Rum Howler Blog (according to Google), has become the number 1 internet source people turn to for Rum Reviews. The proof of that statement can verified by simply typing the key words “Rum Reviews” into your Google search engine. What you will find is that this website will be listed on the first page of the Google Search, usually ranked Number 1.

I am very pleased that my spirit reviews have been received so well, and my readers continue to find value in them. My recent number 1 ranking on Google is extremely satisfying! However, as pleased and satisfied as I feel about my work and my website, I would like to stress that my opinions expressed on this website are just that, opinions. Please, enjoy what I write; but trust your own instincts as well. Opinions vary and everyone’s preferences are unique. The only person who can truly decide if a spirit gives you enjoyment is yourself. I am flattered that so many people have come to trust my reviews; but I want you to trust your own tastes and preferences as well.

It all started when my Brother-in-law offered to open and share a special whisky with me seven years ago, and I can’t even guess where it will go from here …

Posted in Extras, Howls | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off

The Rum Howler named this Years Best Rum Blog!

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 20, 2014

best booze

Image courtesy The Savory

If you have ever bounced around from website to website looking for the best information about your favourite alcoholic beverages, then The Savory just made your life a little easier. Today their beverage team published the definitive list of the 8 Best Booze Blogs for 2014.

I am quite happy to report that my very own The Rum Howler Blog was selected as one of the best. In announcing his selections, Ross Gardiner, beverage editor for The Savory wrote me the following email message:

“Just stopping in to say that we love the website (The Rum Howler Blog) and that we mentioned that your site was the best rum blog online in an article we posted earlier today.”

Other online sites of note honoured as part this elite group were, Michael Kravitz’s – Diving for Pearls; Tom Fischer’s – The Bourbon Blog; Michael Kiser’s – Good Beer Hunting; Jon Thorsen’s – The Reverse Wine Snob; Emily Arden Wells’ – Gastronomista; Aaron Knoll’sThe Gin Is In; and the poignant website founded by a recovering alcoholic, The Spirit of Recovery. Each of these websites is an online gem, and I am very proud be included in their company.

Here is a link to The Savory article:

The 8 Best Booze Blogs to Read This Year

A special Thank You to all my readers who have been following and encouraging me. You have all helped me in making The Rum Howler Blog the Best Rum Blog in Cyberspace!

Cheers Everyone!

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Posted in Awards, Extras | Tagged: | Comments Off

Canadian Whisky Awards Announced!

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 17, 2014

2013-Canadian-Whisky-AwardsDuring the month of December, while I was publishing my list of the 2013 Rum Howler Top 25 Canadian Whiskies, I was also busy with another important Canadian Whisky project initiated by Author and fellow Whisky Blogger, Davin Der Kergomeaux. For the past 4 years Davin has organized the Canadian Whisky Awards. He assembles a North American Panel of Canadian Whisky Experts, arranges for all of them to receive a set of blind samples to be judged independently, and then amalgamates the scores into various categories depending upon the nature of the whisky, and the market for which it is intended. For the third year in a row, I was asked to be part of this panel, and I am happy to announce that results of the annual Canadian Whisky Awards Competition were announced Thursday evening at the Victoria Whisky Festival in Victoria, B.C..

Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whisky won the prestigious Canadian Whisky Awards – 2013 Whisky of the Year Award!

Lot No. 40 is distilled at the Hiram Walker Distillery in Windsor, Ontario from a 100% rye-grain recipe developed in the 19th century by Canadian pioneer distiller, Joshua Booth. In announcing the awards, Chairman of the Judges, Davin de Kergommeaux, called Lot No. 40,

“The very essence of what rye whisky is all about.”

Other top winners included Alberta Premium Dark Horse, Forty Creek Heart of Gold, Masterson’s Straight Rye Whiskey, Wiser’s Red Letter, and Crown Royal Black.

Here is a link to the full list of all of the Award Winners:

2014 Canadian Whisky Award Winners

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Note: I would like to thank Davin Der Kergomeaux for all of his hard work, and for allowing me to participate on his panel of judges once again this year. It was another great year for Canadian Whisky!

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , | Comments Off

Edmonton Whisky Festival 2014

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 2, 2014

EWF2014Edmonton Whisky Festival

Why: In Support of the MS Society

Where: Edmonton Delta South Hotel

When: Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ticket Price: $85.00 each

This event is a must for any whisky enthusiast or for those new to the exciting world of whisky.

Tickets includes entrance, whisky sampling, and the commemorative Glencairn Whisky Glass.

Chat in a relaxed atmosphere with whisky and scotch principals and enthusiasts from across Canada and around the world.

Master classes are available again this year.  They are all from 6:30-7:30 pm, and cost an additional $25 on top of your Festival ticket cost.  The lineup is:

Bourbon Masterclass with Matt Jones
Tullibardine Masterclass with James Robertson
The Macallan Masterclass with Dan Volway

All proceeds raised at this event are donated to the MS Society of Canada – Alberta Division.

For more information please contact:

Vines – Riverbend Wine Merchants (Edmonton)
Telephone: 434-9444
Email: info@vineswinemerchants.com

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Tickets are now available from Vines or through the new website: (http://edmontonwhiskyfestival.ca/)

Posted in Extras, Festivals, Festivals and Events, Fund Raisers | Tagged: , , | Comments Off

The Rum Howler 2013 Regional Rum Awards

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 31, 2013

RH-winner2013Things have been pretty much been nonstop for me the last three months, and I covered so much territory that I almost ran out of time before I could publish my 2013 Rum Howler Regional Rum Awards and name my 2013 Rum Howler Rum of the Year!

For those who are unfamiliar, 2013 Regional Rum Awards recognize the best rum produced in the various rum producing regions of the world. These awards are not based upon where a particular rum is distilled; but rather they are based upon where these spirits are bottled. This is because many rums are actually blended from a variety stocks which are distilled in more than one country. As well, many aged rums are purchased in bulk and then are transported to be matured a further length of time in other locations, and they may even be treated specially (or perhaps I should say in a unique manner) before they are blended and bottled. This of course makes the final spirit very different from when it was originally distilled or transported in bulk. Because of the special treatment a rum may receive either through blending or aging outside of the country where the rum was originally produced, it makes sense for me to consider these spirits as a product of the country where they were bottled, rather than where they were distilled.

And so on the final day of the year I finally wrap up my Rum Howler Awards for 2013. You may click the following link to read about the awards::

The 2013 Rum Howler Awards for Rum (The Regional Awards)

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Note: As an added bonus you can find my recently updated 2013 list of the World’s Best Rums here: The 2013 Rum Howler – Top 30 Rums

Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off

 
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