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Archive for the ‘Extras’ Category

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 »

# 24 Canadian Whisky – Hiram Walker Special Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 1, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014According to the Corby Brands website, Walker’s Special Old has been available throughout Canada, from Hiram Walker & Sons since 1858. Hiram Walker Special Old is the modern version of this original whisky. It has a bold upfront rye flavour that landed it at the number 24 spot in my Rum Howler – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014 Countdown.

_0068_hiramwalker-sp-oldHere is a link to my newly updated review:

# 24 Canadian Whisky – Hiram Walker Special Old

“… as I pour the whisky I also catch strong fruity accents, a dash of corn, and a mild vanilla arriving off of the pour. The colour of the whisky is a rich coppery brown reminiscent of old Macintosh toffee. In fact I believe I can smell some of that old toffee in the air as well …”

Hiram Walker Special Old is a very nice Canadian Whisky full of rich rye flavour and spicy oak!  The boldness of the flavour really appeals to me, especially in the  finish which was so nice and smooth in spite of the aggressiveness of the whisky.

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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 »

# 24 Rum – El Dorado 8 Year Old Cask Aged Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 1, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014According to the El Dorado Website, the El Dorado 8 Year old Cask Aged Rum is blended from selected stocks of rum which were produced from no less than four of Demerara Distillers’ traditional Heritage Stills including both the original Wooden Coffey Still which was rescued from the Enmore Estate and the Double Wooden Pot Still which was rescued from the Port Mourant Estate. Each of these stills is well over 200 years old and they represent the last of their kind operating in the world today. The use of these ancient stills ensures that the Demerara Rum produced at DDL’s Diamond Distillery is unlike anything produced anywhere else in the world. (For more information on the unique Heritage Stills in operation at the Diamond distillery you may read my first hand account here (Diamond Distillery Tour).

Rum Manhattan with El Dorado 8 Year Old Rum

Rum Manhattan with El Dorado 8 Year Old Rum

The new 8 Year Old Rum from El Dorado Rum was first released in Ontario, and has recently been made available here in Alberta too.

Here is a link to my recent review I wrote for this outstanding new rum from Demerara Distillers Limited:

#24 Rum – El Dorado 8 Year Old Cask Aged Rum

“… The immediate nose reveals a nice mixture of oak and coarse brown sugar as well as spicy scents of cinnamon and toffee, some luscious vanilla, and some not so subtle hints of orange marmalade …”

As good as this rum is to sip on its own, it is just as good when mixed in a classic cocktail. My  suggested recipe for the El Dorado 8 Year Old Rum is a Rum Manhattan.

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 »

The Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 30, 2014

On My Deck 2Last year I embarked on a mission to determine the very best whiskies that Canada had to offer, by examining over my tasting notes and review scores for over 100 Canadian Whiskies which were available in the market as I compiled my list. This year we have seen the arrival of several new Canadian whiskies, and the disappearance of several of the Limited Edition whiskies which had made last year’s list. Some producers have made changes to their brands and some brands may have (in my opinion) evolved or changed in other ways during the past year. To account for these possible changes I recompiled my list based upon all of the new Canadian whiskies I have sampled during the past year, as well as older brands I re-sampled.

Ninety_5_Year_Old_The list will be presented “Countdown Style” during the month of December with the Best Canadian Whisky of 2014 revealed on December 24, 2014 just in time for you to grab a bottle for Christmas and New Year’s cheer! A new whisky will be revealed each day (beginning today) as I count down to the Rum Howler’s Selection of the World’s Best Canadian Whisky of 2014!

You may follow my Countdown list here:

The Rum Howler 2014 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies!

And with no further ado I announce the number 25 Canadian Whisky produced in 2014:

#25    Ninety (Premium cask Aged) 5 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

Note:

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

The Top 25 Rums of 2014

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 30, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Once again, I have prepared my annual listing of the best rums available in the world, this time for the year ending, 2014.

If you have followed any of my year-end countdown lists over the past few years you will have noticed that they are ever evolving as new spirits become available for me to taste each year, and as previously reviewed spirits disappear (for example: Appleton Estate 50 Year Old Jamaica Rum – Jamaica Independence Reserve) or become unavailable in my market for me to re-evaluate.

Another factor causing change in my rankings each year is the evolution of the various spirit brands which, contrary to popular opinion, do not necessarily remain consistent from year to year (or even from batch to batch). Within spirit companies, and within individual distilleries, philosophies and styles change as does the quality of the spirit produced from year to year (and from batch to batch).

download7_1680x1050My list as usual will be presented “Countdown Style” beginning on November 30th, and then through the month of December with the best rum of 2014 revealed on December 24, 2014 just in time for you to grab a bottle for Christmas and New Year’s cheer! As you return to this page each day (beginning November 30th), a new spirit will be revealed as we count down to the best rum I have personally tasted in 2014!

As so with no further ado, allow me to present my countdown list of

The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2014

And of course, allow me to present my choice as the 25th best rum in the World:

Flor de Caña Centenario 12

Note: I will be publishing two additional advent lists in the run up to Christmas, my 2nd annual Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014, and my newest review series, The 12 Cognacs of Christmas!

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

 
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