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Archive for the ‘Extras’ Category

Top 10 White Rums Countdown # 5 – El Dorado Deluxe Silver 6 Year Aged Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 30, 2013

op10RUM 550According to the El Dorado Website, the El Dorado Deluxe Silver 6 Year Aged Rum is blended from selected light to medium bodied aged rums which have been produced on Demerara Distillers’ wooden Coffey still (the last of its kind operating in the world today) and the company’s famous French Savalle Still.

DeLuxe Silver RumThe result is a fully aged, double-filtered, 6 Year Old White Rum. This rum is meant not just to compete with the new strain of super premium white rums that have entered the market recently, it is meant to compete head to head with the super premium luxury vodkas which have garnered a good chunk of the market share in the distilled spirits category.

This clean Guyanese spirit arrives in my countdown as the 5th best white rum I have tasted, and you can read my review by clicking the following excerpt (link):

#5 White Rum – El Dorado Deluxe Silver 6 Year Aged Rum

“… That candied sweetness I noted in the breezes above the glass takes form in the mouth with a flavour that resembles something like Christmas candies. The rum also carries forward a nice ‘fresh’ spiciness with flavours of orange peel and banana peel swirling around that sweet candy. Vague hints of butterscotch and canned fruit syrup (think canned peaches here) compliment the flavour  …”

The El Dorado Deluxe Silver is a very nice, very clean rum, in fact ‘clean’ is probably the best adjective to use to describe the rum. It is a great rum to use for mixing cocktails when you are trying to satisfy a crowd because that clean taste will appeal to just about everyone.

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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

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

Top 10 White Rums Countdown # 6 – Diplomatico Blanco Reserva

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 29, 2013

op10RUM 550Diplomatico Rums are produced by Distilleries Unitas S.A. (DUSA) at the foot of the Terepaimai National Park in Venezuela, South America. About four years ago, building upon the success of their core line-up of rums (the Diplomatico Anejo, the Diplomatico Reserva, and the Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva), Dusa introduced an ultra premium aged white rum called the Diplomatico Blanco Reserva. This Blanco Reserva was added to the Diplomatico brand to serve as an alternative to premium Vodka for bartenders and connoisseurs. It is designed to be a cocktail rum meant to exist side by side in the high-end niche market formerly reserved only for high-end Vodka.

Diplo BlancoThis Venezuelan spirit arrives in my countdown as the 6th best white rum I have tasted, and you can read my review by clicking the following excerpt (link):

#6 White Rum – Diplomatico Blanco Reserva

“… The rum is smooth and buttery in the delivery with the alcohol bite resting very deeply in the bottom of the delivery. The rum flavours, including the light caramel, the baked banana, the lemony citrus peel, and the traces of sweet candy are all there in the initial delivery playfully dancing on my palate  in a light dollop of oaky vanilla  …”

The rum eases into cocktails beautifully, adding a nice mild rum flavour and only a mild alcohol bite which was of course the intention of the crafters of the Diplomatico Blanco. As such this rum hits the target squarely as an alternative to high-end vodka!

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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

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

Top 10 White Rums Countdown # 7 – Pumpkin Face White Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 28, 2013

op10RUM 550Sometimes my best laid plans go asunder. Such was the case after I thought I had completed my list of Top 10 – White Rums in late August of this year. About a month later, (about four weeks before my countdown was to begin publishing) I received samples of the “Ultra-Premium” Pumpkin Face Rums. As soon as I sampled the Pumpkin Face White Rum, I knew I had a problem, as this rum absolutely deserved to be considered as a contender in this series.

So I did the only thing I could, I brought my Panel of Judges over, and I made some Daiquiris and some Mojitos  and we proceeded to judge this rum as if it was part of the original competition. When the scores were tallied, the result was that the Pumpkin Face White Rum fell into the number 7 slot of the Best White Rums in the World (that I have tasted)!

Pumpkin Face WhiteHere is a link to my recently published review:

Top 10 White Rums Countdown # 7 – Pumpkin Face White Rum

“… As I nosed the rum, mild impressions of banana, orange zest, and faint grassy vegetal notes rose into the breezes. There were also a few light traces of cotton candy, wisps of mint, and hints of anise-like licorice scents …”

The Pumpkin Face White Rum is not only a very good cocktail rum, it is also quite enjoyable as a sipper; which frankly, is quite unusual in the white rum category!

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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 Year in Tequila (2013 Rum Howler Awards)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 27, 2013

RH-winner2013

In my locale, many whisky events populate our calendars, and a few Rum Clubs have popped up over the last several years which feature tastings and the like where consumers have an opportunity to taste a new spirit before plunking down their cash to buy it. With respect to tequila however, consumers (again in my locale) have very little ability to read about or taste any of the new Tequila brands as such clubs and events are rather scarce. Perhaps my 2013 Rum Howler awards for the Year in Tequila can help remedy the situation somewhat. (And hopefully I will be able to sample more of these new brands and feature more reviews in the coming year.)

I was able to sample and taste 17 different agave spirits for my 2013 Rum Howler Awards. The Awards I am presenting are based upon side by side tastings of the various spirits which are in competition for each particular award. Depending upon the style of Tequila I was sampling, I would build one or two Cocktails with each brand to taste, and I also sampled each spirit neat side by side with those of the same style. And so without further ado, it is time for me to reveal the recipients of the 2013 Rum Howler Awards for Excellence in the Production of Tequila.

These Awards are for the best Tequila Spirits I encountered in the year 2013!

The 2013 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Tequila

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Enjoy this break from my Rum Howler Top 10 Rums Countdown, which will resume on Monday with the number 7 rum.

Posted in Anejo Tequila, Awards, Blanco Tequila, Extras, Reposado Tequila, Tequila, Tequila Review | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Top 10 White Rums Countdown # 8 – Mount Gay Eclipse Silver

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 25, 2013

op10RUM 550The tradition of producing rum on Barbados dates to an early period in the seventeenth century with evidence suggesting small-scale distillation as early as 1637. The first recorded written usage of the words ‘Rum Bullion’ appears in a document from the Island in 1651 which describes the sugar cane distillate from Barbados as “a hot and terrible liquor”. This is in fact the earliest recorded usage of the word Rum as it relates to the distilled spirit anywhere in the world. As such, Barbados is generally considered the birthplace of rum. Evidence exists of stills in use at the Mount Gay Plantation site as early as 1667, and we have confirmation (with the first written records) of rum produced on the site in 1703. This makes Mount Gay Rum one of the oldest (if not the oldest) rum brand in the world.

mount_gay_rum_eclipse_silverThe Mount Gay Silver Eclipse arrives on my Top Ten White Rum list at the number 8 spot. You may read my original review (written almost three years ago) by clicking the following excerpt link. (I confess I edited the review recently fixing some annoying punctuation and grammatical errors.)

#8 White Rum – Mount Gay Eclipse Silver

“…  I found that the white rum displayed an inviting aroma to my nostrils above the glass. The scents and smells of light butterscotch were evident as was a firm presence of banana, a mild citrus zest, and a light minty aroma. As the glass decanted a vague grassy vegetal scent began to waft upwards as well. Allowing the glass to breathe resulted in a strengthening of this ‘grassiness’ which seemed to imply a more complex character than I may have originally anticipated. …”

Although as a sipper, this rum does not entice one strongly, the character of the rum changes entirely when mixed, especially in a daiquiri! Enjoy the provided review!

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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

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

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

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

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.)

Posted in Awards, Extras, Gin | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

BELUGA – The Making of a Monumental Vodka (Part 1)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 28, 2013

beluga-nobleWhen the first bottle of BELUGA Vodka rolled off the production lines at the Mariinsk Distillery on December 13th, 2002, the brand positioned itself at the highest end of the market niche for Vodka. This is (the brand owners are quick to point out) not a brand for the masses, rather it is a brand which seeks those consumers who wish to separate themselves from those masses in terms of aristocracy, sophistication, and self-realization. In short the company has positioned the BELUGA brand as a “Monumental Spirit.”

I have written a two-part article which explores the BELUGA brand, attempting to help us understand the two aspects of a Monumental Spirit. My first article delves into the production process of all four BELUGA Vodka brands explaining where and how they are made and the differences between them as far as production is concerned. My second article will delve into the marketing and branding concepts which along with the production methods strive bring these vodka spirits to the status level of Monumental Spirits.

You may read my first article by clicking the following link:

BELUGA Part 1 – The Making of a Monumental Vodka

Posted in Extras | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Come Hell or High River!

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 10, 2013

Highwood DistilleryOn Thursday, June 20th, in the middle of the day (about noon) a massive flash flood hit the town of High River, in Southern Alberta. Initial estimates are that this flood was an unprecedented event with levels of water not seen in the documented history of the town. This was a true tragedy as town residents literally had to flee to the roof tops of their houses to await rescue by boat and helicopter. There were even reports of local farm equipment (tractors and combines) driving in to rescue stranded people from the roofs of their homes.

One particular business in High River that I have a strong connection to is Highwood Distillers. I have visited the distillery and wrote about it numerous times (see The Highwood Distillery Tour). The folks who work for Highwood impressed me with their blue-collar work ethic and the clean honest taste of their brand of Canadian Whisky.

Alas, the distillery lies near the heart of the downtown directly in front of the small creek that on that day instantly became a giant river. The Highwood Distillery was unfortunately directly in the path of the flash flood. The folks working in the distillery that day report that they had only 6 minutes to find safety. The safety they found was upon the roof tops of their cars, and they were amongst those who had to be rescued by boat and helicopter, (and yes I have a report that some of the staff were rescued by combines).

SAM_0405 CS 25

Rum Howler Best Overall Whisky for 2012

Indications are that the distillery was a mess. All of the bottled goods inventory had to be destroyed; much of the distilling and bottling equipment has been damaged; and inventories of barreled whisky have almost certainly been compromised.

But here is the thing, the folks at Highwood are resilient. That small-town blue-collar work ethic which I admired during my visit to the distillery is serving the town well. The process of cleaning up and rebuilding has begun, and according to the Highwood Distillers website they are working hard and hope to be able to recommence business in a short two months!

I for one, am absolutely certain that Highwood Distillers will be back and that they will continue the path that they were upon making great whisky (see review for Century Reserve (Lot 1525) Canadian Rye Whisky) after great whisky (see review for Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky) not to mention their fantastic Vodka (Pristina) and their Rum Howler Award winning gin (Sahara Dry Gin).

Note: I also declared Highwood’s Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky the Best in the World when I published my 2012 Rum Howler Awards for Whisky! Trust me, these folks make great whisky!

I urge all of you who have come love Highwood’s clean honest family of spirits to have patience, if your favourite brand becomes unavailable for a time. They will rebuild, and they will continue to impact the landscape of Canadian Whisky in a positive manner when they are back. Highwood has recently become a shooting star of sorts amongst Canadian Distillers, and I am sure that their star will continue to shine, Come Hell or High River!

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(Note: I have a bit of experience with floods (although not nearly on the scale as this). On July 4rth, 2004, a massive storm centered itself above West Edmonton Mall (where my retail business is located) and compromised the drainage system of the second floor parking lot directly above my Sports Memorabilia Store). I was working alone at the time, and I can remember the ceiling tile above me breaking and water pouring in from seemingly everywhere. I rushed to get my stock out to safety, but unfortunately, there was no safety. My store, my stock, indeed my entire business was a 100 % write-off. As horrible as my experience nine years ago was, the experience for the people of High River was and is much worse. Today, a full three weeks after the event, many residents still have not been allowed to go back to their homes as the water is still impacting the area such that some neighbourhoods have been deemed too dangerous to re-enter. My heart goes out to the people of High River, and I wish all of them the best that God can offer in a time such as this. May other Canadians and Albertans be generous in their support of your community, and may your insurance claims all be redeemed at full value.)

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Extras, Howls, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

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 »

 
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