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Archive for the ‘Howls’ Category

Howls are my main method of posting on the front page. They are my way of communicating to you the general information of the site.

For Father’s Day – Canadian Whisky on a Budget

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 11, 2012

My wife asked me the other day which whisky I would like for Father’s Day. I thought about it for a few moments, and I decided that rather than giving her only one choice, I would give her a list of Canadian Whiskies to choose from. I decided this list should be easy on her wallet, but just as important, each whisky on the list would be one which I would be happy to receive.

The list I cam up with was a selection of twelve budget-priced Canadian Whiskies, all of which are under thirty dollars in my locale, Receiving any whisky from this selection as a father’s day gift, will suit me just fine.

And so in no particular order, I give you my list of 12 great budget priced Canadian Whiskies for Father’s Day. Beside each whisky is the approximate price here in Edmonton.
(You may click each selection to read my reviews of each particular whisky if you wish.)

Centennial 10 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky   ($25.95)

Black Velvet Deluxe    ($20.95)

Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky   ($22.50)

Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky    ($19.95)

Wiser’s Small Batch   ($25.95)

Gibson’s Finest Sterling Whisky   ($24.95)

Century Reserve 21 Year Old   ($29.95)

Potters Special Old Rye Whisky   ($19.95)

Wiser’s De Luxe   ($29.95)

Gibson’s Finest 12 Year Old   ($29.95)

Schenley OFC Canadian Whisky   ($20.95)

Hiram Walker Special Old   ($23.00)

Happy shopping!

Cheers and Happy Father’s Day!


Posted in Canadian Whisky, Howls, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

A Comment about Comments

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 9, 2012

I have received feedback lately from some of my friends that they sometimes are asked for a “WordPress Password” in order to leave comments on my website. It is frustrating for them as they have always been able to comment in the past, and they really do not want to go to the trouble of obtaining a WordPress account. I was mystified by this development as I never changed any settings and really welcome the comments from all of my friends.

I got to the bottom of the mystery today and discovered that WordPress has become concerned that certain nefarious persons may be trying to hijack the identity of others in order to place comments upon certain blogs. I understand this concern completely as I have discovered that some persons have indeed been doing this upon my website. It seems that there always are some people who have nothing better to do than cause others grief. These actions are probably illegal; but stopping someone from using someone else’s email address to leave a comment is extremely difficult to police. The WordPress solution at this point is a system of verification in which they scan each commenting email address and if it is on their system as a WordPress user, a password is automatically asked for to verify the identity of the commenter.

The complication is that Gravatar Accounts are also WordPress Accounts. This means you may have a WordPress Account without even knowing it. If you are commenting using the email address which is attached to your Gravatar account, then you will be asked for a WordPress Password. Fortunately, your Gravatar Password is also your WordPress Password, and if you supply that password you are allowed to comment. I am truly sorry for the inconvenience, but I understand why WordPress felt they had to take action. Hopefully a better solution will be forthcoming.

Cheers!

Posted in Howls | Comments Off

Review: Plantation Original Dark 73 % Overproof Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 18, 2012

Cognac Ferrand has long a history of providing Cognac Casks to various Caribbean rum producers based upon the rum producer’s need for quality oak casks to age their rum. Because of this long history Cognac Ferrand has over time developed solid relationships with many of these producers. Based upon these relationships Cognac Ferrand has been able to acquire certain unique batches of rum from various Caribbean sources. Typically these rums are brought back to France to be finished in their own warehouses and of course their own Cognac Casks.

The Plantation Original Dark 73 % Overproof Rum  is Cognac Ferrand’s Tiki style overproof rum. The base rum is a column distilled rum from Trinidad which was aged in oak barrels in Trinidad before being transported to France.

Here is an excerpt from  my review:

“… Sipping the rum at full strength is a bit challenging to say the least. Yet when I did so, I was almost fond of the experience. I admit, I had to take it extremely easy as this rum carries an intense alcohol sting and assertive hot spices in its wake. The rich caramel toffee I noted on the nose was just as strong in the mouth, and the marmalade aroma I had sniffed earlier seems to have a lot of orange peel bite coming along with it for the ride. I spite of my admiration for the intense flavour, I decide that adding an ice-cube to the glass is probably a good thing …”

You may read my full review here:

Review: Plantation Original Dark 73 % Overproof Rum

As well I have included my latest recipe creation, Zombie Plantation! (pictured to the left)

Enjoy the review and the cocktail!

Posted in Howls | Comments Off

Book Review: Canadian Whisky: the portable expert

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 15, 2012

I love Canadian Whisky! It is smooth and tasty, and (in my locale at least) extremely well priced compared to the other whisky offerings on the store shelf. This means that even the premium brands sell at prices which allows me to mix them in cocktails without guilt, and some of the super premium brands are cheaper than the average price of a single malt scotch (Last month I purchased 3 bottles of a 25-year-old pure rye whisky for less than 90 bucks combined!)

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. Davin, like myself is a true devotee of our great Canadian Spirit. He has created his own website (Canadian Whisky) where he publishes various articles about our mutual passion and of course his unrivaled reviews. 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 awarded special achievements by Canadian Whisky Distillers in areas of innovation, brand extension, and media/advertising.

I received my copy of Canadian Whisky: the portable expert about three weeks ago, and I thought I would share my thoughts on Davin’s scribblings here on my website.

Here is a link to those thoughts:

Book Review: Canadian Whisky: the portable expert

Note: The book should already be in your local bookstore as it was released on May 8. I believe it is available through Amazon, Chapters/Indigo, McNallyRobinson, and several other on-line booksellers.

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

A Lamentation for Value Whisky Reviews

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 14, 2012

It was with some sadness that I read the March 28 posting on Ryan’s website, Value Whisky Reviews. (As far as I know Ryan never posted his last name on his website, so I shall not do so here.) Value Whisky Reviews was an apologetically honest website, where Ryan, a self admitted amateur, posted his mix of views and reviews regarding whisky, blogging and how these two passions of his affected his spirituality.

I said Ryan’s website was apologetically honest, and it was. His reviews were accurate and his reflections on the relative value of the spirits with relation to  cost versus scoring were always well thought out and worth reading. But what I liked about Ryan was his reflections on not the spirit of whisky, but rather his own spirit. The angst he felt with respect to how his hobby was affecting his relationship with God clearly came out in his writing. His articles, What the Bible says about drinking and Whisky: a golden calf? were each very well thought out and in particular the latter article was extremely heartfelt.

This is Ryan (hopefully he doesn’t mind me borrowing his picture from his website).

Ryan seems to have no problems writing about his own spirit, and in fact he unabashedly placed his own Christianity on his website for all to see. While other spirits writers would use the side columns of their website to promote articles on their site, Ryan first placed this quote from Romans 10:9:

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

and then this one from Luke 24:47:

“There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.”

He wanted to be true to his own beliefs and ensured he exalted God and Christ before he exalted himself. Yet, it was this conflict between his love of Christ an his love of his website that led to the his decision to shut things down. I was saddened. I felt that Ryan was contributing something special, and I don’t think you had to be Christian to appreciate the message he was trying to promote or to appreciate the angst that he felt when he found himself guiltily checking his web stats everyday to see how his website was fairing.

In the end, Ryan decided that he was too close to putting his own personal satisfaction ahead of his spirit. I cannot judge that, I am incapable. But I can say, that it is unfortunate to see such an honest person leave the blogosphere. I hope he comes back!

Good Luck Ryan
My heart is with you!

Posted in Howls | 2 Comments »

The 2011 Canadian Whisky Awards

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 20, 2012

Last year, Davin de Kergommeaux (Canadian Whisky) hit upon an idea which I thought was long overdue, the first ever fully independent Canadian Whisky Awards! These awards highlighted not only the best tasting whiskies made in Canada, but they also awarded special achievements by Canadian Whisky Distillers in areas of innovation, brand extension, and media/advertising. I supported Davin in his efforts to raise the public profile of Canadian Whisky, because like Davin, I believe Canadian whisky deserves to be recognized as a World-Class spirit.

The profile of the Canadian Whisky Awards has grown considerably over the past year. So this past fall when I was asked to participate with Davin and five other North American judges to evaluate the state of Canadian Whisky in 2011, I jumped at the chance to be involved. So it was that with Davin De Kergommeaux acting as Chairman of the Judges (and Lead Organizer), and with six more of us helping out as best we could, we set ourselves to the task of evaluating and judging Canadian Whisky for the year ending in 2011. Blind samples were sent out across Canada and into the United States for judging. We all sipped and sampled and marked down our scores. The scores were checked closely and then tallied, and of course the winners were selected.

The results were unveiled yesterday (January 19, 2012) at the Victoria Whisky Festival in Victoria, British Columbia. Here are those results:

Results for the 2011 Canadian Whisky Awards

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

Review: Glayva (Scotch Whisky Liqueur)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 19, 2012

Glayva (a Scotch Whisky Liqueur) was created by Edinburgh whisky merchant Ronald Morrison in 1947, and (according to the Glayva website) the recipe has remained unchanged since the day it was first crafted. It is a blend of aged Scotch malt whiskies and a carefully selected range of spices which include Mediterranean tangerines, cinnamon, almonds and honey.

The folks at Authentic Wine and Spirits,  recently provided with two 350 ml sample bottles of Glayva to share with my Rum Chums during our tasting events tasting this past fall. I decided that a review on my website would be quite fun as well. Here is an excerpt from the review:

“…The aroma from the glass is honeyed. With the candied sweetness I also sense strong herbal scents and a firm citrus flair. I sense a little cinnamon in the breezes as well as a bit of mandarin orange. ..”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Glayva (Scotch Whisky Liqueur)

I have included a recipe which I found quite delicious! please enjoy the review!

Posted in Howls | 3 Comments »

Arctic Wolf’s Christmas Eggnog

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 9, 2011

I like eggnog at Christmas, and so for the third year in a row I am going to post my favourite recipe for Christmas Eggnog.

This is a simple recipe in terms of ingredients, but it requires a bit of a baker’s touch get it just right. I switched up the Rum and the Whisky in the recipe from last year and found it to be as good as ever.

Arctic Wolf’s Christmas Eggnog
(This makes about four servings. )

3 eggs at room temperature, (yolk and whites separated)
3/8 cup sugar (for the yolks)
3 tablespoons sugar (for the whites)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
a touch fresh ground cloves (About 1/16 of a teaspoon)
a pinch of fresh grated nutmeg (About 1/8 of a teaspoon)
a dash of fresh ground cinnamon (About 3 /16 of a teaspoon)
1 1/2 cups whipping cream, chilled
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup Spiced Rum (George Street Spiced)
2/3 cup Bourbon Whiskey (Knob Creek)

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Here is how to make it:

First the yolks

Separate your egg yolks and your egg whites in two bowls. Whisk the first amount of sugar and the vanilla into the egg yolks. Add a touch of  ground cloves, a pinch of nutmeg and a dash of cinnamon into the yolk bowl. Add the cream, the milk and the rum and whisky (for adult consumption only). Make sure everything is mixed thoroughly.

Now the whites

This is where a baker’s touch is necessary.
Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks (3-4 minutes). Add the second amount of sugar slowly during this beating process.

Now we combine

Gently and with large circular motions blend the egg white mixture into the yolk mixture, trying to keep things as ‘poofy’ as possible.

Sprinkle a little left over spice on the top of each glass, and enjoy with your favourite chocolates!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Flavouerd Rums, Howls, Rum, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The 2011 Rum Howler Awards – (Whisky Wrap-Up)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 6, 2011

All of these awards are based upon side by side tasting sessions held over a period of several weeks. I  began at the start of September slowly tasting different whiskies from my private collection of bottles and bringing only the very best forward for the final tastings which took place over the last two weeks. Only spirits which I had tasted in the past year (between October 1, 2019 and September 30 2011) were considered.

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky Value
(under $30.00 in my market of Alberta)

and the Winner is:

Potter’s Special Old Whisky

Honourable mention to Gibson’s Finest Sterling Canadian Whisky and Chinook Canadian Whisky

As I indicated in my Rum Howler Vodka Awards, the taxation and storage fees in my locale can add up to $18.00 a bottle to the price of a 750 ml spirit. It is rare to see anything on the shelves of the local liquor store for less than $22.00. This means that my standard for this category, being only those whiskies which are under $30.00, is a tight standard indeed. But even at that low price quality can be found in my marketplace as evidenced by the three final nominees. In head to head tasting, serving each whisky in a couple cocktails (the Buckeroo and the Horses Neck) as well as sipping each neat, the competition was close.  However, the Potter’s Special Old Canadian Whisky rose to the occasion and captured the award.

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky Value
(under $60.00 in my market of Alberta)

and the winner is

Alberta Premium 30 Year Old Rye Whisky

Honourable mention to Glenmorangie, The Original 10 Year Old, and Basil Hayden’s Straight Kentucky Bourbon

All of the nominees are wonderful spirits. I tasted each of the three finalists neat, at room temperature to determine the winner and reaffirmed my belief that the Alberta Premium 30 is an absolute gem of a whisky. It not only was by far the best tasting whisky in the under $60.00 range. It was by a full $10.00 less expensive than its two rivals , and if you possibly can still find a bottle on a liquor store shelf, do not hesitate…. buy it!

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Blended Whisky

and the winner is:

Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey

Honourable mention to Canadian Club 30 Year Old Whisky, and Gibson’s Finest 12 year Old Canadian Whisky

In Canada we pride ourselves on having the best and smoothest blended whisky in the world. However, in my side by side tastings of each of these spirits neat, I found I preferred a little of the Irish this time. The Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve has a suave sort of creamy sweetness that doesn’t cloy at the palate after the whiskey is sipped. Things are smooth and refined in a finish which is long and satisfying.

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Single Grain or Single Malt Whisky

and the winner is:

Alberta Premium 30 Year Old Rye Whisky

Honourable mention to Highland Park 25 Year Old Single Malt, and Dufftown 1984 (Signatory)

I suppose it might be a little disconcerting to some that I have combined the Single Grain and the Single Malt category this year. They are after all two different styles of whisky. However, due to my limited tasting experiences with single grain whiskies this year, I decided to consolidate the two categories. I was after all curious how a $50.00 Canadian Single grain whisky would stack up against the competitors which cost up to 6 times more in my local liquor store. The Alberta Premium 30 Year Old did more than just stack up, it proved to be the best in side by side tastings. It just goes to show that the top price does not always reflect the top quality.

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And finally the Award that I am sure you have all been waiting for:

The Rum Howler Award for Best Overall Whisky
(Age, price and style irrelevant, her I am only concerned with what is the Best!)

and the winner is

Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey

Honourable mention to Alberta Premium 30 Year Old Rye Whisky, and Highland park 25 Year Old Single Malt

Even I have to admit my surprise when I chose the Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve over the Alberta Premium 30 year Old Canadian Whisky, and the Highland Park 25 year Old Single Malt Whisky. But when I began my taste comparisons I fell in love with the Jameson all over again. If you have not experienced Irish Pure Pot Still flavour, then you will have to take my word for it that it is quite wonderful. After 18 years of aging they have morphed into something that resembles a creamy soft punky toffee embedded in honeycomb and light marzipan and tainted with flavours of sour mash bourbon. The oak flavours weave in and out, and all of this comes together in a wonderful display of balance. The whiskey has such a beguiling delivery, that I was hooked right from the very first sip, and I suspect you will be too.

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And there you have it, my Rum Howler Awards for Whisky all wrapped up. Here is a recap of Today’s awards:

The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky Value (under $30.00 in my market of Alberta)   Potter’s Special Old Canadian Whisky

The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky Value (under $60.00 in my market of Alberta) Alberta Premium 30-year-old Whisky

The Rum Howler Award for Best Blended Whisky   Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Whiskey

The Rum Howler Award for Best Single Grain or Single Malt Whisky    Alberta Premium 30-year-old Whisky

The Rum Howler Award for Best Overall Whisky  Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Whiskey

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Posted in Awards, Howls | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The 2011 Rum Howler Awards – (Regional Rum Awards)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 29, 2011

Today I am continuing with my Rum Howler Awards as I am selecting the best rum from the various rum producing regions of the world. I have an Award for Best Rum from Central America, and Award for Best Rum from South America, and Award for Best Rum from North America, an Award for Best Rum from the Caribbean Islands and an Award for the Best Rum from Outside the Americas and the Caribbean.

All of these awards are based upon side by side tasting sessions held over a period of several weeks. As with the Whisky awards I began at the start of August slowly tasting different Rums from my collection of reviews samples bringing only the very best forward for the final tastings which took place over the past month.

(Note: Many rums brands are distilled in one region but transported in bulk to be blended and even aged for a further time in another region. Other rums brands are actually blends of several rums which have been distilled in more than one region. In all cases, I have decided that the location where the rum is bottled will be considered the place of production for that particular rum brand.)

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The Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum From Central America

and the winner is:

Panama Red 108 Overproof Rum

Honorable Mention to Traveller’s 3 Barrel Rum and Ron Abuelo 7 Year Old Rum

I had to think hard about whether to allow an over-proof rum to win this award. However, I really could not come up with a valid reason not to allow the Panama Red 108 to be considered. It is a tremendous rum which quickly became a favourite of mine and of my entire rum club. In side by side tastings with the Traveller’s 3 Barrel, and the Abuelo 7 year Old (which I have not reviewed yet); it seemed to have just that bit of extra flavour and richness which made me pick it out as the winner.

It is unfortunate that this rum has a rather limited distribution at this time but perhaps this award will help to change things, as I really would like to see this brand in my locale soon.

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And the Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from South America

and the winner is:

El Dorado 21 Year Old Rum

Honourable mention to Dictador 20 Year Solera Rum and Dictador 12 Year Solera Rum

I tasted some great rums from South America this year. But leading the pack were the two great rums from Columbia (the Dictador Rums) and the great El Dorado Rums from Guyana. (I could easily have given the El Dorado 12 Year Old Rum an honourable mention here too).  The El Dorado 21 Year Old Rum was chosen as the winner in the head to head tasting because of its superior complexity, and the beguiling way the oak flavours have melded into the rum. This is almost rum perfection.

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The Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from the Caribbean Islands

and the winner is:

Mount Gay Eclipse Black

Honourable mention to Atlantico Private Cask, and Mount Gay Eclipse (Gold)

Last year’s winner in this category was a wonderful solera blend from Oliver and Oliver, and this year their blending expertise is on display again as they are the masters behind the blending of the wonderful Atlantico Private Cask. However, this year Mount Gay muscled its way into consideration as I finally had the chance to sample their full range of rums. I almost went against the grain of convention by awarding the prize to the younger Mount Gay Gold Eclipse, but after several side by side tastings I became convinced that the new Mount Gay Black Eclipse was the superior rum. The two Mount Gay Rums are both very good, and on another day I might have chosen the Gold Eclipse over the Black; but… it wasn’t another day, and on the day I did my comparison’s the Black reigned supreme.

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The Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum From North America

and the winner is:

Famous Newfoundland Screech Rum

Honourable mention to Lemon Hart Demerara 151 Rum

Both of the rums nominated in this category are rums brands from Canada, where almost all of the rum produced is purchased in bulk from the Caribbean and then transported to Canada to be bottled. The rums are usually also aged for a further time in Canada and then blended with other stocks to produce the desired flavour profile. In the case of the Newfoundland Screech, the rum is a 100 % Jamaican blend of 4 marques that are produced in the same distillery as Appleton Estate Rum. All of these marques are aged in Jamaica. This rum has a reputation of being a rather harsh blend recommended for only the brave of heart. Frankly the reputation is undeserved, as Screech is a smooth rum which tastes delicious on ice or mixed in cocktails. 

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The Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from Outside the Americas and the Caribbean

and the winner is:

Plantation Panama 2000 (Old Reserve)

Honourable mention to Plantation Barbados (Grande Reserve) 5 Year Old Rum and Plantation Grenada 1998 (Old Reserve Rum)

A clean sweep of the nominations for the wonderful  Plantation Rums of Cognac Ferrand (located in the Cognac Region of France). These wonderful rums are purchased from a variety of distilleries throughout the Caribbean and transported to France where they are aged for an additional time in used Cognac casks. The result is a wonderful thread of cognac goodness which is imparted to the already deliciously aged rums. I have tasted just about the entire line-up of Plantation Rums and have not been disappointed by a single sip. Who would have thought that France could be a world leader in the production of Rum?

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And there you have it, my Regional Rum Howler Awards for Outstanding Rum:

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum From Central AmericaPanama Red 108 Overproof Rum

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from South AmericaEl Dorado 21 Year Old Rum

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from the Caribbean IslandsMount Gay Eclipse Black

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum From North AmericaFamous Newfoundland Screech Rum

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Rum from Outside the Americas and the CaribbeanPlantation Panama 2000 (Old Reserve)

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Over the next two weeks I will be wrapping up my Awards with the best of the best in Rum and Whisky

Cheers!

Posted in Awards, Extras, Howls | 5 Comments »

 
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