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Archive for the ‘American Whiskey’ Category

Review: Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 20, 2014

Booker's SAM_1112Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon is part of Jim Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. This collection is composed of Booker’s, and the previously reviewed Baker’s, Knob Creek,and Basil Hayden’s. The whiskey collection is considered by Jim Beam Distillers to be a selection of ‘ultra-premium’ bourbon whiskeys created to establish a high-end category for bourbon, and thus to appeal to the serious whiskey aficionado. The Booker’s Bourbon was named for Booker Noe, who in 1992 began to produce the Booker’s whiskey bottled “straight-from-the-barrel, uncut and unfiltered”.

Apparently, the Booker’s whiskey was originally produced in extremely limited quantities and reserved as special holiday gifts for his friends and family. This high strength ‘holiday bourbon’ was so popular with those who received it that the Beam company decided to produce it as a special bottling beginning in 1992.  Interestingly, Booker’s Bourbon does not carry a consistent age statement from batch to batch as barrels are chosen for character and flavour rather than for being a specific age. For that reason the age of a particular bottle can vary between 6 to 8 years old. Because the whiskey is bottled straight from the barrel the bottling strength can also vary (according to the website) between 59.5 % to 64.55 % per batch.

sam_1118-the-bestiary

The Beastiary

(The Beam Global team must be aware of my fondness for over-strength whiskey because my sample bottle checks in at the full 64.55%.)

You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt link:

Review: Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon

“… As I enjoyed the scents and smells which the whiskey brought forward, I was treated to even more richness as indications of dry fruit revealed themselves above the glass along with hints of treacle and pan roasted walnuts. There were also delightful aromas of leather chairs and rich pipe tobacco meandering into the breezes with undertones of smoky charcoal and dabbles of licorice mixed in. What I sense only a little of, is any undo astringency from the whopping 64.55 % alcohol within the glass. Maybe I have a bottle from a particularly outstanding batch; but air above my glass represents a masterpiece of whiskey goodness …”

My cocktail suggestion at the end of my review, The Beastiary, combines the goodness and savagery of Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon with a whopping dose of bitters in the tradition of the Alabazam Cocktail.

Please enjoy my both review and my cocktail which is not for the meek of heart. Happy Easter!

Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Review: Baker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 27, 2014

BakersBaker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is part of Jim Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. This collection is composed of Booker’s, Baker’s  and the previously reviewed Knob Creek,and Basil Hayden’s. The whiskey collection is considered by Jim Beam Distillers to be a selection of ‘ultra-premium’ bourbon whiskeys created to establish a high-end category for bourbon, and thus to appeal to the serious whiskey aficionado.

The Baker’s Bourbon was named for Baker Beam, who was the grand-nephew of James Beauregard Beam (Jim Beam). It is bottled at 107 proof (53.5% alcohol by volume) and produced from bourbon whisky which was aged for a minimum of 7 years. Interestingly, the mash for this spirit was apparently fermented utilizing a  special strain of ‘jug yeast’ that has been in the Beam family for over 60 years.

Wisconsin Old Fashioned (Whiskey)

Wisconsin Old Fashioned (Whiskey)

Recently I was given a bottle of Baker’s by the Alberta Beam Global Team for the purpose of a review upon my website, and you may read that review by clicking on the following excerpt link:

Review: Baker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

“… The spiciness is off the charts no doubt aided by the 53.5% alcohol by volume bottling strength of the Baker’s Whisky. Despite the full barrel of spice (and despite the obvious push of alcohol) the spirit is remarkable easy to sip. This is because all that spice is accompanied by an equally forceful explosion of flavour and sweetness …”

A recipe which has become fashionable to write about on the cocktail blogs lately is the Wisconsin Old Fashioned, which mixes a nice oaky brandy with an orange slice, brandied cherries, and Angostura Bitters. It is really quite delicious. When I was tasting the Baker’s Bourbon, I could not help but think to myself how well this particular spirit would work using the Wisconsin method. At the conclusion of my review you will find my recipe for the Wisconsin Old Fashioned modified slightly to accommodate the Baker’s Bourbon rather than a fine Brandy.

Take care everyone, and please enjoy Responsibly!

Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Whiskey (Batch 3)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 11, 2014

WoodfordWoodford Reserve Distiller’s Select is a Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey, distilled and bottled at the Woodford Reserve Distillery in  Versailles Kentucky. The folks at Woodford Reserve pride themselves in the manufacture of what they call ‘craft bourbon’. The Kentucky distillery is apparently located over top of a deep limestone aquifer which contains mineral rich (iron free) limestone water. This is of course the aquifer from which the distillery draws the water required for fermentation of their rye rich grain mash. (This mash is composed of 72 % corn, 10 % barley, and 18 % rye grain.)

Buckeroo

Buckeroo

The fermentation tanks are constructed from cypress which (according to the folks at Woodford Reserve) helps to eliminate unwanted flavours which could arise in a stainless steel fermentation tank. The wash is distilled three times on copper pots stills to a full 158 proof, and the resulting new make is barreled in freshly charred new oak barrels prepared by the distillers own cooperage. The spirit is set down to mature in a temperature controlled warehouse where it is carefully monitored to be bottled when the right flavour characteristic has been achieved.

Here is a link to my latest review:

Review: Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Whiskey (Batch 3)

“… When I poured my first glass of the Woodford bourbon, the aroma was thick with oak and cedar almost to the point of overwhelming everything else. The effect was one of intimidation, as sappy fresh-cut cedar and oak spices dominated …”

Please enjoy this review which kicks off a series of bourbon whiskey visitations as we head into springtime. As well I hope you enjoy my cocktail suggestion which follows the review, the classic Buckeroo.

Cheers Everyone!

Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Broken Bell Bourbon

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 7, 2013

SAM_0982 Broken Bell BuckerooBroken Bell Bourbon is a whiskey brand developed by Distiller Sales Company of Princeton, Minnesota. Distiller Sales is a division of a company called USDP (United States Distilled Spirits Co.). They describe themselves as a “leading developer of corporate brand distilled spirits programs”.  The company boast sales in 32 Countries worldwide, and some of those brands which are available in my home market include: Ethan Koll 8 Year Old Canadian Whisky, Cross Keys 5 Yr Old Barbados Rum, Monkey Paw Rum, Luxus Vodka, Capatina French Vodka and Veil Premium Vodka.

I was provided a sample bottle of Broken Bell Bourbon by Jfj Agency Inc. who is the distributor of Distiller Sales Co. brands in Alberta.

Here is a link to my full review and tasting notes:

Review: Broken Bell Bourbon

“… The aroma from the glass is typical of a young bourbon featuring fresh oak scents melded with barbequed corn. I sense spicy tobacco and raisins, dried apricots, some spicy oak sap and orange peel spice …”

Included in the review are two nice bourbon recipes, the Buckeroo, and Minted Brass. Please enjoy the review!

Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Bernheim Original (Kentucky Straight) Wheat Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 17, 2013

Berheim Wheat WhiskeyAccording to the company website, Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey is produced at the Bernheim Distillery in LouisvilleKentucky, and then aged in Rickhouse Y at Heaven Hill’s, Nelson County aging facilities. The primary grain in the mash bill is winter wheat, and as I have indicated in my previous review for Highwood’s Centennial 10 Year Old Canadian Whisky, the use of wheat (which is more easily digestible than other grains) gives the resulting whisky a softer smoother flavour profile than corn, barley or rye. The Bernheim Original contains no age statement. However, as a ‘straight whiskey’ it must be aged a minimum of two years in new, charred oak barrels, and distilled at less than 160 proof. (The website implies an aging regimen of about 5 to 6 years and specifies that the whiskey contains no coloring, flavoring or blending agents.)

You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt (link):

Review: Bernheim Original (Kentucky Straight) Wheat Whiskey

“… The aroma is a nice mixture of spicy oak sap and toffee with some nuances of maple rising into the breezes as well. Although the whisky is predominantly a wheat mash there appears to be enough corn in the blend to give the aroma a very bourbon-like nose with fresh corn scents and honeycomb building as the glass sits …”

For your enjoyment, I have included a classic cocktail recipe for this whiskey at the conclusion of the review, the Whiskey Sour.

Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Whiskey Review: Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 17, 2013

Knob Creek 9Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is part of Jim Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. This collection is composed of Knob Creek, Booker’s, Baker’s  and the previously reviewed, Basil Hayden’s. The whiskey collection is considered by Jim Beam Distillers to be a selection of ‘ultra-premium’ bourbon whiskeys created to establish a high-end category for bourbon, and thus to appeal to the serious whiskey aficionado. Knob Creek is the oldest of these small batch whiskeys, and is aged a full nine years in newly charred oak barrels, then bottled at 100 proof or 50 % alcohol by volume. The whiskey brand is owned by Beam Global and is produced at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, Kentucky.

You may read the full review by clicking on the following excerpt (link):

Whiskey Review: Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

“… The initial aroma is deep and rich with smells of freshly hewn oak timbers dripping with sap. I also sense loads of honeycomb, barbequed corn on the cob, baking spices (vanilla and cinnamon), brown sugar, and fresh maple toffee. As I take my time with the glass, indications of chocolate caramel and cola rise in the breezes along with rich pipe tobacco and crushed walnut shells …”

Please enjoy my review, slainte!

Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Bourbon Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 13, 2013

Jim Beam Devils cut1Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is produced by the Jim Beam Distillery which was founded in 1795, and has operated as a family run business for seven generations. According to the company website, after bourbon whiskey ages (or any other straight whiskey for that matter), and it is emptied from the oak barrel, a certain amount of the spirit is left behind, trapped within the wood fiber of the empty barrel. This portion of trapped whiskey is called the “devil’s cut” and is usually lost to those who make bourbon. Recently however, the folks at Jim Beam have developed what they call a proprietary process which releases the devil’s cut from these empty barrels. What Jim Beam extracts from the barrel is held for a certain length of time (which apparently allows the flavour to develop), and then blended with a 6-year-old bourbon. The mixture is bottled at 90 proof (45 % ABV) and the result is a new style of bourbon which they call Jim Beam Devil’s Cut.

You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt.

Review: Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Bourbon Whiskey

“… Very briefly I taste sweet impressions of caramel, marmalade and maple syrup. However, very quickly the woody flavours and the spices within the whiskey build up and overwhelm the sweetness. The heart of the Devil’s Cut is a sort of whiskey extract which is literally pulled from the inside of the wood fibers of oak barrels …”

Please enjoy the review which includes a nice cooler style recipe of mine called Minted Brass.

Have a great day everyone!

Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 31, 2013

SAM_0549 BuilletBulleit Bourbon is produced at the Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. The brand traces its heritage back to 1830 when tavern keeper Augustus Bulleit (after a few experimental trials) created the brand and began to market it locally and eventually to areas outside of Kentucky. As misfortune would have it, Augutus Bulleit disappeared while transporting some barrels of his bourbon to New Orleans, and the brand disappeared for over 100 years. In 1987, Tom Bulleit revived the brand which bears his great grandfather’s name. Today the brand is owned by the Diageo Conglomerate who market the product throughout North America and into Europe.

The sample bottle of Bulleit Bourbon which I received was bottled at 45% alcohol by volume and is the standard bottle sold in North America. Here is an excerpt from my review:

“… There is a bit of a spicy swat that tickles the tonsils, but there is also a nice maple and caramel sweetness which accompanies that spicy swat and makes you want to take another sip. I can taste oak planks which are seeping just a little fresh sap from the wood pores, some delightful rye spices, and of course that rather sweet impression of maple and caramel …

Here is a link to my review which includes a recipe for the Old-Fashioned Cocktail:

Review: Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey

Please enjoy the review!

Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

The Year in Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 8, 2012

This was a great year for the Rum Howler with respect to Whisky. I was able to help in a small way with the success of the 3nd Annual Edmonton Whisky Festival; I was selected to be on the North American Panel of Spirit Writers who judged the Canadian Whisky Awards; and I was able to almost double the number of Whisky reviews on my website this year. The result of all of this activity is that the year 2012 saw me taste and score more whisky than ever before. This means that my 2012 Rum Howler Awards for Whisky are better than ever.

All of my whisky awards are based upon side by side tastings of the various spirits which are in competition for each particular award. Just as it is with my other Rum Howler Awards, all of the samples which I receive for review in a given year are automatically considered for the awards. I do my review, and then I set aside the remainder of the spirit for the end of the year judging. I also receive additional industry samples specifically for these awards.

And so without further ado, it is time for me to reveal the recipients of my 2012 Rum Howler Awards for Excellence in the Production of Whisky. These Awards are for the best Whisky Spirits I encountered in the year 2012, here is the link:

The 2012 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Whisky

Posted in American Whiskey, Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Irish Whskey, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Austin Nichols Wild Turkey Bourbon

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 19, 2012

According to the Wild Turkey website, Austin Nichols Wild Turkey Bourbon, is composed of a mash bill which includes three grains: corn from Kentucky and Indiana; barley from Montana; and rye grain from North Dakota. Apparently the yeast used in the fermentation has been cultured at the distillery and the actual strains used are kept a closely guarded secret. The whiskey is distilled to a low proof which results in less water needing to be added after maturation to bring the spirit to bottling strength. The belief is that this leads to a fuller more authentic ‘just from the barrel’ flavour.

Wild Turkey, like all American bourbon is aged solely in new white American oak barrels.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“… The Wild Turkey is full of oak and rye spices in the initial delivery. Being a huge fan of rye, I am really liking what I am tasting. Along with the rye and the oak, I taste the sweetness of corn, some honeycomb and tobacco, a nice smattering of cloves, cinnamon and vanilla; and a light dry bitterness which actually works well with the overall flavour…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Austin Nichols Wild Turkey Bourbon

I included a nice Mint Julep recipe with the review, one which I call the Northern Julep.

Please enjoy my review and cocktail!

Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

 
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