The Rum Howler Blog

(A Website for Spirited Reviews)

  • The Rum Howler Blog

  • Visit My Online Memorabilia Store

  • The Rum Howler Top Canadian Whiskies of 2013

    Click the image to find the Best 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2013

  • The Rum Howler Interview (Good Food Revolution)

    Click on the Image to see my interview on Good Food Revolution

  • The Rum Howler Top Rums of 2013

    Click the image to find the Best 30 Rums of 2013

  • Industry Interviews

    Interviews

    Click the Image for Great Interviews with the Movers of Industry

  • Cocktails and Recipes

    Click Image for Awesome Recipes

  • Follow Me on Twitter!

Archive for the ‘American Whiskey’ Category

For Father’s Day – Avoiding my 10 Whisky Regrets

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 15, 2012

Yesterday I shared a few of my rum experiences which were, let me say, less than enjoyable. The list was meant to help you avoid similar pitfalls in your search for a suitable rum to buy Dad for Father’s Day. Today, I think it is only fair, that I also list a few of the whisky decisions I have regretted as well. The list I came up with, isn’t really a list of horrible whiskies that left me gasping (although a couple are). It is more of a list of whiskies which in some way tainted my enjoyment such that I kind of wished I had never succumbed to their charm in the bottle.

They made me run to them, and then they made me run from them, kind of like that Gloria Jones song covered by Soft Cell:
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

These are my regrets, and I publish this list in hopes that I can help you avoid a regret or two this Father’s Day. (Just for the fun of it, I think I will count them down in reverse order starting with a few minor regrets, working my way to my biggest whisky regret.)

My 10 Whisky Regrets

Happy Father’s Day Everyone!

Posted in American Whiskey, Canadian Whisky, Howls, Irish Whskey, Japanese Whisky, Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

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)

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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 »

Review: (rī)1 Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 9, 2011

(rī)1™ (pronounced rye one) Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey is a rye whiskey produced by Beam Global Spirits. It is a blend of several different straight rye whiskeys of differing ages (minimum 4 years). It is bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume bringing a little more zip to the palate than a lower proof spirit.

I was gifted a bottle recently when my oldest son traveled to Boston and decided to pick me up something that I wouldn’t find here in Alberta. I decided that a review of this spirit here on my website would be a fun exercise.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…The nose from the glass is full of wood and rye spice. The woody notes are manifesting themselves as banana peel which has a certain astringent spiciness similar to the sharpness of Appleton Reserve Rum. Dry grain notes are evident, in particular rye grain which adds to that spicy flair, although I also sense some honeycomb in the breezes as well. Fresh sap filled pine planks are being cut somewhere in the background and green grassy tobacco smells well up as well…”

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: (rī)1 Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey

Please enjoy the review and the two cocktails which follow, the Buckeroo, and the Horses Neck.

Cheers!

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

Review: Red Stag by Jim Beam

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 23, 2011

For the past two weeks I have been reviewing some bourbon whiskey which I  received in a collection of sample jars from the personal collection of  J. Leslie Wheelock, (a member of the Alberta Beam Global team), which spanned an impressive range of unique whiskies from Canada, Scotland, and the USA.  This week I dipped into the samples and chose Sample Jar # 14, Red Stag  Black Cherry Flavoured Bourbon.

Red Stag Flavoured Bourbon is a black cherry flavoured, 4-year-old, Jim Beam Bourbon. It appears to be intended primarily for the mixing of cocktails and bar drinks although it has been suggested that it can be enjoyed as a sipper as well.

For the purposes of the review I broke the process into two parts. The first part of the review process involved five independent taste sessions (about one ounce each) consumed neat and with ice, and I drew my tasting notes from that part of the review process. I then constructed a few cocktails including two which I found on the Red Stag Website (The Brass Buck and Red Stag and Cola).  I used these cocktails to round out the review with ancillary information regarding the suitability of the flavoured Whiskey for bar style cocktail drinks.

You may read the results of my research here:

Review: Red Stag Flavoured Bourbon

And please remember that the intention of my blog is to help you drink better spirits, not more spirits!

Please enjoy the review and the cocktails which follow:

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

Whiskey Review: Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 15, 2011

Two weeks ago I began a series of reviews based upon a collection of whisk(e)y samples provided from the personal collection of J.L. Wheelock, a member of the Beam Global team here in Alberta. Part of the sample set of whiskies were a selection of Bourbon Whiskeys from the Jim Beam Distillery.  I was not given a sample of Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon as part of this sample group; however, I happened to have a small 375 ml flask of Jim Beam on hand  so I thought that I would provide a review of the flagship whiskey of the Jim Beam brand as part of this series of reviews.

The Jim Beam distillery was founded in 1795,  and it has been operated as a family run business for seven generations.  Currently Jim Beam Straight Kentucky Bourbon is produced at the Clermont Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, and (according to the Jim Beam Website) is the best-selling bourbon in the world.  The spirit is aged for 4 years in white American oak barrels and bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

The bottle I am reviewing is the 375 ml flask style bottle pictured to the left.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…The aroma from the glass is one of rough timbers freshly cut. A waft of vanilla rises with the timbers, and deeper down we have some dank corn and oodles of raw honeycomb.  Waiting for a minute or so I also catch some toffee aroma building in the glass as well…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

As well I have included my version of a nice cocktail called The Kentucky Margarita. Please enjoy the review.

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

Review: Maker’s 46 Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 11, 2011

I mentioned a week ago that I had received a collection of sample jars from the personal collection of  J. Leslie Wheelock, (a member of the Alberta Beam Global team), which spanned an impressive range of unique whiskies from Canada, Scotland, and the USA.  This week I dipped into the samples and chose Sample Jar # 13, Maker’s 46 Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey.

Maker’s 46 Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey begins where Maker’s Mark Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey ends. Bill Samuels, Sr. is credited with creating the first version of Maker’s Mark in 1954. After a few years of practice the folks at the Maker’s Mark Distillery have been producing this whiskey the same way since 1958. The process begins with pure limestone fed spring-water; follows with yellow corn, red winter wheat, and natural malted barley; continues with a unique milling, cooking, and fermentation process; and ends in a small batch distillation and moving (eg; rotating) barrel aging process. Of course the final result is tested and tasted to make sure it is just right.

In a recent display of innovation, Master Distiller Kevin Smith, began a sort of ‘trial and error’ series of experiments to come up with a new twist on the Maker’s Mark. In December 2009, Maker’s 46 was born. (click on the link to get the full story right from the Maker’s Mark Website.)

In a nutshell, fully aged Maker’s Mark is removed from its barrel, ten seared wooden staves are then placed inside of that barrel. (The staves are seared to caramelize the sugars in the wood.) These wooden staves are basically flat  panels of wood each about 4 inches wide and 12 to 18 inches long.  The aged Maker’s Mark is then put back into the barrel and aged several more months. When the proper taste profile is achieved, Maker’s 46 is removed from the barrel, bottled, corked and dipped.

I admit that after reading a little bit about Maker’s 46, I was eager to give my small sample a few tasting sessions and write down my impressions. Here is an excerpt from my review;

“….Maker’s 46 is surprisingly soft as it enters the palate, and I want to call this creamy  in spite of the rush of wooden timbers and heavy toffee that quickly builds. Things are not as sweet as the nose would have implied however, and impressions of drier fruit, tobacco and cocoa seem to take hold at mid palate with the oak spiciness expressing itself as cloves and cinnamon….”

You may read my full review here:

Review: Maker’s 46 Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

Please enjoy the review and remember that the aim of my blog is to help you drink better spirits, not to help you drink more spirits!


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

Basil Hayden’s Small Batch Bourbon

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 5, 2011

Just before Christmas I was greeted by J. Leslie Wheelock, who is part of the Beam Global team here in Alberta, who had brought with him a with a veritable treasure trove of small whisk(e)y samples from his personal collection for me to inspect and enjoy in the hopes that I might write about a few of them here on my blog. No strings were attached, and I was left free to try them on my own time-table and to share whichever opinions I had which were fair and honest here on my blog.

The samples are a tour de force of some of the best whiskies which Beam Global has produced and includes Bourbon Whiskey samples from Jim Beam, Scotch Whisky samples from The Macallan and Highland Park, and Canadian Whisky samples from Canadian Club.

The samples all came in little sealed and numbered jars with a master-list letting me know what was in each jar.  Originally, I was to receive 19 samples but since I have already received a full sample bottle of The Macallan Cask Strength, sample # 3 was omitted.

I decided that I wanted to experience a little bourbon first, which is why, when I chose to begin this series of mini reviews for the sample bottles, I decided to begin with Sample # 19, Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…. this is a gentle bourbon that caresses the mouth with honeycomb cereal, vanilla and mild toffee on the entry.  Spicier tannins from the oak build and gather strength in the mouth but they never reach a point where they overwhelm the other flavours….”

You may read the full review by following this link:

Whiskey Review: Basil Hayden’s Small Batch Bourbon

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

The Rum Howler Awards – The Whisky Wrap-up

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 23, 2010

And today I reach the last of my Rum Howler Awards Postings presenting the ‘grand prize’ awards for best whiskies I have tasted over the past year.  As with the rum, I wanted to be completely fair about things so I brought in some help and had the final tasting sessions done by panel rather than by myself alone.

All final tastings were done in a blind format. The panel members were not even tasting the same spirits at the same time. The whiskies were ranked  by each panel member, and then the rankings were compared to choose the best spirit for each category.

Unlike the Rum awards which were based upon age and price, the whisky awards were based solely on price.  I allowed for a bit of leeway ($10.00) when it came to imported whiskies as I understand the costs of shipping into my locale from other parts of the world.

The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky under $40.00:
(A price point below $40.00 in my market (Alberta) was required.)

Alberta Premium Rye 25Yr Old

Honourable mention to Wiser’s Small Batch, The Black Grouse, and Gibson’s Finest 12 YR.

The decision to make the determining factor, price rather than age, was based upon the sheer volume of whiskies with no age statement in my market. However once that decision was made, it was a foregone conclusion that Alberta Premium 25 Yr Old Limited Edition would waltz away with the first award. In the under $40.00 price range there just isn’t a better whisky in the world. The good news for the competitors is that this whisky has pretty much sold out and will not be in the competition next year.  The bad news for the competitors is that Alberta Premium 30 Year Old is apparently on its way.

—————————————————————————

The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky under $80.00:
(A price point below $80.00 in my market (Alberta) was required.)

Highland Park 12

Honourable mention to Johnnie Walker Black LabelAlberta Premium Rye 25Yr Old and Wiser’s 18 Years Old.

The Highland Park 12 Year Old Whisky is my go to whisky when I want a nice aromatic peated whisky in the middle of the cold spells in winter. I was immensely satisfied when the panel verified my thoughts that this is a world-class spirit.  The Johnny Walker Black, The Alberta Premium 25, and the Wiser’s 18 Year Old were all very strong competitors in what was the closest race for an award in this series.  If you began your whisky collection with these four spirits, you would do yourself no wrong.

—————————————————————————

The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky (Any Price)

Bruichladdich Black Art

Honourable Mention to Wiser’s 18 Years Old, Highland Park 12, and Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey (15YR).

Four panel members each chose a different whisky in the blind tastings. But when all the scores were analyzed the Black Art from Bruichladdich was deemed to be the most popular. I found it interesting that the Irish whiskey from Cooley’s scored so well. It seems that every time this bottle is opened it gains new converts. I also found it interesting that the Wiser’s 18 and the Highland Park 12 scored much higher than many more expensive offerings.

—————————————————————————

And there we have the final “Grand Prize” Rum Howler Awards for Whiskies! Here is a summary of today’s Awards:

The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky under $40.00, Alberta Premium Rye 25Yr Old

The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky under $80.00, Highland Park 12

The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky (Any Price), Bruichladdich Black Art

…………………………………………………………………………………

All of my 2010 Whisky Awards can be found on this summary page:

The Rum Howler Awards for Whisky Excellence!

Posted in American Whiskey, Canadian Whisky, Howls, Indian Whisky, Irish Whskey, Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

The Rum Howler Awards – Part 3

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 21, 2010

Yesterday it was Rum, and now today it will be Whisky.  And just as I did yesterday, today I will be assigning my the Regional Rum Howler Awards for Whisky Excellence.  And just like yesterday, I need to apologize before I begin by admitting, that my experience with certain regions of the World is lacking and a truly representative award just isn’t possible where I lack experience. But again, I shall do my best to award only the most worthy.

All of these awards are based upon side by side tasting sessions held over a period of several weeks. I actually began about two months ago slowly tasting different whiskies (and the rum too) bringing only the very best forward for the final tastings which took place over the last two weeks.

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Canadian Whisky:

Wiser’s 18 Years Old

Honourable mention to Alberta Premium Rye 25Yr Old, and Forty Creek Portwood Reserve.

Initially I began with six contenders for this Award, but it quickly became a three-way contest. There were times when each of the two Honourable mentions seemed like they would be chosen, but in the end I realized that when I was not doing the side by side tastings, I was inclined to want a glass of the Wiser’s 18, more than the other contenders. As this seemed to be the only hard evidence I had to base my decision on, I granted the slimmest of victories on that basis.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Scotch Whisky:

Bruichladdich Black Art

Honourable mention to Highland Park 12, Johnnie Walker Black Label, Tullibardine Single Cask Edition 1987  Hogshead Cask #632, and  Mostowie 1979 28 Yr from Cask No.s 12771 & 12772

If I thought judging the Canadian Whiskies was tough, that was nothing compared to judging the Scotch Whiskies.  So many varieties of peated scotch, nonpeated scotch, blended scotch, and Single Malt Scotch. And then there are the regional variations.  I decided to keep it simple, one category, one award.  I chose the best blends from Diageo, I chose the best Single Malts from Bruichladdich and Highland Distillers, and I went into my private stash of rare whiskies from private Bottlers like Dewars Rattay and Signatory which I have not even reviewed yet, but which I had already tasted and enjoyed over the course of the past year.  Eliminating whiskies slowly over time was difficult, but in the end one whisky seemed to stand taller in the glass than the others, The Bruichladdich Black Art!

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

The Rum Howler Award For Best American Whiskey:

Evan Williams Single Barrel

Honourable mention to High West Whiskey – Rendezvous, and Knob Creek 9.

I was tempted to lump the American Whiskey category into a Whiskies of the World category with all of the other whiskeys besides Canadian and Scottish Whisky.  But after thinking it over I decided that it just wouldn’t be fair. American Whiskey as a category is certainly larger than Canadian Whisky in terms of styles and brands, and although I have not reviewed a lot of American Whisky on my blog, I certainly have tried a lot of varieties over the past year at tasting events and festivals. The ones I liked I purchased and have sipped occasionally. Buffalo Trace, Jim Beam, High West, Knob Creek, and Eagle Rare all were sipped and sampled in a taste off. The clear winner in my opinion was the Evan Williams Single Barrel.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

The Rum Howler Award For Best Irish Whiskey:

Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey (15YR)

I regret that I have no honourable mentions for the Irish Whiskey Category. The fault is mine and not the Whiskey’s. I have only sampled five Irish Whiskey’s in the past year and my ability to speak on behalf of the Whiskey of the Emerald Isle is severely impaired. But in giving the Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey a Rumhowler Award, I have no qualms. This whisky is simply a marvel, and you do yourself a grave injustice if you do not attempt to taste it.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

The Rum howler Award for Best Emerging Nation Whisky:

Amrut Indian Single Malt Whisky

Honourable mention Suntory Yamazaki 12

I actually have sampled a fair number of whiskies over the past year from the emerging whisky nations, single malts from Australia, Wales, Japan and India. And I have sampled some excellent grain whiskies or blends from Japan. Amrut Distillery has gained fame as of late for their excellent attention to detail and their most excellent whisky. I wish I had the time to sample their Amrut Fusion which is widely regarded as one of the World’s best.  But I guess I have one to look forward to for nest year!

*Note:  To call India and Japan emerging whisky nations does a serious injustice to these nations. It is far more correct to say that it is our recognition of the quality of their whisky that has emerged.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

And there you have it, the next five Rum Howler Awards!

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Canadian Whisky, Wiser’s 18 Years Old

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Scotch Whisky, Bruichladdich Black Art

The Rum Howler Award For Best American Whiskey, Evan Williams Single Barrel

The Rum Howler Award For Best Irish Whiskey, Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey (15YR)

The Rum howler Award for Best Emerging Nation Whisky, Amrut Indian Single Malt Whisky

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Tomorrow will be the final awards where I reveal the best of the best!

Posted in American Whiskey, Canadian Whisky, Howls, Indian Whisky, Irish Whskey, Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Whiskey Review: DownSlope Distilling Double Diamond Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 10, 2010

DownSlope Distilling is the creation of three enterprising individuals, Mitch Abate, Matt Causey and Andy Causey. They began their experimentation and  passion for alcoholic spirits as home brewers. Andy dedicated himself to researching advanced wort production and home brewing techniques; Mitch traveled the country learning as much as he could about how whiskey was made: and Matt perfecting the art of grain mashing and fermentation.  Two years ago they decided to combine their talents and produce their brand of hand crafted spirits. Then they spent a year researching how this could be done, selecting the right facility, and acquiring the right equipment. Finally, they set out to establish Centennial Colorado’s first craft distillery.

Using their custom designed still and artisan wash production, Mitch Abate, Andy Causey, and Matt Causey are close to realizing their goal of producing spirits of  high quality.

Double Diamond Whisky

Pictured to the right is the Double Diamond Pot Still which is used to produce  Downslope Distilling’s whiskey.   The still was made by Copper Moonshine Stills in Arkansas, by Colonel Vaughn Wilson. The whiskey is produced in  the Irish tradition, being made primarily with malted barley.   One taste of it however, and you will realize  as well that a significant portion must be rye.  The whiskey is aged in very small experienced medium toast casks and then blended.

Here is an Excerpt from my review:

“…A light vegetal quality minces with the rye flavour in the mouth, and there is a gentle underlying sweetness which must stem from the malted barley.  Although the rye flavour carries  forward that typical ‘Canadian Whisky’ impression, we begin to taste an assertion of the ‘Irish Whiskey’ style as well….”

You may read the full review here:

Whiskey Review: DownSlope Distilling Double Diamond Whiskey

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

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,028 other followers

%d bloggers like this: