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Archive for the ‘Canadian Whisky’ Category

Review: Masterson’s Straight Barley Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 25, 2014

Mastersons_BarleyMasterson’s Straight Barley Whiskey is distilled and aged in Canada, for a company from Sonoma California called 35 Maple Street. As a straight whiskey, the spirit must be barreled and aged in new American Oak; however this Masterson’s whiskey also holds the distinction of being perhaps the only straight whiskey which is distilled from a mash of 100 % unmalted barley. It is bottled at 46% alcohol by volume, and is apparently (like the rest of the Masterson’s line-up) named for the famous frontier lawman, William “Bat” Masterson.

You may read my full review and tasting notes by clicking the following link:

Review: Masterson’s Straight Barley Whiskey

” … The initial aroma in the breezes above the glass takes me right back to my early childhood. On the farm where I grew up we used to grind our grain in a hammer mill. On cold winter days we would mix the ground barley with warm milk and water, and feed it to our outdoor hogs. The aroma of that musty barley porridge that we fed our hogs seems to be drifting in the air above my glass as I examine the whiskey’s colour …”

Please enjoy this review of a very unusual Canadian Whiskey.

And remember, my reviews are not intended to help you drink more whiskey, they are intended to help you drink better whiskey!

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

Review: Last Mountain Canadian Rye Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 23, 2014

Last Mountain 1The Last Mountain Distillery is part of a small wave of Micro-Distillers which have began to appear on the Canadian landscape over the last few years. These are small ‘mom and pop’ operations which make their spirits in small batches usually only a barrel or two at a time. This particular distillery is located in Lumsden, Saskatchewan, and it is owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Colin and Meredith Schmidt.

In the early stages of the development of their rye whisky I was sent a sample bottle and asked to publish my thoughts here on my website, (see article here). It is almost 2 years later, and I am happy to report that the Last Mountain Canadian Rye Whisky (bottled at 40 % abv. and made from prairie wheat) is in full production.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Last Mountain Canadian Rye Whisky

“… The dusty dry rye continues to pour out of the glass with smells of freshly baled straw, sanded oak, sandalwood and fresh tobacco running alongside. Joining are sweeter accents of butterscotch and honey. As the glass sits some fruity aromas develop as well with canned apricots and peaches, a few raisins and a hint of gooseberry jam bringing more sweetness to the nose …”

Please enjoy the review which includes a few nice cocktail recipes for your enjoyment, the Icy Breeze, and a nice Rye and Soda!

Cheers Everyone!

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

Review: Stalk & Barrel Single Malt Whisky – Cask #2

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 16, 2014

 

Stalk and BarrelThe Still Waters Distillery proudly proclaim themselves to be the first Micro Distillery in the Province of Ontario. Barry Bernstein and Barry Stein commenced operations in the fall of 2009 and produced their first new-make spirit just two months after they received their custom German-made pot still. The year is now 2014, and this means that the Still Water’s Distillery, being in its fourth year of operation, has been bottling their first batches of their own 100 % Hand-Crafted whisky (which they have aged the required 3 years in oak barrels) for several months now. In the case of their Still Water’s Single Malt Whisky, the distillery has chosen to bottle each of the first barrels of whisky as Single Cask offerings.

I was rather fortunate in that I received my first samples of the Stalk and Barrel Single Malt Whisky from the very first three casks (Casks  1, 2 and 3). This review is from Cask No. 2, which was aged in a first-fill used American bourbon barrel, and was bottled at 61.3 % alcohol by volume.

This is a 3 Year Old Single Malt whisky, the youngest allowed by Canadian law. You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt:

Review: Stalk & Barrel Single Malt Whisky – Cask #2

“… The initial aroma in the breezes above my glass carries strong impressions of leather and hazelnuts within the more familiar whisky scents of sweet malt, butterscotch and spicy oak. The power of the 61.3 % alcohol by volume becomes apparent and this gives the whisky a strong sharp push of astringency. Pushed along as well are earthy scents of freshly upturned soil, piles of newly harvested grain, damp wooden granaries and sour gooseberries. …”

Enjoy my review of this surprisingly 3 Year Old, Canadian Single Malt Whisky!

Cheers!

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Canadian Club Reserve (9 Year Old)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 27, 2014

CCR 9YRRecently there have been some changes in the Canadian Club Whisky family. One of the brands which has undergone a revamping is the Canadian Club Reserve which used to be a 10-year-old blend, but which was recently revamped and now carries a 9 year age statement. The newer version of the whisky has a new square bottle (shown below) and the two words, “Triple Aged” have been added to the label. My understanding is the whisky has been constructed to match as closely as possible the original flavour profile of the 10-year-old whisky. Although whisky as young as 9-years-old are now being used in the blend, there is also much older whisky in the blend as well.

The Alberta Beam Global team recently gave me a sample bottle to examine recently, and I have decided to share the resulting review.

WoodcutterYou may click the following excerpt (link) to read my full review of the new 9-year-old blend;

Review: Canadian Club Reserve (9 Year Old)

“… The initial nose is rich with butterscotch, oak, cedar, and a growing impression of maple. As the glass breathes some dank corn notes rise into the breezes along with some spicy tobacco, oak vanillans, sticky orange marmalade, and a dusting of rye spice. If you wait long enough, some nice chocolate notes and dabs of bourbon-like honeycomb …”

At the conclusion of the review I have included a refreshing recipe, The Woodcutter, which mixes the Canadian Club Reserve with Apple cider.

Please enjoy the review, and my cocktail suggestion!

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Note:
You may find my 2013 list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:  The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

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

Canadian Whisky Awards Announced!

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 17, 2014

2013-Canadian-Whisky-AwardsDuring the month of December, while I was publishing my list of the 2013 Rum Howler Top 25 Canadian Whiskies, I was also busy with another important Canadian Whisky project initiated by Author and fellow Whisky Blogger, Davin Der Kergomeaux. For the past 4 years Davin has organized the Canadian Whisky Awards. He assembles a North American Panel of Canadian Whisky Experts, arranges for all of them to receive a set of blind samples to be judged independently, and then amalgamates the scores into various categories depending upon the nature of the whisky, and the market for which it is intended. For the third year in a row, I was asked to be part of this panel, and I am happy to announce that results of the annual Canadian Whisky Awards Competition were announced Thursday evening at the Victoria Whisky Festival in Victoria, B.C..

Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whisky won the prestigious Canadian Whisky Awards – 2013 Whisky of the Year Award!

Lot No. 40 is distilled at the Hiram Walker Distillery in Windsor, Ontario from a 100% rye-grain recipe developed in the 19th century by Canadian pioneer distiller, Joshua Booth. In announcing the awards, Chairman of the Judges, Davin de Kergommeaux, called Lot No. 40,

“The very essence of what rye whisky is all about.”

Other top winners included Alberta Premium Dark Horse, Forty Creek Heart of Gold, Masterson’s Straight Rye Whiskey, Wiser’s Red Letter, and Crown Royal Black.

Here is a link to the full list of all of the Award Winners:

2014 Canadian Whisky Award Winners

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Note: I would like to thank Davin Der Kergomeaux for all of his hard work, and for allowing me to participate on his panel of judges once again this year. It was another great year for Canadian Whisky!

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Review: Tangle Ridge (Bourbon Casked) Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 12, 2014

SAM_0935Tangle Ridge is produced by Alberta Distillers for Beam Global in Calgary, Alberta Canada. The whisky is named for a limestone wall located near the Columbia Icefields in Jasper National Park (apparently discovered by Mary Schaeffer, one of Canada’s first female explorers). According to the press information I received Tangle Ridge Canadian Whisky is produced from a 10 Year Old – 100 % rye whisky which is blended with a hint of sherry for added richness. The resulting whisky is then recasked in ex Bourbon barrels for an additional aging time to allow the sherry and the Rye flavours to marry in the barrel.

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

Review: Tangle Ridge (Bourbon Casked) Canadian Whisky

“… Initially, I detect sweet corn, butterscotch, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon which all seem to be drifting in the breezes above the glass mixing with the oak spices. However, as I gave the glass time to breathe I began to notice telltale dusty dry rye spices struggling to push through. As I allowed more time the rye gained momentum bringing strong fall harvest scents of fresh grain and chaff which built up alongside the corn and sweet baking spices …”

This is one of those whiskies which grows in the glass rewarding those who are patient, and disappointing those to quick to bring the spirit to their lips. The rye grain requires time to evolve and if you sip too quickly it can be missed altogether. But if you are patient, the reward is well worth it; because as the rye builds, so does the whisky.

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Note:
You may find my 2013 list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:  The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies
You may find my 2013 list of the 30 Best Rums here:  The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 30 Rums

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

Review: Rich & Rare Reserve Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 5, 2014

RichAccording to the Sazerac website, their company is a direct result of the famous cocktail which bears the same name. It began in 1938 when Antoine Peychaud created a special drink for his guests to enjoy in the evenings at his apothecary in the French Quarter’s Royal Street. He would mix brandy, absinthe and a dash of his secret bitters for his guests. This special drink became quite popular and began to appear in the various coffee house’ establishments in New Orleans. One such establishment, the Sazerac Coffee House became so popular serving their version of the drink (made with Sazerac de Forge et Fils Brandy) that it became known as the Sazerac Cocktail.

The Sazerac website also tells me that their Rich & Rare Reserve Canadian Whisky is distilled in Canada and then aged patiently in hand-picked oak barrels. It is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume. This brand is not available (as far as I know) in Canada, rather it is a brand produced exclusively for the American market.

You may click on the following excerpt to read my full review:

Review: Rich & Rare Reserve Canadian Whisky

“… The Rich & Rare Reserve is lightly oily and/or creamy in the mouth with flavours of butterscotch, corn, and vanilla leading out on the palate. Some nice zesty spices ars present in the form of citrus zest, rye spice and hints of wood sap. Bits of tobacco and honeycomb are suggested as is a nice touch of maple syrup …

Included at the end of the review is a nice cocktail suitable for the Rich & Rare which I call the Iced Ruby Manhattan.

Cheers Everyone!

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

#1 Canadian Whisky – Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 25, 2013

rum_howler_badge- 25WHISKYEighteen months ago, Highwood Distillers, (Alberta’s only privately owned distillery) released a single bond offering (Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky) which was produced entirely from corn distillate which had been aged for a full 25 years in charred American white oak barrels. The release of this whisky commemorated the Centennial of Calgary’s world-famous rodeo (The Calgary Stampede), and it was bottled as a Limited Edition, Ultra-Premium, 25 Year Old Commemorative Canadian Whisky. This single grain offering was blended entirely with naturally sourced Rocky Mountain spring water, and was limited to a production run of only 6000 bottles.

Stampede WhiskyIn order to maintain good contact with the oak during the lengthy aging process, this bond was re-gauged or re-barreled twice during its maturing life. New barrels were not introduced when Highwood distiller’s made the liquid consolidation. Instead they chose to maintain the aging process in the original barrels into which the spirit began its maturation.

The result was a very special whisky, one which my judges without exception scored extremely well. In fact, this particular whisky was ranked number 1 by three out of the four judges (and the dissenting judge had it ranked number 3). This means that the Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky not only wound up as the Number 1 Canadian Whisky in my Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown, it actually separated itself from the rest of the field by a noticeable margin. Here is a link to my original review of the 25 Year old Commemorative Stampede Whisky which I published in July 2012, judged by my tasting panel to be the Best Canadian Whisky currently available in the world.

#1 Canadian Whisky – Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky

“… The initial nose is rich with smells of oak and cedar. Butterscotch notes rise into the air accompanied by strong scents of honeycomb and cereal. As the glass sits, the oak spices continue to grow above the glass. I also receive impressions of melted vanilla ice cream, some appealing notes of marmalade and marzipan, and some strong notes of corn whisky rising into the merry little breezes …”

This Stampede Whisky finishes with an explosion of spice and echoes of vanilla, butterscotch and honey. It has a long lingering finish which leaves the mouth heated, but also leaves me wanting another glass!

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

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

# 2 Canadian Whisky – Canadian Club Small Batch Classic 12

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 24, 2013

rum_howler_badge- 25WHISKYCanadian 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.

Classic Small batchRecently 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 12 (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.

Apparently my Judging Panel likes the new blend, as the Canadian Club Small Batch Classic 12 was selected the Number 2 Canadian Whisky in my Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown.

Here is a link to the review I wrote this past July:

# 2 Canadian Whisky – Canadian Club Small Batch Classic 12

“… 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 oak and tobacco scents have deepened bringing me impressions of fresh-cut cedar and honeycomb. The caramel and wood spice come together as toffee, and the orange peel has softened into marmalade …”

It has come to my attention that most of the Canadian Club line-up is experiencing a bit of a revamping with new bottle designs and perhaps some tweaking of the blends. I will be reviewing a few of those tweaked offerings in the new year. My hope is that I will see similar improvements with those brands as well.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

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

#3 Canadian Whisky – Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 23, 2013

rum_howler_badge- 25WHISKYIn November of 2005, Highwood Distilleries Ltd. finalized the purchase of Potters Distilleries (founded by Ernie Potter in 1958). Part of this acquisition, was the purchase of all of the remaining barrel aged stocks of whisky in the Potters facility. These barrels of whisky were transferred from the Potters warehouse facilities in Kelowna, B.C. to the newly constructed warehouse facility in High River, Alberta, where they were allowed to continue to age at the foot of the Rocky Mountains on the western edge of the Canadian Prairies. The whisky brands which Potters Distilleries had established (Century and Potters) were added to Highwood’s portfolio of spirits where they have not only been maintained but also expanded upon. Part of that expansion was the recent addition of the ‘Ninety’ branded whiskies to the Century Distillers line-up. Like the other whiskies in the Century portfolio, the Ninety branded spirits are corn-based rather than wheat-based blends. (The Distillery uses the Highwood banner for all of its wheat based whiskies.)

Ninety_25_Year_Old_-_shadow_2013_06Highwood chose the brand name ‘Ninety’ because these new whiskies are bottled at 90 proof (or 45 % alcohol by volume) rather than the usual 80 proof (40 % alcohol by volume). The higher bottling strength means that the final whisky will retain a character closer to the original cask strength whiskies from which they were blended. In the case of the Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky, the bulk of blend almost certainly has been drawn from Highwood’s treasured reserves of remaining Potters whisky stocks which are rumoured to contain barrels of whisky as old as 33 years.

Here is a link to my new review of the Number 3 spirit in my Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#3 Canadian Whisky – Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old

“… As I enjoy the breezes above the glass, I notice impressions of creamy vanilla pudding, hints of almond, some sticky marmalade, and a light sweetened grain-like component which actually reminds me of Post Honeycomb cereal. The longer you let the glass sit, the more firm and unified the aroma becomes, until after fifteen minutes or so it resembles a luscious butterscotch-oak-syrup that begs to be sipped …”

The Ninety “Decades of Richness” Canadian Rye Whisky has quickly become one of my very favourite whiskies, and for my palate, it is on par with the best Bourbons, and the best Single Malt Scotches I have tasted to this point in my whisky explorations. I wrote four years ago that Highwood Distillers was one of the best kept secrets in the whisky world, I suspect that is about to change.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

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

 
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