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Archive for the ‘Canadian Whisky’ Category

#24 Canadian Whisky – Forty Creek Heart of Gold

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 2, 2013

rum_howler_badge- 25WHISKYThis year John Hall (Whisky Maker, Forty Creek Distillery) launched a new rye forward Forty Creek blend, Heart of Gold (2013 Limited Release). Heart of Gold, like all of John Hall’s whisky blends, is distilled from three separate grains: barley (which adds soft nutty flavours); corn (which adds weight and body) and of course rye (which adds flavour and spice). Although all three grains are used, the clear intention of Mr. Hall in creating this whisky was to showcase the spicy, fruity and floral notes of Canadian Rye.

Heart_of_Gold_bottleAccording to John Hall:

“This project started nearly a decade ago, focusing specifically on Canada’s noble rye grain. I have always brought out the spicy, fruity notes of rye in my whiskies, but this time, I wanted to perfect how to capture the underlying delicate floral notes of the rye that too often get lost in the process.“

My tasting panel agrees that the noble rye grain is worth exploring as the Heart of Gold was determined to be Number 24 on my Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown.

Here is a link to my most recent  review:

#24 Canadian Whisky – Forty Creek Heart of Gold

“… The initial nose reminds me strongly of rye whisky as I remember it from my youth (seventies/early eighties). The breezes above the glass are full of wood spices (cardamom, ginger, sandalwood, sawdust and white pepper), and those breezes remind me of autumns past when the ripened grain in the fields was being combined. The air all around the farm would be full of the scents and smells of the harvest, complete with the straw left behind in windrows and the separated chaff and grain dust floating in the air above the fields and granaries …”

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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

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

The Rum Howler Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 1, 2013

rum_howler_badge- 25WHISKYLast year in December, I published my 2012 Rum Howler – Top 30 Rums list based upon a series side by side tastings that my Rum Chums and I completed last fall. All of the rums upon the final list were aged sipping rums, and the list included some of the most expensive (Appleton Estate 50 Year Old) rums in the worlds, as well as some of the best rum bargains (Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo Rum).

This fall, I completed a similar list for the Best Canadian Whiskies in the market today.  Over the next 25 days I will be counting down each of these Whiskies from number 25 to number 1 in an advent style list revealing the very best (as determined by my Rum Chums and I)  on Christmas Day. As I fill out the list, I will be providing my most up to date review for each spirit. These lists are really quite fun to create, and I hope that those who follow this countdown (and who read the reviews) have some fun. Disagreement with my Panel of Judges is welcome, as are your own opinions about the list.

If you are interested in such things, a detailed explanation of how I came up with this list is available here:

The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

copper-pot-heroI shall begin The Rum Howler Top 10 White Rum Countdown with the Number 25 Canadian Whisky as determined by my judges:

(Just click on the excerpt to read my review):

#25 Canadian Whisky – Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve

” … The initial nose of the whisky brings oak and rye spices into the breezes above the glass with an effervescent orange peel zest riding the coattails of the spice. As the glass sits, green tobacco and orange marmalade jump in with a soft punky caramel tainting their scent. I detect some cinnamon and ginger rising up from the glass and my sense is that the Copper Pot is going to be a very interesting and complex whisky ….”

The Copper Pot Reserve has everything I want in a whisky, a rush of spice that lingers throughout the taste experience, wonderful caramel and chocolate flavours balanced perfectly with a mildly bitter, but soft nuttiness, and a complexity which is off the charts.

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I hope everyone enjoys this year’s Christmas Countdown!

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

Review: Sortilège Prestige

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 13, 2013

prestiqueSortilège Prestige is a Canadian Whisky based liqueur produced by Mondia Alliance Wine and Spirits in Montreal, Canada. According to the Sortilège website the product is handcrafted in small batches by combining Canada #1 – Extra Clear Maple Syrup (only available at the first thaw) with a 7 Year Old – 100 % Rye Grain Canadian Whisky. The final product is bottled at 40.9% alcohol by volume and is considered by the producer to be a more premium version of their Sortilège Original.

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

Review: Sortilège Prestige

“… The flavoured whisky is somewhat ‘thickened’ in my glass displaying a rich brown mahogany/copper colour that actually reminds me of dark maple syrup. The aroma from the glass is very reminiscent of the previously reviewed Sortilège Original, although there is perhaps a stronger push of maple into the breezes above the glass due to the higher alcohol content (40.9% vs 30 %) of the Prestige …”

Please enjoy my review!

And to all my fellow Canadians, Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

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

Review: Collingwood Handcrafted Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 8, 2013

Collingwood Whisky Bottle shotCollingwood Handcrafted Canadian Whisky is produced at the Canadian Mist Distillery in Collingwood Ontario.This is of course the Distillery which produces its namesake brand, Canadian Mist, which is one of the best-selling Canadian Whiskies in North America. Most of those sales are in the USA where over 4 million cases of Canadian Mist are consumed annually.

This is a premium brand which is positioned a little higher on the rungs of the whisky ladder so to speak. However, it would be wrong to think of Collingwood as a more mature or refined Canadian Mist. It is produced from its own recipe and finished in a manner which gives the spirit a unique twist. Once the whisky is mature and has been blended, it is left in stainless marrying vats where its flavour is enhanced with staves of maple which have also been added to those vats. This process is unique as far as Canadian Whisky goes, and promises to bring a new flavour component into the landscape of Canadian Whisky.

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

Review: Collingwood Handcrafted Canadian Whisky

“… The breezes above the glass bring me the scents and smells of light butterscotch, sandalwood and rye spice. I also receive indications of vanilla and bits of sweet and sour fruitiness which reminds me of fermented grapes and apple cider …”

Please enjoy my review of the Collingwood Whisky!

Slainte’

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

Review: Forty Creek Heart of Gold (2013 Limited Release)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 5, 2013

Heart_of_Gold_bottleForty Creek Whisky has for the last number of years produced a special limited release whisky and allowed the public to participate in the release by offering to let you choose your own numbered bottle. As well you can have your bottle signed by their own Master Distiller and Whisky Maker, John Hall, when you arrive to pick up your pre-ordered bottles. These special release whiskies are built upon the foundation of the company’s flagship whisky, Forty Creek Barrel Select, and are basically versions of this whisky which have spent additional time finishing in selected oak barrels. The 2013 Special Limited Release Canadian Whisky, Heart of Gold, is a spirit with an emphasis on Canadian rye grain.

According to Whisky Maker, John Hall:

“This project started nearly a decade ago, focusing specifically on Canada’s noble rye grain. I have always brought out the spicy, fruity notes of rye in my whiskies, but this time, I wanted to perfect how to capture the underlying delicate floral notes of the rye that too often get lost in the process.“

Heart of Gold is not a 100 % rye grain whisky, as the whisky blend also includes a barley whisky, which adds some nutty flavours, and a corn whisky, which adds weight and body. But make no mistake about it, the intent of John Hall in creating this whisky is to showcase the spicy, fruity and floral notes of Canadian Rye.

I was given a pre-release media sample a few months ago and from that small sample I constructed a review of the spirit which roughly coincided with the numbered bottle offering upon the Forty Creek website. At that time the whisky was just being bottled, but as is John Hall’s way, these bottles are ‘rested’ for up to two months before the whisky is released to the public.  Now that the whisky has been released I have had an opportunity to sample the spirit from a full sealed bottle. I decided to revisit the review to see if this resting period had had any effect upon the spirit or my review.

Here is a link to my newly revised review (which incidentally contains very few changes):

Review: Forty Creek Heart of Gold (2013 Limited Release)

“… The breezes above the glass are full of wood spices (cardamom, ginger, sandalwood, sawdust and white pepper), and those breezes remind me of autumns past when the ripened grain in the fields was being combined …”

Cheers Everyone!

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

Review: Stalk & Barrel Single Malt Whisky – Cask #1

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 26, 2013

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 2013, and this means that the Still Water’s Distillery, being in its fourth year of operation, is just now bottling their first batches of their own 100 % Hand-Crafted whisky which they have aged the required 3 years in oak barrels.

In the case of the 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 sample of the Stalk and Barrel Single Malt Whisky from the very first cask (Cask 1) to produce Single Malt whisky at the Still Waters Distillery. This cask was a previously used American bourbon barrel, and the whisky it produced was bottled at 63.2 % alcohol by volume. This is a 3 Year Old Canadian 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 #1

“… the initial aroma reminded me strongly of the 100 % corn whisky blends from the Highwood Distillery in Western Canada. The first breezes above the glass carried scents of sweet butterscotch bathed in corn syrup with tantalizing oak spices and almond scents meandering within …”

Enjoy my review of this surprisingly good 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: Tap 357 Canadian Maple Rye Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 19, 2013

Tap 357TAP 357 is a relatively new flavoured Canadian Whisky, produced in Montreal for Van Gogh Imports.

According to the TAP 357 website, the whisky used in for this spirit is produced at the oldest distillery in Western Canada. It is four times distilled and then matured in a combination of new, second, and third-use bourbon barrels. The flavoured whisky is a blend of  3, 5,  and 7-year old blended rye whiskies that have been mixed with pure Canadian maple syrup produced from maple trees tapped at the first hint of spring in the province of Quebec. The product is bottled at 40.5 % alcohol by volume and is currently available in select markets in the USA and Canada.

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

Review: Tap 357 Canadian Maple Rye Whisky

“… I notice a nice combination of honey and maple scents rising into the air followed by more than a hint of rye spice. There is also a vague sort of damp woodiness which accompanies these initial scents. Impressions of spruce boughs and wet autumn leaves seem to lurk in the breezes giving the TAP 357 a hint of ‘earthiness’ which I have not noticed in other Maple Whiskies …”

Please enjoy my review!

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

Review: Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 10, 2013

CR21The Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old is a Canadian Whisky which I have only tasted twice, and each time, it was in a blind tasting flight that contained over 45 other Canadian Whiskies. Of course this was when I served on the jury for the 2012 Canadian Whisky Awards. I made simple tasting notes for every whisky I tasted when I ran through the tasting flight the first time, and then I returned to those notes revising and adding to them when I went through the flight a second time. Each time I visited each whisky, all I knew about the spirit was its sample number. The samples were only 50ml in size, so I had to be judicious each time I tasted each sample such that my notes and my scores were accurate reflections of my feeling towards each of the whiskies.

The Fountana Group Canada is the brand owner, and it turns out the whisky is produced by Highwood Distillers right here in my home Province of Alberta. The Fountana Group contracted Highwood to produce a well aged whisky for export to Asia (where it apparently has been well received). I should point out that the whisky was also well received by the other jurors on that panel for the Canadian Whisky Awards as this brand won the prestigious Connoisseur Whisky of the Year for the Export Market at those 2012 Canadian Whisky Awards.

As I am unlikely to receive a bottled sample of this whisky, my review is based solely upon those brief tasting notes I wrote while I was acting as a whisky judge. I guess my hope is that the brand owner (and the folks at Highwood Distillery) might read the review, and figure out that maybe Canada deserves this Whisky too.

You may read my review of this outstanding Canadian Whisky by clicking the following link:

Review: Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old

Please enjoy the review!

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

Review: Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 3, 2013

HW_Rye_Whisky_shadowAs the Highwood Distillery readies itself to recommence production at their facilities in High River, Alberta in the aftermath of the June 20th, 2013 flash flood. I thought it would be an appropriate time to revisit their flagship spirit, Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky. The Highwood Distillery is the only locally (Albertan) owned distillery in Canada. It sits in the heart of the High River community, producing more than 300,000 cases of bottled spirits per year. Although the bulk of their production goes towards Vodka, Flavoured Vodka, and Premixes, they also produce a sizable (and growing) amount of Canadian Whisky each year.

I consider the Highwood Canadian Whisky to be a unique product unlike anything else on the Canadian whisky landscape (I also find it very tasty). What is so original about the Highwood Whisky is the grain from which it is distilled. Highwood uses local Canadian prairie wheat for the distillation base of all of their Highwood branded whisky. This is because wheat alcohol, rather than barley or corn alcohol, has less heavy non-digestible components. This makes for an extremely smooth easy to drink whisky. After sampling most of the Highwood Whisky range, I have come to the conclusion that they are making some of the smoothest whisky in the world.

Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky is produced from prairie rye and wheat grain in a batch style distillation (the grains are distilled and aged separately). The whisky is aged for at least five years in charred American white oak barrels (without the addition of additives), and when it is mature, it is blended to produce that distinctive Canadian ‘rye’ flavour profile consistent with our Canadian Whisky. The whisky is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

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

Review: Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky

“… The first thing I noticed about the Highwood Whisky as I sipped it was that it is a smooth, gentle, and mellow whisky which has the soft sensation in the mouth of a much older whisky. Honeycomb, ginger, wood spice, and a light dab of vanilla all support a wonderfully clean, dusty rye flavour. There is polish in evidence here …”

I included two classic Canadian Whisky cocktails at the end of the review, the Canadian Rye-Whisky Splash, and the Old Fashioned Cocktail.

 

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

Review: Corby Royal Reserve Canadian Rye Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 27, 2013

786I like to go back to my early reviews and re-sample the spirits to see how time and experience has changed my perceptions. (It could also be that the spirit changes over time.) This afternoon I opened a bottle of Corby Royal Reserve Canadian Rye Whisky and sampled it next to my old tasting notes. I decided to make some minor adjustments to my tasting notes, and to my original score.

This is a brand which traces its roots all the way back to a time before confederation, when Henry Corby began to distill whisky on the banks of the Moira River. In 1881, Henry’s son, also Henry (aka Harry), took over, and through the next ten years the Company began to bottle their own brand of whisky and sold it under the name of Corby.

Today Corby Distilleries Ltd. produces a strong portfolio of whisky brands which includes Corby Royal Reserve, Hiram Walker Special Old Rye Whisky, as well as the entire Wiser’s family of whiskies.

You may read my revised review of Corby Royal Reserve Canadian Rye Whisky by clicking on the following excerpt:

Review: Corby Royal Reserve Canadian Rye Whisky

“… The aroma is one of oak spices mingled with rye, and an underlying butterscotch and vanilla. There is a touch of roughness in the air which some will find offsetting. I actually like a rye whisky to have some kick, so I am not put off rather I feel anticipation as I lift the glass …”

The review includes a nice recipe at the end, the Woodcutter.

Have a great day!

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

 
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