Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 21, 2013
Flavoured and Spiced Whiskies seem to be popping up all over the landscape these days. It seems that not only rum companies are jealous of the success of Captain Morgan. The Whisky producers want a share of this market too. Time will tell whether these flavoured spirits are just a fad or part of a new market trend. But since they have arrived with such force, I will continue to review those which cross my path.
SinFire Cinnamon Whisky is produced by Hood River Distillers, an importer, producer, and bottler of spirits in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The Company’s bottling plant is located beside Columbia River with Mt. Hood standing majestically behind the facility, and they have been there since 1968. I received a small sample of their new SinFire Whisky a few weeks ago and decided to put the sample through the paces of my review methodology. This cinnamon flavoured whisky apparently combines imported Canadian whisky with spicy-sweet natural cinnamon flavors. It is bottled at 35 % alcohol by volume.
You may click on the following excerpt to read the full review which includes a nice Highball style cocktail for Cinnamon Whisky called The Buzz Saw Highball:
“… As I put my snoot near the glass I receive a very strong indication of cinnamon heart candies. Some butterscotch is apparent in the breezes as well as a light sandalwood and hints of rye whisky. Although I receive indications of sweetness, it does not appear to be overdone …”
Please enjoy the review!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y Review, Whisk(e)y, Canadian Whisky, Flavoured Whisky, Spiced Whisky | Tagged: Whisky, Canadian Whisky, Flavoured Whisky, Spiced Whisky, Cinnamon Whisky, Hood River Distillers, SinFire | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 17, 2013
A second review for the Day of St. Pat:
The practice of making whisky at the Old Bushmills Distillery can be traced back to 1608 when King James I granted Sir Thomas Phillips (landowner and Governor of County of Antrim, Ireland) a royal license to distill ‘uisce beatha’, the gaelic for ‘water of life’. Although this grant serves as the first documented evidence of whisky being distilled at the site which would become Old Bushmills, it was not as yet called Bushmills. By 1743 however, a distillery by this name was (according to Victorian whiskey journalist Alfred Barnard) was “in the hands of smugglers”‘. (However, it was not until 1784 that Hugh Anderson officially registered the Old Bushmills Distillery with the Pot Still as its trade mark.) Today, the Bushmills brand is owned by the Diageo conglomerate with all of the whiskey produced under the Bushmills name produced at the Old Bushmills Distillery in Bushmills, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
The Bushmills Black Bush is composed of whiskey aged in Oloroso Sherry and American oak (bourbon) cask. All of this whiskey is aged for up to 7 years with 80 per cent of the blend being Premium Malt Whisky.
Please click on the following excerpt to read the review which contains two great St. Patrick’s Day cocktails, Fool’s Gold on the Rocks, and of course, Irish Coffee:
“… The initial breezes above the glass are warm and inviting. I sense some soft caramel toffee rising into the air with some sweet malty aromas, hints of dry fruit (raisins and apricots), a nice lightly spicy oak presence, and some light impressions of cocoa … “
Please enjoy my second St. Patrick’s Day Review!
(Note: Sample for this review provided by the Diageo Marketing team in Alberta.)
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Irish Whskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Black Bush, Bushmills Whiskey, Cocktails and Recipes, Irish Coffee, Irish Whiskey, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 17, 2013
St. Patrick’s Day has rolled around one more time. (Although with a temperature outside at minus seventeen degrees Centigrade and still 40 centimeters of snow still residing on my back lawn it seems more like January than March.) In many places throughout the world, this is a day to revel in the Irish heritage which we either share by birth, or we share by spirit (on St. Patrick’s Day at least). We wear green; we attend parades; and some of us even drink green beer in what has become more of a secular holiday which celebrates Irish culture, than a religious holiday which celebrates the Patron Saint after which the day was first named.
And celebrating Irish culture is not a bad thing; it was after all the Irish who first distilled “uisce beatha“, which translates from Irish into English as “the water of life“. I could go into a long and detailed etymology, but suffice it to say that “uisce beatha” is probably very close to the original form of the word which would later become “whiskey”. My blog is full of reviews of this wonderful spirit, but I must admit it is sorely lacking in content dedicated to the Irish variety.
Today, I will go a small way towards correcting this imbalance by reviewing a whiskey from the Emerald Isle which embodies the character and the class of spirits we call Irish Whiskey; a spirit which can trace its heritage back to 1757, and makes the claim that it is linked to the oldest distillery in Ireland, the Kilbeggan Distillery.
Please click on the following excerpt to read the full review:
“… The Kilbeggan is very pleasant in the glass with a nice warm mahogany colour and initial scents of vanilla, punky toffee, and light sandalwood. As I let the glass breathe, I notice some nice fruity notes (banana and orange peel in particular), a bit of pickle juice, some green grape, and a nice little dollop of almond …”
Of course I have include a nice cocktail for the Day of St. Pat, The Irish Mojito Swizzle.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
(Note: Sample for this review provided by the Alberta Beam Global team)
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Irish Whskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Cocktails and Recipes, Irish Whiskey, Kilbeggan, Kilbeggan Distillery, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 14, 2013
In 2011 the Dunedin Distillery – DoubleWood was the first whisky launched as part of the New Zealand Whisky Collection. This whisky was distilled at the now defunct Willow Bank Distillery near Dunedin, on South Island (New Zealand). The distillery was mothballed in 1997, but some of the remaining barrels of whisky were left aging in a seaside bond house until they were purchased by Greg Ramsey who formed the New Zealand Whisky Company.
The Dunedin DoubleWood 10 Year Old was produced from stocks which were aged in American-Oak barrels for 6 years and then finished for 4 more in North Island (French oak) wine barrels. The whisky is a blend of 70% Single Malt whisky, and 30% premium grain whisky, bottled at 40% alcohol by volume.
You may click on the excerpt to read my full review:
“… The initial aroma from the glass is a mixture of wooded scents with the light accent of fieldberries (blackberries and currants) and red cherries. As the glass breathes I notice some alpine scents with woody thickets (alders and willow), some green ferns and moss, and perhaps a hint of heather. The impression of fielberries and cherries continues to wander through the breezes accenting the alpine woodland but not dominating it …”
Please enjoy my review and the Autocrat Cocktail which has been included as my suggested cocktail for the New Zealand whisky.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, New Zealand Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: DrinkWire, Dunedin Distillery, New Zealand Whisky, New Zealand Whisky Collection, Whisky, Whisky Review | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 12, 2013
8 Seconds is a new Canadian Whisky from Frank-Lin Distillers, Products Ltd. who have been a bottler and producer of distilled spirits since Frank Maestri founded the company in 1966. (Frank-Lin currently operates out of their new facility in Fairfield California with annual capacity of over 10 million cases of wines and spirits.)
The 8 Seconds brand is marketed with a direct tie to the western rodeo as it makes its push into the North American marketplace. (In case you are wondering, 8 seconds is the amount of time a cowboy must ride a bucking bull, or a bucking bronco, in the rodeo contest before the bell signals his ride is complete.) The whisky itself is a pretty straight forward offering, distilled in Canada and aged in oak. It is (I assume) shipped in bulk from Canada to Frank-Lin’s facility in Fairfield, California for bottling. The whisky has no age statement; but I note that the more premium 8 Seconds Black carries a statement of 8 years. I presume that the less premium 8 Seconds Blended Canadian Whisky would be somewhat younger than that.
You may click on the excerpt to read my full review:
“… The initial nose carries a fair amount of vanilla and caramel, as well as some rough and tumble wood and rye spices. I let the glass breathe to see if the scents deepen, and indeed the rye spices seem to grow in strength with perhaps a hint of corn joining in. This is not overly complex, but it is pleasant …”
Please enjoy the review and my cocktail which follows, the Prescott!
Note: The sample was provided by River Valley Beverage Group
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: 8 Seconds, Canadian Whisky, Cocktails and Recipes, Frank-Lin Distillers, Whisky, Whisky Review | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 7, 2013
Crown Royal Canadian Whisky is currently produced in Gimli, Manitoba, at the Crown Royal Distillery. The distillery and the brand are owned by the spirits conglomerate, Diageo, and I think it is fair to say that Crown Royal is Diageo’s flagship Canadian Whisky brand. A couple of years ago Crown Royal Black was introduced as an addition to the Crown Royal family of whiskies. This new Crown Royal Black is a bit of a departure from the rest of the Crown Royal line-up featuring a stronger bourbon profile in the whisky through the use of new charred oak barrels during a portion of the maturation process of the whisky. It is bottled at 45% alcohol by volume and is intended as a robust alternative to their best-selling Crown Royal Whisky.
You may click on the excerpt to read the full review:
“… I smell rich oak spices melded with caramel toffee, some lovely bourbon-like honeycomb and vanilla with hints tobacco and rye spices and a light influence of maple and chocolate. As I let the glass breathe, some rum-like brown sugar aromas evolve and I seem to sense some light corn accents in the breezes as well. The Crown Royal Black appears to be well-balanced and quite robust in the glass …”
Please enjoy the review and the cocktail suggestion included, The Long Autumn.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Black, Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Crown Royal, Diageo, Whisky, Whisky Review | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 4, 2013
Founder, John Philip (J.P.) Wiser, purchased a distillery in Prescott, Ontario in 1857, and began to produce Wiser’s Whisky. In fact the J.P. Wiser Distillery may have been the first to use the term “Canadian Whiskey’ on their labels, as this is how the whisky was proudly introduced at the 1893 Chicago’s Wold’s Fair. From the beginning, J.P. Wiser established his brand as a quality whisky with high standards of production. As a result the distillery grew, as did the popularity of his style of whisky. By the early 1900′s Wiser’s was the third largest distiller of whisky in Canada.
The company merged with the H. Corby Distillery Company sometime after the death of J.P. Wiser in 1917. Shortly after in 1932, production of the Wiser’s brands moved to the Corby Distillery. A controlling interest in the Corby Distillery was acquired by Hiram Walker several years later, and by 1989, the Corby Distillery was closed, and all production was moved to the Hiram Walker Distillery where all Wiser’s brands are currently produced. Through all of these changes the Wiser’s Brand has been recognized as a vital component of the company’s portfolio of brands, and now, 150 years later after it all started, Wiser’s remains one of Canada’s leading whisky brands. In fact, Wiser’s is one of the top-selling brands of Canadian Whisky worldwide.
I have been on a bit of a mission these days re-sampling the spirits from older reviews, and seeing if my views have changed over the course of the last three to four years. Recently I sampled a new bottle of Wiser’s Small Batch. Although my impressions were very similar to my original review, I nevertheless revised the review slightly to account for the small changes in my perspective.
You may click on the excerpt to read my review:
“… Oak and brown sugar rise from the glass which has a nice rum-like accent. As the glass breathes, rye spice, caramel, oak and cedar, corn, tobacco, marmalade and baking spices round out the nose which is remarkably deep and complex. I found nosing the glass to be thoroughly enjoyable …”
Please enjoy my recent revisit to the Wiser’s Small Batch!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Cocktails and Recipes, Small Batch, Whisky, Whisky Review, Wiser's Whisky | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 28, 2013
Although Adelphi Distillers are primarily known for their selection of Single Cask Malt Whiskies, I have discovered that they also produce a fine blended whisky they call the Adelphi Private Stock. It is bottled at 40 % and is a blend of 4 grains combined with a high proportion of aged Single Malts from the west coast and the Speyside regions of Scotland. The whisky was originally known as “Granny’s Blend” because it was created for the grandmother of Adelphi’s previous owner, Jamie Walker.
The whisky was blended from a large selection of ‘blind’ samples with the final recipe being a closely guarded secret. Interestingly, the final blend is matured in a solera-style vat. Each time a quantity is drawn off for bottling, the vat is topped up with exactly the same blend of whiskies. This practice allows Adelphi to maintain a consistent flavour for each small batch bottling (each batch contains no more than 12,000 bottles).
I was given a bottle of this whisky by Thirsty Cellar Imports who are the importer of Adelphi Whisky here in Alberta. You may click on the following excerpt to read the full review:
“… The nose was rather interesting with wood spices, some honey and butterscotch, perhaps a touch of heather and little dollop of boggy peat.
As I let the glass breathe I noticed some almond and vanilla, and a hint of canned fruit (peaches and pears). The spiciness reminds me of Speyside, and the boggy peat aroma reminds me of Islay (but much gentler than Islay can be) …”
Please enjoy my review!
Posted in Whisk(e)y Review, Whisk(e)y, Scotch Whisky | Tagged: Whisky, Whisky Review, Scotch Whisky, Blended Whisky, Aldelphi | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 22, 2013
Lot No. 40 (Single Copper Pot Still) Canadian Whisky was first released in the 1990′s as an upscale connoisseur’s whisky for the North American market. Alas, timing is everything, and the whisky never really caught on, as apparently the market wasn’t quite ready for such a new style of Canadian Whisky back then. However, with the new surge of interest in Canadian Whisky across North America (and in particular at the premium end of the market), Corby (the owner of the Wiser’s Brand), is optimistic that the time for this whisky has finally arrived.
Lot No. 40 is, make no mistake about it, a new style of Canadian Whisky. It is made with locally grown rye which has been distilled upon a single 12,000-litre copper pot still. The final whisky is aged in new oak barrels to showcase the creamy caramelized flavours which new freshly charred oak barrels bring.
Dr. Livermore, the current Master Blender at the Hiram Walker Distillery, elaborated on the whisky for me:
“Without getting into specific recipes, Lot 40 is comprised of 100% of our (Hiram Walker) rye whisky. This whisky was made via pot distillation and subsequently aged in new casks. There is a proprietary proportion of distillers malt(s) used in the brewing process that allows for conversion of the rye grains into fermentable sugars. The brewing process is made in small batches according to the traditional recipes dating back to the early 1900s.”
You may read my review of this new Canadian Whisky by clicking the following excerpt from the review:
“… The initial nose is filled with the scents and smells of honeycomb, freshly harvested rye, and freshly cut oak and cedar planks which are still seeping bits of sap from the wood grain. Caramel toffee and green tobacco, and even more fresh rye climbs up out of the glass into the breezes …”
Please enjoy my review of this exceptional Whisky!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Corby, Hiram Walker, Lot 40, Rye Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review, Wiser's Whisky | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 20, 2013
Seagram’s has a rich and storied history which can be dated back to 1857 when the Granite Mills and Waterloo Distillery Company was formed. About seven years later, Joseph Seagram joined the company and by 1911, it was known as Joseph E. Seagram & Sons.
The Seagram’s VO was, according to legend, created by Joseph Seagram 100 years ago when he blended some of his finest whiskies into a spirit designed especially for the wedding celebration for his son Thomas. 100 years later, the Seagram name is still on the VO bottle, but ownership of this brand has been passed on to Diageo who now use their wide variety of stocks to produce this whisky at the Valleyfield Distillery in Quebec.
The Seagram’s VO is one of the oldest continuously selling brands of Canadian Whisky in the market today, blended in the old-fashioned way to be enjoyed in those short and tall cocktails we Canadians enjoy so much. It is not by any stretch of the imagination a sipper, but then again, I doubt many ‘sipping whiskies’ were being crafted 100 years ago when this blend (bottled at 40 % abv.) was created. In honour of the 100 years of Seagram’s VO, I thought I would publish my review of this venerable Canadian Whisky.
You may click on the excerpt to read the full review:
“… The initial nose brings forth notes of oak and rye spice, vanilla and butterscotch, and light impressions of tobacco into the air above the glass. As the whisky breathes, I notice that there is something penetrating about the aroma. It reminds me of a combination of light incense and a freshly snuffed out cigarette. Rounding things out is a light corn accent and an impression of soft canned fruit (peaches perhaps). Somewhere in the background a field of tall dry grass is gently swaying in the breezes … “
Please enjoy the review!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Diageo, DrinkWire, Seagram's, Seagram's VO, Whisky, Whisky Review | Leave a Comment »