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 ‘Whisk(e)y’ Category

Review: The Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 10, 2014

Balvenie 12 SAM_1113The Balvenie Distillery is located at Dufftown which is of course, pretty much situated in the heart of the Speyside region of Scotland. This is a Single Malt Distillery; but one which holds the distinction of being the only such distillery where every part of the process of making whisky takes place right at the distillery. The distillery grows and malts its own barley (about 10 % of its total requirement); it has its own cooperage; and it has its own copper-smith. Owned by William Grant and Sons, the distillery is one of the top 10 producers (by volume) of Scottish Single Malt Whisky.

The Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel is one of the company’s most recent offerings to arrive in Canada, and it replaces The Balvenie 15 Year Old Single Barrel whose stocks have been dwindling such that this expression is now quite hard to find (at least where I live). The 12 Year Old (like the 15 Year Old before it) is a true Single Barrel Whisky as each bottle is drawn from a single first-fill Bourbon cask selected by The Balvenie Malt Master, David Stewart. These casks were chosen to represent a consistent Balvenie character; however, each barrel will have its own unique character, and therefore each bottling from each unique barrel will be slightly different from each other. (And yes, this whisky spent its entire 12 year aging life in one single first-fill barrel.)

You may read my full review here:

Review: The Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel

“… The breezes above the glass indicate that the whisky has a firm oak character as those breezes are filled with a firm presence of clean oak spice. This woody spiciness is accented (quite nicely) with vanilla, sawgrass and almond scents. As the glass breathes, the whisky breezes become more complex bringing forward additional hints of butterscotch, honey and some sweet beer-like malt …”

Note: Only 300 cases of this limited edition single malt are available for purchase at LCBO stores across Ontario starting February 2014. There were previously 300 cases released for purchase in Alberta in December 2013.

Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Review: Kavalan Concertmaster (Port Cask Finish) Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 3, 2014

Kavalan Port Cask SAM_1096Kavalan Whisky is produced by the King Car Group at the newly built Kavalan Distillery at Yi-Lan, Taiwan. The distillery features imported copper pot stills from Scotland and clean water sourced from the Central Mountain and Snowy Mountain Ranges of Ylan to produce a unique Taiwanese whisky. The first expression of their  Concertmaster series is a Port Cask finish single malt whisky which was of course finished in a variety of Port Wine casks from Portugal (which include Ruby, Tawny, and Vintage Port). The Whisky does not carry an age statement; but because we know that the distillery opened in 2008, and the fist Concertmaster whisky began to appear in Canada in 2013; we can assume the Whisky is no older than 5 years and may be as young as three years old.

SAM_1097

The Crushed Polly


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

Review: Kavalan Concertmaster (Port cask Finish) 

“… The initial breezes above the glass brought forward a pleasant fruit-like scent of sweet red cherries within a backdrop of clean oak spice. There was a sweetness in the air similar to the aroma of cotton candy and marshmallows, and as the sweetness combined with the cherry like fruitiness I was reminded of Turkish Delight and red licorice …”

I found the whisky was suited very well for tall cocktails, and as a result I included a few recipe suggestions in the review including my own mixed drink, the Crushed Polly.

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

Review: Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 1, 2014

SAM_1016 FusionThe Amrut Distillery is situated in Bangalore ‘the garden city’ of India. The distillery sits in a tropical locale 3000 ft above sea level with its water source being the Himalayan Mountains.

The Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky is produced from two geographically disparate grains. The majority of the barley used to produce this whisky was grown and harvested at the foot of the Himalayan Mountains.This Punjabi barley was mashed, distilled and aged in the distillery at Bangalore. The distillery also uses a peated barley sourced in Scotland and this barley is as well brought to the facilities in Bangalore to be separately mashed, distilled and then aged until maturity. When each separately distilled whisky is ready, they are blended and then aged for a second period of time to allow the different whiskies flavours to marry in the barrel prior to bottling.

Rob Roy Cocktail

Rob Roy Cocktail

The Amrut Fusion Whisky is a single malt which represents the fusion of two different whiskies. It is bottled at 50 % alcohol by volume and is sold in various markets across the world including here in Alberta, Canada.

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

Review: Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky

“… As the glass breathed I received strong notes of Demerara sugar and baking spices which brought impressions of dark rum and cola into the whisky aroma. The oak and the peated aromas carried the other scents and smells forward, and melded into them rather than dominated them. The result is a very complex whisky which brought many interesting nuances in the air …”

Accompanying this review is an excellent recipe suggestion, the Rob Roy Cocktail.

Slainte’

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

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: , , , , , , | Comments Off

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: , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Jameson Irish Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 17, 2014

Emerald Crusta SAM_1076Today is the day of St. Patrick, and in many places throughout the world, this is a day to revel in the Irish heritage which we either share by birth, or (on St. Patrick’s Day at least) we share by spirit. Some of us will wear green clothing; some of us will attend parades; and some of us will 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 in fact, 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 as I have admitted in the past, it is sorely lacking in content dedicated to the Irish form of the spirit.

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. And, one which bears a rather obscure link to St. Patrick’s Day.

Like St. Patrick, who was born (in 385 A.D.) of Scottish parentage, but found his calling (and fame) in Ireland where the holiday of St. Patrick first bore his name, so to John Jameson was also born a Scotsman (in 1740 A.D.), and he also found his calling (and established his fame) in Ireland with the Whiskey Company that still bears his name, Jameson Irish Whiskey.

And so in honour of the celebration of the Day of St. Patrick, I have chosen to review the flagship Whiskey of Jameson brand, Jameson Irish Whiskey. You may read my full review here:

Review: Jameson Irish Whiskey

“… The initial aroma in the breezes above glass represents a soft punky sweet butterscotch interlaced with clean oak spices. As the glass breathes, I notice a light woodiness of freshly sanded oak in the background with the wood spices beginning to resemble ginger, cilantro, cardamom, and freshly harvested grain. There is also a mild punky smell within the whiskey which is obviously a reflection of the Irish pot still influence …”

As is my custom, I have included a nice recipe suggestion as part of my review, a classy cocktail I have named, the Emerald Crusta.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Everyone!

Posted in Irish Whskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

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: Glenfiddich 12 Year Old Single Malt

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 6, 2014

Glenfiddich_8321_Original.tifGlenfiddich is credited by most whisky writers as being the distillery which brought Single Malt Scotch Whisky into prominence after World War II. According to Michael Jackson in his wonderful publication, Scotland and its Whiskies (pages 101-103, Copyright Duncan Baird Publishers, 2001), the independent operators of the distillery began to produce and sell their whisky with an emphasis on the Single Malt expression rather than depending upon selling their whisky to blenders. The result of this foresight is that Glennfiddich is now the most popular (by sales) producer of Single Malt whisky with a market share which accounts for over 30 % of world-wide sales. The flagship whisky of the brand is their 12 Year Old Glenfiddich Single Malt Whisky.

SAM_1027 Mamie Taylor

Mamie Taylor Cocktail

The 12-year-old expression is a Single Malt Whisky produced from a blend of stocks which were aged in American bourbon and Spanish Sherry oak barrels. I received a sample bottle of the Glenfiddich 12 Year Old just prior to Christmas, and I decided to share the results of my examination here on my website.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Glenfiddich 12 Year Old Single Malt

“… As the glass breathes I sense impressions of some lowland sawgrass, a few crushed gooseberries, and fruit-like hints of spicy raisin as well as sliced green apples and pears. Over time the air above the glass develops more of an herbal quality with indications of lemon balm and heather …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a nice recipe recommendation, the Mamie Taylor Cocktail!

Slainte’

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Important Note: In June of 2013, Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch announced that $2.00 from every bottle sold of the older Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera Whisky in Canada would be donated to benefit Canadian Forces Members as part of their continued support for Wounded Warriors Canada. This program is ongoing and I have been informed that as of the end of 2013, $161,616 have been raised for Wounded Warriors Canada through these $2.00 donations. Founded in 2006, Wounded Warriors Canada is a non-profit organization that helps Canadian Forces Members (be they full-time members or reservists) who have been wounded or injured in their service to Canada.

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

Review: Ron Burgundy “Great Odin’s Raven” Special Reserve

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 2, 2014

Ron BurgundyRon Burgundy “Great Odin’s Raven” Special Reserve is a result of a collaborative effort between Paramount Studios and Celebrity Cellars International (CCI). The aim of the project was to create a blended scotch to capitalize on the ‘celebrity status’ of Ron Burgundy, the Scotch-loving main character of Paramount Studio’s original Anchorman movie, and to launch the Ron Burgundy Scotch coinciding with the release of Anchorman 2, The Legend Continues.

According to Scott Roddick and Jeff Harder (Managing Partners of CCI), one of the major criteria for both parties (Paramount and Celebrity Cellars) going forward was to create a ‘good’ blended Scotch whisky which would be well received by both fans of the Anchorman character, Ron Burgundy, as well as by whisky enthusiasts. Neither side wanted the spirit to become merely a “souvenir brand”. To that end the, whisky was crafted and bottled in Scotland by Old St. Andrews Distillery, featuring a blend of grain and mature malt whiskies from the Speyside, Highlands, and Islay regions of Scotland. The whisky is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume and was released (as planned) in North America on December 1, 2013.

Great Odin's Raven's Presbyterian Cocktail

Great Odin’s Raven’s Presbyterian Cocktail

The early returns are in, and they are quite positive. Since the December 1st release, over 14,000 cases of Ron Burgundy Scotch have been sold in North America. Building upon that success, the Ron Burgundy Whisky was recently launched in the UK and Australia.

I was provided a sample bottle by the folks at Celebrity Cellars, and you may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt:

Review: Ron Burgundy “Great Odin’s Raven” Special Reserve

“… The initial scents and smells from the glass are rather interesting. They bring a combination of  wood spices; some sweet honey and butterscotch; bits of heather and saw grass; and a mild dollop of boggy peat into the breezes above the glass …”

Please enjoy the review which includes my suggested cocktail, Great Odin’s Raven’s Presbyterian Cocktail!

Slainte’!

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

Review: Revel Stoke Spiced Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 27, 2014

Revelstoke SpicedRevel Stoke Spiced Whisky has been around for almost 15 years. It is a product of  Ed Phillips and Sons in Princeton, Minnesota, and the spiced whisky is apparently (according to the back of the bottle anyway),

“Inspired by the age-old tradition of rugged Canadian outdoorsman infusing their whisky with vanilla and spices.”

According to Davin de Kergommeaux (at Canadianwhisky.org) the Revel Stoke Spiced Whisky is named for the town of Revelstoke, located in the mountains of British Columbia. The base whisky is however, distilled on the eastern side of those mountains in Alberta, at an unnamed Albertan Distillery from a base of wheat and rye. According to the back label of my sample bottle, the flavours and spices within are produced from sugar, water, natural flavour, and citric acid.

Revalation SAM_1046This Spiced whisky was originally bottled at 40 % abv. The brand had all but disappeared until a few years ago when it was relaunched by the Phillips Distilling Company, this time as a 45 % abv spirit. During the relaunch, they gave the bottle given a bit of a make over to better reflect those rugged Canadian outdoorsmen which are said to have inspired its creation.

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

Review: Revel Stoke Spiced Whisky

“… The initial nose brings both sweet butterscotch and some nice dusty rye scents (ginger and cardamom) forward into the air. There is a sweep of vanilla in the air as well with hints of other spices (perhaps nutmeg, coriander and a speck of cinnamon). As the glass sits, the sweetness builds bringing to mind very mild scents of cherry nibs and a speck of menthol …”

I hope you enjoy my review which includes my original cocktail suggestion, Revelation!

Slainte’!

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

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

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,185 other followers

%d bloggers like this: