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Archive for the ‘Whisk(e)y’ Category

Review: Tomatin Legacy

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 12, 2014

Tomatin Crusta SAM_1133The Tomatin Distillery is located in the Monadhliath Mountains near Inverness, the capital of the Highlands of Scotland. The Distillery was established in 1897. (For those who do not know, the term “established in 1897″ is a code term which represents an acknowledgement by the distillery that the company began to legally pay taxes on the spirits it produced in that year. When the Distillery actually began to produces spirits is not acknowledged.) Because of its location in the Monadhliath Mountains, Tomatin is one of the highest distilleries (elevation wise) in Scotland at 315 metres above sea level. In 1985 as the Distillery was expanded and was at that time renamed, The Tomatin Distillery Co Ltd.. The company now operates 12 stills, in a process which perhaps more closely resembles a large-scale industrial factory rather than a typical Single Malt Distillery. This is because the distillery has always been a large-scale producer of whisky for Scotland’s major blends. However, Tomatin has recently began to focus their efforts on also producing their own Single Malt Whisky as well as establishing their own brand identity.

The Tomatin Legacy is the companies introductory (some would say flagship) Single Malt, and is produced from a whisky aged in a combination of ex-Bourbon barrels and Virgin Oak casks. This Single Malt Whisky carries no age statement, as the whisky is blended to a specific taste profile rather than to be a specific age statement. The use of virgin oak to age some of the whisky is a rather novel idea for a Scottish producer, but one which I heartily endorse.

Here is an excerpt (and link) to my full review of this surprisingly good whisky:

Review: Tomatin Legacy

“… The initial nose is very pleasant with a combination of clean oak spice, almond accents and hints of green grapes and green apples. There is also a meringue-like sweetness which rises up into the air with a gentle sweep of vanilla around it. As the glass breathes the oak spices gains momentum and I soon also receive impressions of willow trees and aspen with a touch of piny goodness in the mix somewhere as well. I seem to also sense springtime aromas of fresh sweet grass, and some floral lemon blossoms …”

As you can see from my photo to the left, I included a wonderful cocktail suggestion with the review, the Single Malt Crusta.

Please enjoy the review and the stunning cocktail!

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

Forty Creek Evolution!

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 10, 2014

Forty Creek Evolution is the eighth of the yearly special Limited Edition Releases from Forty Creek Whisky, and there will be only 9,000 bottles produced! Of course, once again Forty Creek is offering (for a limited time) Canadian Whisky lovers an opportunity to reserve their own bottle number of Forty Creek Evolution. Customers can reserve any number between 0003 and 9000. The Reservations are being offered between May 21st and June 16th, 2014, and you can choose a number that has special significance for you. Maybe it is a special birthday, an anniversary of significance, or perhaps something whimsical like the date that your favourite hockey team last won the Stanley Cup, it is really completely up to you!

Reservations open at noon on Wednesday, May 21 at 12:00 p.m. EST, and the numbers are reserved on a first come, first serve basis. More information about the Reservation process can be found using this link:

http://www.fortycreekwhisky.com/whatsnew.html

You may reserve more than one bottle. However, due to provincial and federal regulations Forty Creek cannot ship whisky bottles. They must be purchased and picked up at the distillery in Grimsby, Ontario after the whisky is released later in the fall. (The whisky release weekend is scheduled for Saturday, September, 27th and Sunday, September 28th, 2014.)

johnhallHere are some notes on Forty Creek 2014 Evolution Limited Release from John K. Hall, Whisky Maker:

“Every year I look forward to introducing a new limited edition Forty Creek taste expression. This year is no exception. I am so proud to introduce Forty Creek Evolution to you and our family of Forty Creek Whiskies.

Forty Creek Evolution is my 8th limited release. Each of my limited whiskies has a taste of its own, yet remains characteristically true to the Forty Creek family. The limited releases have provided me with a canvas to grow as a whisky maker. This year’s release is an evolution of not just the whiskies that I have made but as I have evolved as a whisky maker.

I am very excited to share Forty Creek 2014 Evolution with you as it offers a glimpse into this journey. After all, that is what whisky making and whisky tasting is all about. It is a journey of discovery and evolution.

Most of the whiskies in this bottle began their journey 12 years ago. Initially, these whiskies were aged in American White Oak for 3 years. I then selected the barrels and re-distilled the aged whiskies in my copper pot still to further concentrate their wonderful flavours. This whisky was then re-barreled into French Oak casks that had previously held my Cabernet Sauvignon and aged for an additional 9 years! Finally, I introduced some of my favourite personally held barrels to the mix for balancing.

Evolution starts with fig, dates, anise, blackberry, black currants and bell peppers and then evolves into deep forest notes, cinnamon spice flares, cloves, nutmeg, chestnut and tobacco. There are wonderful hints of vanilla, sweet clover and butter, evolving milk chocolate, soft roasted oak, peach and apricot. Then comes a comfortable earthiness to this whisky that just constantly evolves. So, I have appropriately called it Evolution.

This whisky’s journey will become very clear to you as you discover the ever evolving complexities, subtleties, aromas, tastes and flavours that Evolution has to offer. “

PS: Once I have a bottle shot, I promise I will share it with everyone!

Cheers!

 

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Review: Jack Daniel’s (Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 4, 2014

JD No 7Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 is produced in Lynchburg, Tennessee, by the Jack Daniel Distillery (currently owned by the Brown-Forman Corporation). Interestingly enough, the Jack Daniel’s Distillery is located in Moore County which has remained dry dating back to the passing of the state’s prohibition laws in the early 20th century. Even though prohibition ended federally in 1933 when the Eighteenth Amendment was repealed, the Tennessee State prohibition laws have remained in effect; and hence, all counties in the state remained dry after prohibition ended. Counties may individually repeal the local state law by passing a “local option” referendum; however, Moore County has not done so. This has given rise to the curious situation in which the county which produces the best-selling American Whiskey in the world does not allow this whiskey to be sold in the stores or the restaurants within its own boundaries.

Lynchburg Slammer

Lynchburg Slammer

Jack Daniels Old No. 7 is produced in much the same manner as bourbon, from a corn heavy mash and aged in new charred white oak barrels. However, the Jack Daniel’s distillery has always resisted the use of the bourbon classification, and instead prefers to label their spirit as Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey.

You may read my full review of the World’s best-selling American Whiskey by clicking on the following review excerpt:

Review: Jack Daniel’s (Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey)

“… The initial nose was full of corn syrup, the spiciness of wood sap, and a very apparent dankness which reminded me of damp autumn leaves. The wood sap reminded me of both fresh-cut oak and cedar logs, and some vanilla accents seemed to be wrapped up in the corn and the wood spices. There was also an indistinct a clay-like earthiness in the breezes above the glass with perhaps a touch of cigarette smoke as well …”

I included a nice recipe for your enjoyment at the conclusion of the review, the Lynchburg Slammer. Please enjoy the review and the suggested cocktail, Cheers!

Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 20, 2014

Booker's SAM_1112Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon is part of Jim Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. This collection is composed of Booker’s, and the previously reviewed Baker’s, 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 Booker’s Bourbon was named for Booker Noe, who in 1992 began to produce the Booker’s whiskey bottled “straight-from-the-barrel, uncut and unfiltered”.

Apparently, the Booker’s whiskey was originally produced in extremely limited quantities and reserved as special holiday gifts for his friends and family. This high strength ‘holiday bourbon’ was so popular with those who received it that the Beam company decided to produce it as a special bottling beginning in 1992.  Interestingly, Booker’s Bourbon does not carry a consistent age statement from batch to batch as barrels are chosen for character and flavour rather than for being a specific age. For that reason the age of a particular bottle can vary between 6 to 8 years old. Because the whiskey is bottled straight from the barrel the bottling strength can also vary (according to the website) between 59.5 % to 64.55 % per batch.

sam_1118-the-bestiary

The Beastiary

(The Beam Global team must be aware of my fondness for over-strength whiskey because my sample bottle checks in at the full 64.55%.)

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

Review: Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon

“… As I enjoyed the scents and smells which the whiskey brought forward, I was treated to even more richness as indications of dry fruit revealed themselves above the glass along with hints of treacle and pan roasted walnuts. There were also delightful aromas of leather chairs and rich pipe tobacco meandering into the breezes with undertones of smoky charcoal and dabbles of licorice mixed in. What I sense only a little of, is any undo astringency from the whopping 64.55 % alcohol within the glass. Maybe I have a bottle from a particularly outstanding batch; but air above my glass represents a masterpiece of whiskey goodness …”

My cocktail suggestion at the end of my review, The Beastiary, combines the goodness and savagery of Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon with a whopping dose of bitters in the tradition of the Alabazam Cocktail.

Please enjoy my both review and my cocktail which is not for the meek of heart. Happy Easter!

Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

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

 
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