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

Reviews of two Grouses (Famous and Black)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 15, 2014

Famouse grouseBlack GrouseThe Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky has a history in Scotland reaching back in time to 1896 when Wine Merchants, Matthew Gloag and Son, first blended their Grouse Whisky. Over the next nine years, the whisky became so popular that Matthew Gloag decided to add the word ‘famous’ to the name in 1905. Over the next century it would become one of the most popular brands of whisky in Scotland. Although the home of famous Grouse is the Glenturret Distillery, according to The Famous Grouse Website, the Famous Grouse Whisky is a blend which contains premium single malts such as The Macallan and Highland Park.

The Black Grouse is an offshoot of its popular cousin which begins where The Famous Grouse ends. The whisky is the result of a further blending of the Famous Grouse Whisky with Islay Malt Whiskies. The resulting whisky has a peated flavour profile with a reportedly dark smoky character.

It has been about four years since I examined each of these blended whiskies, and recently I had a chance to sample each blend side by side as I was gifted a bottle of each this past Christmas. I took advantage of this opportunity to revisit each of my previous reviews tweaking the tasting notes and the scores (neither changed significantly).

Here are the links to each of the revised reviews:

Review: The Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky

Review: The Black Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky

Note: The astute reader will notice that the suggested cocktails for each have been tweaked as well!

 

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

Review: Chivas Regal 12 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 13, 2014

chivasregalChivas Brothers were established at the turn of the 19th century (1801) as a grocery store in Aberdeen, Scotland. The company gained a strong reputation for luxury goods, and as a result they began (in the 1850′s) to produce a premium blended scotch whisky to meet a growing demand from their customers for a more refined whisky than was available at that time. Chivas Brothers cemented their reputation for producing quality whisky, and even today they are considered by many to be the standard-bearer for premium blended Scotch whisky. The company is currently owned by Pernod Ricard, and the home of their blended whisky brand, Chivas Regal, is the Strathisla Distillery (founded in 1786) located at Keith, Moray in the Speyside whisky producing region of  Scotland.

SAM_1022 Blood and Sand

Blood and Sand

Chivas Regal 12 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky is Chivas Brothers’ flagship whisky. The blend includes both grain and Single Malt Whiskies which have all been aged a minimum of 12 years. Their line-up also includes 18 and 25-year-old blended whisky expressions. Although the Company is owned by Pernod Ricard, in Canada the Chivas Brand is distributed by Corby.

You may read my full review here:

Review: Chivas Regal 12 Year Old

“… the initial aroma is very pleasant with notes of butterscotch entwined with vanilla and herbal notes of lemon grass and heather. As the glass breathes, I begin to notice more woody tones with scents of willow, and sandalwood mixed in. A bit of sweet maltiness comes through as well as just a small dab of grainy spice …”

For your enjoyment I have included a classic Scotch Whisky cocktail (Blood and Sand) which tastes absolutely great with the Chivas Regal.

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

Review: Diamond Club Black Label Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 6, 2014

GEPRGETOWN SOURTwo years ago I was offered a rare trip to Guyana, South America to visit the home of El Dorado Rum, Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL). The trip was part of a media tour designed to bring more awareness to the El Dorado brand and the wonderful rum which the Diamond Distillery produces (see my write-up of the distillery tour here). One of the more interesting finds I came across when I was in Guyana was a bottle of whisky produced by Demerara Distillers called Diamond Club Black Label Whisky. I happened to see it during a media tour of Georgetown (the largest and the Capital city of Guyana) in a local liquor store, and the whisky was selling for less than 3 bucks Canadian per bottle.

I had no idea that the folks who made El Dorado Rum, also produced a Black Label Malt Whisky, and I was of course very curious about the spirit. When I quizzed the folks at the Diamond Distillery, I was told that the base malt for this whisky is produced by Inver House (who own Balblair, anCnoc and Old Pulteney), and that they will occasionally ship bulk malt whisky to Guyana where it is blended (or stretched) with locally produced cane spirit, and sold as their Blended Malt Whisky.

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

Review: Diamond Club Black Label Malt Whisky

“… I detect light butterscotch aromas, some fine wood spices complete with hints of ginger and cardamom, bits of heather and some lightly pungent and lightly spicy tobacco in the breezes complete with a light malty sweetness …”

Enjoy my review which includes a nice cocktail suggestion, the Georgetown Sour.

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, 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!

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

Review: The Macallan Ruby (Single Malt Whisky)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 18, 2014

Macallan 1824 RubyThe Macallan Distillers Ltd is a single malt Scotch whisky producer (distillery) which is situated near Easter Elchies House, at Craigellachie, in the Speyside region of Scotland. The brand and distillery are owned by the Edrington Group which purchased them from Highland Distillers in 1999.

Recently the brand launched a new line of Single Malt Whisky which they call, The Macallan 1824 Series. Each whisky in the 1824 Series is 100 % Sherry Cask whisky, and each whisky within the range draws its name from the colour of the whisky inside the bottle as the series moves up the ladder from Gold to Amber, Sienna, and finally to Ruby in that order. These whiskies carry no age statement. Instead, the consumer is asked to draw a parallel between the colour of the whisky in the bottle and its age, complexity, and quality. Because these whiskies are naturally coloured by the casks from which they are drawn, the implication is that the richer darker whiskies have aged longer, and/or have had more of their blend drawn from the higher quality Sherry oak casks.

The subject of this review is The Macallan Ruby (Single Malt Whisky), which is currently the darkest production whisky in the series. The Ruby is bottled at 43 % alcohol by volume, and all of this whisky was matured exclusively in European oak sherry casks (the labeling on the bottle tells me these sherry casks are all from Jerez, Spain).

You may read my full review of the Macallan Ruby by clicking on the following link and excerpt:

Review: The Macallan Ruby (Single Malt Whisky)

“… The entry into the mouth brought somewhat of an unexpected rush of oak and spice forward as the whisky carried even more oak spice across the palate than what the nose implied. The complexity is top-notch as I tasted bittersweet dark chocolate, caramel toffee, raisin filled fruit cake, canned apricots, and zesty orange peel all mingling within that spicy rush of oak sap …”

Please enjoy my review which represents my first look at the new Macallan 1824 Series. The 1824 series seems to represent a change in focus for The Macallan where they are traveling down a path where the quality of the oak is placed ahead of the age statement. It is the correct path to take in making quality whisky; but only time will tell if the marketing of the age statement has become an unstoppable monster that will destroy good intentions.

Slanite’!

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note: I received my sample bottle for this review from the Beam Global Team here in Alberta. Beam Global is currently responsible for the distribution and marketing of The Macallan (and other Edrington Group spirits) in Western Canada.

Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y | 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

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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!

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

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.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

Morrison Bowmore’s Global Master of Malts to visit Edmonton

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 4, 2014

Photo Courtesy Morrison Bowmore

Photo Courtesy Morrison Bowmore

Vines Welcomes Morrison Bowmore’s Global Master of Malts – Iain MaCallum

With over 20 years experience at Morrison Bowmore Distillers (MBD), first as a Laboratory Technician Trainee, then as Distillery Manager at Auchentoshan, Bowmore and Glen Garioch, and finally as Senior Blender. Iain MaCallum has now joined the sales and Marketing team as Global Master of Malts, a world-wide educational role for Morrison Bowmore.

Vines Riverbend Wine Merchants is proud to provide a unique opportunity to welcome Iain McCallum and to have him share a few drams from MBD’s three great Scottish distilleries (Auchentoshan, Bowmore and Glen Garioch), considered three of the most recognized names in Single Malt Whisky.

Where: Vines – Riverbend Wine Merchants (2331 Rabbit Hill Rd NW, Edmonton)
When:  Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at  7:00 PM
Price:  $36.99 prepaid

Limited Seating Available

Reserve your seat by contacting:

Vines – Riverbend Wine Merchants
Telephone: 434-9444
Email: info@vineswinemerchants.com

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Posted in Festivals and Events, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y | 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!

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,182 other followers

%d bloggers like this: