Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 22, 2013
I tasted a lot of great whisky this year from all over the world, and I noticed a few trends which deserve noting. Whisky is growing in popularity throughout the world, and this is having consequences in both the variety of whisky available to the consumer, and the quality of the whisky available to the consumer. In terms of variety, things have never been better as I can find whiskies on the store shelves from places I would never have imagined a few years ago. The number of brands available from India and Japan keep growing, and as well brands from places like New Zealand, England, Wales, and Australia are also surfacing in my local liquor stores. A stronger selection of brands available to the consumer can only be good news; and hopefully consumers (and whisky critics) can put their prejudices aside and give these brands the chance they deserve.
However the flip side of this world-wide popularity of whisky is a disturbing reluctance from some of the major players to maintain their age statements. The simple fact is that there is just not enough aged whisky stocks to maintain the present brands due to the growing world-wide popularity of the spirit. Of course the marketing hype proclaims the spirits are as good as ever, but I guess I question the veracity of those statements. Time will tell, and thankfully there are still many brands maintaining their standards and many more great whiskies for me to discover.
It is time for my to make my yearly proclamations regarding the best whiskies which I have personally tasted in the year which is 2013. As is the case each year, all of my Rum Howler Awards are based upon side by side tastings within each category of spirit. I taste the spirit neat, and I also mix a few cocktails with each spirit. All spirit samples which I receive to review on my website are automatically considered for my awards. I do my review, and then I set aside the remainder of the spirit for the end of the year judging. I also receive additional industry samples specifically for these awards. My side by side tastings are completed, and it is time for me to reveal the recipients of my 2013 Rum Howler Awards for Excellence in the Production of Whisky.
These Awards are for the best Whisky Spirits I encountered in the year 2013!
Posted in Awards, Extras, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: American Whiskey, Bourbon, Canadian Whisky, Rum Howler Awards, Scotch Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Reviews | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 10, 2013
AC Black Whisky is blended and bottled by Jagatjit Industries Limited located in New Delhi, India. (Jagatjit Industries Limited was established in 1944 by Mr. L.P. Jaiswal in the erstwhile State of Kapurthala under the patronage of its Maharaja Jagatjit Singh.) In addition to whisky, this company also produces Rum, Gin and Vodka, and is currently the third largest IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liquor) producer on the sub continent. According to their website, AC Black Whisky is produced from a blend of imported scotch malts and selected Indian spirits. That same website tells me this is a semi-premium IMFL spirit which is:
“… Positioned around a man’s desire for pleasurable things in life and a high desire for achievements projected through “Kucch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai” …”
I was very curious about the above statement and about the whisky. You may read my full review by clicking the link below to learn what I found out:
“… The result is a honeyed aroma featuring a mixture of malty whisky-like scents (butterscotch, honey, sandalwood and oak spice) with a very light back drop of rum-like cane syrup flittering through the breezes as well …”
At the conclusion of my review (for your enjoyment of course) is a nice recipe which I have dubbed, Black Ginger.
Please enjoy the review!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Indian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: AC Black, Black Ginger, Cocktails, Indian Whisky, Jagatjit Industries Limited, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 7, 2013
Broken Bell Bourbon is a whiskey brand developed by Distiller Sales Company of Princeton, Minnesota. Distiller Sales is a division of a company called USDP (United States Distilled Spirits Co.). They describe themselves as a “leading developer of corporate brand distilled spirits programs”. The company boast sales in 32 Countries worldwide, and some of those brands which are available in my home market include: Ethan Koll 8 Year Old Canadian Whisky, Cross Keys 5 Yr Old Barbados Rum, Monkey Paw Rum, Luxus Vodka, Capatina French Vodka and Veil Premium Vodka.
I was provided a sample bottle of Broken Bell Bourbon by Jfj Agency Inc. who is the distributor of Distiller Sales Co. brands in Alberta.
Here is a link to my full review and tasting notes:
“… The aroma from the glass is typical of a young bourbon featuring fresh oak scents melded with barbequed corn. I sense spicy tobacco and raisins, dried apricots, some spicy oak sap and orange peel spice …”
Included in the review are two nice bourbon recipes, the Buckeroo, and Minted Brass. Please enjoy the review!
Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Bourbon, Broken Bell Bourbon, Buckeroo, Cocktails, Distiller Sales Company, JFI Agency, Minted Brass, Whiskey, Whsikey Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 17, 2013
According to the company website, Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey is produced at the Bernheim Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky, and then aged in Rickhouse Y at Heaven Hill’s, Nelson County aging facilities. The primary grain in the mash bill is winter wheat, and as I have indicated in my previous review for Highwood’s Centennial 10 Year Old Canadian Whisky, the use of wheat (which is more easily digestible than other grains) gives the resulting whisky a softer smoother flavour profile than corn, barley or rye. The Bernheim Original contains no age statement. However, as a ‘straight whiskey’ it must be aged a minimum of two years in new, charred oak barrels, and distilled at less than 160 proof. (The website implies an aging regimen of about 5 to 6 years and specifies that the whiskey contains no coloring, flavoring or blending agents.)
You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt (link):
“… The aroma is a nice mixture of spicy oak sap and toffee with some nuances of maple rising into the breezes as well. Although the whisky is predominantly a wheat mash there appears to be enough corn in the blend to give the aroma a very bourbon-like nose with fresh corn scents and honeycomb building as the glass sits …”
For your enjoyment, I have included a classic cocktail recipe for this whiskey at the conclusion of the review, the Whiskey Sour.
Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Bernheim Distillers, Cocktails, Wheat Whiskey, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey, Whiskey Sour | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 13, 2013
Sortilège 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:
“… 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: Canadian Whiskey, Canadian Whisky Review, Liqueur, Liqueur Review, Maple Whisky, Mondia Alliance, Sortilège Prestige, Whisky Liqueur | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 8, 2013
Collingwood 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:
“… 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!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Mist Distillery, Canadian Whisky, Collingwood, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 5, 2013
Forty 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):
“… 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 …”
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Forty Creek Whisky, Heart of Gold, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 26, 2013
The 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:
“… 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!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Micro Distillery, Single Malt Whisky, Stalk and Barrel, Still Waters Distillery, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 19, 2013
TAP 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:
“… 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: Canadian Whisky, Flavoured Whisky, Maple, Tap 357, Van Gogh Imports | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 17, 2013
Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is part of Jim Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. This collection is composed of Knob Creek, Booker’s, Baker’s and the previously reviewed, 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. Knob Creek is the oldest of these small batch whiskeys, and is aged a full nine years in newly charred oak barrels, then bottled at 100 proof or 50 % alcohol by volume. The whiskey brand is owned by Beam Global and is produced at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, Kentucky.
You may read the full review by clicking on the following excerpt (link):
“… The initial aroma is deep and rich with smells of freshly hewn oak timbers dripping with sap. I also sense loads of honeycomb, barbequed corn on the cob, baking spices (vanilla and cinnamon), brown sugar, and fresh maple toffee. As I take my time with the glass, indications of chocolate caramel and cola rise in the breezes along with rich pipe tobacco and crushed walnut shells …”
Please enjoy my review, slainte!
Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Bourbon, Knob Creek, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | Comments Off