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Archive for the ‘Single Malt Whisky’ Category

The Year in Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 8, 2012

This was a great year for the Rum Howler with respect to Whisky. I was able to help in a small way with the success of the 3nd Annual Edmonton Whisky Festival; I was selected to be on the North American Panel of Spirit Writers who judged the Canadian Whisky Awards; and I was able to almost double the number of Whisky reviews on my website this year. The result of all of this activity is that the year 2012 saw me taste and score more whisky than ever before. This means that my 2012 Rum Howler Awards for Whisky are better than ever.

All of my whisky awards are based upon side by side tastings of the various spirits which are in competition for each particular award. Just as it is with my other Rum Howler Awards, all of the samples which I receive for review in a given year are automatically considered for the 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.

And so without further ado, it is time for me to reveal the recipients of my 2012 Rum Howler Awards for Excellence in the Production of Whisky. These Awards are for the best Whisky Spirits I encountered in the year 2012, here is the link:

The 2012 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Whisky

Posted in American Whiskey, Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Irish Whskey, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: anCnoc 12 Year old Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 16, 2012

Inver House Distillers own five Scottish distilleries, Pulteney, Balblair, Knockdhu, Speyburn, and Balmenach. The company produces a diverse portfolio of brands which includes not only Scotch Whisky (Single Malt, Blended Malt, and Blended), but also Vodka, Gin, liqueurs, and premixes. The subject of this review, the anCnoc 12 Year is a Single Malt Whisky produced at the Knockdhu Distillery (which is located under the dark ‘Knock Hill’, known to the local villagers by its Gaelic name of ‘Cnoc Dubh’). Production of anCnoc began at the Distillery in 1894 following the discovery of several springs of clear water on the southern slopes of the aforementioned Knock Hill.

The  anCnoc whisky is produced on the distillery’s original style copper pot stills and worms (which condense the vapourized alcohol), and it has been produced that way for over 100 years. The resulting whisky is aged in American oak and Spanish oak barrels (which were previously used to age either bourbon or sherry). These casks are stored in dunnage warehouses where the thick granite walls ensure a stable ambient temperature which results in a consistent (or predictable) aging regimen.

I was sent a sample of the anCnoc 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky by Woodman Wine and Spirits, who are the Ontario distributors for the anCnoc brand. The Whisky has recently been released in Ontario, Canada and is available through the Whisky Shop at the LCBO.

Here is an excerpt from the review:

“…There is so much going on that it is hard to start. Smells of sweet lowland grasses, willow thicket, and almost ripe barley are I guess, as good of a place to begin as any other. Wondering in and out of the breezes above the glass are scents of fresh honey, tart green apples, and lemongrass as well…”

Here is a link to my Review:

Review: anCnoc 12 Year old Single Malt Whisky

Please enjoy the review of this remarkable whisky!

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

Review: Balblair 2001 Vintage Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 2, 2012

Inver House Distillers own five Scottish distilleries, Pulteney, Balblair, Knockdhu, Speyburn, and Balmenach. The company produces a diverse portfolio of brands which includes mot only Scotch Whisky (Single Malt, Blended Malt, and Blended), but also Vodka, Gin, liqueurs, and premixes. The subject of this review, the Balblair 2001 Vintage is a Single Malt Whisky produced at the Balblair Distillery (which is located in the Highlands of Scotland). This distillery was founded by John Ross in 1790 on the shores of the Dornoch Firth in the village of Edderton.

Each year at Balblair, the Distillery Manager, John MacDonald, selects what he believes to be the best representative whiskies of the Balblair Highland Single Malt brand. Out of the thousands of barrels he samples each year, only a select number are chosen to be bottled as Balblair Vintage Single Malt. These barrels represent the very essence of the Balblair brand.

I was sent a sample of the Balblair 2001 Vintage by Woodman Wine and Spirits, who are the Ontario distributors for the Balblair brand. The Whisky has recently been released in Ontario, Canada and is available through the Whisky Shop at the LCBO.

Here is an excerpt from the review:

“… There is a nice oak taint in those breezes with perhaps a touch of charcoal or graphite. A soft punky Halloween toffee is evident, as is a real sense of fruit and almond. The fruity smells are complicated. I sense both fresh fruit (green apples, peaches and pears) as well as dried apricots and plums. Other smells drift in and out of my sensory range, some sharper citrus zests, and even hints of an alpine meadow…”

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Balblair 2001 Vintage Single Malt Whisky

Cheers Everyone!

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

Revealing Some Magic: The Oldest Bowmore Ever

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 17, 2012

Today Morrison Bowmore announced the oldest ever Bowmore, and indeed, the oldest Islay Single Malt ever released:

The Bowmore 1957 – 54 Years Old Single Malt

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This Whisky was distilled in 1957 and bottled in 2011. It has been slumbering in oak for more than half a century in Bowmore’s legendary No.1 Vaults. Amazingly there are only 12 bottles in existence. Bowmore 1957 is the oldest and rarest ever Bowmore. This will sure be one of the most sought after and collectible Monumental Whiskies in the entire world.

Bottles No. 1 and No. 2 To Be Auctioned at Bonhams In Edinburgh and New York City this October With All Net Proceeds Donated To Charity

For more information click here:

BOWMORE 1957 – 54 YEARS OLD

(The 2 bottles that will be up for auction have a reserve set at £100,000 per bottle. If a person would like to buy one but not at the auctions, they will have to purchase from Bowmore Distillery on Islay, Scotland and the price will be £100,000.)

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

Introducing – Master of Malts, Iain McCallum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 31, 2012

I would like to welcome Iain McCallum, the current Global Master of Malts for Morrison Bowmore Distillers to my website. I was granted an email interview with Mr. McCallum in early June, and after a bit of back and forth the interview was concluded in mid July.

Iain discusses his job as the Global Master of Malts for Morrison Bowmore Distillers (MBD) as well as the various styles (and brands) of whisky that Morrison Bowmore produces at the three MBD distilleries in Scotland, the Bowmore Distillery, the Auchentoshan Distillery and the Glen Garioch Distillery. The interview moves on to the McClelland Single Malt Whisky brand which is also produced by Morrison Bowmore, and then on to a questions about MBD’s practice of aging the Bowmore Islay whisky offsite.

I am surprised to learn that the The Scottish Whisky Act has very little to say regarding the use of oak casks which have previously contained other wines and spirits (and how much of this liquid may be left in these casks to influence the flavour profile of the resulting whisky). Finally, Mr. McCallum gives his recommendations for the enjoyment of each of the Morrison Bowmore Distillery offerings sharing opinions regarding his favourite Malts, and his favourite cocktails with me.  I am happy to learn that even the Master of Malts allows himself to enjoy a great cocktail!

You may read the full interview here:

An Interview with the Global Master of Malts, Iain McCallum

Please enjoy the Interview!

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

Review: Edradour Gaja Barolo Cask Finish

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 21, 2012

Edradour holds the distinction of being the smallest distillery in Scotland. It is also the last original farm distillery in Perthshire. The same wooden equipment is used to mash and ferment the whisky today, that was purchased by the distillery 170 years ago. They use the smallest copper stills in Scotland, and in fact they are the smallest permissible by Scottish law. They also use the only working model of a Morton refrigerator (used in the distilling process) in the industry. You’ll find this unique distillery nestled in a small glen above Pitlochry in the Southern Highlands. A truly unique distillery, making truly unique single malt whisky.

The Edradour Gaja Barolo Cask Finished Whisky is a fully aged 12-year-old single malt. The whisky was aged for 12 years in American Oak and then finished in a Barolo wine barrel from Angelo Gaja, an Italian wine producer from Piemonte. This is a ‘cask strength’ offering bottled at a whopping 57.1 % alcohol by volume. I expect this to be a bit of a beast in the glass with strong flavours and aromas.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“… I allowed the glass to breathe, and those scents and smells of the grain harvest seem to deepen. I also begin to notice a lightly floral character similar to lilacs and heather nestled in the background of the breezes, and some mixed berries (gooseberry, elderberry, and blackberries) seem to flicker in and out as well … “

Here is a link to the full review:

Review: Edradour Gaja Barolo Cask Finish

Cheers Everyone!

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

Review: Auchentoshan Three Wood Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 31, 2012

The Auchentoshan Distillery is somewhat of an anomaly amongst Scottish Distillers. It is the only Scottish Distillery that triple distills their entire core range of whisky. Triple distillation is common amongst Irish distillers, but very uncommon for a distillery producing Single Malt Whisky. The result of the triple distillation is a more laid back easy-going style of whisky which perhaps carries more floral elements, but which also may be a little less robust in character than traditional single malts.

The Auchentoshan Three Wood Single Malt Whisky is a recent addition to that core range of Auchentoshan Single Malts. It is (of course) a triple distilled whisky which has been matured in three different styles of Oak. These are in order: American Bourbon, Spanish Oloroso Sherry, and Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks. This unique aging process leads to a complex whisky with flavours from each style of oak imprinted upon the whisky. I recently received a sample bottle of the Auchentoshan Three Wood from the Regional Manager of Shiralli Agencies who are the local importer and distributor of Morrison Bowmore products. (The Auchentoshan Distillery and its brands are owned by Morrison Bowmore.)

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…  The whisky is rich with the aroma of oak which has firm stains of the sherry cask  influence (dates, raisins and prunes), as well as some sweet toffee (brown sugar, vanilla and butterscotch) overtones. As the glass breathes, I sense a bit of a woodland aroma with scents of  elderberry and willow thicket rising into the breezes with perhaps a bit of heather as well. Fruity tones are growing which remind me of blackberries and saskatoons …”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Auchentoshan Three Wood Single Malt Whisky

Please enjoy the review as well as my new cocktail suggestion, The Autocrat Cocktail.

Cheers!

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

Review: Old Pulteney 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 23, 2012

When I first heard that Old Pulteney 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch had won the accolade of World Whisky of the Year in this years (2012) edition of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible, I was intrigued at Jim Murray’s selection. Of course I, like many other persons, began to think that perhaps I should find myself a bottle. I have never had an occasion to try any of the Old Pulteney range, and it appears I have been missing out.

Just when I was beginning to get serious about finding that bottle, I was contacted by Woodman Wines and Spirits Inc. who let me know that they were sending me a lab sample of the award-winning whisky to sample at my leisure. They informed that the Old Pulteney 21 Year Old had just arrived in Ontario, but with an allocation of only 50 cases (6 per case) for the entire Province.

I decided to put the lab sample through the paces of my review methodology and share the results with everyone here on my website. Here is an excerpt from my review:

… The initial nose is quite spicy. Within the spice, I sense butterscotch and heather, and a ripe fruit filled presence (green apples and green grapes; some raisins; and light impressions of dates). Over time oak and willow aromas evolve from the spice, and the darker fruit (the raisins and the dates) gain a little momentum …”

You may read my full review here:

Review: Old Pulteney 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch

Please enjoy my review, and if you get a chance to grab one of these bottles, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section of the review.

Cheers!

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

Review: Glenfarclas 40 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 13, 2012

The Glenfarclas Distillery is located on the Recherlich Farm at Ballindalloch in the heart of Speyside. The Distillery was purchased by the Grant Family in 1865 for a total sum of £511.19sd. It has remained in the control of the Grant Family for six generations up to the present day. In fact, Glenfarclas is one of only a few distilleries remaining in Scotland which is independently family owned and managed.

This review continues my series of examinations of the Glenfarclas Single Malt line-up. I have previously reviewed the Glenfarclas 12 Year, the Glenfarclas 21 Year, the Glenfarclas 30 Year and the Glenfarclas Cask Strength 105. These reviews have been facilitated by Pacific Wine & Spirits Inc who have provided samples for me to assess, and who kindly invited me to a tasting event hosted by George Grant, the Sales Director for the Glenfarclas Distillery where I was able to sample the entire core range of Glenfarclas Whisky. Mr. Grant is part of the 6th generation of the Grant Family who originally purchased the distillery in 1865.

Here is an excerpt from my review”

“…The initial aroma from the glass reveals the scent of old oak tainted by the dry fruity smells of the sherry cask. I like how the two distinct aromas have blended together such that it is hard for me to decide where the oak ends and the fruity sherry begins. There is also a nice herbal quality that reminds me of woodland meadow full of heather and willow thicket…”

You may read my full review here:

Review: Glenfarclas 40 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky

Please Enjoy the Review!

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

Review: Glenrothes Select Reserve Scotch Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 1, 2012

The Glenrothes Whisky is a good example of a typical Speyside Scotch Whisky. It carries malt and spice at the forefront of its flavour, and because of its well-rounded ‘speyside’ character this malt has been in use for decades as one of the important blending whiskies in some of the most famous Scottish Blends such as Cutty Sark and The Famous Grouse. In fact, if you are a blended Scotch drinker and feel the inclination to move to the Single Malts, you will find the Glenrothes Blends to be an excellent introductory malt in which to begin the journey.

The Select Reserve was blended by Malt Master  “John Ramsey” to serve as the signature malt to represent the character of the Glenrothes Distillery. In order to capture the essence of Glenrothes, the Malt Master used whiskies from a variety of vintages, and from a variety of aged oak barrels (both Spanish Oak and American Oak).  Thus a spectrum of flavours from this variety of ages and oak is apparent in the final single malt blend. The whisky carries no age statement as the selection of casks from which to construct the final blend is based upon the final taste profile not upon the age of the selected casks.

Here is an excerpt from my review (written in December 2009):

“… Vanilla and oak spies are met by a wave of fruity sweetness, which when combined with the anise and heather, creates a banquet of complex flavour in the mouth.  The Select Reserve is a blend of Scotch of differing ages, and barreled in differing oaks.  This, I am sure, gives rise to the abundance of complexity…”

You may read my full review here:

Review: Glenrothes Select Reserve Scotch Whisky

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

 
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