Revel Stoke Spiced Canadian Whisky
Review: Revel Stoke Spiced Whisky 80.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published February 27, 2014
Revel 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.
This 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.
Note: I ran across an old cocktail book written by Leo Engles (American and other Drinks, Tinsley Brothers, 8, Caterine Strret, Strand, 1878), which provides a few recipes which allude to the previous tradition of added sugar and spices with respect to Brandy, Rum and Whiskey. In fact, this early practice of altering distilled spirits with sugar spice to make them more approachable was probably the genesis of the modern cocktail.
In the Bottle 4/5
The Revel Stoke Spiced Whisky has a few different label configurations depending upon the market it is being sold in. There are all quite similar amounting to minor variations upon the same theme depending upon the labeling requirements in the particular market it is being sold in. The bottle shot to the left is from the Revel Stoke Whisky website and it serves well enough to speak on the bottle presentation.
The Canadian Moose features prominently on the label which seems designed to appeal to a younger crowd, and to emphasize that this whisky is more about fun and good times than it is about pomp and circumstance. I like the medium tall square bottle which is designed to work well in a bar setting, and I like the plastic screw cap which serves better than those annoying metallic caps. Most of all I like the information on the back label which tells me that sugar, natural flavour, and citric acid are all part of the whisky’s construct. Honesty in labeling is important!
In the Glass 8/10
When I pour the whisky into my glass it shows itself as a golden coloured liquid with darkened stains and hints of a syrup-like consistency. 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. Oak spices and bits of tobacco seem to be building hinting that the base whisky has perhaps seen the inside of a barrel for more than just a few years.
In the Mouth 48/60
I was surprised at the maple-like sweetness of the spirit upon the palate. This initial sweetness is followed by a firm spiciness. A good dose of vanilla sweeps through with impressions of menthol riding in the background. The combined effect of all these impression is similar to, but not quite like spicy throat lozenges. There is some fruitiness hinted at, cherry licorice perhaps, and maybe some canned peaches; but the backbone of the spiced whisky appears to be the duo of maple and vanilla melded into a triumvirate of spicy ginger, coriander and cardamom (again maybe a bit of cinnamon too). Underneath all that spicy flavour appears to be an unusually smooth whisky.
In the Throat 12.5/15
The exit features more of the maple-like sweetness followed by a stronger impression of cinnamon and fading impressions of ginger and coriander. The mouth and throat are heated by spice, yet at the same time they feel a coolness which continues to provide me an impression of menthol.
The Afterburn 8/10
Revel Stoke Spiced is a fun whisky to have on the bar shelf. It is perhaps a bit sweeter than other spiced whiskies; but the balance between the sweet, and the spice actually works out quite well. Something that I appreciated was that I appeared to be tasting a nice smooth whisky underneath it all.
This spiced whisky can be enjoyed as a sipper, although it seemed to me to be begging to be mixed with ginger-ale (see recipe below).
You may read some of my other Liqueur and Favoured Spirit Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
2 oz Revel Stoke Spiced Whisky
1/2 oz Drambuie
3 drops Angostura Bitters
Build over Ice in a Rocks Glass
Add 3 drops of Angostura Bitters
Complete with Ginger-ale
Garnish with fresh Lemon
Note: If you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!
As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)