Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 2, 2013
This year John Hall (Whisky Maker, Forty Creek Distillery) launched a new rye forward Forty Creek blend, Heart of Gold (2013 Limited Release). Heart of Gold, like all of John Hall’s whisky blends, is distilled from three separate grains: barley (which adds soft nutty flavours); corn (which adds weight and body) and of course rye (which adds flavour and spice). Although all three grains are used, the clear intention of Mr. Hall in creating this whisky was to showcase the spicy, fruity and floral notes of Canadian Rye.
According to 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.“
My tasting panel agrees that the noble rye grain is worth exploring as the Heart of Gold was determined to be Number 24 on my Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown.
Here is a link to my most recent review:
“… The initial nose reminds me strongly of rye whisky as I remember it from my youth (seventies/early eighties). 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. The air all around the farm would be full of the scents and smells of the harvest, complete with the straw left behind in windrows and the separated chaff and grain dust floating in the air above the fields and granaries …”
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: Canadian Whisky, Forty Creek Distillery, Heart of Gold, Rum Howler Awards, Rview, Top 25 Canadian Whisky, Whisky | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 1, 2013
Last year in December, I published my 2012 Rum Howler – Top 30 Rums list based upon a series side by side tastings that my Rum Chums and I completed last fall. All of the rums upon the final list were aged sipping rums, and the list included some of the most expensive (Appleton Estate 50 Year Old) rums in the worlds, as well as some of the best rum bargains (Plantation Guatemala Gran Anejo Rum).
This fall, I completed a similar list for the Best Canadian Whiskies in the market today. Over the next 25 days I will be counting down each of these Whiskies from number 25 to number 1 in an advent style list revealing the very best (as determined by my Rum Chums and I) on Christmas Day. As I fill out the list, I will be providing my most up to date review for each spirit. These lists are really quite fun to create, and I hope that those who follow this countdown (and who read the reviews) have some fun. Disagreement with my Panel of Judges is welcome, as are your own opinions about the list.
If you are interested in such things, a detailed explanation of how I came up with this list is available here:
I shall begin The Rum Howler Top 10 White Rum Countdown with the Number 25 Canadian Whisky as determined by my judges:
(Just click on the excerpt to read my review):
” … The initial nose of the whisky brings oak and rye spices into the breezes above the glass with an effervescent orange peel zest riding the coattails of the spice. As the glass sits, green tobacco and orange marmalade jump in with a soft punky caramel tainting their scent. I detect some cinnamon and ginger rising up from the glass and my sense is that the Copper Pot is going to be a very interesting and complex whisky ….”
The Copper Pot Reserve has everything I want in a whisky, a rush of spice that lingers throughout the taste experience, wonderful caramel and chocolate flavours balanced perfectly with a mildly bitter, but soft nuttiness, and a complexity which is off the charts.
I hope everyone enjoys this year’s Christmas Countdown!
Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Canadian Whisky Review, Forty creek Copper Pot Whisky, Rum Howler Awards, Top 25 Canadian Whisky, Whisky | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 28, 2013
Edmonton Whisky Festival
Why: In Support of the MS Society
Where: Edmonton Delta South Hotel
When: Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Ticket Price: $85.00 each
This event is a must for any whisky enthusiast or for those new to the exciting world of whisky.
Tickets includes entrance, whisky sampling, and the commemorative Glencairn Whisky Glass.
Chat in a relaxed atmosphere with whisky and scotch principals and enthusiast from from across Canada and around the world.
All proceeds raised at this event are donated to the MS Society of Canada – Alberta Division.
For more information please contact:
Vines – Riverbend Wine Merchants (Edmonton)
Tickets are now available from Vines or through the new website: (http://edmontonwhiskyfestival.ca/)
Posted in Howls | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 27, 2013
Rum continues to be a spirit on the rise. There was a time not long ago that when I stopped by a local store to buy a bottle of rum, I had really only two or three choices, and they were all named Bacardi. Now it is not uncommon for me to see up to twenty different rum brands even in the small liquor stores, and some of the large stores will have as many as 50 different brands to choose from. When I talk to the local merchants, they all tell a similar story, more and more people are asking for rum and some of them even come into the stores brandishing my reviews as ammunition.
My Rum Howler Awards are published each year. They represent my yearly proclamations regarding the best rums which I have tasted within that particular year. As is the case each year, all of my 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. Sometimes I have my friends help me. All rum samples which I receive to review on my website each 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.
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 Rum.
Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Extras, Flavouerd Rums, Overproof Rum, Rum, Rum Reviews, Spiced Rum, White Rums | Tagged: Aged Rum, Dark Rum, Flavoured Rum, Mixing Rum, Premium Rum, Rum, Rum Howler Awards, Spiced Rum, Super-Premium Rum, White Rum | 3 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 24, 2013
Through the period from the 1580′s to the end of the 18th century Irish soldiers (mercenary or otherwise) were often used as regimental combat troops for the continental European armies. These Irishmen joined the foreign armies for many reasons; some may have merely been adventure seekers; some were obviously looking to strike a blow against their historic enemy England; and some may have seen the military as a means to advance their standing both financially and socially via a military career. What ever the reasons these young men joined the continental forces, it is a sad fact than many hundreds of thousands of these Irishmen died fighting in foreign Armies far from their homeland.
The Wild Geese Rum Collection is the companion to the Wild Geese Irish Whisky Collection. While the Wild Geese Irish Whisky collection sought to bring the Story of the Wild Geese and their struggles in European Armies to light, the Wild Geese Rum Collection continues the saga bringing to light the story of some of these Wild Geese who after service in the continental armies of Europe found themselves transported to America and the Caribbean where many worked upon the Rum Plantations in the new world.
I received samples of the entire rum collection from the brand developer, Protege International, and I shall begin my review series with the Wild Geese Golden Rum which (in the UK) is bottled at 37.5 % alcohol by volume. You may click the following excerpt to read the full review:
“… Rising from the glass to greet my nose is an impression of sweet butterscotch, canned apricots, orange peel, almond and vanilla. I allowed the glass to breathe a few minutes, and noticed some additional fine oak spices entering the breezes above the glass …”
This is an outstanding cocktail rum and my review includes a few nice recipes at the end, The Spence Cocktail, and my version of the Hemingway Daiquiri.
Please enjoy the review and the bar drinks!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Cocktail, Cocktail Rum, Golden Rum, Hemingway Daiquiri, Rum, Rum Review, Spence Cocktail, Wild Geese Collection, Wild Geese Soldiers | Leave a Comment »
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 | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 19, 2013
Lemon Hart is an iconic rum brand with roots which stretch back to the late 18th century when Mr. Lemon Hart began to supply rum to the British Royal Navy. By 1804, production of his “Lemon Hart Rum” was moved from his small merchant office in Cornwall, England to a larger facility in London. Over 150 years later the production of the blend had shifted to the Hiram Walker Distillery in Ontario, Canada.
Under the direction of new brand owner, Mosaiq, the Lemon Hart brand has been re-energized, and two new additions to the Lemon Hart family, Lemon Hart Navy Spicy Rum and Lemon Hart Original One Hundred British Proof Rum (available in the Travel Duty-Free market) have recently been launched. The spiced rum (which is the subject of this review) is an 86 proof offering (43 % alcohol by volume), developed for Mosaiq under the direction of former Hiram Walker Master, Mike Booth.
Here is an excerpt which you may click to link to my full review:
“… Things begin with a candied sweetness reminiscent of Butterscotch and/or Rum & Butter Lifesaver candies. Within that candied aroma I sense the spiciness of cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom as well as perhaps a touch of orange zest. There are obvious vanilla notes, a very light indication of treacle and hints of tobacco and oak which appear …”
Please enjoy my review which includes a nice recipe I choose to call, the Spiced Metro Swizzle!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews, Spiced Rum | Tagged: Cocktails, Lemon Hart Rum, Mosaiq, Navy Rum, Rum, Rum Review, Spiced Rum | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 17, 2013
I have been invited by the great guys (and gals) at UNWINED (Fine Wine, Spirits and Ales) in St. Albert to be the guest host for a Rum Event on Wednesday, November 27, 2013 appropriately named:
Tasting Rum Around the World with The Rum Howler
Presented By Chip Dykstra of The Rum Howler Blog
I think (although I admit I am biased because I selected the rums) that the line-up we will be tasting is solid as it represents a good cross-section of geographical styles of rum production. You can experience the wonderful flavour and diversity of rums from Central and South America, the Caribbean Islands, and as an added bonus a very unique rum from the Sub Continent of India. Capping the evening off will be the presentation and tasting of a very special rum 25-year-old spirit from Panama, the Panamonte Reserva XXV.
Here is the list of Rums I will be presenting:
Flor de Caña Centenario 12 Year Old (Nicaragua)
Appleton Estate Extra Old 12 Year Old (Jamaica)
Ron Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial (Peru)
Old Monk Very Old Vatted XXX 7 Year Old (India)
Panamonte Reserva XXV – 25 Year Old Rum (From Panama)
The line-up includes some of my favourites! Please contact UNWINED for tickets which will be on sale soon for the low price of $25.00 each! (Wednesday, November 27 at 7:30 PM)
UNWINED – Fine Wine, Spirits and Ales
#2, 512 St. Albert Tr.
St. Albert, AB. T8N 5Z1
Phone: (780) 458-4777
This is going to be a great event and I hope to see a few of my Edmonton readers there!
Posted in Extras, Rum | Tagged: Appleton Rum, Flor de Cana Rum, Old Monk, Panamonte Brands, Ron Millonario, Rum Tasting | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 14, 2013
Cognac Ferrand has long a history of providing Cognac Casks to various Caribbean rum producers based upon the rum producer’s need for quality oak casks to age their rum. Because of this long history Cognac Ferrand has over time developed solid relationships with many of these producers. Based upon these relationships they have been able to acquire certain unique batches of rum from various Caribbean sources. Typically these rums are brought back to France to be finished in their own warehouses and of course in their own Cognac Casks.
The Plantation Original Dark 73 % Overproof Rum is Cognac Ferrand’s ‘tiki style’ overproof rum. The base rum is a column distilled rum from Trinidad which was aged in oak barrels in Trinidad before being transported to France.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“… Within this rich aroma I can smell a strong butterscotch/caramel toffee which seems to rise up in waves out of the glass. Banana peel, marmalade and marzipan appear as well in a bouquet that despite the astringency is very inviting. Rounding out the nose are some very nice baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon, and brown sugar) which build up and remind me of my Mom’s cinnamon buns baking in the oven …”
Please enjoy this review which includes a nice Tiki style recipe, Zombie Plantation!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dark Rums, Overproof Rum, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails, Cognac Ferrand, Dark Rum, Overproof Rum, Plantation Rum, Rum, Rum Review, Zombie | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 12, 2013
The Rum Howler had another great year tasting Vodka in 2013 as it seems like producers from all over the world have been sending me samples for review upon my website. My quirky style of vodka review appears to have struck a chord with these producers, especially those in Eastern Europe who have told me that my willingness to bring the gastronomic experience into my review process is much appreciated. The willingness of foreign producers to send me samples in spite of the huge difficulties they can experience in dealing with Canadian Customs and Excise means that I had an unusually strong group pf spirits for this years Vodka Awards.
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. This year, with the very best spirits, I also compared each spirit with various food pairings in my efforts to determine the very best.
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. The competition was particularly fierce this year, and it is time for me to reveal the recipients of my 2013 Rum Howler Awards for Excellence in the Production of Vodka.
These Awards are for the best Vodka Spirits I encountered in the year 2013!
Posted in Awards, Extras, Flavoured Vodka, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Flavoured Vodka, Premium Vodka, Rum Howler Awards, Super Premium Vodka, Ultra premium Vodka, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Leave a Comment »