Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 4, 2014
Sobieski Vodka is (according to their website) the number 1 selling premium vodka in Poland. It is a true Polish Vodka distilled on a multi-column still from 100% Dankowski rye which was harvested in the low-lying Mazovia (Masowse) region of Poland. The spirit was named ‘Sobieski’ to pay homage to King Jan III Sobieski (1629 – 1696) who is generally regarded as the last great King of Poland whose spirit of indomitable will remains even today as an integral aspect of the Poland’s national character.
When I sampled Sobieski for the first time, I had several friends over, and we tasted the Vodka as part of a private tasting event which included 2 other Vodkas each representing a similar style, but each at a different price range. The aim of the tasting was to see whether we could taste the difference between economy, premium and ultra-premium spirits in a relaxed almost-party like setting. (The three Vodkas included in the tasting were, Khortytsa Platinum Vodka (priced at $17.95), Sobieski Vodka (priced at $25.95), and Belvedere Vodka priced at ($48.95). The prices given are based upon current LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) listings.)
After the tasting event, I continued my examination of each spirit putting each brand through the paces of my Vodka Review Methodology. This is of course the review for Sobieski vodka imported into Alberta by the Western Canadian distributor Charton Hobbs who provided my sample bottle for this review.
You may click on the following excerpt to read the full review:
“… When I threw back a shot of Sobieski, I was very pleased at how clean and smooth the spirit tasted. When served well chilled, the Vodka displayed no burn at all, only a nice spicy glow which heated the palate lightly and slowly crept down the throat …”
I hope you enjoy my review which includes a nice cocktail recommendation, my own Yellowbird of Sunshine, which mixes Sobieski Vodka with lemon juice and Maraschino liqueur (and tastes absolutely delicious).
If you are interested in a direct comparison the previously published review for Khortytsa Platinum Vodka can be found here.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Cocktail, Polish Vodka, Premium Vodka, Sobieski, Vodka, Vodka Review, Yellowbird of Sunshine | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 2, 2014
Torres Jaime I is produced in the Penedès region of Spain by Miguel Torres. This distinctive brandy is named for the founder of the House, Jaime Torres Vendrell, and is produced from old soleras which were aged from selected distilled wines. In fact, some of these soleras began their lives as distilled Pardella Wines destined for the Torres 10 Brandy, but were instead kept aside to serve as reserve stocks. To make the Torres Jaime I, these reserves were enriched with some of the House’s best soleras, the oldest of which were aged 30 years. The final piece of the puzzle (so to speak) was the addition of a small amount of aged 1972 eau-de-vie of Folle Blanche lees (which is normally used to produce high-quality pot-still brandy).
Although I reviewed this lush, well aged brandy about two years ago; yesterday, I added a new cocktail to the review.
You may read my full review with the added cocktail, Brandy Février, here:
“… The Torres Jaime I exhibits a dark, lush copper colour in the glass. The brandy is complex, assertive and very intense. In fact, the bouquet from the glass has the ability to fill the room when it is poured. The aroma is oak stained and very rich… “
Please enjoy my review of this excellent aged Brandy, Cheers!
Posted in Brandy and Cognac, Brandy Review, Cocktails & Recipes | Tagged: Brandy, Brandy Févier, Brandy Review, Cocktails, Jaime Torres | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 1, 2014
I was given a bottle of Myer’s Planter’s Punch a few months ago by a good friend who had purchased it as a curiosity and then subsequently decided the style was not to his liking. (Molasses-rich dark rums are not for everyone so we won’t hold this against him.) This particular dark rum is being distributed in Alberta by Diageo. It has been produced since 1879, and is apparently a blend of continuous and pot still Jamaican rums which have been matured in previously used bourbon barrels for a minimum of four years.
Apparently that is not the whole story, as my bottle clearly states (at the bottom of the label) that the particular bottle which I was given has been blended with Canadian rum as well. For those who do not know, it used to be fairly common for rums imported into Canada to be blended with a small amount (about 1.5 %) of Canadian Rum (usually produced at the Hiram Walker Distillery) in order to obtain a more favourable tax rate from the Canadian Government.
You may read my full review of Myer’s Planters’ Punch by clicking on the following excerpt (link).
“… The aroma from the glass hits you pretty quickly after you pour it, and I immediately detect the tell-tale signature aroma of musty pot-still Jamaican funk rising into the breezes from the glass. Alongside that funk is plenty more. Oak spices, licorice stained molasses, dark brown sugars, a spicy triumvirate of nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon (baking spices), as well as lots of vanilla, and dark dry fruit …”
Note: You may find my 2013 list of the 30 Best Rums here: The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 30 Rums
Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails, Dark Rum, Jamaican Rum, Myer's, Planters' Punch, Rum, Rum Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 30, 2014
Sometimes I get asked what the most popular articles on my website are. Today I decided to go through my web stats and find out. So if you have every wondered what the most popular reviews on my website are, then you need wonder no longer.
Here is the list of The Rum Howler Top 10 Most Popular Reviews:
10) Bacardi 8 Year Old Rum
09) Crown Royal XR Canadian Whisky (Waterloo)
08) Ron Zacapa XO (25 Year Solero) Rum
07) Bacardi Oakheart Smooth Spiced Rum
06) Appleton Estate Extra Old 12 Year Old Rum
05) Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial Rum
04) El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve
03) Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
02) Big Black Dick Dark Caribbean Rum
01) Kraken Black Spiced Rum
Who would have thought that a relatively unknown flavoured rum from the Cayman Islands would inspire the second most page views on my website? (I wonder if all those search engines that find that particular review are really looking for Rum?)
Posted in Howls | Tagged: General, Howls, Reviews, Rum, Rum howler, Rum Reviews, Whisky Reviews | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 29, 2014
Odd Society Spirits is a small-batch craft distillery located on Powell Street in East Vancouver’s port district. They are about experimentation and embracing change while celebrating the ‘collective and individual oddities’ of their Founder and Distiller, Gordon Glanz. The Odd Society is dedicated to melding Old World distilling traditions with New World ingenuity (and ingredients) to build a portfolio of spirits which includes whiskey, vodka, and gin.
When I asked Gordon about Odd Society he said,
“We are a “craft” distillery. Under BC regulations that means all alcohol must be produced from BC agricultural products. Unfortunately, this also means that we cannot make a rum without losing the craft designation, which comes with some big tax breaks and other advantages. We have started with a vodka and then a creme de cassis. We have started putting away whisky for aging.”
Odd Society’s East Van Vodka is produced solely from malted barley grown in Prince George, and malted in Armstrong, BC. The spirit is twice distilled upon German-made copper pot stills, after which it distilled once more on a 15 foot vodka column still. Then the vodka is charcoal filtered and blended with purified Vancouver tap water.
According to Gordon, East Van Vodka is not meant to be a totally neutral spirit. It is meant to be lightly fragrant, and incredibly smooth. As Gordon says, “Consider it a single malt vodka.”
You may learn more about Odd Society Spirits, and read my review of their ‘single malt vodka‘ by clicking on the following excerpt (link).
“… As I let the breezes meander about, I do in fact begin to notice the malted barley aroma growing in those breezes. The aroma is vaguely beer-like with barley porridge-like overtones and delicate impressions of brown sugar, spearmint and red licorice as well. After nosing, the first sip reveals a lightly spicy spirit with a malty sweetness and a firm minty fruitiness …”
Note: The distillery has began to lay down Single Malt Whisky for aging. For their whisky, the last distillation with the 15 foot column still is eliminated. Hence they produce their Malt distillate in much the same manner, twice distilled on a copper pot still, as traditional Scottish distillers. Because their Vodka is produced from the same spirit as their Whisky will be (just once more distilled), an examination of the Vodka gives us a glimpse into the character of their future single malt whisky.
Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: East Van Vodka, New Make Whisky, Odd Society Distillers, Vodka, Vodka Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 27, 2014
Recently 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.
You may click the following excerpt (link) to read my full review of the new 9-year-old blend;
“… 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!
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: Canadian Club Reserve, Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Whisky, Whisky Review, Woodcutter | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 24, 2014
The Brugal Distillery was founded in 1888, by Andrés Brugal Montaner. Over the next one hundred and twenty years the company grew steadily, and it is now one of three large rum distillers in the Dominican Republic. The original family which founded Brugal is still in the control. George Arzeno Brugal, is the current chairman, and most of the board members are direct descendants of the original company founder.
Brugal Especial Extra Dry Rum is produced using the company’s proprietary double-distillation technique which apparently creates a clean, dry rum which contains fewer of the heavy alcohols which tend to provide other rums a sweeter flavour profile. The Especial Extra Dry is blended from a mix of rum spirits which have been aged a minimum of 2 years and up to as many as 5 years in White American Oak casks. The rum is triple charcoal filtered, and was developed as a high-end cocktail spirit meant to compete with ultra premium Vodka.
You may read my full review by clicking on the excerpt below:
“… The initial scents above the glass are lightly sweet with indications of cane sugar and lightly toasted marshmallows. As I give the scents and smells time to drift in the breezes above the glass, I notice a touch of vanilla in the air and the light spiciness of lemon peel, sandal wood and cardamom spice …”
At the conclusion of the review, I have added a couple of recipes for your enjoyment, the Minted Daiquiri, and the Brugal Dehumidifier!
Please enjoy the cocktails and my review!
You may find my 2013 list of the 10 Best White rums here: The 2013 Rum Howler – Top 10 White Rums
You may find my 2013 list of the 30 Best Rums here: The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 30 Rums
Posted in Rum, Rum Reviews, White Rums | Tagged: Brugal Especial, Cocktail, Daiquiri, Dehumidifier, Minted Daiqiri, Rum, Rum Review, White Rum | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 22, 2014
Southern Comfort is a spirit which has been part of my liquor cabinet for some years now. I use the liqueur as a cocktail spirit to dress up some of my long tall bar drinks. I received a small bottle as an advent gift about four days before Christmas this year, and I decided it would be fun to put this drink through the paces of my review system.
When I went to the Southern Comfort website to learn a bit about this spirit, I was quite surprised when the web button on the bottom of their product description page linked me to Wikipedia for a more complete description of their spirit. According to that Wikipedia page, Southern Comfort is “an American liqueur made from neutral spirits with fruit, spice and whiskey flavorings”. It was created in 1874 by an Irish American bartender named Martin Wilkes Heron, and its original name was ‘cuff and buttons’. Today the brand is owned and produced by Brown Forman, and in Canada it is bottled and sold at 35 % alcohol by volume.
You may click on the following excerpt to read my full review:
“… The initial aroma from that glass was lightly astringent, but also quite pleasing with a menagerie of herb-like and lightly spicy aromas rising into the air. Vanilla, cinnamon and butterscotch seem to be predominant; but I also catch glimpses of orange and lemon citrus, some red BC cherry stones, a bit of nutmeg, spicy clove …”
My review includes a nice recipe suggestion, the Alabama Slammer, which uses the goodness of Southern Comfort mixed with Sloe Gin, Amaretto and Orange Juice.
Please enjoy my latest review!
Posted in Liqueur, Liqueur Review | Tagged: Alabama Slammer, Cocktail, Liquer Review, Liqueur, Southern Comfort | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 20, 2014
This past Sunday, my friends and I spent the afternoon (while watching the football games) sampling and comparing three different Vodkas which represented similar styles, but different price ranges. The aim of the tasting was to see whether we could taste the difference between economy, premium and ultra-premium spirits in a relaxed almost-party like setting. (Basically the way vodka is normally enjoyed by most casual consumers.) The three Vodkas we chose were, Khortytsa Platinum Vodka (priced at $17.95), Sobieski Vodka (priced at $25.95), and Belvedere Vodka priced at ($48.95). The prices given are based upon current LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) price listings.
Over the next several weeks I will be posting the results of our findings in the form of a review for each Vodka. This review is for the Khortytsa Platinum Vodka which held up very well against the higher priced competition. I should note that I reviewed this particular brand about a year and a half ago, my tasting notes this time around were very similar; however, my enjoyment of the Platinum Vodka seems to have increased, and this increased enjoyment is reflected in my revised scores.
You may read my full review by clicking on the following review excerpt:
“… The first sip reinforced the nose with the spiciness of grain evident and a firm but mild citrus flavour. A lightly bitter taste was present which reminded me of spruce bark and thyme. Despite this light bitterness, the vodka appears smooth and easy to sip. It is up to the individual sampling the Vodka whether that light bitter taste is appealing or not …”
Enjoy my latest review for Khortytsa Platinum which includes a nice cocktail suggestion, the Minted Vodka Daiquiri.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails, Khortytsa Platinum, Ukranian Vodka, Vodka, Vodka Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 18, 2014
The 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:
“… 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.
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: Beam Global, Edrington Group, Ruby, Single Malt Whisky, The Macallan, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off