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Review: Especial Extra Dry Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 24, 2014

Especial_Extra_English_Dry_RGBThe 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.

SAM_065zdehumidifyerYou may read my full review by clicking on the excerpt below:

Review: Especial Extra Dry Rum

“… 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!

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Note:
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

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Review: Southern Comfort

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 22, 2014

sc1Southern 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:
Alabama Slammer

Review: Southern Comfort

“… 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!

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Review: Khortytsa Platinum Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 20, 2014

SAM_0459 The Minted Vodka DaiquiriThis 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:

Review: Khortytsa Platinum Vodka

“… 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.

Budmo!

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Review: The Macallan Ruby (Single Malt Whisky)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 18, 2014

Macallan 1824 RubyThe 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:

Review: The Macallan Ruby (Single Malt Whisky)

“… 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.

Slanite’!

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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: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Canadian Whisky Awards Announced!

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 17, 2014

2013-Canadian-Whisky-AwardsDuring the month of December, while I was publishing my list of the 2013 Rum Howler Top 25 Canadian Whiskies, I was also busy with another important Canadian Whisky project initiated by Author and fellow Whisky Blogger, Davin Der Kergomeaux. For the past 4 years Davin has organized the Canadian Whisky Awards. He assembles a North American Panel of Canadian Whisky Experts, arranges for all of them to receive a set of blind samples to be judged independently, and then amalgamates the scores into various categories depending upon the nature of the whisky, and the market for which it is intended. For the third year in a row, I was asked to be part of this panel, and I am happy to announce that results of the annual Canadian Whisky Awards Competition were announced Thursday evening at the Victoria Whisky Festival in Victoria, B.C..

Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whisky won the prestigious Canadian Whisky Awards – 2013 Whisky of the Year Award!

Lot No. 40 is distilled at the Hiram Walker Distillery in Windsor, Ontario from a 100% rye-grain recipe developed in the 19th century by Canadian pioneer distiller, Joshua Booth. In announcing the awards, Chairman of the Judges, Davin de Kergommeaux, called Lot No. 40,

“The very essence of what rye whisky is all about.”

Other top winners included Alberta Premium Dark Horse, Forty Creek Heart of Gold, Masterson’s Straight Rye Whiskey, Wiser’s Red Letter, and Crown Royal Black.

Here is a link to the full list of all of the Award Winners:

2014 Canadian Whisky Award Winners

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Note: I would like to thank Davin Der Kergomeaux for all of his hard work, and for allowing me to participate on his panel of judges once again this year. It was another great year for Canadian Whisky!

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Review: Pumpkin Face 23

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 16, 2014

Pumpkin 23Pumpkin Face Rum is a new brand of rum being distributed in Canada by Pure Global Imports. The rum inside the cool looking pumpkin shaped bottles is apparently a blend of selected rums from the Dominican Republic.

I was able (through the good folks at Pure Global Imports) to secure samples of all three Pumpkin Face Rums. According to the brand owner (Itsko Imports Inc. of Beverly Hills, California),  the subject of this review, Pumpkin Face 23, is an ‘ultra premium’ Dominican rum which was produced in 1980. The rum was aged in oak for 23 years, however it was also at some point during the maturation process ‘rested’ in stainless steel vats for 10 years before being bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

You may read my full review of this 23-year-old spirit by clicking the following link:

Review: Pumpkin Face 23

“… The colour resembles a darkened penny, and the initial aroma is rich with smells of chocolate caramel and oak spices. I decided to allow the glass to breathe and was delighted at how the oak spices seemed to meld into the chocolate caramel as the rum decanted. Rich toffee and tobacco aromas evolved from the glass with hints of treacle, brown sugar, and  baking spices straining to push through as well …”

Note: The Pumpkin Face 23 is a rich wonderful rum! Had my schedule had allowed me to publish this review earlier, then I surely would have placed the this rum into my list of the World’s Top 30 Rums of 2013. Since I was not able to publish sooner, I guess I will have to content myself with knowing it will be a strong candidate for my list in 2014.

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Review: Hine Rare VSOP

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 14, 2014

Pack Bouteille Rare VSOP 30 cmHine Rare VSOP is produced from a blend 25 Cognac spirits in the heart of France’s Cognac appellation on the banks of the River Charente. More than 50% of this VSOP blend is distilled from grapes grown in the Grande Champagne cru and the remaining spirit is distilled from grapes produced in the Petite Champagne cru. The Grand and Petite Champagne regions are two of the most recognizable Cognac regions of France known for consistently producing high quality grape harvests.

Hine is one of the oldest Cognac Houses in the commune of Jarnac, (within the Cognac appellation in France of course), and Hine has produced their Cognac since 1763.

You may read my full review by clicking on the following link:

Review: Hine Rare VSOP

“… the initial nose is somewhat heated with scents of both raw oak spice and white pepper mingled within a fruited caramel aroma. As the glass breathes I begin to notice a growing sense of fresh fruit (peaches and apricots) as well as a few raisins in the breezes above the glass. Some bits of floral perfume seem to be present as well which remind me of camphor, lilac and iris …”

Please enjoy this review and stay tuned as I plan to examine a few more Cognac and Brandies in the coming year!

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Note: I would like to thank the good folks at Woodman Wines and Spirits for providing me a sealed 200 ml bottle of the Hine Rare VSOP to sample for this review.

You may click this link to read some of my other Brandy and Cognac Reviews

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Review: Tangle Ridge (Bourbon Casked) Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 12, 2014

SAM_0935Tangle Ridge is produced by Alberta Distillers for Beam Global in Calgary, Alberta Canada. The whisky is named for a limestone wall located near the Columbia Icefields in Jasper National Park (apparently discovered by Mary Schaeffer, one of Canada’s first female explorers). According to the press information I received Tangle Ridge Canadian Whisky is produced from a 10 Year Old – 100 % rye whisky which is blended with a hint of sherry for added richness. The resulting whisky is then recasked in ex Bourbon barrels for an additional aging time to allow the sherry and the Rye flavours to marry in the barrel.

You may read my full review by clicking on the following link:

Review: Tangle Ridge (Bourbon Casked) Canadian Whisky

“… Initially, I detect sweet corn, butterscotch, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon which all seem to be drifting in the breezes above the glass mixing with the oak spices. However, as I gave the glass time to breathe I began to notice telltale dusty dry rye spices struggling to push through. As I allowed more time the rye gained momentum bringing strong fall harvest scents of fresh grain and chaff which built up alongside the corn and sweet baking spices …”

This is one of those whiskies which grows in the glass rewarding those who are patient, and disappointing those to quick to bring the spirit to their lips. The rye grain requires time to evolve and if you sip too quickly it can be missed altogether. But if you are patient, the reward is well worth it; because as the rye builds, so does the whisky.

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Note:
You may find my 2013 list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:  The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies
You may find my 2013 list of the 30 Best Rums here:  The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 30 Rums

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

Edmonton Whisky Festival: Master Class with Whisky Insider – J. Wheelock

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 11, 2014

jEdmonton Whisky Festival

Master Class with Whisky Insider – J. Wheelock

Featuring: BenRiach, Compass Box, Dalmore, GlenDronach, & Whyte & Mackay

Where: Edmonton Delta South Hotel

When: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 (6:30 PM – 7:30 PM)

Ticket Price: $25.00 each

The 2014 Edmonton Whisky Festival is proud to introduce to Edmonton, Whisky Insider, J. Wheelock. Based in Calgary, Alberta, J.’s role is to connect with like-minded individuals, groups and establishments, from the Prairies to the Pacific, espousing the virtues of the whiskies he’s been charged to represent. His schedule is chock-a-block full of meetings and events held by various whisky appreciation groups, where he works on building relations and cultivating connoisseurs who have the very same passion for whisky that attracted him to the business eleven years ago, when he started with the famed family of whiskies held by The Edrington Group (Macallan, Highland Park and The Famous Grouse). Having recently joined the Authentic Wines and Spirits team in Calgary (Dalmore, Jura, Glendronach, BenRiach, Compass Box), his philosophy has not changed.

“My vision is to help establish Canada as a major consumer on the world stage, which ultimately means we get more of the unique and hard-to-find bottlings. I like to call it ‘collective selfishness’.”

J. is also responsible for connecting his brands with people in the spirits trade, from staff at some of the country’s top bars and white table clothed-restaurants, all the way to swanky speakeasies and stalwart pubs.

“Some just want the basic knowledge in order to enhance their sales abilities. Others want to get to the heart of the brands and become ambassadors in their own right. The range of what is available in Canada is better than ever, and there’s always something to talk about.”

For more information please contact:

Vines – Riverbend Wine Merchants (Edmonton)
Telephone: 434-9444
Email: info@vineswinemerchants.com

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Tickets are now available from Vines or through the new website: (http://edmontonwhiskyfestival.ca/)

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Review: Flor de Caña (Añejo Clasico) 5 Year Old Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 9, 2014

FDC Anejo Clasica (New)

FDC Anejo Clasico (New)

Flor de Caña has a history of rum production which is dated to 1890 at the San Antonio Sugar Mill, in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua. The company was founded by Francisco Alfredo Pellas and today, over 120 years later, the company is led headed by the fifth generation of the Pellas family. It has grown to be not only one of Central America’s leading brands of rum, it is also one of the most recognized rum brands in the world. According to the company website, all of the Flor de Caña rum is produced from molasses which is made from sugar cane harvested in fields adjacent to the distillery in Chichigalpa. This molasses is fermented and then distilled five times in a continuous column still. The resulting distillate is laid down to age in small American white oak barrels in traditional aging warehouses built without air conditioning in an undisturbed environment.

The subject of this review, Flor de Caña (Añejo Clasico) 5 Year Old Rum, is meant for sipping over ice, or for enjoying in fine cocktails and mixed drinks. You may read my full review by clicking on the following link:

Review: Flor de Caña (Añejo Clasico) 5 Year Old Rum

“… the caramel scents deepen and combine with that oak spice which brings a more defined toffee-like aroma into the breezes above the glass. There are also light baking spices present (primarily nutmeg and vanilla), some orange peel accents as well as a light nuttiness which resembles freshly crushed walnuts and pecans …”

Note: As explained in the review the 5 Year Old Añejo Clasico is the same rum as the former 5 Year Old Black Label, Flor de Caña has made changes to the image and presentation, but have not made any changes to their rum’s flavour profiles. I was given the bottle for this review by the local distributor, The Kirkwood Group who distribute the Flor de Caña rums in Alberta.

Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off

 
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