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Review: Jose Cuervo Especial Plata (Silver)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 12, 2014

SAM_0541 Jose Cuervo Especial SilverAccording to the Jose Cuervo website, it all began in 1795, when Jose María Guadalupe de Cuervo was producing his Mexcal wine spirit commercially having obtained an official permit for this purpose from the King of Spain. By 1812, he had established La Rojena, the distillery which to this day produces Jose Cuervo Tequila. By 1844, Jose Cuervo Tequila was being distributed within Mexico, and in 1873 the earliest known documented export of the Tequila outside of Mexico apparently occurred when 3 bottles of Jose Cuervo were transported across the United States border by donkey. As you know, those exports have continued (although no longer by donkey), and now the Jose Cuervo brand is the best-selling tequila in the entire world.

The Jose Cuervo Especial is available as both a Gold or ‘joven’ tequila and as a Silver or ‘plata’ tequila. These tequila spirits are not made from 100 % blue agave which means that they are referred to in the industry as “Mixto“. A Mixto tequila must have at least 51 % of its volume made from blue agave distillate, but the other 49 % can be distilled from other non agave sugars (usually sugar cane). Mixto is also subject to less stringent regulation with respect to additives such as sugar syrup and caramel.

The Dreadful Lemon Sky

The Dreadful Lemon Sky

(In July of 2013, Proximo Spirits acquired the distribution rights for the Jose Cuervo brand in supplanting Diageo, who had managed the brand since 1997.)

You may click on the following review excerpt to read my full review:

Review: Jose Cuervo Especial Plata (Silver)

“… The initial nose from the glass carries a mixture of light honey, mild white pepper and a somewhat muted herbaceous agave (the smell of which resembles boiled squash). As I let the glass sit, the light honey tones begin to remind me of sugar cane syrup, and the breezes above the glass reveal a light impression of lemon zest within the white pepper …”

Although this review was originally published two years ago, I have updated it to contain more current information and added a new cocktail suggestion, the Dreadful Lemon Sky. This Margarita style cocktail is based upon the Picador, a recipe which predates the margarita by several decades.

Please enjoy my updated review, and the cocktail suggestions which follow it. Cheers!

 

Posted in Blanco Tequila, Mixto Tequila, Tequila, Tequila Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 8, 2014

Four Roses Small batch SAM_1137Four Roses is a Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey owned by the Japanese firm, Kirin Brewery Company. The brand traces its history back to 1884 when Paul Jones Jr. opened an office in Louisville, Kentucky on a section of Main Street called, “Whiskey Row.” In 1888 Jones acquired his trademark for the name ‘Four Roses’, and in 1922 he purchased the Frankfort Distilling Company. The Four Roses brand became well established, and in 1943 it caught the eye of Seagram, who purchased the Frankfort Distilling Co., and with it, the Four Roses Kentucky Straight Bourbon trademark.

The brand underwent a few changes in the 1950s as the whiskey was converted into a blend by Seagram for the US market, but remained a Straight bourbon overseas in Asian and European Markets. As a blended whiskey the brand lost some of its importance was eventually sold to Vivendi and subsequently to Diageo. Diageo sold the Four Roses trademark to Kirin in 2002, and Kirin made a decision to discontinue the sale of blended whiskey and returned the focus of the brand back to Bourbon Whiskey.

1878 Bourbon Smash

1878 Bourbon Smash

Four Roses is now produced at the Four Roses Distillery under the guidance of Master Blender, Jim Rutledge. The Distillery uses 5 proprietary yeast strains in combination with two different mashbills to produce 10 different Bourbons recipes. To produce Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, Jim Rutledge chooses select bourbon barrels from four of these recipe Bourbons.

You may read my full review of Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon by clicking on the following excerpt link:

Review: Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

“… The aroma from the glass reveals spicy oak sap and woody cedar aromas surrounded by additional scents of vanilla  and sweet butterscotch. There is a bit of spicy orange peel as well us some nice dollops of maple and honeycomb. I allowed the glass to breath and began to notice some spicy cinnamon and clove as well as some tobacco and hay-like grassiness …”

Please enjoy the review which includes a tweaked version of Leo Engels, 1878 Bourbon Smash as the feature recipe!

Have a great Sunday!

Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Brokers Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 5, 2014

Broker’s Gin is a relatively new brand, created in 1998 by the Dawson Brother’s (Martin and Andy). Despite the rather recent creation of this brand, the recipe for Broker’s Gin is reported to be over 200 years old. Apparently, during the design phase for the brand, the Dawson brothers tasted and tested many newer recipes as well; however they found that sometimes the old ways really are the best ways, and after various trials they chose the 200-year-old recipe.

Broker’s Gin is made from traditional copper pot stills in a distillery located near Birmingham, England. The spirit is a wheat-based, quadruple-distilled, pure grain gin. Ten natural ingredients are used to flavour the spirit, and of course the primary botanical used is juniper. The ten botanicals are steeped in the quadruple-distilled base spirit within the still for 24 hours prior to the spirit being processed through a final, fifth distillation to produce Broker’s Gin. Like the recipe for the gin, the Birmingham distillery where it is created is over 200 years old.

Lime Martini with Broker's

Lime Martini with Broker’s

I was given my bottle of Broker’s Gin by Woodman Wines and Spirits to review on my website.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

Review: Broker’s (Premium London Dry Gin)

“… I poured out my first sample of Broker’s Gin into a glencairn glass and my nose was greeted with the classic mild piny juniper scent of a traditional English gin. Light notes of lemon and lime citrus lay in the breezes with just a hint of orange peel. The overall effect is light and refreshing. If you spend some time nosing the glass it is possible to detect a very light pungent spiciness which lies under the more assertive juniper and citrus… “

I have included two nice cocktail suggestions with this review, the Lady of the Empire, and the Lime Martini.

Please enjoy the review and the cocktails!

Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Chinook Signature White Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 3, 2014

White Whisky Daiquiri SAM_1160The folks at MCBSW Sales in Calgary Alberta have recently expanded their Chinook Whisky line-up to include two new Signature Whiskies, the previously reviewed Chinook Signature Rye Whisky (click on the link to read the review) and a new ‘white whisky’, which is the subject of this review, the Limited Edition Chinook Signature White Whisky.

I was told by the agent responsible for the brand here in Alberta that both Chinook Signature whiskies are produced and aged in Southern Alberta from Western Canadian Prairie grain. The Signature White in addition to being aged for the minimum 3 years required by Canadian Law is additionally filtered clear to provide a mild flavoured whisky suitable as an alternate to vodka for mixing quality cocktails. Interestingly, the words “Canadian Whisky” do not appear anywhere on the label of the bottle I received. Whether this was done intentionally or whether this was an oversight is not known; however this does leave the door open for the brand owners to move production of the whisky south of the border to their own distillery in Wisconsin at some point in the future.

I was provided a bottle of the Chinook Signature White Whisky by the Alberta agent for MCBSW Sales for the purpose of this review on my website.

You may click on the following excerpt link to read my full review:

Review: Chinook Signature White Whisky

“… The aromas in the breezes above the glass are very subtle, and it would be easy to mistake this whisky for a white rum rather than a grain based spirit. I sense a mellow butterscotch scent which carries hints of honey and cotton candy, and light influences of sandalwood, orange peel zest and vanilla. There are also a few floral tones in the air which remind me of heather and lilac, and some vague hints of mint and licorice …”

At the conclusion of my review I added two nice recipes which I felt highlighted the great mixing potential of the Chinook Signature White Whisky, the White Whisky Daiquiri (pictured left), and the White Whisky Mojito.

Please enjoy my review and my recipe suggestions!

 

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Brugal XV Ron Reserva Exclusiva

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 1, 2014

Peurto Plata Punch SAM_1158The 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. Although the Edrington Group now controls the company, George Arzeno Brugal, is the current chairman, and most of the current board members are direct descendants of the original company founder.

According to the Edrington Website, Brugal makes their rum in a traditional manner (from molasses) and ages it on site in Puerto Plata in American white oak barrels. My sample bottle of Brugal XV Ron Reserva Exclusiva arrived to me direct from the Dominican Republic via my young newlywed daughter who recently returned from her honeymoon with her husband in the Caribbean. This rum was bottled for the domestic market, and thus it is a 37.5 % alcohol by volume offering and is sold in a 700 ml configuration. Although the label implies the rum is may be aged for as long as 15 years, the reality is that this rum does not carry an age statement. The large XV on the label is simple that, a large XV. My research indicates that this particular rum is in fact a blend of rums which vary in age from 3 years to 8 years.

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

Review: Brugal XV Ron Reserva Exclusiva

“…  I sense a mild oak presence with woodspice and notes of honey and butterscotch lying within the oak. An impression of almond comes forward as do bits of banana and orange peel zest. Giving the rum time in the glass allows me to notice some cinnamon accents and an underlying mustiness in the breezes …

As you can see from the photo to the left, I could not resist making a nice ‘punch’ style cocktail which I call, Puerto Plata Punch.

I hope you enjoy the review, and of course my recipe suggestion!

 

Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Tomatin 12 Year Old (Single Malt)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 29, 2014

tomatin12The Tomatin Distillery is located in the Monadhliath Mountains near Inverness, the capital of the Highlands of Scotland. The Distillery was established in 1897. (For those who do not know, the term “established in 1897″ is a code term which represents an acknowledgement by the distillery that the company began to legally pay taxes on the spirits it produced in that year. When the Distillery actually began to produces spirits is not acknowledged.) Because of its location in the Monadhliath Mountains, Tomatin is one of the highest distilleries (elevation wise) in Scotland at 315 metres above sea level. In 1985 as the Distillery was expanded and was at that time renamed, The Tomatin Distillery Co Ltd..

The company now operates 12 stills, in a process which perhaps more closely resembles a large-scale industrial factory rather than a typical Single Malt Distillery. This is because the distillery has always been a large-scale producer of whisky for Scotland’s major blends. However, Tomatin has recently began to focus their efforts on also producing their own Single Malt Whisky as well as establishing their own brand identity.

Blood and Sand

Blood and Sand

The Tomatin 12 Year Old (Single Malt) is matured in what the company calls ‘traditional’ oak casks. However for the last 6 to 9 months of its aging life the whisky is moved to Oloroso Sherry Casks. You may read my full review which includes a nice recipe suggestion, Blood and Sand, by clicking the following excerpt link:

Review: Tomatin 12 Year Old (Single Malt)

“… The delivery shows more wood and baking spice than the nose implied with pleasant flavours of oak sap combining with vanilla, cinnamon and hints of clove. The sherried fruit is obvious as well demonstrated by flavours of green grape accented by raisins and figs. Although the whisky is sherried, the Oloroso influence comes across as a firm flavour accent rather than as a sherry bomb. …”

Please enjoy the review!

Slainte!

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

Review: Hendrick’s Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 26, 2014

Yesterday, I had a few of my friends over for a bit of a spirits tasting. I chose three aged spirits for the group to analyze (more on those in a later posting), and afterwards I made some gin cocktails for everyone to enjoy. The first gin I poured was Hendrick’s, and the cocktail which I chose to showcase the gin was the classic Tin and Tonic. The Hendrick’s and Fever Tree Tonic I served went over so well that I decided to revisit the Hendrick’s Gin review which I had written about three years ago.

The people who make Hendrick’s Gin pride themselves on being just a little quirky, and perhaps a bit eccentric. Their offbeat website revels in the odd and the peculiar and tries to convince all who peruse the site that Hendrick’s Gin is special exactly because of the things which make it odd and peculiar.

The gin is produced in Scotland, in the village of Girvin, Ayrshire by William Grant & Sons (who are perhaps better known for their whisky distillations than their gin). It is made small batches (450 litre batch size) using two unusual stills, a copper Bennett Still which has been dated to 1860, and a Carter-Head still made in 1948. These stills each serve a different purpose, but together they create a unique gin made with 11 different botanicals, and infused with cucumber and rose petals one batch at a time.

You may read my full review as well as my take on a quirky Gin and Tonic by clicking the link below:

Review: Hendrick’s Gin

“… The nose begins with mild citrus tones which are accented by juniper.  I catch hints of lemon-lime and orange as well as a fleeting impression of black licorice and fennel. The impressions continue to be fleeting with hints of light familiar scents, perhaps a touch of lilac, and perhaps something more earthy like damp moss. This is very complex …”

Please enjoy the review and if you happen to have a bottle of Henricks’ Gin handy, do try the Hendrick’s and Fever Tree Tonic cocktail which concludes the review!

Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

WHAT IS RUM NATION ?

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 24, 2014

Reimonenq and Fabio

Master Distiller, Leopold Reimonenq and Fabio Rossi in Guadeloupe

Fabio Rossi was born in 1961, and he grew up among the bottles of fine wine and spirits which were imported by his father, Mario Jr., who had been dealing in wines and liquors since 1956. (His father was the first importer of Laphroaig whisky in Italy, and he also imported wine and spirits brands such as Rhum Barbancourt, several Bordeaux Chateaux, and Champagnes such as Salon.)

Fabio began his life in the spirits trade as a Oenologist (one who has studied winemaking). After his studies, Mr. Rossi left the wine business and started up a whisky company in Edinburgh (Wilson and Morgan) acting as an independent bottler of Single Malt Scotch Whisky. His interest turned to rum, and in 1999 Fabio Rossi founded Rum Nation. The company is headquartered in Italy; but Fabio purchases select rums from various distillers in the Caribbean and the Americas. As a result Rum Nation provides a rather unique assortment of rare limited edition rum bottlings.

Recently, I was provided with a lengthy interview of Mr. Rossi which had been conducted by Luca Chichizola, the brand ambassador for Fabio’s whisky brand Wilson and Morgan. Luca is a computer engineer who apparently also has some skills in journalism. The interview was sent to me to provide me with more background information regarding Rum Nation and Mr. Rossi’s philosophies towards selecting his fine rums. Because I felt the information provided in the interview would be of interest to my readers, I asked for and received, permission to publish it here on my website.

You can read the full interview by clicking on the following link:

WHAT IS RUM NATION ? (An Interview with Fabio Rossi)

I hope everyone enjoys the interview as much as I did.

 

 

Posted in Extras, Interviews | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Review: Rum Nation Barbados Anniversary Edition (12 Years Old)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 22, 2014

SAM_1126 FINE DALLIANCE

A Fine Dalliance

Rum Nation is an Italian rum company created by Fabio Rossi, who began his life in the spirits trade as a Oenologist (one who has studied winemaking). After his studies, Mr. Rossi left the wine business and started up a whisky company in Edinburgh (Wilson and Morgan) acting as an independent bottler of Single Malt Scotch Whisky. His interest turned to rum and in 1999, Fabio Rossi founded Rum Nation. His company is headquartered in Italy; but Fabio purchases select rums from various distillers in the Caribbean and the Americas. As a result Rum Nation provides a rather unique assortment rums from various Caribbean producers. His Rum Nation Barbados Anniversary Edition (12 Years Old) celebrates the first 15 years of Rum Nation (2001 to 2014) as an independent bottler of unique Caribbean Rum.

The Bajan rum was distilled from sugar cane molasses upon a column still in Barbados (R.L. Seale) in 2001 (Batch Number L14/059). It was matured in the Caribbean (in Ex American Bourbon casks) for the majority of its aging life. However the rum was transported to Italy to be finished in Piedmont (Italian area of the Nebbiolo Wine) for the last 18 to 24 months. For finishing, the rum was transferred to Ex Spanish Brandy and Ex sherry Oloroso casks before being bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

You may click on the excerpt to read the full review:

Review: Rum Nation Barbados Anniversary Edition (12 Years Old)

“… As I let the glass sit, the aroma from the glass deepens bringing lush scents of vanilla and baking spices (nutmeg and cinnamon in particular) into the air above the glass. Hints of marmalade are apparent and the brown sugar, oak and the baking spices keep growing in strength. I notice bits of cola and milk chocolate and perhaps just a touch of sea brine and menthol. All indications are that this is a rich indulgent rum.

Just because a particular rum is a wonderful sipper, it does not mean that we cannot find joy in the cocktail format. The trick is to use other ingredients sparingly such that they serve as an elegant accent to the rum’s flavour and not as a distraction. At the conclusion of my review I provided a cocktail suggestion , A Fine Dalliance, which I believe strikes the right balance.

Enjoy the review, and my wonderful cocktail!

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

Review: Chinook Signature Rye Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 18, 2014

Soft Touch (Chinook) SAM_1149

Chinook Whisky and the Soft Touch Cocktail

The folks at MCBSW Sales in Calgary Alberta have been quite busy over the last couple of years. In addition to bringing no less than five new Canadian Whiskies onto the market (hopefully I will review them all); they have also bought a Micro distillery (Minhas Micro Distillery) in Monroe, Wisconsin, from which they are producing Polo Club Gin and Blackstone Vodka. Plans are apparently underway to produce an American Bourbon as well. One of those new Canadian Whiskies MCBWS has recently launched, is an addition to their popular Chinook family of Whiskies,  Chinook Signature Rye Whisky.

I was provided a bottle of the Chinook Signature Rye Whisky by the Alberta agent for MCBSW Sales for the purpose of this review on my website.

You may click on the following excerpt link to read the full review:

Review: Chinook Signature Rye Whisky

“… The nose is full of clean oak and rye spice with obvious notes of fresh grain and straw accompanying the spice. As the glass sits, orange peel and citrus fruit notes begin to climb out of the glass as well as some fresh ginger and coriander spice. There is also a firm underlying sweetness which reminds me of cotton candy and marshmallows …”

I provided two nice recipes for the Chinook Signature Rye Whisky at the conclusion of my review, the Hippodrome, and the Soft Touch. Please enjoy my review and the provided recipes as well as the nice weather we are having this weekend!

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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