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Review: Havana Club Anejo 3 Anos

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 26, 2014

Havana Club 3 SAM_1182Havana Club is a Cuban Rum produced by Havana Club International (a joint venture between the Cuban Government and Pernod Ricard) currently produced in two Cuban locations, San José de Las Lajas and Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba. According to tradition the production of the rum which was to become Havana Club began in 1878 when Spanish immigrant José Arechabala established Destileria La Vizcaya in the port city of Cárdenas, Cuba. The distillery remained in the hands of the Arechabala family and in 1934  José’s grandson (also named José Arechabala) apparently created the recipe for Havana Club Rum and began to market it throughout the world. However, the family lost control of the distillery and the brand when after the Cuban Revolution of 1959, the Cuban Government nationalized the distillery and company.

Tonic Mojito SAM_1183

Mojito Tonic with Havana Club Anejo 3 Anos

Havana Club Añejo 3 Años is a pale straw coloured rum spirit which has been aged for 3 years in Cuba. Because of the current difficulties between USA and Cuba the distillery which produces the rum must source its aging barrels from outside of the USA. This means that first fill American oak is almost certainly not used in the aging process, more likely the distillery uses second or third fill barrels which would be sourced from its Caribbean neighbors. Although the rum exhibits some colour it is nevertheless sold as a white cocktail rum which is said to be particularly well-suited for the Cuban Mojito.

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

Review: Havana Club Anejo 3 Anos

“… The breezes above the glass are lightly sweet with hints of cotton candy, butterscotch and a light vanilla. Although it takes a minute or two the scent of fresh-cut grass becomes stronger as the glass sits, as do impressions of fresh plantain and canned pears. Bits of sandalwood struggle out of the glass which indicates that although the spirit appears to be filtered, some indications of wood aging are apparent in the air above the glass …”

Please enjoy the review which includes a nice Mojito style cocktail completed with Tonic Water rather than soda. I call it, the Mojito Tonic.

Cheers Everyone!

 

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

Review: Sambuca dei Cesari (Luxardo)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 22, 2014

Luxardo SamLuxardo S.P.A. was founded in 1821 in Zara, a port city on the Dalmatian coast of what is now the Republic of Croatia. At the conclusion of World War II and as a consequence of the borders within Europe having been redrawn, the company transferred its holdings to Torreglia in 1947, and has remained an Italian Company, 100% controlled by the founding family. Today, Luxardo is one of the oldest European firms which produce liqueurs, and now almost 200 years after it was established, it remains in the control of the sixth generation of the original Luxardo family.

Clarity SAM_1180

Clarity

Sambuca dei Cesari is the licorice flavoured Sambuca produced by Luxardo. Like the well-known Greek licorice flavoured Ouzo, it is a sweet liqueur with a strong licorice flavour derived from the oils of the Star Anise. These oils are obtained from the seeds of this plant by a process of steam distillation. A concentrated solution of sugar and other natural aromas are added to this before bottling at 38 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Sambuca dei Cesari (Luxardo)

“… The flavour of the Sambuca dei Cesari matches the aroma perfectly as the liqueur tastes just like a black jelly bean which has already melted in my mouth. I taste candied sweet black licorice with a hint of mintiness ….”

At the conclusion of the review I have included a nice refreshing recipe called Clarity, which mixes Sambuca dei Cesari with Lemonade. It is perfect for a warm sunny Sunday.

Please enjoy the review and the stunningly delicious tall cocktail!

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

Review: Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 20, 2014

1878 Whiskey Cocktail with Maker's Mark

1878 Whiskey Cocktail with Maker’s Mark

Maker’s Mark is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky brand distilled in Loretto, Kentucky, and owned by Beam Global. Bill Samuels Sr. is credited with creating the first version of Maker’s Mark in 1954, and the folks at the Maker’s Mark Distillery have been producing the whiskey since 1958.

The process of producing the bourbon begins with pure limestone fed spring-water, yellow corn, red winter wheat, and natural malted barley (note the absence of rye grain which was replaced by red winter wheat in the mash bill). It continues with a unique milling, cooking, fermentation and small batch distillation process; and it ends with the spirit being aged in new oak barrels. Of course the final whisky is tested and tasted to make sure it is just right before being bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume.

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

Review: Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky

“… As I nose the glass, I find the breezes are filled with dry oak and cedar scents with a bit of the ‘sappiness’ which I have come to expect from straight American whisky. The firm scents of wood grain and fresh sap are soon joined by orange peel, honeycomb and bits of maple and caramel. There are also indications of baking spices (vanilla cinnamon and cloves), dry grassy cigarette tobacco, and bits of almond …”

The recipe I have decided to showcase at the conclusion of the review is an old whiskey cocktail I found in Leo Engels 1878 book, American and Other Drinks. In his book, Leo simply calls the recipe a Whiskey Cocktail (for simplicity I call it the 1878 Whiskey Cocktail), and I suspect his recipe is close to the original version of what we today call, the Old Fashioned Cocktail.

Please enjoy the review everybody, and enjoy my cocktail suggestion!

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

Review: Ballantine’s Finest Blended Scotch Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 17, 2014

ballantine-finestThe heritage of Ballantine’s Scotch Whisky can be traced back to 1827 when George Ballantine set up a small grocery store in Edinburgh supplying a range of whiskies to his clients. In 1865, he opened a larger establishment in Glasgow where he concentrated on the wine and spirit trade and catered to a more upscale customer base which apparently included the Hindu Royal Family. It was at this time that Ballantine started the experimentation which led to the creation of his own whisky blends. By the time his son George Jr. took over the business, Ballantine’s was a growing concern and the family eventually sold the prosperous business to Barclay and McKinlay in 1919. As the business and the brand continued to grow, the brand attracted the attention of the Canadian firm, Hiram Walker Gooderham & Worts who acquired Ballantine’s in 1937. Growth continued especially in new markets in Europe. Then in 1988, the Company became part of the global beverage conglomerate Allied Domecq, and later (in 2005) was acquired by Pernod Ricard who own the brand today.

Mamie Taylor

Mamie Taylor

Ballantine’s Finest Blended Scotch Whisky is the flagship whisky of the Ballantine’s brand. It is blended from a mixture of malt and grain whiskies all of which are aged (as per Scottish Law) for a minimum of three years in oak barrels.

You may read my full review of the blended Scotch whisky by clicking on the following except:

Review: Ballantine’s Finest Blended Scotch Whisky

“… The initial nose rising into the breezes above the glass have a firm honeyed butterscotch taint which is accented by heather and fine grain spices. I also detect light notes of raisins and cherry licorice which hints at a few sherry barrels which may have been utilized in the aging of at least some of the whisky. As I let the glass sit I notice fruity aromas of apple juice and canned peaches and apricots, as well as more grain-like scents which remind me of orange and lime zest and damp cigarette tobacco …”

Please enjoy the review and the recipe suggestion which follows, the Mamie Taylor Cocktail.

Slainte’

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

Review: Goslings Family Reserve Old Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 15, 2014

A dark 'n Stormy made with Gosling's Family reserve.

A Dark ‘n Stormy made with Gosling’s Family reserve.

James Gosling (in 1806), left England intending to bring a load of merchandise goods to America for trade and sale. Apparently the ship upon which he was traveling was confounded by calm seas and instead of reaching America, the ship’s 90 day charter expired, and the ship’s Captain changed course to Bermuda. James Gosling never made it to America and instead settled in Bermuda opening a shop in St. George’s at the end of that year.

James’ brother Ambrose joined him in 1824, and the Gosling Brothers rented a shop on Front Street in the new Capitol of Hamilton (which was maintained by the family for 127 years.) In 1860, the new company of Gosling Brothers began to experiment with the rum trade, and three years later they were selling a distinctive dark rum. Gosling’s originally sold the rum directly from the barrel requiring their customers to bring their own container. However during World War I the brothers began to acquire Champagne bottles which they filled with rum. The bottles were corked and covered with black wax sealing wax. Soon customers began to ask for that Black Seal Rum.

Goslings Family Reserve Old Rum is apparently blended from the same stocks and in the same manner as their flagship brand, Gosling’s Black Seal. It is however, aged for a longer period of time in what the company calls ‘dark barrels’.

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

Review: Goslings Family Reserve Old Rum

“… The breezes above the glass are tainted with licorice stained molasses, dark tobacco smoke, and strong hints of orange peel. I also sense some fine oak spices, a bit candied caramel and if you give the glass a little time, a scent of marmalade begins to develop. As the breathing continues some luscious baking spices rich with brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla begin to push through …”

Please enjoy my review which includes my recipe suggestion (Gosling’s patented cocktail) , The Dark ‘n Stormy.

Happy Father’s Day everyone!

Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

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 »

 
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