The Rum Howler Blog

(A Website for Spirited Reviews)

  • The Rum Howler Blog

  • Visit My Online Memorabilia Store

  • The Rum Howler Top Canadian Whiskies of 2013

    Click the image to find the Best 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2013

  • The Rum Howler Interview (Good Food Revolution)

    Click on the Image to see my interview on Good Food Revolution

  • The Rum Howler Top Rums of 2013

    Click the image to find the Best 30 Rums of 2013

  • Industry Interviews

    Interviews

    Click the Image for Great Interviews with the Movers of Industry

  • Cocktails and Recipes

    Click Image for Awesome Recipes

  • Follow Me on Twitter!

The 2012 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Whisky

This was a great year for the Rum Howler with respect to Whisky. I was able to help in a small way with the success of the 3nd Annual Edmonton Whisky Festival; I was selected to be on the North American Panel of Spirit Writers who judged the Canadian Whisky Awards; and I was able to almost double the number of Whisky reviews on my website this year. The result of all of this activity is that the year 2012 saw me taste and score more whisky than ever before. This means that my 2012 Rum Howler Awards for Whisky are better than ever.

All of my whisky awards are based upon side by side tastings of the various spirits which are in competition for each particular award. Just as it is with my other Rum Howler Awards, all of the samples which I receive for review in a given 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.

And so without further ado, it is time for me to reveal the recipients of my 2012 Rum Howler Awards for Excellence in the Production of Whisky. These Awards are for the best Whisky Spirits I encountered in the year 2012.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The 2012 Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky Value

and the Winner is:

Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky

Runner-up Award to: Hiram Walker Special Old

Honourable mention to: Potters Special Old Rye Whisky and Gibson’s Finest Sterling Whisky

When it come to great whisky at a budget price, it is the Canadian Whisky category that dominates. I judged this competition in head to head tastings, serving each whisky in a couple cocktails (the Buckeroo and the Horses Neck) as well as sipping each neat. After I do all that, I select the whisky which I feel gives me the best bang for my buck. This year, the Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky rose to the occasion and captured the award.

(The Hiram Walker Special Old, and the Potters Special Old Whisky each received strong consideration for the Award.)

(Considered for this award were, Adams Private Stock Canadian Whisky Alberta Premium Canadian WhiskyAlberta Springs Canadian WhiskyGibson’s Finest Sterling Whisky, Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky, Hiram Walker Special Old, McGuinness Silk Tassel Canadian WhiskyPotters Special Old Rye WhiskySchenley OFC Canadian Whisky, True North Canadian Rye Whisky, Wiser’s Special Blend and Wiser’s De Luxe)

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The 2012 Rum Howler Award for Best Canadian Whisky

and the Winner is:

Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky

Runner-up Award to: Forty Creek John’s Private Cask No. 1 Whisky

Honourable mention to:  Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky and Pendleton 1910 (Aged 12 Years)

All of the whiskies in this competition were judged both neat, and in an Old-Fashioned Cocktail with equal weighting given to each format. The winning Calgary Stampede Whisky has a rich lush flavour that bursts from the glass. That flavour, combined with its wonderful complexity and balance, and a spicy kick makes this whisky taste just wonderful. The Runner-up and the two Honourable Mentions were almost every bit as satisfying; and several more whiskies which did not make it onto the Honorable mentions list had my mouth-watering as well. What a year for Canadian Whisky!

(Considered for this award were, Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky, Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old WhiskyCoyote Ugly Canadian Whisky, Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve, Forty Creek John’s Private Cask No. 1 Whisky, Forty Creek Portwood Reserve 2012 Whisky, Gibson’s Finest 12 Year Old, Hiram Walker Special OldPendleton 1910 (Aged 12 Years) Canadian Whisky, Potters Special Old Rye Whisky, and  Schenley OFC Canadian Whisky)

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The 2012 Rum Howler Award for Best Scotch Whisky

and the winner is:

Glenfarclas 30 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky

Runner-Up Award to: anCnoc 12 Year old Single Malt Whisky

Honourable Mention to: Auchentoshan 12 year Old Single Malt Whisky, and Bowmore 18 Year Old Single Malt

Just as I had done in the Canadian Whisky Category, all of the Scotch whiskies were judged both neat and in an Old-Fashioned Cocktail with equal weighting was given to each. The clear winner this year was the Glenfarclas 30 Year Old Whisky in a contest which seemed almost unfair as I tasted each of the spirits side by side.

(Considered for this award were: anCnoc 12 Year old Single Malt Whisky, Auchentoshan Three Wood Single Malt Whisky, Auchentoshan 12 year Old, Balblair 2001 Vintage Single Malt (1rst Release), Bowmore 18 Year Old Single Malt, Dalmore 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, Glen Garioch 12 Year Old Single Malt, Glenfarclas 12 year Old, Glenfarclas 21 Year Old, Glenfarclas 30 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisk, Glenfarclas 40 year Old, Jura 10 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, Jura Superstition Single Malt Whisky, and Miltonduff 8 Year Old (Battlehill))

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The 2012 Rum Howler Award for Best American Whiskey

and the winner is:

Austin Nichols Wild Turkey

Runner-Up Award: Knob Creek Kentucky Bourbon

Honourable mention to: Basil Hayden’s Straight Kentucky Bourbon

I was able to taste a some interesting Bourbons this year; but the one that really stood out was the Wild Turkey Bourbon from Austin Nichols. I discovered (to my delight) that sipping on a Wild Turkey Mint Julep in the middle of the summer is a rare treat. The whiskey tastes darn fine straight too. Another great bourbon which I became reacquainted with this year was Knob Creek. The competition was close between these two great whiskies, and I almost awarded Knob Creek the title for Best American Whiskey; but, as I said earlier, that Mint Julep made with the Wild Turkey is a rare treat indeed.

(Considered for this award were, Basil Hayden’s Straight Kentucky Bourbon, Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Knob Creek, (rī)1 Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, and Wild Turkey (Austin Nichols))

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The 2012 Rum Howler Award for Best Irish Whiskey

Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey

Runner Up Award to: Writer’s Tears Irish Whiskey

Honourable mention to: Midleton Very Rare

For this category I took advantage of a visit from my Brother in Law who loves Irish Whiskey to help me choose the best. We tasted three recently reviewed Irish Whiskeys, and a fourth from my private collection both neat and with ice. We then enjoyed some Old Fashioned Cocktails.  At the end of the evening we after much discussion it turned out we were in agreement as how the whiskeys should be ranked.

Last year, the Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve was my Rum Howler 2011 Whisky of the Year, so it really isn’t any big surprise that this Irish Whiskey repeats this year as my 2012 Rum Howler Irish Whisky of the Year. The Writer’s Tears put up a worthy challenge in the side by side tasting I conducted during this summer; but the Jameson Limited Reserve just had far too much flavour and character to be denied.

(Considered for this award were, Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve, Midleton Very Rare,  Tullamore Dew, and Writer’s Tears)

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

And finally the Award that I am sure you have all been waiting for:

The 2012 Rum Howler Award for Best Overall Whisky

and the Winner is:

Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky

Runner-up Award to: Glenfarclas 30 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky

Honourable mention to: Forty Creek John’s Private Cask No. 1 Whisky

I said it earlier, What a year for Canadian Whisky! When I sat down to determine which whisky was the best, that I had tasted in the year 2012, two Canadian Whiskies found themselves in solid contention. John Hall’s marvelous Forty Creek John’s Private Cask No. 1 Whisky, as well as Highwood’s 25 Year Old Calgary Stampede Whisky. (The only serious challenger to this duo of great Canadian Whiskies was the stunning Glenfarclas 30 Year old Whisky from Scotland). In a tight race Highwood’s Calgary Stampede Whisky won the 2012 Rum Howler Award for Best Canadian Whisky, and when I tasted this whisky neat against the best of Scotland, the best of Ireland, and the best of America, it won hands down! The guys at Highwood should be proud, as they have produced the best whisky I have tasted in the year 2012!

(Considered for this award were: Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky, anCnoc 12 Year old Single Malt Whisky, Basil Hayden’s Straight Kentucky Bourbon, Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old WhiskyForty Creek Copper Pot Reserve, Forty Creek John’s Private Cask No. 1 Whisky, Knob Creek Straight Kentucky Bourbon, Midleton Very Rare Irish Whisky, Wild Turkey (Austin Nichols), and Writer’s Tears Irish Whiskey)

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Winners

The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky Value: Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky

The 2012 Rum Howler Award for Best Canadian Whisky: Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky

The 2012 Rum Howler Award for Best Scotch Whisky: Glenfarclas 30 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky

The 2012 Rum Howler Award for Best American Whiskey: Austin Nichols Wild Turkey

The 2012 Rum Howler Award for Best Irish Whiskey: Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey

The 2012 Rum Howler Award for Best Overall Whisky: Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Runners-Up

The Rum Howler Runner-Up Award for Best Whisky Value: Hiram Walker Special Old

The 2012 Rum Howler Runner-Up Award for Best Canadian Whisky: Forty Creek John’s Private Cask No. 1 Whisky

The 2012 Rum Howler Runner-Up Award for Best Scotch Whisky: anCnoc 12 Year old Single Malt Whisky

The 2012 Rum Howler Runner-Up Award for Best American Whiskey: Knob Creek Straight Kentucky Bourbon

The 2012 Rum Howler Runner-Up Award for Best Irish Whiskey: Writer’s Tears Irish Whiskey

The 2012 Rum Howler Runner-Up Award for Best Overall Whisky: Glenfarclas 30 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Honourable Mentions

The Rum Howler Honourable Mention Awards for Best Whisky Value: Potters Special Old Rye Whisky and Gibson’s Finest Sterling Whisky

The 2012 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Awards for Best Canadian Whisky: Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky and Pendleton 1910 (Aged 12 Years)

The 2012 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Awards for Best Scotch Whisky: Auchentoshan 12 year Old Single Malt Whisky, and Bowmore 18 Year Old Single Malt.

The 2012 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Awards for Best American Whiskey: Basil Hayden’s Straight Kentucky Bourbon

The 2012 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Awards for Best Irish Whiskey: Midleton Very Rare

The 2012 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Awards for Best Overall Whisky: Forty Creek John’s Private Cask No. 1 Whisky

4 Responses to “The 2012 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Whisky”

  1. ChrisB said

    Great choices! The Alberta Springs 10 is my house bottle, definitely excellent value and the Calgary Stampede is plain delicious.
    Instead of John’s Private Cask I would have thrown the Portwood into the scrum but what can you say?…it’s been a crazy good year for Canadian whisky!
    Keep up the good work.

    • It has been crazy good for Canadian Whisky! John Hall’s Copper Pot Whisky was in serious consideration as well as his Portwood. Smaller distilleries like Forty Creek and Highwood are making a serious impression on the whisky landscape here in Canada and I do believe that the big boys, (Diageo, Beam Global, Seagrams, and Corby) have begun to look nervously over their shoulders.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,206 other followers

%d bloggers like this: