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Posts Tagged ‘American Whiskey’

Review: Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 31, 2013

SAM_0549 BuilletBulleit Bourbon is produced at the Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. The brand traces its heritage back to 1830 when tavern keeper Augustus Bulleit (after a few experimental trials) created the brand and began to market it locally and eventually to areas outside of Kentucky. As misfortune would have it, Augutus Bulleit disappeared while transporting some barrels of his bourbon to New Orleans, and the brand disappeared for over 100 years. In 1987, Tom Bulleit revived the brand which bears his great grandfather’s name. Today the brand is owned by the Diageo Conglomerate who market the product throughout North America and into Europe.

The sample bottle of Bulleit Bourbon which I received was bottled at 45% alcohol by volume and is the standard bottle sold in North America. Here is an excerpt from my review:

“… There is a bit of a spicy swat that tickles the tonsils, but there is also a nice maple and caramel sweetness which accompanies that spicy swat and makes you want to take another sip. I can taste oak planks which are seeping just a little fresh sap from the wood pores, some delightful rye spices, and of course that rather sweet impression of maple and caramel …

Here is a link to my review which includes a recipe for the Old-Fashioned Cocktail:

Review: Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey

Please enjoy the review!

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

The Year in Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 8, 2012

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, here is the link:

The 2012 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Whisky

Posted in American Whiskey, Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Irish Whskey, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

For Father’s Day – Avoiding my 10 Whisky Regrets

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 15, 2012

Yesterday I shared a few of my rum experiences which were, let me say, less than enjoyable. The list was meant to help you avoid similar pitfalls in your search for a suitable rum to buy Dad for Father’s Day. Today, I think it is only fair, that I also list a few of the whisky decisions I have regretted as well. The list I came up with, isn’t really a list of horrible whiskies that left me gasping (although a couple are). It is more of a list of whiskies which in some way tainted my enjoyment such that I kind of wished I had never succumbed to their charm in the bottle.

They made me run to them, and then they made me run from them, kind of like that Gloria Jones song covered by Soft Cell:
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These are my regrets, and I publish this list in hopes that I can help you avoid a regret or two this Father’s Day. (Just for the fun of it, I think I will count them down in reverse order starting with a few minor regrets, working my way to my biggest whisky regret.)

My 10 Whisky Regrets

Happy Father’s Day Everyone!

Posted in American Whiskey, Canadian Whisky, Howls, Irish Whskey, Japanese Whisky, Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

The 2011 Rum Howler Awards – (Regional Whisky Awards)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 22, 2011

Today I am continuing with my Rum Howler Awards as I am selecting the best whiskies from various parts of the world. I have an Award for Best Canadian Whisky, and Award for Best Scotch Whisky, and Award for Best American Whisky, and an Award for Best Irish Whisky.

All of these awards are based upon side by side tasting sessions held over a period of several weeks. I began at the start of August slowly tasting different whiskies from my collection of reviews samples bringing only the very best forward for the final tastings which took place over the past month.

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Canadian Whisky

and the winner is:

Alberta Premium 30 Year Old

Honourable mention to Forty Creek Confederation Oak, Gibson’s Finest 12 Year, and Canadian Club 30 Year Old Whisky

It was a great year for Canadian Whisky, and I could easily have added several more honourable mentions to this category. I had great fun narrowing the field during some blind tasting runs where I had my wife pour me samples that I scored several times to arrive at the final four. The surprise finalist I guess would be the Gibson’s Finest 12 Year Old, but truthfully all four finalists are deserving nominees. What was not surprising to me was my decision to grant the Award to the Alberta Premium 30 Year Old. It was not only the tastiest in head to head competition, it was also probably the best bargain in the entire Whisky World last year. (A 30 Year Old 100 % Rye Whisky, that sold for less than $50.00 per bottle in all markets where it was available.) Unfortunately I am using past tense, as at that price it is no small mystery that the Alberta Premium 30 has disappeared.

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Scotch Whisky

and the winner is:

Highland Park 25 Year Old Whisky

Honourable mention to Signatory Dufftown 1984, and Glenmorangie Original

The fun continued as I had the opportunity this year to taste (and own) some incredible Scotch whisky. As with the Award for Best Canadian Whisky, I had my wife bring me small samples of each of the best Scottish Whiskies I had reviewed over the past year. It came down to three finalists, but in the end it was the staggering complexity of the Highland Park 25 Year Old whisky that won the day. This is a monster of a whisky and if you can afford to treat yourself to something really special, I recommend treating yourself to this one!

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The Rum Howler Award for Best American Whisky

and the winner is:

Basil Hayden’s Straight Kentucky Bourbon

Honourable mention to Maker’s 46  Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

I have to admit that my experiences with American Whiskies were rather limited this year. I reviewed only five on my website, and my sampling at whisky shows and tastings did not broaden that experience significantly. However, I will say that I have become quite enthusiastic about Basil Hayden’s Straight Kentucky Bourbon. I really dig the laid back style of the Basil Hayden’s and highly recommend that you try it because I think if you give this whisky a fair chance in your glass that you will really dig it too.

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Irish Whiskey

and the winner is:

Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey

Honourable mention to Writer’s Tears Pot Still Blend, Greenore 8 Year Old Single Grain, and Redbreast 12 year Old

There was really no serious competition in this category, as the Jameson 18 Year old Limited Reserve was by far and away the best Irish Whiskey I have tasted to this point. I fell in love with the depth of its pot still flavour and the love affair has continued throughout the year. I did sample (but not review) quite a few other Irish whiskeys this year, the Greenore 8 Year Old Single Grain Whisky, Writer’s Tears Pot Still Blend, and the Red Breast 12 Year Old were a few of the notables which I tried. However, none of these whiskeys seemed to match the style and the depth of flavour of this gem from Jameson.

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I have no award this year for the whiskies from the rest of the world. Simply put, I did not have the opportunity to sample many Japanese whiskies, or Indian whiskies, or the whiskies from other locales. I apologize for this unfortunate circumstance, but I will try to do better nest year.

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And so to wrap up the Rum Howler Regional Whisky Awards:

The Rum Howler Award for Best Canadian Whisky:  Alberta Premium 30 Year Old

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Scotch WhiskyHighland Park 25 Year Old Whisky

The Rum Howler Award for the Best American WhiskyBasil Hayden’s Straight Kentucky Bourbon

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

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Next week I shall tackle some Rum, cheers!

Posted in Awards, Howls | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: (rī)1 Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 9, 2011

(rī)1™ (pronounced rye one) Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey is a rye whiskey produced by Beam Global Spirits. It is a blend of several different straight rye whiskeys of differing ages (minimum 4 years). It is bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume bringing a little more zip to the palate than a lower proof spirit.

I was gifted a bottle recently when my oldest son traveled to Boston and decided to pick me up something that I wouldn’t find here in Alberta. I decided that a review of this spirit here on my website would be a fun exercise.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…The nose from the glass is full of wood and rye spice. The woody notes are manifesting themselves as banana peel which has a certain astringent spiciness similar to the sharpness of Appleton Reserve Rum. Dry grain notes are evident, in particular rye grain which adds to that spicy flair, although I also sense some honeycomb in the breezes as well. Fresh sap filled pine planks are being cut somewhere in the background and green grassy tobacco smells well up as well…”

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: (rī)1 Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey

Please enjoy the review and the two cocktails which follow, the Buckeroo, and the Horses Neck.

Cheers!

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

Review: Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 29, 2011

The Buffalo Trace Distillery is located in Frankfort, Kentucky and is the oldest (although unfortunately, not continuously running) distillery in the Unites States. The Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon was introduced by the distillery in 1999. The Bourbon is made from a mash-bill of Indian Corn, selected rye grains, and malted barley. The resulting spirit is placed in selected white oak “center ring” barrels from selected trees which are aged from 70 to 80 years old. Finally, according to the Buffalo Trace website, meticulous inspection of the various locations in the Buffalo Trace warehouses had concluded that the very best whiskey was being produced on the fourth floor of warehouse C and the fourth through sixth floors of Warehouses I and K on the distillery site. For this reason all of the Buffalo Trace Bourbon is aged only in these locations.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…The initial aroma from the glass is layer upon layer of fresh cedar and oak planks with the sap still dripping from the fresh wood. The scent has a touch of astringency, and it is hard to get at the sweeter underlying aroma of honeycomb, vanilla and corn. But, as I let the glass decant, I began to notice them, first the honeycomb came wafting up mixed with sweet toffee, and then the vanillans and corn pushed through the breezes….”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

As well I have designed two great cocktails which suit this particular bourbon perfectly, the Kentucky Crocodile, and The Crocogator.  Please enjoy the review and the cocktails provided!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Red Stag by Jim Beam

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 23, 2011

For the past two weeks I have been reviewing some bourbon whiskey which I  received in a collection of sample jars from the personal collection of  J. Leslie Wheelock, (a member of the Alberta Beam Global team), which spanned an impressive range of unique whiskies from Canada, Scotland, and the USA.  This week I dipped into the samples and chose Sample Jar # 14, Red Stag  Black Cherry Flavoured Bourbon.

Red Stag Flavoured Bourbon is a black cherry flavoured, 4-year-old, Jim Beam Bourbon. It appears to be intended primarily for the mixing of cocktails and bar drinks although it has been suggested that it can be enjoyed as a sipper as well.

For the purposes of the review I broke the process into two parts. The first part of the review process involved five independent taste sessions (about one ounce each) consumed neat and with ice, and I drew my tasting notes from that part of the review process. I then constructed a few cocktails including two which I found on the Red Stag Website (The Brass Buck and Red Stag and Cola).  I used these cocktails to round out the review with ancillary information regarding the suitability of the flavoured Whiskey for bar style cocktail drinks.

You may read the results of my research here:

Review: Red Stag Flavoured Bourbon

And please remember that the intention of my blog is to help you drink better spirits, not more spirits!

Please enjoy the review and the cocktails which follow:

Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Flavoured Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off

Whiskey Review: Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 15, 2011

Two weeks ago I began a series of reviews based upon a collection of whisk(e)y samples provided from the personal collection of J.L. Wheelock, a member of the Beam Global team here in Alberta. Part of the sample set of whiskies were a selection of Bourbon Whiskeys from the Jim Beam Distillery.  I was not given a sample of Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon as part of this sample group; however, I happened to have a small 375 ml flask of Jim Beam on hand  so I thought that I would provide a review of the flagship whiskey of the Jim Beam brand as part of this series of reviews.

The Jim Beam distillery was founded in 1795,  and it has been operated as a family run business for seven generations.  Currently Jim Beam Straight Kentucky Bourbon is produced at the Clermont Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, and (according to the Jim Beam Website) is the best-selling bourbon in the world.  The spirit is aged for 4 years in white American oak barrels and bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

The bottle I am reviewing is the 375 ml flask style bottle pictured to the left.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…The aroma from the glass is one of rough timbers freshly cut. A waft of vanilla rises with the timbers, and deeper down we have some dank corn and oodles of raw honeycomb.  Waiting for a minute or so I also catch some toffee aroma building in the glass as well…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

As well I have included my version of a nice cocktail called The Kentucky Margarita. Please enjoy the review.

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

Review: Maker’s 46 Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 11, 2011

I mentioned a week ago that I had received a collection of sample jars from the personal collection of  J. Leslie Wheelock, (a member of the Alberta Beam Global team), which spanned an impressive range of unique whiskies from Canada, Scotland, and the USA.  This week I dipped into the samples and chose Sample Jar # 13, Maker’s 46 Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey.

Maker’s 46 Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey begins where Maker’s Mark Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey ends. Bill Samuels, Sr. is credited with creating the first version of Maker’s Mark in 1954. After a few years of practice the folks at the Maker’s Mark Distillery have been producing this whiskey the same way since 1958. The process begins with pure limestone fed spring-water; follows with yellow corn, red winter wheat, and natural malted barley; continues with a unique milling, cooking, and fermentation process; and ends in a small batch distillation and moving (eg; rotating) barrel aging process. Of course the final result is tested and tasted to make sure it is just right.

In a recent display of innovation, Master Distiller Kevin Smith, began a sort of ‘trial and error’ series of experiments to come up with a new twist on the Maker’s Mark. In December 2009, Maker’s 46 was born. (click on the link to get the full story right from the Maker’s Mark Website.)

In a nutshell, fully aged Maker’s Mark is removed from its barrel, ten seared wooden staves are then placed inside of that barrel. (The staves are seared to caramelize the sugars in the wood.) These wooden staves are basically flat  panels of wood each about 4 inches wide and 12 to 18 inches long.  The aged Maker’s Mark is then put back into the barrel and aged several more months. When the proper taste profile is achieved, Maker’s 46 is removed from the barrel, bottled, corked and dipped.

I admit that after reading a little bit about Maker’s 46, I was eager to give my small sample a few tasting sessions and write down my impressions. Here is an excerpt from my review;

“….Maker’s 46 is surprisingly soft as it enters the palate, and I want to call this creamy  in spite of the rush of wooden timbers and heavy toffee that quickly builds. Things are not as sweet as the nose would have implied however, and impressions of drier fruit, tobacco and cocoa seem to take hold at mid palate with the oak spiciness expressing itself as cloves and cinnamon….”

You may read my full review here:

Review: Maker’s 46 Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

Please enjoy the review and remember that the aim of my blog is to help you drink better spirits, not to help you drink more spirits!


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

Basil Hayden’s Small Batch Bourbon

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 5, 2011

Just before Christmas I was greeted by J. Leslie Wheelock, who is part of the Beam Global team here in Alberta, who had brought with him a with a veritable treasure trove of small whisk(e)y samples from his personal collection for me to inspect and enjoy in the hopes that I might write about a few of them here on my blog. No strings were attached, and I was left free to try them on my own time-table and to share whichever opinions I had which were fair and honest here on my blog.

The samples are a tour de force of some of the best whiskies which Beam Global has produced and includes Bourbon Whiskey samples from Jim Beam, Scotch Whisky samples from The Macallan and Highland Park, and Canadian Whisky samples from Canadian Club.

The samples all came in little sealed and numbered jars with a master-list letting me know what was in each jar.  Originally, I was to receive 19 samples but since I have already received a full sample bottle of The Macallan Cask Strength, sample # 3 was omitted.

I decided that I wanted to experience a little bourbon first, which is why, when I chose to begin this series of mini reviews for the sample bottles, I decided to begin with Sample # 19, Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…. this is a gentle bourbon that caresses the mouth with honeycomb cereal, vanilla and mild toffee on the entry.  Spicier tannins from the oak build and gather strength in the mouth but they never reach a point where they overwhelm the other flavours….”

You may read the full review by following this link:

Whiskey Review: Basil Hayden’s Small Batch Bourbon

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

 
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