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Posts Tagged ‘Canadian Vodka’

Review: Still Waters Single Malt Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 30, 2013

SAM_0887 Single Malt Vodka MojitoWords like “hand crafted” and “‘Small Batch” seem to be words thrown about by liquor producers in the same manner that rice and confetti are thrown about at a TV wedding. I guess the theory is that if you throw out enough rhetoric, some of it is bound to stick. So it is refreshing to write about a distillery where the words “hand crafted” and “‘Small Batch” really mean exactly what they imply.

Barry Bernstein and Barry Stein own and run the Still Water Distillery, and as far as small batch distilling goes, they are the real deal. They founded Ontario’s first micro-distillery in 2009, and pride themselves in not only being the Distillers and the Blenders of their craft spirits; but also in being the distillery’s Chief Bottle washers and Bottle Fillers. In fact, there is not a single aspect of the business that they do not either personally oversee or do themselves. Barry and Barry bring their spirits from grain to bottle in small batches, first sourcing locally grown grain, then mashing, fermenting, distilling, maturing, and bottling the spirits right at the distillery. And yes, they bottle and package every spirit they produce by hand!

Still Waters Single Malt Vodka is one of their hand-made spirits. It is not your typical Vodka. It is made from 100 % malted barley on their own German-made pot still.

Here is a link to my full review of this new Single Malt Vodka:

Review: Still Waters Single Malt Vodka

“… I received indications of a very light butterscotch sweetening the spirit just a little. I also sensed some indistinct floral notes with maybe a hint of licorice …”

At the end of the review I suggest a couple of nice cocktails, the Vodka Mojito, and Civility.

Please enjoy the review, and of course my cocktail suggestions!

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Review: Marushka Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 7, 2012

Marushka Vodka is a wheat distilled Vodka produced at the Highwood Distillery in High River, Alberta. This distillery is situated near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains just 40 minutes south of downtown Calgary. This is Highwood’s original vodka. Over the years they have made numerous refinements in an attempt to continually improve on the exact flavor that works best for what they refer to as their Russian/Ukrainian style vodka.

Of the six vodkas produced by Highwood, Marushka is considered by the distillery to have the most flavour. It is the number one choice amongst the bars and restaurants which serve Highwood Vodka. I was given a sample bottle of Marushka Vodka by Highwood Distillers to put through the paces of my Review Methodolgy.

Here is an excerpt from the resulting review:

“… In the shot glass the Marushka Vodka displayed a stronger than usual aroma above the glass. I could detect a firm note of citrus zest, a grainy spiciness, and the vegetal aroma of a young spirit. The first sip confirmed these impressions especially the grainy spiciness… “

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Marushka Vodka

As well I have include a new cocktail of mine called Civility. Please enjoy the review and my new cocktail!

Cheers!

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Review: Proof Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 9, 2012

Proof Vodka is a relatively new brand of Vodka produced by Proof Brands. The company currently produces whisky, rum and vodka all of which are bottled at 42 % ABV in unique stubby 500 ml bottles. The brand and the spirits are the creation of Michael Riley, a ten-year veteran of the alcohol beverage industry. Michael spent 5 years as the Director of Spirits for the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario). He has also has worked with such brands as Crown Royal, Absolut, Captain Morgan, Chivas Regal and Molson Canadian.

As part of the review process, I emailed Michael Riley to learn a little about his vodka. What I learned is that Proof Vodka is triple distilled from wheat which, according to Michael, creates a European style, smooth, clean spirit.  The product is bottled at 42% to highlight the sweetness of the wheat and to bring out the clean citrus notes.

I was recently given a bottle of this Proof Rum by the local distributor of Proof Brands, Diamond Estate Wines & Spirits for the purpose of a review here on my website.

Here is an except:

“… As I poured the Proof Vodka into each shot glass during my recent Vodka tasting I noticed the spirit had a creamy texture. At this cold serving temperature (1 degree Celsius) the Proof displays a clean nose with perhaps a hint of anise and mint in the air above the glass. I also sense some very light citrus, and a touch of grain …”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Proof Vodka

Please enjoy the review and the delicious recipe I have provided for the Vodka Cooler.

Cheers!

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Review: Highwood Premium Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 24, 2012

Highwood Vodka is a triple distilled wheat Vodka produced at the Highwood Distillery in High River, Alberta, situated near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains just 30 minutes south of Calgary. This vodka follows the recent trend of low-priced premium vodkas which take up the lion’s share of the market here in Alberta, Canada.

I used my Vodka Review Methodology, putting this spirit through the same paces as I have done for the higher priced spirits which I have reviewed. It turns out that the Highwood Vodka stands up to its higher priced competitors quite well.

Here is an excerpt from the resulting review:

“… There was very little aroma apparent as we raised our shot-glasses to our noses, light wispy bits of starch and grain perhaps, and maybe a touch a citrus zest in the air. As the vodka covered my tongue, my first impression was that this is a rather soft vodka which carries a nice bit of rye-like spice forward. I also seemed to be able taste just a hint of that lime citrus which I had noticed in the aroma…”

Here is a link to the full review:

Review: Highwood Premium Vodka

I have included a a nice cocktail with this review, The Kamikaze.

Please enjoy the review and the accompanying cocktail!

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Review: Signature Vodka (MASV)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 10, 2011

M. A. Signature Vodka is a spirits manufacturer based in Montreal, Quebec. They produce what they call a ‘Herbal Infused’ Vodka which is at its heart, a Canadian grain vodka, that has been infused with a rhizome herb called curcumin (a component of turmeric) also called curcuma longa. This herb has a distinctly earthy flavour. It is somewhat bitter, somewhat peppery, and perhaps a little like ginger or mustard. As far as I can tell it has many culinary uses including being used as an ingredient for Indian curry powder.

If you visit the Hang Over Free Vodka website you will see that it is the same as the website for Signature Vodka. That is because Signature Vodka promotes itself as an infused ‘hangover free’ vodka. In fact, the Signature Vodka website devotes a great deal of space to the hangover free concept, as well as other reputed medicinal benefits of curcumin.

The nature of the Signature Vodka website prompted me to email the company and try to get some more information about the herbal infusion. What I was told, is that the infusion is in such small quantities that the FDA, the LCBO and the SAQ could not actually find it using their regular lab tests.  I will be honest and say I really do not know what to make of all of this; therefore my review, for the most part, ignores the herbal infusion and instead concentrates on the merits of this spirit as a Premium Vodka.

Here is an excerpt:

” … We all noticed how there was very little aroma apparent in the  glass, and only wisps of flavour which resembled a faint touch of lemon and a mild citrus spiciness. After the sip, a nice feeling of warmth was imparted to the back of the mouth and into the throat. The Vodka is soft, mild, and very nice … “

You may read the full review here:

Review: Signature Vodka (MASV)

Please enjoy the review and the suggested recipes, the Russian Soldier, The Blue Glacier, and the Harvey Wallbanger!

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Review: Last Mountain Hand Crafted Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 1, 2011

Photo Courtesy Brittany Bellamy (All Rights Reserved)

Colin Schmidt was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 1992. After being drafted, he spent four years playing College Hockey and then signed his first pro contract in 1996. Colin’s pro experience was brief, cut off by a few shoulder injuries after a short spell of what Colin referred to as “playing left bench.” Fortunately, as far as we are concerned, Colin’s story did not end there.

A few years later, Colin, who was working in the mortgage industry, and his wife, Meredith, whose background was in banking, began to look for their own business opportunities in Saskatchewan. Colin had a friend who had started up a micro-distillery in Colorado, and the idea to begin a similar operation in Saskatchewan was very appealing to them. In August of 2010, Colin and Meredith’s hard work and perseverance paid off when they opened Saskatchewan’s first micro-distillery, in Lumsden, Saskatchewan, called the Last Mountain Distillery.

Colin arranged for me to receive a bottle from batch number 12 and asked me to provide a review. I set up a gathering with my friends, and we sampled the Vodka blind in a tasting with three other vodkas I had recently acquired.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“… When I poured out the samples of Last Mountain Vodka into each shot glass for my guests, we discovered the vodka displayed a pleasing light citrus (lemon and lime) aroma and a clean mouth-feel that was very appealing. I noticed a mild rye-like spiciness in my mouth, and when I sipped the spirit those lemon and lime sensations seemed to grow as the vodka sat on my tongue…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Last Mountain Hand Crafted Vodka

As well I have included a nice cocktail called, the Mountain Raspberry Cocktail and a nice Punch recipe called Mountain Raspberry Punch.

Please enjoy the review and the cocktails!

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Review: Schramm Organic Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 11, 2011

The Pemberton Distillery is located in the heart of the Coast Mountains, an area known for its massive ice caps and pure glacial streams. The spirit the distillery produces, Schramm Organic Vodka debuted in August of 2009 as an authentic sipping vodka which is produced  from whole organic potatoes (grown just 15 km from the distillery in the Pemberton Valley). The Master Distiller, Tyler Schramm, studied a Masters of Science in Brewing & Distilling at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. He focused his University thesis on the complex art and science of potato vodka distillation with the goal to prove that vodka could be just as rich and complex as a single malt scotch.

To that end, Schramm Vodka is produced using an all natural fermentation process that does not use of chemicals, synthetic anti-foaming agents, or additives. In fact, the distillery boasts that they follow the same traditional methods used by single malt scotch distilleries. They distill in small batches using a hand-operated copper pot still, and the entire distillation is performed by Tyler Schramm, who is continuously testing and sampling the vodka for quality. The blended spirit is charcoal filtered to maximize purity while still maintaining the smooth mouth-feel and unique character of the Pemberton potato.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

… The Vodka has kind of a punky, starchy potato flavour (and trust me that is better by a lot than how it sounds). The palate is heated up and the back of the throat experiences a lot of warmth but the spicy, let me call it ‘rye-like’ heat doesn’t become uncomfortable….

You may read the full review here:

Review: Schramm Organic Vodka

I have included a couple of recipes, The Blue Lemon Martini, and Schramminade.

Please enjoy the recipe and the review!!

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Review: Pristina Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 21, 2011

You might say that I am a bit of a Highwood Distillers enthusiast. I toured their distillery last year (See Highwood Distillery Tour), and I have unabashedly fallen in love with the quality of their whisky which seems to me to be one the best kept secrets of the whisky world. In spite of my fondness for this distillery, I find myself continually underestimating their abilities.

And so we come to Pristina Vodka

I guess I should have known when I received my sample bottle that what was inside would be nothing short of marvelous. But maybe it was the uninspiring bottle and label, or maybe it is just a case of us Canadians being a little too self conscious to believe we can be as good as everyone else in the world. Whatever the reason, when I put the Pristina in a flight of Vodka samples at a recent tasting where it was up against an Authentic Russian Vodka called Black Stallion, a real Polish Vodka called Alchemia Czysta, and a Vodka made in France called Grey Goose, I was not expecting what happened.  What happened was that every person at my tasting session chose the same Vodka as their favourite, and every person said it wasn’t even close. That favourite, the clear head and shoulders winner without reservation in everybody’s opinion, was of course the Pristina Vodka from Highwood Distillers.

I guess I have already tipped my hand that the score will be high, but here is an excerpt from my review:

“…My good feelings towards the Vodka continued as I took my first large swallow (shot). I was happy to taste no vegetal tones and to feel no burn at all in my throat. The swallow was clean and completely smooth. The back of my mouth received a mildly spicy warmth; but my throat felt no heat, even with a substantial swallow of the Pristina Vodka…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Pristina Vodka

As well I have included a suggested recipe in the form of a Vodka Tonic.

Please enjoy the review!

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