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!

Posts Tagged ‘Canadian Whisky’

Canadian Whisky Awards Announced!

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 17, 2014

2013-Canadian-Whisky-AwardsDuring the month of December, while I was publishing my list of the 2013 Rum Howler Top 25 Canadian Whiskies, I was also busy with another important Canadian Whisky project initiated by Author and fellow Whisky Blogger, Davin Der Kergomeaux. For the past 4 years Davin has organized the Canadian Whisky Awards. He assembles a North American Panel of Canadian Whisky Experts, arranges for all of them to receive a set of blind samples to be judged independently, and then amalgamates the scores into various categories depending upon the nature of the whisky, and the market for which it is intended. For the third year in a row, I was asked to be part of this panel, and I am happy to announce that results of the annual Canadian Whisky Awards Competition were announced Thursday evening at the Victoria Whisky Festival in Victoria, B.C..

Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whisky won the prestigious Canadian Whisky Awards – 2013 Whisky of the Year Award!

Lot No. 40 is distilled at the Hiram Walker Distillery in Windsor, Ontario from a 100% rye-grain recipe developed in the 19th century by Canadian pioneer distiller, Joshua Booth. In announcing the awards, Chairman of the Judges, Davin de Kergommeaux, called Lot No. 40,

“The very essence of what rye whisky is all about.”

Other top winners included Alberta Premium Dark Horse, Forty Creek Heart of Gold, Masterson’s Straight Rye Whiskey, Wiser’s Red Letter, and Crown Royal Black.

Here is a link to the full list of all of the Award Winners:

2014 Canadian Whisky Award Winners

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note: I would like to thank Davin Der Kergomeaux for all of his hard work, and for allowing me to participate on his panel of judges once again this year. It was another great year for Canadian Whisky!

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , | Comments Off

Review: Tangle Ridge (Bourbon Casked) Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 12, 2014

SAM_0935Tangle Ridge is produced by Alberta Distillers for Beam Global in Calgary, Alberta Canada. The whisky is named for a limestone wall located near the Columbia Icefields in Jasper National Park (apparently discovered by Mary Schaeffer, one of Canada’s first female explorers). According to the press information I received Tangle Ridge Canadian Whisky is produced from a 10 Year Old – 100 % rye whisky which is blended with a hint of sherry for added richness. The resulting whisky is then recasked in ex Bourbon barrels for an additional aging time to allow the sherry and the Rye flavours to marry in the barrel.

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

Review: Tangle Ridge (Bourbon Casked) Canadian Whisky

“… Initially, I detect sweet corn, butterscotch, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon which all seem to be drifting in the breezes above the glass mixing with the oak spices. However, as I gave the glass time to breathe I began to notice telltale dusty dry rye spices struggling to push through. As I allowed more time the rye gained momentum bringing strong fall harvest scents of fresh grain and chaff which built up alongside the corn and sweet baking spices …”

This is one of those whiskies which grows in the glass rewarding those who are patient, and disappointing those to quick to bring the spirit to their lips. The rye grain requires time to evolve and if you sip too quickly it can be missed altogether. But if you are patient, the reward is well worth it; because as the rye builds, so does the whisky.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note:
You may find my 2013 list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:  The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies
You may find my 2013 list of the 30 Best Rums here:  The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 30 Rums

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

Review: Rich & Rare Reserve Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 5, 2014

RichAccording to the Sazerac website, their company is a direct result of the famous cocktail which bears the same name. It began in 1938 when Antoine Peychaud created a special drink for his guests to enjoy in the evenings at his apothecary in the French Quarter’s Royal Street. He would mix brandy, absinthe and a dash of his secret bitters for his guests. This special drink became quite popular and began to appear in the various coffee house’ establishments in New Orleans. One such establishment, the Sazerac Coffee House became so popular serving their version of the drink (made with Sazerac de Forge et Fils Brandy) that it became known as the Sazerac Cocktail.

The Sazerac website also tells me that their Rich & Rare Reserve Canadian Whisky is distilled in Canada and then aged patiently in hand-picked oak barrels. It is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume. This brand is not available (as far as I know) in Canada, rather it is a brand produced exclusively for the American market.

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

Review: Rich & Rare Reserve Canadian Whisky

“… The Rich & Rare Reserve is lightly oily and/or creamy in the mouth with flavours of butterscotch, corn, and vanilla leading out on the palate. Some nice zesty spices ars present in the form of citrus zest, rye spice and hints of wood sap. Bits of tobacco and honeycomb are suggested as is a nice touch of maple syrup …

Included at the end of the review is a nice cocktail suitable for the Rich & Rare which I call the Iced Ruby Manhattan.

Cheers Everyone!

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

#1 Canadian Whisky – Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 25, 2013

rum_howler_badge- 25WHISKYEighteen months ago, Highwood Distillers, (Alberta’s only privately owned distillery) released a single bond offering (Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky) which was produced entirely from corn distillate which had been aged for a full 25 years in charred American white oak barrels. The release of this whisky commemorated the Centennial of Calgary’s world-famous rodeo (The Calgary Stampede), and it was bottled as a Limited Edition, Ultra-Premium, 25 Year Old Commemorative Canadian Whisky. This single grain offering was blended entirely with naturally sourced Rocky Mountain spring water, and was limited to a production run of only 6000 bottles.

Stampede WhiskyIn order to maintain good contact with the oak during the lengthy aging process, this bond was re-gauged or re-barreled twice during its maturing life. New barrels were not introduced when Highwood distiller’s made the liquid consolidation. Instead they chose to maintain the aging process in the original barrels into which the spirit began its maturation.

The result was a very special whisky, one which my judges without exception scored extremely well. In fact, this particular whisky was ranked number 1 by three out of the four judges (and the dissenting judge had it ranked number 3). This means that the Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky not only wound up as the Number 1 Canadian Whisky in my Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown, it actually separated itself from the rest of the field by a noticeable margin. Here is a link to my original review of the 25 Year old Commemorative Stampede Whisky which I published in July 2012, judged by my tasting panel to be the Best Canadian Whisky currently available in the world.

#1 Canadian Whisky – Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky

“… The initial nose is rich with smells of oak and cedar. Butterscotch notes rise into the air accompanied by strong scents of honeycomb and cereal. As the glass sits, the oak spices continue to grow above the glass. I also receive impressions of melted vanilla ice cream, some appealing notes of marmalade and marzipan, and some strong notes of corn whisky rising into the merry little breezes …”

This Stampede Whisky finishes with an explosion of spice and echoes of vanilla, butterscotch and honey. It has a long lingering finish which leaves the mouth heated, but also leaves me wanting another glass!

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

# 2 Canadian Whisky – Canadian Club Small Batch Classic 12

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 24, 2013

rum_howler_badge- 25WHISKYCanadian Club Whisky is the oldest (and arguably also the most influential) Canadian Whisky brand in the world. It is sold in over 150 countries world-wide, and sales in Canada are unmatched by any other whisky brand. The company has been granted numerous Royal Warrants from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II, and it has been reported that Canadian Club was the whisky of choice when Al Capone smuggled thousands of cases of Canadian Whisky into the USA during prohibition.

Classic Small batchRecently there have been some changes in the Canadian Club family. One of the brands which has undergone a revamping is the Canadian Club Classic (12 Years Old) which has been replaced by the Canadian Club Small Batch Classic 12 (also 12 Years Old). The newer version of the whisky has a new bottle (shown below) and the two words, “Small Batch” have been added to the label. My understanding is the whisky is now constructed from a smaller selection of aged whisky (oak barrels) in an effort to bring a fuller flavour and more smoothness to the blend.

Apparently my Judging Panel likes the new blend, as the Canadian Club Small Batch Classic 12 was selected the Number 2 Canadian Whisky in my Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown.

Here is a link to the review I wrote this past July:

# 2 Canadian Whisky – Canadian Club Small Batch Classic 12

“… The initial breezes above the glass bring forward scents of caramel and oak which are melded nicely with dabs of light tobacco and spicy orange peel.As the glass breathes, I notice some rye spices and some sweet corn pushing though. The oak and tobacco scents have deepened bringing me impressions of fresh-cut cedar and honeycomb. The caramel and wood spice come together as toffee, and the orange peel has softened into marmalade …”

It has come to my attention that most of the Canadian Club line-up is experiencing a bit of a revamping with new bottle designs and perhaps some tweaking of the blends. I will be reviewing a few of those tweaked offerings in the new year. My hope is that I will see similar improvements with those brands as well.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

#3 Canadian Whisky – Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 23, 2013

rum_howler_badge- 25WHISKYIn November of 2005, Highwood Distilleries Ltd. finalized the purchase of Potters Distilleries (founded by Ernie Potter in 1958). Part of this acquisition, was the purchase of all of the remaining barrel aged stocks of whisky in the Potters facility. These barrels of whisky were transferred from the Potters warehouse facilities in Kelowna, B.C. to the newly constructed warehouse facility in High River, Alberta, where they were allowed to continue to age at the foot of the Rocky Mountains on the western edge of the Canadian Prairies. The whisky brands which Potters Distilleries had established (Century and Potters) were added to Highwood’s portfolio of spirits where they have not only been maintained but also expanded upon. Part of that expansion was the recent addition of the ‘Ninety’ branded whiskies to the Century Distillers line-up. Like the other whiskies in the Century portfolio, the Ninety branded spirits are corn-based rather than wheat-based blends. (The Distillery uses the Highwood banner for all of its wheat based whiskies.)

Ninety_25_Year_Old_-_shadow_2013_06Highwood chose the brand name ‘Ninety’ because these new whiskies are bottled at 90 proof (or 45 % alcohol by volume) rather than the usual 80 proof (40 % alcohol by volume). The higher bottling strength means that the final whisky will retain a character closer to the original cask strength whiskies from which they were blended. In the case of the Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky, the bulk of blend almost certainly has been drawn from Highwood’s treasured reserves of remaining Potters whisky stocks which are rumoured to contain barrels of whisky as old as 33 years.

Here is a link to my new review of the Number 3 spirit in my Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#3 Canadian Whisky – Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old

“… As I enjoy the breezes above the glass, I notice impressions of creamy vanilla pudding, hints of almond, some sticky marmalade, and a light sweetened grain-like component which actually reminds me of Post Honeycomb cereal. The longer you let the glass sit, the more firm and unified the aroma becomes, until after fifteen minutes or so it resembles a luscious butterscotch-oak-syrup that begs to be sipped …”

The Ninety “Decades of Richness” Canadian Rye Whisky has quickly become one of my very favourite whiskies, and for my palate, it is on par with the best Bourbons, and the best Single Malt Scotches I have tasted to this point in my whisky explorations. I wrote four years ago that Highwood Distillers was one of the best kept secrets in the whisky world, I suspect that is about to change.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

#4 Canadian Whisky – Alberta Springs

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 22, 2013

rum_howler_badge- 25WHISKYI tasted my first bottle of Alberta Springs in the fall of 1988 when I was gifted a bottle on my birthday. It came in a cool wooden box, and it proudly proclaimed its ‘Alberta’ heritage. It was also, I believe, back in those days, a pure 100 % rye whisky. My love for rye whisky was cemented, and for years the Alberta Springs was my favourite whisky.

Twenty some years later when I began to write about whisky, one of the perks I received was a private tour of the ADL Distillery where I met Rick Murphy, the Production Superintendent. He explained the heritage of Alberta Springs to me, how it started as a 10 Year Old pure rye whisky, and how economics dictated a move to rye as well as corn in the 90s.

Alberta SpringsBut, he also steadfastly maintained the whisky is currently (and has always been) a predominantly rye based whisky with a consistent taste profile. He also explained how his computerized dials and gauges in the distillery, and his quality assurance tasting panel, ensure that the flavour does not change as the mash bill may change slightly over time. Rick Murphy also made it very clear to me during the tour, that of all the whiskies he makes at ADL, Alberta Springs is his favourite.

I think it can be safely said that my judging panel agrees with Rick Murphy that Alberta Springs is a great whisky, as the Alberta Spring has arrived in my Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown in the Number 4 position.

Here is a link to my latest review:

#4 Canadian Whisky – Alberta Springs

“… The initial nose from the glass is of a spicy rye which carries scents of tobacco along for the ride. There is a nice presence of oak and a touch of vanilla but the spicy rye is dominant. As the whisky decants the tobacco gains a little steam and a ripe sweet and sour fruitiness is evolving from the rye which is also filling the air with scents of ginger and cardamom …

Whenever I relax in the evening with a glass Alberta Springs Whisky and a well placed ice-cube with just a splash of ginger-ale, I must admit this particular whisky is hard to beat.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

# 5 Canadian Whisky – Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Years Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 21, 2013

rum_howler_badge- 25WHISKYThe Gibson’s Finest Whisky brand was purchased by William Grant & Sons in 2002. Some time after the acquisition, William Grant & Sons moved the production of Gibson’s Whisky from the Schenley plant in Valleyfield Quebec, to the Hiram Walker Distillery in Windsor, Ontario. According to my correspondence with the media company responsible for Gibson’s Finest Whisky, the Gibson’s brand is produced from of two sources: a base grain whisky (which would be a corn-based column still whisky), and a blend of rye based flavouring whisky which contains rye and malted barley (distilled by a single column still and a pot still).

802621_18YRWhen aging their whisky, Gibson’s Finest uses a variety of barrels: ex-bourbon barrels, new oak barrels, etc. The ratio of each barrel-type used can differ from batch to batch because the whisky is blended to a specific taste profile rather than to a specific barrel regimen.

Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Years Old Whisky is limited to a production of not more than 12,000 bottles per year. All of the whisky in the blend, is of course 18 years old or more, and it is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume. It is also the Number 5 spirit in my Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown. Here is a link to my review published earlier this year:

# 5 Canadian Whisky – Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Years Old

“… The breezes above the glass are filled with tobacco, rye, and (what I am going to term) clean firm oak spices. These dominant scents are accented by caramel, butterscotch and vanilla. Some dusty dry notes of freshly harvested grain, autumn cornstalks, and dry straw rise into those initial breezes as well …”

Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Years Old gives the whisky connoisseur all the clean spicy oak and rye flavours which our Whisky is famous for. Although there are many other wonderful nuances within this 18 Year Old whisky; these nuances within are subtle and serve as accents upon the flavour profile without disturbing the grandeur which is Canadian Whisky.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

#6 Canadian Whisky – Crown Royal Cask No. 16

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 20, 2013

rum_howler_badge- 25WHISKYCrown Royal® Canadian Whisky was originally introduced in 1939 (by Samuel Bronfman of Seagrams) as a special whisky bottling to commemorate the Royal tour of Canada by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in that year. Until 1964, the whisky was only available in Canada; however, today it is available world-wide and is in fact the number one Canadian whisky brand sold in the USA. Crown Royal is currently produced in Gimli Manitoba, at the Crown Royal Distillery which (since the dissolution of the Seagrams portfolio in 2000) is owned by the spirits conglomerate Diageo.

cask-16-bottleCask No. 16 was introduced in 2007; but was apparently discontinued in 2012. However, the whisky is still readily available (at least in the Alberta market), and when I checked the Crown Royal Website, I found it was still listed as part of the Crown Royal family.

According to the information found on their website, The Cask No. 16 is,

“Handcrafted from more than 50 different aged Canadian whiskies and then finished in Cognac Oak casks from the Limousin forest in France for another layer of richness and complexity.”

This spirit represents the second entry from Crown Royal in my Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown and it arrives at Number 6. Here is a link to my February 2010 review:

#6 Canadian Whisky – Crown Royal Cask No. 16

“…   A mellow corn whisky is up front on the palate, but rich soft butterscotch and caramel and sweet brown sugar sit under the corn flavour supporting and enhancing the experience.  A nice spicy bite which has the hallmarks of pears and grapes grabs at the taste buds.   Carrying all of this flavour forward is a wonderful mild oak presence that never dominates.  The oak acts as it should, as a garnish which heightens the other flavours with its presence …”

For those who prefer a more subdued corn profile and a milder rye like burn, this is probably the perfect Canadian whisky.  It is wonderfully luxurious and rich, yet full of character and complexity. Sip it neat, or on the rocks and you will not be disappointed.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

#7 Canadian Whisky – Pendleton 1910

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 19, 2013

rum_howler_badge- 25WHISKYPendleton Whisky is named to honour The Pendleton Round-up, a rodeo in Pendleton Oregon, and in fact, Pendleton Whisky sponsors numerous other rodeos, including the aforementioned  the Pendleton Round-Up, the Cheyenne Frontier Days, and the Walla Walla Frontier Days.

Their premium whisky, Pendleton 1910 Canadian Whisky, is definitely a spirit with a western flair. It is crafted from a 100 % rye blend, distilled and oak-aged in Canada for 12 years. After the spirit is fully matured, it is transported to Oregon in bulk where it is brought to bottling proof by Hood River Distillers using the glacial fed waters from Mt. Hood.

a1910Note: I was able to confirm that the whisky is distilled by Alberta Distillers Limited (ADL) in Calgary, Alberta. ADL is the largest distiller of rye whisky in the world.

The folks down at Hood River are onto something good as their 12-year-old 100 % rye whisky checks into my Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown in the Number 7 position. Here is a link to my September 2012 Review:

#7 Canadian Whisky – Pendleton 1910

“… The Pendleton 1910 is sweet and spicy. It displays sweet honey and butterscotch complimented beautifully by a spicy oak and rye presence. I taste real cereal grain in the glass, mostly rye grain, but also hints of sweeter corn. Fresh tobacco, sandalwood, cardamom and ginger add to the spicy rye flavour. A delicate dusting of cinnamon heats up the palate further while the honey, maple and butterscotch continue to provide just the right amount of sweetness …”

Pendleton 1910 reminds me of why I love rye whisky!  The combination of spicy rye and sweet butterscotch is just about perfect.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,107 other followers

%d bloggers like this: