Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 8, 2013
Barry Bernstein and Barry Stein own and run the Still Water Distillery, Ontario’s first micro-distillery which they founded in 2009. They not only manage the distillation and the blending of the Still Waters’ products, they also act as the distillery’s Chief Bottle Washers and Bottle Fillers. In fact, there is not a single aspect of their business that they do not either personally oversee or do themselves.
Late last year, Still Waters released the cryptically named Still Waters 1+11 Canadian Whisky, a blend of selected whiskies from other Canadian producers to which they have added up to 10 % of their own Hand-Crafted whisky. I tasted this new whisky last fall when I scored it blind as part of my duties as one of the jurors for the Canadian Whisky Awards. When I later examined my scores and noticed the Still Waters Whisky had done well on my score sheet, I decided to contact the distillery to see if they would be interested in a review.
Happily, they agreed and forwarded me the necessary sample.
You may click on the following excerpt (link) to read the full review:
“… The initial nose brings a lovely dry rye grain to the breezes filled with scents of autumn harvest including the fresh straw and chaff. As the glass breathes, impressions of caramel and corn build with accents of tobacco, sandalwood and oak spice. I notice indications of both zesty citrus fruit (lemon in particular) as well as a touch of fruity sourness with the two nuances playfully dancing together in the light breezes above my glass …”
Please enjoy the review which includes a new cocktail I call the Crow’s Nest.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: 1+11 Canadian Whisky, Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Still Waters Distillery, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 23, 2013
Danfield’s Canadian Whisky is produced in the small City of Lethbridge in my home Province of Alberta. It is produced for Williams & Churchill by Schenley Distilleries Inc. at the Black Velvet Distillery, (also referred to locally as the Palliser Distillery). Williams and Churchill are not distillers themselves, rather they appear to be a third-party company which owns the Danfield’s Brand. They are also very difficult to contact, and therefore the only information I have about the Danfield’s Limited Edition 21 Year Old Canadian Whisky comes from the little booklet which is strung around the neck of the bottle. According to this booklet, the 21 Year Old is a small batch whisky produced from rye, corn and malted barley. It is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume and prior to this bottling, the whisky is apparently “diamond filtered” to add further polish to the whisky.
Being a bit of a collector of Canadian Whisky, I have had a couple of bottles of the Danfield’s Limited Edition in my possession for about three years now. I finally broke down and opened one such that I could provide a review here on my website.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… The rye continues to pour out with the scent becoming earthier as it changes from a clean dry rye to a thick fruit-filled rye over the course of the nosing. Hints of marzipan and orange peel come forward as does a nice underlying nuttiness which reminds me of the wild hazelnuts which grown around the lakes in west-central Alberta …”
Please enjoy the review and the suggested cocktail recipe which follows, the Iced Ruby Manhattan.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Danfield's Canadian Whisky, Iced Ruby Manhattan, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 21, 2013
Sortilège Maple Cream is a Canadian Whisky based cream liqueur produced by Mondia Alliance Wine and Spirits in Montreal, Canada. It’s construction is apparently based upon an authentic ‘heritage’ recipe using the highest grade all natural Canadian Maple Syrup, farm fresh dairy cream, and authentic Canadian Whisky. The product arrives in a 750 ml bottle and is sold at 17 % alcohol by volume.
You may read my full review of this new whisky based cream liqueur by clicking on the following excerpt:
“… As the glass sits, the light aromas of sweet caramel and maple are brought forward with nice accents of chocolate, coffee, and hazelnuts. There is a very light spiciness apparent giving me glimpses fresh sandalwood and ever so light hints of cinnamon, ginger and rye spice …”
Please enjoy my latest review!
Posted in Cream Liqueur, Liqueur, Liqueur Review, Whisky Liqueur | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Cream Liqueur, Liquer Review, Maple Cream, Sortilège, Whisky Liqueur | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 19, 2013
Pike Creek is a 10-year-old Canadian whisky produced from a double distillation in small column copper stills, and aged in ‘first-use’, white oak bourbon barrels. (The term ‘first use’ refers to an oak barrel which has been used only once previously, in this case to age American bourbon whiskey.) Once aged and blended, the whisky is finished in vintage port wine barrels.
Pike Creek was originally released in the late 1990s as part of Corby’s initiative to introduce new high-end Canadian whiskies into the North American market. Unfortunately the whisky was discontinued after only a brief time as consumers seemed uninterested in a the new premium product. The whisky was re-introduced last year as the profile of Canadian Whisky has recently undergone a bit of a renaissance world-wide and demand for whisky at the premium end of the market has seen a sharp increase.
You may click on the following excerpt to read the full review:
” …The immediate nose is of caramelized brown sugars, rye grain, field berries (blackberries and raspberries) and bits of red licorice. Some wood spices build in the glass as it breathes (or maybe I just took my time about noticing them). I also seem to sense a bit of dark fruit and chocolate similar to Christmas fruitcake in the air …”
Please enjoy my review of this outstanding new edition to the landscape of Canadian Whisky!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Corby, Pike Creek, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 15, 2013
Three years ago a new whisky was produced in Canada which was completely different from any other whisky I had seen. For one thing, the distillation mash for the whisky was based primarily upon wheat, not barley, corn, or rye. (This was not as surprising as you may think, as the distillers of White Owl Whisky are Highwood Distillers, based in High River, Alberta. They have, after all, been distilling their very wonderful Centennial Whisky with a wheat based mash for many years.) However, it was the next feature of the whisky which I found most interesting and unusual. White owl is a clear, well-aged, ‘cocktail’ whiskey! In fact if the bottle did not say whisky on the front you would be forgiven for believing this was an Ultra-premium Vodka, until you opened the bottle, at which time you would realize that the spirit inside is unmistakably whisky!
The whisky achieves its clear form by the means of carbon filtration. Highwood crafts and blends an aged whisky, and then runs it through a filtration process to remove all colour and smooth out the taste profile. This is a first for me, and I believe a first for well-aged Canadian Whisky!
I was lucky enough (sorry Portwood, I couldn’t resist) to receive a sample bottle directly from the distillery after touring the facility three years ago, and today, as the good folks at Highwood Distillers are hard at work cleaning up after the recent flash flood which affected their town and their distillery (read here), I thought it would be nice to revisit my review of three years ago. (My original review was, I believe the first published review for Highwood’s ground breaking cocktail whisky.)
Please click on the excerpt to read my revised review. (Actually only slightly edited to correct some grammatical errors in the original review. I concluded after a recent tasting that the character and quality of the whisky had not changed.)
“… As I take the first sip, the first impression I have is of a soft whisky flavour accented by a hint of licorice. The oak flavours are mild and there is no harsh tannin or unbridled spice. Yet in the background, if you let it develop, that true Canadian rye whisky spice and flavour present themselves. Butterscotch rises and falls as does the hint of licorice and even a touch of cereal grain …”
Three years ago, I was so enthusiastic about this new whisky that my review included, not one or two, but rather five cocktail recipes which all tasted fantastic when made with White Owl Whisky.
(And for the record, I am still enthusiast about Highwood’s ‘cocktail whisky’, and I still feel very lucky to have been on of the very first persons to have received a sample bottle three years ago.)
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Clear Whisky, Cocktail Whisky, Cocktails, Highwood Distillers, Whisky Review, White Owl Whisky | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 7, 2013
Crown Royal Canadian Whisky is produced in Gimli, Manitoba, at the Crown Royal Distillery. The distillery and the brand are owned by the spirits conglomerate, Diageo, and I think it is fair to say that Crown Royal is Diageo’s flagship Canadian Whisky brand. About a year ago Crown Royal Maple Finished™ Canadian Whisky was introduced as an addition to the Crown Royal family of whiskies. This is as far as I know the first flavoured whisky ever produced by Crown, and it presents itself as a Maple Finished™’ rather than maple flavoured.
Going through the Crown Royal Website (and the press materials I could find), I found very little information on the maple finish except one comment which stated that the master blender for Crown Royal had
“finished our celebrated whisky with maple toasted oak to yield a uniquely smooth experience. It’s a perfect blend of Crown Royal’s signature caramel and vanilla nose with the elegant aromas of light, fresh maple that creates a flavour profile that finished on an authentically warm and woody note.”
Last fall, my friend Lukasz brought over a bottle of Crown Royal Maple and allowed me to steal a sample (which I kept in a small sealed glass bottle). I finally made time to taste and assess the sample earlier this week.
You may click on the following excerpt (link) to read the full review:
“… The flavoured whisky has a lightly thickened consistency relative to the regular Crown Royal Whisky, but it is not nearly so thick as the other maple flavoured whiskies I have tasted recently. The initial aroma from my glass brings forward impressions of maple of course, with noticeable vanilla scents as well as what I will say is an ‘odd’ spiciness …”
Enjoy the review and have a great day!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Flavoured Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Crown Royal, Flavoured Whisky, Maple Finished, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 6, 2013
Canadian Club has recently expanded their whisky line-up to include a flavoured whisky (Canadian Club Dock No. 57 Blackberry), and a new spiced whisky, (Canadian Club Dock No. 57 Spiced). According Tish Harcus, Canadian Club Brand Ambassador and Curator of the Historical Archives at the Canadian Club Heritage Centre in Walkerville, Ontario,
“C.C.’s new innovations will take the brand to the next level both for consumers new to whisky and more seasoned whisky drinkers who are seeking bolder flavour profiles and some spice. “
The Dock No. 57 branded whiskies are bottled at full strength (40 % alcohol by volume) ensuring that the full flavour of the Canadian Club whisky remains a strong component of the flavour profile. Last Spring, at a tasting event of mine, my friend Dennis brought over a bottle. I decided that this was a good opportunity to receive some feedback from my friends and a few months later, I did some more tasting and sampling and cobbled together this review.
You may click on the following excerpt to read the full review:
“… I notice some nice honey and vanilla accents as well as some a pungent spiciness reminiscent of ginger and nutmeg. Some dry fruit is hinted at (dark cherries mainly) as is some dark pipe tobacco. I like the overall mixture, and I like that it is the whisky aroma which leads the parade of scents into the air …”
My suggested cocktail for this spiced whisky, is my new recipe, the Spiced Northern Julep. Take care everyone and have a great day!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Spiced Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Club, Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Dock 57, Spiced Northern Julep, Spiced Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 2, 2013
Canadian 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.
Recently 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 Classic Small Batch (also 12 Years Old). The newer version of the whisky has a new bottle (shown right) 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.
The Alberta Beam Global team recently gave me a sample bottle to examine, and if you click the following excerpt you may read my latest review:
“… 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 …”
Please enjoy my latest review and if you happen to already have a bottle of the new Small Batch Classic, do not hesitate to make yourself a nice Old Fashioned Cocktail . You swill not be disappointed!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Beam Spirits, Canadian Club, Canadian Whisky, Old Fashioned Cocktail, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 9, 2013
Canada Gold Whisky has proven to be a hard whisky to get my hands on. I first encountered it when I was one of the judges for the Canadian Whisky Awards, but all of my attempts to retrieve a bottle for review seemed thwarted as the product appears to have only a limited production in the Province of Ontario. It is produced at the Forty Creek Distillery (formerly Kittling Ridge Estate Wines & Spirits), the same distillery that produces Forty Creek Whisky, but I have noticed recently that the Forty Creek website no longer mentions this brand as a core product. My persistence finally paid of a few months ago, when a friend of mine in Ontario emailed me and said that he had found a bottle and was willing to share it with me. I received my portion of the bottle when another mutual friend was travelling and brought me 200 ml which had been drawn from the bottle.
Canada Gold is a value priced whisky produced at 40 per cent alcohol by volume (mainly for the Ontario Market).
You may click on the excerpt to tread the full review:
“… The aroma rising up out of the glass surprised me by its moderate complexity. Butterscotch and wood spice mix with dank tones of corn in the breezes above the glass. I sense some spicy tobacco and pleasant rye spice drifting into the breezes as well. Within all of this is a gentle sweep of vanilla …”
Please enjoy this review, which includes a recipe suggestion based upon the popular Cuba Libre’ Cocktail. When I mix this cocktail with Canadian Whisky instead of rum, I call it the Free Spirit.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canada Gold, Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Forty Creek Distillery, Free Spirit, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 5, 2013
The Black Velvet brand has a long history in North America, originally produced at the Schenley Distillery in Valleyfield, Quebec in the late 1940s. The whisky was initially called Black Label; but because of its perceived smoothness, the producers soon changed the name to Black Velvet. It has been a staple of the Canadian whisky scene ever since and is now produced at the Black Velvet Distillery (also called the Palliser Distillery) in Lethbridge, Alberta.
Black Velvet Deluxe is available both in Canada and in the USA (and apparently in parts of Europe). However, the bottlings for the different markets are not necessarily the same. The whisky available in Canada may actually be slightly older than the whisky available in the foreign markets. The bottle I have reviewed is the one available in my locale (in Alberta, Canada). It does not carry an age statement; but I have been told the whisky in this particular bottle is about 4 to 6 years old.
Three and a half years have passed since I first reviewed Black Velvet Deluxe. About three weeks ago, I decided that revisiting this classic Canadian whisky to see how time and experience have impacted my perceptions. You may read the resulting review by clicking on the following excerpt:
“… The entry into the mouth brings forward that same impression of a whisky with a strong dusty dry rye character which is lightly sweet, and lightly fruity. I taste butterscotch at the front end which is followed quickly by citrus fruit (orange peel and lemon zest) and light vanillins. Then the clean rye spices begin to assert themselves across my palate …”
Please enjoy my revisit to Black Velvet Deluxe Canadian Whisky which includes a revisit to my own Canadian Caribou Cocktail.
Have a great day everybody!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Black Velvet Distillery, Black Velvet Whisky, Canadian Caribou, Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off