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
Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 21, 2013
My friends Connie & Lukasz were over the other day, and even though they know my cupboard is well stocked with Canadian whisky, they always try to find something that I haven’t tasted yet. On this occasion, they brought along a bottle of Bison Ridge Special Reserve Canadian Whisky to share a few drams with me. The whisky is produced (by this I mean bottled) by the Crosby Lake Spirits Company who are located in Minnesota, USA. All Canadian whisky must (by law) be distilled and aged in Canada; however, I could not locate any information as to which Canadian Distillery was the source for this brand.
You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt:
“… The initial nose reflects sweet butterscotch, some notes of corn mash, with wood spices rising in the background. As the glass breathes I notice an underlying ‘earthiness’ which reminds me of the scent of an old those fashioned damp cellars which were built with wooden floorboards lain directly over the black dirt …”
Please enjoy the review which includes a recipe recommendation, the Buckeroo!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Bidon Ridge, Buckeroo, Canadian Whisky, Cocktails and Recipes, Crosby Lakes Spirits, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 10, 2013
Forty Creek Whisky has just announced Heart of Gold as their 2013 limited release whisky.
According to the information from Forty Creek, Heart of Gold is a whisky that was inspired by both the heart of the distillation and the heart of the maker, and was created with an artist’s palette of noble grains, unusual yeast selection, copper pot stills and delicately toasted oak barrels, mixed with passion, innovation and patience. The project began almost ten years ago with a particular emphasis on Canadian rye grain.
According to Whisky Maker John Hall,
“I have always brought out the spicy, fruity notes of rye in my whisky, but this time, I wanted to perfect capturing the underlying delicate floral notes of the rye that too often get lost in the process. I decided to use a wine yeast strain for the fermentation because I felt this approach would allow the floral aromas and flavours to prevail.”
“I aged this rye whisky in lightly toasted barrels to ensure the oak did not overwhelm the subtle flavours captured in the heart of the distillation. Yes, my Heart of Gold is a rye forward whisky. But, it is not 100% rye. I believe the art of blending adds a complexity and creativity to the final whisky. The final Heart of Gold blend includes some barley whisky for nuttiness and some corn whisky for weight and body. Yet, the fruity, floral rye whisky notes are the star of this show!”
This special release will be limited to only 9000 individually numbered bottles. It will be bottled at 43% alc./vol with a retail price of $69.95. Customers in Ontario may reserve any number between 00003 and 9,000. These on-line reservations for numbered bottles will begin exactly at noon on May 27th and end June 21st. For more information follow this link
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Forty Creek Whisky, Heart of Gold, Whisky | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 28, 2013
In 1856, John Gibson purchased 40 acres and built a distillery along the shore of the Monongahela River in Pennsylvania. By the turn of the century, the Gibson’s Distilling Company was the largest producer of rye whisky in North America. Unfortunately, early in the new century, fate dealt the company a tragic blow, in the name of Prohibition. Consumption of legal whisky all but dried up, and Gibson’s Distilling Company went bankrupt. In 1923, the entire contents of the distillery including the stills, the aging barrels, all of the remaining spirit, (and even the grain which was on site) was sold via Sherriff’s auction to Schenley Industries of New York. Fifty years later this whisky brand, which was born on the US side of the border in Pennsylvania, was resurrected by the brand owner at the Schenley Distillery in Valleyfield, Quebec. Now, of course, it has become one of the iconic brands of Canadian Whisky.
Of course the story continued and Shenley Distillers underwent re-organization at the end of the 20th century. As part of that reorganization, the 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.
You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt:
“… The initial aroma is spicy with a firm oak presence. 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 …”
Please enjoy my review, and my suggested bar drink, The Old Fashioned Cocktail.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Cocktails and Recipes, Gibson's Finest Whisky, Old Fashioned Cocktail, Whisky, Whisky Review | 2 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 21, 2013
Seagram’s has a rich and storied history which can be dated back to 1857 when the Granite Mills and Waterloo Distillery Company was formed. About seven years later, Joseph Seagram joined the company and by 1911 the company was known as Joseph E. Seagram & Sons. Today, over 100 years later, the Seagram name is still in use as a brand, but ownership of this whisky has been passed on to Diageo who now use the aged stocks at their Valleyfield Distillery in Quebec to produce the whisky.
Like the previously reviewed Seagram’s VO, the Seagram’s 83 is what I term, an ‘old-fashioned’ Canadian rye whisky. The emphasis is on rye flavour blended into the whisky to be enjoyed in those tall cocktails us Canadians enjoy so much all year round.
You may click on the following excerpt to read the full review:
“… When those whisky scents arrive they are full of rye spice which for me is always a welcome beginning. There are also indications of sandalwood, and mildly sweet tones of vanilla, honey and butterscotch. If you take some time with the glass sour fruit, and tobacco can be found as well as light corn accents and a wee bit of maple …’
Enjoy the review!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Seagram's, Seagram's 83, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 15, 2013
Crown Royal Canadian Whisky is currently produced in Gimli, Manitoba, at the Crown Royal Distillery. The distillery and the brand are owned by Diageo, and I think it is fair to say that Crown Royal is Diageo’s flagship Canadian whisky brand. In 1992, a premium version of Crown Royal was introduced as Crown Royal Special Reserve. This whisky was produced from specially selected casks which were tasted and monitored closely by the Crown Royal Master Blender. These ‘premium casks’ represented whiskies with special character, and they were allowed to age longer with the aim of producing a more premium whisky.
In the fall of 2008, this more premium Crown Royal Special Reserve was relaunched as Crown Royal Reserve Canadian Whisky. I reviewed this whisky back in January of 2010, and I began to suspect something was amiss when I tasted the whisky for a second time in a blind format in the fall of 2011, almost two years later. I was on the jury for the Canadian Whisky Awards, and although my blind scores were for the most part reasonably close to my review scores; this particular whisky was one which stood out as an anomaly. When exactly the same thing occurred in the fall of 2012, I decided I had better revisit the whisky and re-score it. (I am not above admitting I might have gotten something wrong.)
You may click on the following excerpt to read my new review!
“… I smell distinct impressions of ginger and wood spices. As the whisky breathes some baking spices begin to rise with vanilla, nutmeg, and cloves. These are accented by a touch of maple and some spicy tobacco spice. Some tart apples make their way into the breezes as well as some impressions of sour fruit and canned peaches …”
Please enjoy the review and the two recipes included at the end, the Royal Bang, and the Evening Salute.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Cocktails and Recipes, Crown Royal Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 13, 2013
Davin de Kergommeaux
Davin de Kergommeaux, like myself, is a true devotee of our great Canadian Spirit, whisky! He has created his own website (Canadian Whisky) where he publishes various articles about our mutual passion and of course his fantastic reviews of the Canadian Spirit. He has also been instrumental in launching the first ever fully independent Canadian Whisky Awards! These awards have highlighted not only the best tasting whiskies made in Canada, but they also award special achievements by Canadian Whisky Distillers in areas of innovation, brand extension, and media/advertising.
So when I found out that my whisky reviewing friend, Davin de Kergommeaux, had written a book devoted to Canadian Whisky; I was very eager to give it a good read, and review here on my website.
When I announced my verdict that Davin’s Book, “Canadian Whisky: the portable expert ” is the most complete story of Canadian Whisky ever written, and a wonderful read to boot; even Davin thought I was being perhaps a little generous.
But once again, the Arctic Wolf was right on track, and a couple of days ago I got the word. “Canadian Whisky: the portable expert” won gold at the 2013 San Fransisco Spirits Competition as the Best Wine, Beer, or Spirits book of 2012.
Davin, you are a great friend, and I extend my heartfelt congratulations towards your success. (Success you have certainly earned by the way!)
And for those who are curious, here is a link to my original review:
Posted in Awards, Books, Extras | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Canadian Whisky: the portable expert, Davin de Kergommeaux, San Franscisco Spirit Awards | 1 Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 27, 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 originally called Black Label; but because of the perceived smoothness of the whisky, the producers soon changed the name to Black Velvet. It has been a staple of the Canadian whisky scene ever since. It is now produced at the Black Velvet Distillery (also called the Palliser Distillery) in Lethbridge, Alberta.
Black Velvet Toasted Caramel is a new flavoured whisky produced introduced last year by the company. It is apparently constructed from natural toasted caramel flavour and Black Velvet Whisky. The product is bottled at 35 % alcohol by volume.
You may read the full review by clicking the following excerpt:
“… Black Velvet Toasted Caramel runs towards the sweet side of the palate with caramel and maple flavour leading the way. The strong undercurrent of maple confuses me at first; but upon reflection I suspect this must be the wood and whisky spices showing through and moving some of that caramel flavour to maple …”
Please enjoy the review which includes a nice new recipe, the Canadian Caribou High Ball.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Flavoured Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: Black Velvet Distillery, Canadian Whisky, Caribou Cocktail, Cocktails and Recipes, Flavoured Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 21, 2013
Flavoured and Spiced Whiskies seem to be popping up all over the landscape these days. It seems that not only rum companies are jealous of the success of Captain Morgan. The Whisky producers want a share of this market too. Time will tell whether these flavoured spirits are just a fad or part of a new market trend. But since they have arrived with such force, I will continue to review those which cross my path.
SinFire Cinnamon Whisky is produced by Hood River Distillers, an importer, producer, and bottler of spirits in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The Company’s bottling plant is located beside Columbia River with Mt. Hood standing majestically behind the facility, and they have been there since 1968. I received a small sample of their new SinFire Whisky a few weeks ago and decided to put the sample through the paces of my review methodology. This cinnamon flavoured whisky apparently combines imported Canadian whisky with spicy-sweet natural cinnamon flavors. It is bottled at 35 % alcohol by volume.
You may click on the following excerpt to read the full review which includes a nice Highball style cocktail for Cinnamon Whisky called The Buzz Saw Highball:
“… As I put my snoot near the glass I receive a very strong indication of cinnamon heart candies. Some butterscotch is apparent in the breezes as well as a light sandalwood and hints of rye whisky. Although I receive indications of sweetness, it does not appear to be overdone …”
Please enjoy the review!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Flavoured Whisky, Spiced Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Cinnamon Whisky, Flavoured Whisky, Hood River Distillers, SinFire, Spiced Whisky, Whisky | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 12, 2013
8 Seconds is a new Canadian Whisky from Frank-Lin Distillers, Products Ltd. who have been a bottler and producer of distilled spirits since Frank Maestri founded the company in 1966. (Frank-Lin currently operates out of their new facility in Fairfield California with annual capacity of over 10 million cases of wines and spirits.)
The 8 Seconds brand is marketed with a direct tie to the western rodeo as it makes its push into the North American marketplace. (In case you are wondering, 8 seconds is the amount of time a cowboy must ride a bucking bull, or a bucking bronco, in the rodeo contest before the bell signals his ride is complete.) The whisky itself is a pretty straight forward offering, distilled in Canada and aged in oak. It is (I assume) shipped in bulk from Canada to Frank-Lin’s facility in Fairfield, California for bottling. The whisky has no age statement; but I note that the more premium 8 Seconds Black carries a statement of 8 years. I presume that the less premium 8 Seconds Blended Canadian Whisky would be somewhat younger than that.
You may click on the excerpt to read my full review:
“… The initial nose carries a fair amount of vanilla and caramel, as well as some rough and tumble wood and rye spices. I let the glass breathe to see if the scents deepen, and indeed the rye spices seem to grow in strength with perhaps a hint of corn joining in. This is not overly complex, but it is pleasant …”
Please enjoy the review and my cocktail which follows, the Prescott!
Note: The sample was provided by River Valley Beverage Group
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: 8 Seconds, Canadian Whisky, Cocktails and Recipes, Frank-Lin Distillers, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off