Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 20, 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, it was known as Joseph E. Seagram & Sons.
The Seagram’s VO was, according to legend, created by Joseph Seagram 100 years ago when he blended some of his finest whiskies into a spirit designed especially for the wedding celebration for his son Thomas. 100 years later, the Seagram name is still on the VO bottle, but ownership of this brand has been passed on to Diageo who now use their wide variety of stocks to produce this whisky at the Valleyfield Distillery in Quebec.
The Seagram’s VO is one of the oldest continuously selling brands of Canadian Whisky in the market today, blended in the old-fashioned way to be enjoyed in those short and tall cocktails we Canadians enjoy so much. It is not by any stretch of the imagination a sipper, but then again, I doubt many ‘sipping whiskies’ were being crafted 100 years ago when this blend (bottled at 40 % abv.) was created. In honour of the 100 years of Seagram’s VO, I thought I would publish my review of this venerable Canadian Whisky.
You may click on the excerpt to read the full review:
“… The initial nose brings forth notes of oak and rye spice, vanilla and butterscotch, and light impressions of tobacco into the air above the glass. As the whisky breathes, I notice that there is something penetrating about the aroma. It reminds me of a combination of light incense and a freshly snuffed out cigarette. Rounding things out is a light corn accent and an impression of soft canned fruit (peaches perhaps). Somewhere in the background a field of tall dry grass is gently swaying in the breezes … “
Please enjoy the review!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Diageo, DrinkWire, Seagram's, Seagram's VO, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 6, 2013
Not that long ago, I had a discussion with a well-known Master Blender (from a major producer of whisky) about the rush of spiced and flavoured rums and whiskies which are entering the marketplace. I lamented the fact that most of these spirits were constructed using young inexpensive spirits as their base, rather than beginning with a spirit which already showed age and character. The master distiller gave me this ‘father knows best’ look and explained that this category was meant for the new spirits consumer as an entry-level product, and using a better spirit as the base would just be a waste of good whisky (or rum). I countered that I thought the spiced and flavoured category could be much more; but I also quickly changed the subject. (I could see that he thought I was nuts).
Well maybe I am nuts; but recently, I actually received a sample of just the very kind of spiced whisky I had been talking about, Highwood Distillers - Centennial Spiced Canadian Whisky. Unlike most of the spiced and flavoured whiskies which have sprung up recently which use a very young whisky as the base for the spirit, Highwood’s Centennial Spiced Whisky uses a well aged 10-year-old whisky, (their own Centennial Rye Whisky) as the foundation for this spiced spirit.
And I am happy to report, that as I suspected, quality always shines through as my review attests, here is an excerpt:
“… Rather than a whisky buried by spice, we encounter flavours of vanilla, ginger, and cloves (and yes butterscotch too) which are lifted by the character of the well aged Centennial Whisky. Although the combination of spices does not appear to be complicated, there is a punch of ginger in the flavour profile that to me, taste’s absolutely brilliant …”
Here is a link to the full review which includes two cocktails, the Centennial Celebration, and Tall Ginger:
Please enjoy this review of what I feel is a groundbreaking new spirit!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Flavoured Whisky, Spiced Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Centennial, Cocktails and Recipes, DrinkWire, Highwood Whisky, Spiced Whisky, Spiced Whisky Review, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 29, 2013
Highwood Distillers is a Canadian spirits manufacturer in the town of High River, Alberta, which is situated 40 minutes south of Calgary, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. A few years ago, I visited this distillery, and watched first hand as they turned the local prairie grains into whisky, vodka. and gin. They make their spirits one batch at a time in a family style atmosphere which could not help but make me a fan. Recently I received a sample of their Centennial Honey Canadian Rye Whisky. The spirit represents a fusion of Highwood’s 10 Year old Centennial Rye Whisky with the decadent sweetness of natural honey. No artificial flavours or additives (except caramel for colour) have been used in the production of this whisky liqueur which is bottled at 35 % alcohol by volume.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“… The theme of light and appealing continues with a flavoured whisky which is both smooth and delicious. I was fearful that the honey flavor (which might have been too intense) would overpower the subtle nuances of the Centennial Rye Whisky. However, I am pleased to report that although the flavour of the natural honey is obvious, the flavour of good old Canadian rye whisky also shines through…”
You may read my full review which contains my new recipe, Cool Honey, here:
Please Enjoy the review!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Flavoured Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Centennial, Cocktails and Recipes, Flavoured Whisky, Highwood, Honey, Whisky | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 20, 2013
Wiser’s Canadian Whisky is distilled at the Hiram Walker Distillery in Walkerville, Ontario (since 1989), and aged in their facilities at Pike Creek near Lakeshore Ontario. I have previously reviewed most of the current Wiser’s range including: Wiser’s Special Blend, Wiser’s De Luxe, Wiser’s Small Batch, Wiser’s Legacy, and the Wiser’s 18 Years Old.
Recently I was given a sample bottle of the Wiser’s Spiced. For those who do not know, Wiser’s Spiced Whisky is a new spiced (or perhaps we might say flavoured) whisky which features the classic Wiser’s Whisky taste profile accented by vanilla spice.
Here is an excerpt from the resulting review:
“… The air above the glass is mildly sweet with a honey-like caramel accompanied by a gentle sweep of vanilla. You can easily detect the underlying scent of Canadian Whisky with a bit of rye spice, and light oak accents. The whisky seems rather pleasant and laid back hinting at a more subdued spicy character … “
Of course the full review may be found by clicking this link:
The review includes a nice high-bail cocktail based upon the Canadian Mammy.
Please enjoy the review and the recipe!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Flavoured Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Flavoured Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review, Wiser's Spiced Whisky, Wiser's Whisky | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 18, 2013
The winners of the 3rd Annual Canadian Whisky Awards were announced in Victoria B.C. on Thursday, January 17th, 2013. The whisky awards are the result of the efforts of Spirit Writer and Author, Davin de Kergommeaux whose has organized and published the awards since their inception (in 2010) on his website Canadian Whisky.
The Awards were broken down into broad groupings which reflect the designated markets in which Canadian Whisky is sold. These grouping are:
Domestic Market (if the whisky is sold strictly within Canada
Export Market (if the whisky is sold strictly outside of Canada) and
Multi Markets (if the whisky is sold both in the domestic and the export markets
Specific Awards were designated for each market as well as a Canadian Whisky of the Year Award designated for the top Canadian Whisky regardless of intended market.
And of course, Awards of Excellence were presented for outstanding achievement in the areas of Innovation, Line Extension, and Canadian Whisky Profile.
So without further ado, here is a link to the Awards:
Posted in Awards, Extras | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Canadian Whisky Awards | Comments Off
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:
Posted in American Whiskey, Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Irish Whskey, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Canadian Whisky, DrinkWire, Irish Whiskey, Rum Howler Awards, Scotch Whisky, Whisky Review | 2 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 22, 2012
The Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve, (like all Forty Creek Whiskies), is built upon Whisky Maker, John Hall’s, foundation of three separately distilled grains: barley, corn and rye. Each grain is distilled and aged in oak separately. When each whisky is ready, the three finished whiskies are blended together and ‘married’ in oak once more allowing the three to become one.
Indeed, John Hall’s flagship whisky, the Forty Creek Barrel Select is a perfect example of that concept of marrying three separately distilled and aged grain whiskies into one. The Copper Pot Reserve is a more ‘premium’ version of the Barrel Select. Mr. Hall chose his best grain whiskies as the base for the Copper Pot. He aged these best whiskies a little longer to bring in more flavour from the oak, and then he chose the best of these whiskies to marry together in oak once more to complete the final blend. The Copper Pot Whisky is bottled at 43 % abv (rather than the traditional 40 %) allowing this premium whisky to showcase its robust flavour.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“… The initial nose of the whisky brings oak and rye spices into the breezes above the glass with an effervescent orange peel zest riding the coattails of the spice. As the glass sits, green tobacco and orange marmalade jump in with a soft punky caramel tainting their scent. I detect some cinnamon and ginger rising up from the glass and my sense is that the Copper Pot is going to be a very interesting and complex whisky… “
You may read the full review here:
Please enjoy my review of this outstanding whisky!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Forty creek Copper Pot Whisky, Forty Creek Whisky, John Hall, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 27, 2012
Although Canadian whisky by volume is the best-selling whisky in the USA, the perception of this class of whisky (amongst spirits writers and whisky critics) is that the Canadian spirit is perhaps thin and uninteresting, (fortunately the millions of people who buy whisky appear to be much more impressed than the critics and writers). The landscape however, appear to be changing, especially at the premium end of the whisky market, where the Canadian spirit has seen strong growth in market share. Recognizing this trend, the Sazerac Company has recently made a push towards the premium end of the Canadian Whisky market with two new releases, Caribou Crossing and Royal Canadian Small Batch Canadian Whiskies.
Caribou Crossing is what is known as a Single Barrel Whisky. From the company’s inventory of over 200,000 barrels of Canadian whisky, Sazerac’s whisky making team selects what they deem to be some of the very finest barrels. Each of these chosen barrels is bottled individually capturing its unique flavour. This means that each individual barrel offers a unique taste experience for the Canadian whisky connoisseur. I was fortunate enough to have been sent a sample bottle from the good folks at Charton Hobbs who are marketing this unique whisky for Sazerac, here in Alberta.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“… This is a whisky which grows a little in the glass as you let it breathe. The oak and the rye grain seem to gain strength as sawdust and rye husks fill the breezes above the glass. Fresh corn on the cob rises into those breezes; and impressions of butterscotch pudding and vanilla ice cream tempt me into taking my first sip… “
You may read the full review here;
Please enjoy my review, and my cocktail suggestion, the Canadian Rye Sazerac.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Caribou Crossing, Cocktails and Recipes, Sazerac Company, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 21, 2012
According to the information sent to me by Sazerac, Canadian whisky is a very big deal in the USA, accounting for sales of roughly 100 million liters of spirits. In fact, Canadian Whisky is responsible for a whopping 11.6 % of the overall spirits market in the USA. Although it has been popular for spirits writer’s and whisky critics to disregard the Canadian Whisky category, the truth is that North America has seen growth in sales of the premium and super-premium categories of Canadian Whisky over the last several years. Sazerac has been a participant in this growth with the launch of their new Single Barrel Canadian Whisky, Caribou Crossing, and their new Small Batch Canadian Whisky, Royal Canadian Small Batch.
The Royal Canadian Small Batch whisky has been constructed from a very small selection (50 barrels) of carefully chosen Canadian whisky barrels. Bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume, this is a 4 grain whisky which was blended from those selected barrels to not only have the smoothness traditionally associated with Canadian whisky; but to also carry robust taste profile forward for the whisky connoisseur.
I was fortunate enough to have been sent a sample bottle from the good folks at Charton Hobbs who are marketing this unique whisky for Sazerac, in Alberta.
Here is an excerpt from the resulting review:
“… The whisky sends an initial display of light oak, sweet butterscotch, and punky caramel corn into the breezes above the glencairn glass. As the whisky breathes, I notice some wood spices and sticky maple wandering upwards joined by vanilla and light almond accents. There is a fruitiness in the air represented by light impressions of dry fruit (plums and apricots), some fresh berries, and a little citrus zest, all of which seem to meld into that sticky maple aroma giving me impressions of freshly opened cans of apricots and pears… “
Here is a link to the full review:
As part of the review I designed a nice cocktail for this whisky called the Sazerac Splash. I hope you enjoy the cocktail and of course. I hope you enjoy my review!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Cocktails and Recipes, Royal Canadian Small Batch Whisky, Sazerac Company, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 13, 2012
Forty Creek Whisky has for the past several years produced a special limited release whisky and allowed the public to participate in its release by offering to let those who pre-order the whisky to choose their own numbered bottle(s). These special release whiskies are built upon the foundation of the company’s flagship whisky, Forty Creek Barrel Select, and are actually versions of this whisky which have spent additional time finishing in certain selected oak barrels. This year’s special release is the Forty Creek Portwood Reserve – 2012 Whisky.
This is the actually the second edition (lot 061) of the Portwood Reserve; the first edition (lot 060) was a very limited bottling released only in Ontario in 2009. As you have already determined, what makes this whisky special is that this Forty Creek Whisky has been finished in Port Wine Barrels. I am one of the lucky few who managed to buy a few bottles of the first edition 3 years ago, and as you can see by my 2009 review (see review here), I found this first edition of the Portwood Whisky very much to my liking. Of course, this means that I am delighted to have been sent a pre-release bottle of the second edition such that I can share my thoughts here on my website. This whisky is produced at 45 % alcohol by volume and is limited to only 6600 bottles and will be available in limited markets across Canada.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“… The scents and smells rising into the breezes above the glass remind me of dark ripe BC cherries, blackberries and raspberries. Some dry fruit sensations (reminiscent of raisins and prunes) are part of the overall fruit and berry aroma. Subtle but firm impressions of cinnamon and cloves join in with a bit of sweet Demerara sugar thrown in for good measure. There are strong impressions of oak and orange peel in the air as well as hints of rye spice… “
You may read my full review here:
Included with the review is a very nice cocktail, the Portwood Manhattan. Please enjoy my review and the included cocktail, cheers!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Cocktails and Recipes, Forty Creek Whisky, Portwood Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off