Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 5, 2014
Caorunn Gin (a product of Inver House Distillers) is hand-made in small batches (about 1,000 litres per batch). This Scottish gin features (six traditional botanicals; juniper berries, coriander seed, orange peel, lemon peel, angelica root, and cassia bark and five Celtic non traditional botanicals; rowan berries, heather, bog myrtle, dandelion, and coul blush apple). It is produced using a quadruple distilled grain spirit as its base, with the flavours from the hand-picked botanicals infused into the spirit when the distilled vapour of the final distillation passes through the trays of the Balmenach Distillery’s vintage 1920’s Copper Berry Chamber which of course contains the botanicals.
When I reviewed Caorunn Gin (April 2013) I found that although the spirit had a traditional flavour profile, this traditional flavour was accented by sharp wisps of dandelion and rowan berry flavours. I found these flavour accents mixed very well with lemon juice in the cocktails I constructed. Therefore, in addition to the standard Gin and Tonic Cocktail (see recipe here) which I was using as my base mixed drink for the competition, I also constructed a modified Gin and Tonic cocktail for Caorunn Gin using a bit of lemon juice in conjunction with the Lime (see recipe here). It turned out that this alternate construction was my preferred G&T cocktail (see photo left) for the Caorunn Gin, and my G&T Score for this gin is based upon the preferred cocktail.
The G&T Score for the Caorunn Gin based on my preferred cocktail is 83.5/100.
Just so you do not have to keep track of these scores yourself, I have constructed a separate page to keep a running tally of all scores as they are published, and you may refer to that page here;
Rum Howler 2014 Gin and Tonic Challenge
As well you may read my published review of Caorunn Gin here (which includes the aforementioned Gin and Tonic #3 Cocktail):
Note: I should point out that this series of Gin and Tonic Challenge publications occurs in no particular order. Every day or so I shall grab one of the sample Gins from my review shelf and build one or two Gin and Tonics. If that particular gin has not been reviewed on my website, I will publish a review and I will also assign the spirit a G&T Cocktail Score out of 100. Only when all of the featured Gins are have been examined (one at a time) will I declare which Gin I feel is the Rum Howler 2014, best spirit for Gin and Tonics. I plan to have fun this August, I hope you do too!
Posted in Awards, Extras, Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Caorunn Gin, Cocktails, Gin, Gin and Tonic, Rum Howler Gin and Tonic Challenge | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 30, 2014
I was privileged recently when I received an invite to visit the facilities of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) in Guyana, South America two years ago. During this visit I was given a complete tour of the Diamond Distillery where DDL’s famous El Dorado Rums are produced. This included a tour of the old plant which houses the heritage stills (famous stills from various estates in Guyana some as old as 250 years, all working and still producing rum), and I saw DDL’s new high-capacity five-column distillation plant which is now in operation.
During this trip, I also was able to taste the entire line of El Dorado rums including the new El Dorado Spiced Rum. In fact at the guest house where I was staying, a full bottle of the El Dorado Spiced (and a few others as well) were left for our small Canadian group to enjoy each evening. I snapped a nice picture of the bottle while I was there and spent a little time gathering some tasting notes. At that time the Spiced rum was produced using lightly aged rum which had been produced at the old plant using the old heritage stills.
However, two and a half years have passed and the transition of rum production (for El Dorado’s younger rums) has almost certainly been moved to the new plant and this rum is now entering into the North American Marketplace. I strongly suspect that the El Dorado Spiced rum is now a product of the new distillation plant rather than the old heritage plant, and I have decided to revisit and replace my original review with a more timely review from a current bottle.
You may click on the following excerpt link to read my full analysis:
“… The rum crosses the palate with sweet flavours of brown sugar melded into cloves and cinnamon with orange peel, nutmeg, and coriander adding additional spicy character. As before,strong notes of vanilla are evident and there is also a light dusting of oak woven into the flavour profile. The heat from the rum is more carefully melded into the firm butterscotch and brown sugar flavours …”
I hope you enjoy my fresh look at the El Dorado Spiced Rum which includes a nice punch style recipe, Georgetown Punch.
Posted in Rum, Rum Reviews, Spiced Rum | Tagged: Cocktails, Demerara Distillers Limited, El Dorado, El Dorado Spiced Rum, Georgetown Punch, Rum Spiced Rum Rum Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 28, 2014
This past May, I was invited by Thirsty Cellar Imports, to attend a Rum Master Class hosted by Hernan Parra Arango, Rum Master for Dictador Colombian Rum. At the event, the attendees were given the opportunity to taste the entire Dictador line-up which included not only the fantastic Dictador Rums, but also two unique Colombian premium aged gins.
These premium gins are the result of the passion of former President of Dictador, Dario Parra, who had during his many travels in the United Kingdom developed a tremendous love for gin. Dario studied many gin recipes and back home in Colombia he developed his gin for his own personal use, utilizing traditional ingredients in conjunction with berries and botanicals native to Colombia. Dario Parra’s passion has resulted in the creation of two special aged gins which are now sold internationally, Dictador Treasure, and Dictador Ortodoxy.
The subject of this review is Dictador Ortodoxy Aged Gin, which as the name implies has been constructed to have a traditional, or orthodox, flavour profile which will be familiar to gin enthusiasts. This gin is produced from sugar cane alcohol which is distilled 4 times to 96 % alcohol by volume. During the 5th distillation each botanical is macerated and distilled separately before being blended. The blended gin is then aged for 35 weeks in previously used rum barrels, and then filtered clear to be bottled at 43 % alcohol by volume.
You may click the following Review excerpt to read the full review:
“… The initial breezes from the glass bring forward light juniper and alpine forest scents with a touch of cotton candy whispering in the background which gives the air above the glass a lovely hint of sweetness. This aroma seems gentle and relaxed as there are also enticing floral accents with hints of citrus zest and lemon balm …”
Of course I have added a few recipes for your enjoyment, a Gin and Tonic, and a Grapefruit Martini. Both are absolutely great with Dictador’s Ortodoxy Aged Gin!
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Aged Gin, Cocktails, Colombia, Dictador, Gin, Gin and Tonic, Gin Review, Grapefruit Daiquiri, Ortodoxy | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 25, 2014
Windsor Canadian is currently produced by Beam Suntory at the Alberta Distillers Limited (ADL) facility in Calgary Alberta. Beam Suntory gives the following description on their website information regarding this whisky,
“A light, delicately flavored whisky, Windsor® Canadian is Canada’s smoothest. Windsor is made from cereal grains grown near Calgary, Alberta, combined with the pure, clear glacial stream water of Western Canada and aged in the dry, mile-high Canadian Rocky Mountains. “
An interesting bit of history regarding Windsor Canadian is that the whisky was originally launched as Windsor Supreme in 1963 by the American firm, National Distillers. The brand quickly became so popular that this American firm purchased the ADL Distillery in order to secure a plentiful source of high quality 100 % rye grain whisky for bottling and blending. In 1987, Fortune Brands (Beam Global) also had an eye for quality 100 % rye grain whisky, and they in turn purchased both the Windsor brand and the ADL Distillery from National (source: Canadian Whisky the Portable Expert, Copyright 2012 – Davin De Kergoumeaux, McClelland & Stewart publishers).
Of course, if you follow the whisky news you will know that the Japanese spirits giant, Suntory, recently acquired Beam Global. I do not think that it is stretch to suggest that Calgary’s own, Alberta Distillers Limited was the diamond in the rough which Suntory was seeking to secure for themselves as ADL is currently the largest producer of 100 % rye grain whisky in the entire world, and in fact, one of the few remaining producers of high quality 100 % rye grain whisky.
You may read my full review of this typically ‘Canadian’ Whisky by clicking on the following review excerpt (link):
“… The initial nose is very typically ‘Canadian’ with firm butterscotch scents lying alongside a fruit-filled spicy rye. As I let the glass sit, some dusty ripened grain notes develop along with accompanying scents of straw and the chaff. There is a bit of dry grassiness reminiscent of timothy and foxtail and some zesty notes of orange and lemon peel. Rounding out the nose are a few bits of cinnamon and dark brown sugar …”
Please enjoy the review which includes a modern take on the classic Whiskey Crusta Cocktail, which I have called the Canadian Crusta.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Crusta, Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Crusta, Whisky, Whisky Review, Windsor | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 20, 2014
Highwood Distillers is a Canadian distillery located just east of the Canadian Rockies in the town of High River, Alberta. I have visited the distillery and watched first hand as they turned the local wheat into whisky, vodka. and gin. Their Sahara Dry Gin is produced in the London Dry style from locally produced wheat and naturally sourced Rocky Mountain water. I am not privy to the exact recipe of this gin, but according to their own website, juniper, citrus of lemon, and other botanicals are all added during the final distillation. This is s very dry gin. So dry in fact, that the folks at Highwood named it Sahara.
Lime Crusta with Sahara Dry Gin
Sahara Dry Gin recently received a bit of a make-over and is now sold in a stubby new bottle which is shown to the left. I was recently provided a sample bottle in the new configuration by the folks at Highwood for the purpose of a revisiting my previous review here on my website. As this gin was likely produced after the distillery was retrofitted with new equipment after the flooding of 2013.
I thought revisiting my review was timely.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… The nose has a laid back quality of juniper and lighter accents of lemon and grapefruit. There is a bit of an alpine scent mingled with the juniper and perhaps some scents of willow thicket, meadow grass, and spring flowers. Everything is all rather mellow; but it is also rather enjoyable …”
I included two nice cocktails at the conclusion of the review, a very nice ‘cooler’ style cocktail to enjoy with the Sahara, the Jumping Buffalo Cooler, and my brand new cocktail, the Lime Crusta!
Please enjoy my review and my suggested cocktails, Cheers!
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Cocktails, Gin, Gin Review, Highwood Distillers, Jumping Buffalo Cooler, Lime Crusta, Sahara Dry Gin | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 16, 2014
Masterson’s Straight Wheat Whiskey is distilled and aged in Canada, for a California company located in Sonoma, called 35 Maple Street. As a straight whiskey, the spirit must be barreled and aged in new American Oak; however this Masterson’s whiskey also holds the distinction of being perhaps the only Canadian whiskey which is distilled on a copper pot still from a mash of 100 % wheat grain. It is aged for 12 years, bottled at 50% alcohol by volume, and is apparently (like the rest of the Masterson’s line-up) named for the famous frontier lawman, William “Bat” Masterson.
You may read my full review of the 12 Year Old Wheat spirit by clicking the following review excerpt:
“… Mild butterscotch and toffee aromas mingle with the wood and spices, and subtle bits of dry fruit and orange peel drifting into the breezes for those who are patient enough to notice. As I let the glass sit, the oak builds up just a little giving us some hints of bitter sap, poplar wood and dark chocolate. I also notice very light baking spices with vanilla, cinnamon and hints coarse yellow/brown sugar …”
Please enjoy my review which includes my recipe suggestion, the Old-Fashioned Cocktail!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: 35 Maple Street, Canadain Whisky, Cocktails, Masterson's Whiskey, Old Fashioned Cocktail, Straight Wheat, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 14, 2014
In my part of Canada, Lamb’s is one of the most popular rum brands. The brand is owned by Corby Brand, and they the rum’s history all the way to 1849 when Alfred Lamb opened his wine and spirits business in London, England. Apparently Alfred stored his rum barrels (which had been imported from the Caribbean) in his underground cellars which were directly beneath the Thames River. The cool underground air which did not experience large seasonal fluctuations in temperature nor large fluctuations from day to night is reckoned to be one of the secrets behind the unexpectedly smooth taste of his rum.
Of course the rum no longer is aged under the Thames River in Britain; but it does maintain its Caribbean heritage as the Lamb’s blend is sourced from a variety of Caribbean rums which have been aged for a minimum of one year in oak casks. The final rum is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume and sold as Lamb’s Palm Breeze.
You may click on the excerpt link to read the full review:
“… When I bring the glass to my nose, I notice light smells of butterscotch, sandalwood and spice. It is the sandalwood and spice (rather than the butterscotch) which grows in the breezes as I let the glass breathe. I soon notice traces of white pepper and cinnamon as well as building citrus zest and banana peel. Interestingly, a plastic-like scent reminiscent of faux leather seems to be entwined within the spiciness. Hints of vanilla and almond round out the aroma, which if I had encountered it in a blind format, I might just have mistaken it for a light Canadian whisky …”
The Master Blender (Joy Spence) for Appleton Estate Rum shared her favourite cocktail with me during an interview I conducted a few years ago (See interview here). I found it nice to know that those who make great rum, also agree with me that it is more than acceptable to mix their great rum into a cocktail. At the conclusion of my review, I share the Spence Cocktail as my suggested recipe for for Lamb’s Palm Breeze.
Please enjoy my review and Joy Spence’s great cocktail!
Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Amber Rum, Cocktails, Gold Rum, Lamb's Rum, Palm Breeze, Rum, Rum Review, Spence Cocktail | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 11, 2014
Marshall’s Bourbon Whiskey is produced in Bardstown, Kentucky for the Beveland Liquor Company. In case you did not know, Beveland is located in northern Spain, near the French border, and they are (as far as I can reasonably tell from their website) a small to medium-sized wine and spirits company which sells a variety of distilled spirits into the European market.
Northern Mint Julep
I am not really sure how I came upon this particular sample bottle. It seems to have appeared unannounced upon my review shelf in my tasting room. I tried to locate its source; however, I could not even locate a local distributor for the brand. I suspect a friend or relative came upon the bottle in their travels, and slipped it upon my review shelf with the other bourbon whiskeys as an unexpected treat for me. This should be a fun review as I have no idea what to expect from a Bourbon which I could find hardly a trace of on the internet.
You may read my full review here:
“… The initial aroma from the glass revealed spicy oak sap and woody cedar scents pushed forward by a rather firm alcohol astringency. Light butterscotch aromas and bits of vanilla pushed through this astringency as did a sort of tobacco-like grassiness. There is some spicy citrus peel in the air as well us some nutty almond …”
I hope you enjoy this review which includes a nice summertime deck drink, the Northern Mint Julep.
Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Bourbon, Bourbon Review, Cocktails, Marshall's, Northern Mint Julep, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 9, 2014
Berry Bros. & Rudd is London’s oldest wine and spirits merchant with over 300 years of experience and tradition to draw on. Use this expertise and a team of spirits experts they created No. 3 London Dry Gin. The recipe is based upon three fruits and three spices, and to those I shall speak to in the review. However, I shall say as a bit of foreshadowing, that sometimes artistry can be found in simplicity.
I first sampled the No. 3 Gin at a store called Lacombe Park Spirits in St. Albert, Alberta. I have come to know the proprietors, Karim and his brother Jeff, quite well over the past couple of years, and when Karim discovered that I was about to venture into a series of Gin reviews he insisted that I try one of his favourites.
I was convinced after one sip that this was a gin which I wanted to review, and after contacting the website for No. 3 London Dry Gin, Ross Hendry from Berry Brothers & Rudd, arranged for me to receive a bottle sample with of course the help of the local distributor Charton-Hobbs.
Here is a link to the full review (click on the excerpt):
1878 Gin Cocktail
“…When that first sample was poured for me at Lacombe Spirits, the first thing I noticed was the assertiveness of the aroma around the glass. I commented to Karim (the proprietor of Lacombe Park Spirits) that this was exactly how I liked my gin to smell in the glass. The nose was full of juniper, but it was not sharp and unpleasant, rather it was full of aromatics which lifted the juniper scent out of the glass and then surrounded it with floral notes and a beguiling sweetness…”
Leo Engels, published his Bartender’s Guide, American and Other Drinks, in 1878. It is a fascinating glimpse into early mixology at a time when bar drinks and cocktails were just beginning to evolve and spread through North America and Europe. At that time, the word ‘cocktail’ was reserved for a specific type of bar drink, which resembles what we call the Old-Fashioned cocktail today.
Included in my updated review of No. 3 London Dry Gin is a reconstruction of Leo Engels’ original Gin Cocktail recipe, the 1878 Gin Cocktail.
Please enjoy my review and the recipes that follow!
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: 1878 Gin Cocktail, Berry Bros. and Rudd, Cocktails, Gin, Gin Review, London Dry Gin, No. 3 London Dry Gin | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 6, 2014
A Brass Bonanza served with Blanton’s Gold Edition
Blanton’s is a bourbon whiskey brand created by Sazerac and launched in 1984. The brand is named for Albert B. Blanton who worked at the Buffalo Trace Distillery for more than 50 years, and who apparently spent much of his time at the distillery promoting the traditions of handcrafted bourbon. Blanton’s claims to be the first modern whiskey designed and sold as a single barrel bourbon, and indeed the original brand name for the brand was “Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon”.
Blanton’s Gold Edition is produced from a mash bill of corn, rye, and malted barley which is distilled to 140 proof and barreled at 125 proof. Each bottle of Blanton’s Gold Edition is bottled from a single barrel (brought to 103 proof) after the whiskey has been chill filtered. Because even barrels which lie side by side in an aging warehouse (even though they may have exactly the same batch of distillate) will almost certainly age differently, there will be much potential for flavour variation between particular bottles of this Blanton’s bourbon. However, the general character of the whiskey should remain the same between bottlings as the master blender is selecting only those barrels which meet the particular flavour profile he is aiming for.
You may read my full review by clicking the following link excerpt:
“… The nose is very nice with honey, sap and wood spice rising into the breezes alongside subtle notes of Christmas cake (chocolate, raisins, dates and walnuts). There is a bit of an alcohol push along with a few grassy notes and some youthful astringency. As I let the glass sit I notice baking spices building (vanilla, dark brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg) in the air along with some baked apples and canned pears. There are also some nice sweet and spicy notes of pipe tobacco …”
Included in the review is a nice bar drink which mixed the Blanton’s Gold Edition with a few drops of bitters and a splash of ginger-ale. I called the resulting cocktail, the Brass Bonanza.
Please enjoy the review and the provided mixed drink recipe!
Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Blanton's Gold Edition, Bourbon, Brass Bonanza, Cocktails, Review, Sazerac, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | Comments Off