Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 11, 2014
Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select is a Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey, distilled and bottled at the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles Kentucky. The folks at Woodford Reserve pride themselves in the manufacture of what they call ‘craft bourbon’. The Kentucky distillery is apparently located over top of a deep limestone aquifer which contains mineral rich (iron free) limestone water. This is of course the aquifer from which the distillery draws the water required for fermentation of their rye rich grain mash. (This mash is composed of 72 % corn, 10 % barley, and 18 % rye grain.)
The fermentation tanks are constructed from cypress which (according to the folks at Woodford Reserve) helps to eliminate unwanted flavours which could arise in a stainless steel fermentation tank. The wash is distilled three times on copper pots stills to a full 158 proof, and the resulting new make is barreled in freshly charred new oak barrels prepared by the distillers own cooperage. The spirit is set down to mature in a temperature controlled warehouse where it is carefully monitored to be bottled when the right flavour characteristic has been achieved.
Here is a link to my latest review:
“… When I poured my first glass of the Woodford bourbon, the aroma was thick with oak and cedar almost to the point of overwhelming everything else. The effect was one of intimidation, as sappy fresh-cut cedar and oak spices dominated …”
Please enjoy this review which kicks off a series of bourbon whiskey visitations as we head into springtime. As well I hope you enjoy my cocktail suggestion which follows the review, the classic Buckeroo.
Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Bourbon, Buckeroo, Cocktails, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey, Woodford Reserve Whiskey | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 9, 2014
Grande Champagne Sidecar
Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac is blended solely from aged eaux de vie produced within the 1st Cru de Cognac, specifically from the Ugni Blanc and Colombard grapes grown within the Grande Champagne Cognac appellation (region) of France. Although the final spirit has no age statement, according to Guillaume Lamy, (Vice President – North America for Cognac Ferrand), this is because the spirit is blended to meet an age profile that represents a 10-year-old spirit. To maintain product consistency from year to year, the actual average age of the blended cognac will vary depending upon the cellar conditions during maturation and the interactions between the oak and the aging eaux de vie.
1878 Mint Julep
Pierre Ferrand uses only small (25 – hectoliter) copper pot stills to produce their Cognac; and after distillation, the resulting distillate (eaux de vie) is matured in small 270-liter French Limousin oak barrels. During this aging process, the cognac may rest in any of seven different aging cellars (each with traditional earthen floors). Within each of these cellars, the spirit is monitored, and may be transferred several times during its aging life to different cellars and/or to different oak casks (with differing char levels) to maintain the integrity and character of the spirit.
You may of course, read my full review here:
“… I discovered the Pierre Ferrand Ambre has a wonderful freshness featuring both floral and citrus elements which reached out of that glass and teased my nostrils. Mixed into those breezes are firm impressions ripe green grapes and a gentle sweep of vanilla. I also sense an herbal grassy note, as well as a few wisps of spicy raisins, and a mild winding of sandalwood and oak …”
And for those who are willing to throw off the shackles of preconception, I have included two cocktails which were originally created for the Cognac spirit, the Grande Champagne Sidecar (pictured left) and the 1878 Mint Julep (pictured right).
Hopefully, springtime is around the corner, and the snow and cold we see in those pictures is gone soon.
Posted in Brandy and Cognac, Cognac Review | Tagged: Cocktails, Cognac, Cognac Review, Mint Julep, Pierre Ferrand, Pierre Ferrand Ambre, Sidecar | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 6, 2014
Glenfiddich is credited by most whisky writers as being the distillery which brought Single Malt Scotch Whisky into prominence after World War II. According to Michael Jackson in his wonderful publication, Scotland and its Whiskies (pages 101-103, Copyright Duncan Baird Publishers, 2001), the independent operators of the distillery began to produce and sell their whisky with an emphasis on the Single Malt expression rather than depending upon selling their whisky to blenders. The result of this foresight is that Glennfiddich is now the most popular (by sales) producer of Single Malt whisky with a market share which accounts for over 30 % of world-wide sales. The flagship whisky of the brand is their 12 Year Old Glenfiddich Single Malt Whisky.
Mamie Taylor Cocktail
The 12-year-old expression is a Single Malt Whisky produced from a blend of stocks which were aged in American bourbon and Spanish Sherry oak barrels. I received a sample bottle of the Glenfiddich 12 Year Old just prior to Christmas, and I decided to share the results of my examination here on my website.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… As the glass breathes I sense impressions of some lowland sawgrass, a few crushed gooseberries, and fruit-like hints of spicy raisin as well as sliced green apples and pears. Over time the air above the glass develops more of an herbal quality with indications of lemon balm and heather …”
Please enjoy my review which includes a nice recipe recommendation, the Mamie Taylor Cocktail!
Important Note: In June of 2013, Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch announced that $2.00 from every bottle sold of the older Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera Whisky in Canada would be donated to benefit Canadian Forces Members as part of their continued support for Wounded Warriors Canada. This program is ongoing and I have been informed that as of the end of 2013, $161,616 have been raised for Wounded Warriors Canada through these $2.00 donations. Founded in 2006, Wounded Warriors Canada is a non-profit organization that helps Canadian Forces Members (be they full-time members or reservists) who have been wounded or injured in their service to Canada.
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Cocktails, Glenfiddich Whisky, Mamie Taylor, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 4, 2014
The Wild Geese Rum Collection is the companion to the Wild Geese Irish Whisky Collection. While the Wild Geese Irish Whisky collection sought to bring the Story of the Wild Geese and their struggles in European Armies to light, the Wild Geese Rum Collection continues the saga bringing to light the story of some of these Wild Geese who after service in the continental armies of Europe found themselves transported to America and the Caribbean where many worked upon the Rum Plantations in the new world.
I received samples of the entire rum collection from the brand developer, Protege International, and began my review series of the Collection with reviews of the Wild Geese Golden Rum, and the Wild Geese Caribbean Spiced Rum. This review of the Wild Geese Premium Rum concludes my examination.
Rum Club Cocktail
The Wild Geese Premium Rum is a blend of Bajan, Guyanese, and Jamaican rums which have been aged for up to eight years, and bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… When I bring the glass to my nose, I sense a light sweetness of canned peaches and apricots a rather firm impression of vanilla. There are some light oak spices in the breezes as well as the light spiciness of orange and banana peel. Hints of tobacco and a light grassiness rounds out the nose …”
Please enjoy my review which includes a new signature cocktail I designed for my rum club, the Rum Club Cocktail.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Amber Rum, Cocktails, Premium Rum, Rum, Rum Club Cocktail, Rum Review, Wild Geese Collection | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 2, 2014
Ron Burgundy “Great Odin’s Raven” Special Reserve is a result of a collaborative effort between Paramount Studios and Celebrity Cellars International (CCI). The aim of the project was to create a blended scotch to capitalize on the ‘celebrity status’ of Ron Burgundy, the Scotch-loving main character of Paramount Studio’s original Anchorman movie, and to launch the Ron Burgundy Scotch coinciding with the release of Anchorman 2, The Legend Continues.
According to Scott Roddick and Jeff Harder (Managing Partners of CCI), one of the major criteria for both parties (Paramount and Celebrity Cellars) going forward was to create a ‘good’ blended Scotch whisky which would be well received by both fans of the Anchorman character, Ron Burgundy, as well as by whisky enthusiasts. Neither side wanted the spirit to become merely a “souvenir brand”. To that end the, whisky was crafted and bottled in Scotland by Old St. Andrews Distillery, featuring a blend of grain and mature malt whiskies from the Speyside, Highlands, and Islay regions of Scotland. The whisky is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume and was released (as planned) in North America on December 1, 2013.
Great Odin’s Raven’s Presbyterian Cocktail
The early returns are in, and they are quite positive. Since the December 1st release, over 14,000 cases of Ron Burgundy Scotch have been sold in North America. Building upon that success, the Ron Burgundy Whisky was recently launched in the UK and Australia.
I was provided a sample bottle by the folks at Celebrity Cellars, and you may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt:
“… The initial scents and smells from the glass are rather interesting. They bring a combination of wood spices; some sweet honey and butterscotch; bits of heather and saw grass; and a mild dollop of boggy peat into the breezes above the glass …”
Please enjoy the review which includes my suggested cocktail, Great Odin’s Raven’s Presbyterian Cocktail!
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Bleneded Scotch, Celebrity Cellars, Cocktails, Great Odin's Raven, Paramount Studios, Ron Burgundy, Scotch, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 27, 2014
Revel Stoke Spiced Whisky has been around for almost 15 years. It is a product of Ed Phillips and Sons in Princeton, Minnesota, and the spiced whisky is apparently (according to the back of the bottle anyway),
“Inspired by the age-old tradition of rugged Canadian outdoorsman infusing their whisky with vanilla and spices.”
According to Davin de Kergommeaux (at Canadianwhisky.org) the Revel Stoke Spiced Whisky is named for the town of Revelstoke, located in the mountains of British Columbia. The base whisky is however, distilled on the eastern side of those mountains in Alberta, at an unnamed Albertan Distillery from a base of wheat and rye. According to the back label of my sample bottle, the flavours and spices within are produced from sugar, water, natural flavour, and citric acid.
This Spiced whisky was originally bottled at 40 % abv. The brand had all but disappeared until a few years ago when it was relaunched by the Phillips Distilling Company, this time as a 45 % abv spirit. During the relaunch, they gave the bottle given a bit of a make over to better reflect those rugged Canadian outdoorsmen which are said to have inspired its creation.
You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt:
“… The initial nose brings both sweet butterscotch and some nice dusty rye scents (ginger and cardamom) forward into the air. There is a sweep of vanilla in the air as well with hints of other spices (perhaps nutmeg, coriander and a speck of cinnamon). As the glass sits, the sweetness builds bringing to mind very mild scents of cherry nibs and a speck of menthol …”
I hope you enjoy my review which includes my original cocktail suggestion, Revelation!
You may find my 2013 list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here: The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Spiced Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Revel Stoke, Revelation, Spiced Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 25, 2014
Last year, Tanduay Holdings began its American Invasion by placing two new rums into the North American market. For those who do not know, Tanduay is one of the very largest Rum producers in the world. (The reason they have been relatively unknown in North America is because their Asian rum is produced in the Philipines and sells almost exclusively into Asia.) This invasion was launched with two premium (a Silver, and a Gold) rums. The Tanduay Silver Rum reviewed here is a blend of rums aged up to 5 years and filtered to be a pale straw coloured spirit meant for mixing high-end cocktails.
Note: The origin of Tanduay Holdings Inc. can be traced to 1937 when The Manilla Wine Merchants Inc. was incorporated. This company was basically an amalgamation of several business interests, the important one for our discussion being the Manilla Steamship Company which held agricultural interests in the Western Visayas and had been producing rum (and other spirits) in the Philippines since at least 1893. In 1999, the Manilla Wine Merchants Inc. formally changed their name to Tanduay Holdings. (For more information please visit the Tanduay USA Website.)
Here is a link to my full review:
“… When I raise the glass to my nose, a gentle but firm butterscotch toffee rises out of the glass followed by a soft waft of fine oak spice, soft banana and lightly sharp orange peel. I allowed the glass to breathe, and enjoyed developing scents of light baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger) and the delicious scent of light brown sugar …”
As you will see when you read the review, I enjoyed mixing a few daiquiri recipes with the Tanduay Silver. For your enjoyment, I included two recipes, the Lime and Maraschino Daiquiri, and Tanduay # 2 (based upon the Bacardi No. 2 Daiquiri).
Please enjoy my review and my suggested cocktails!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Rum, Rum Reviews, White Rums | Tagged: Asian Rum, Cocktails, Daiquiri, Daiquiri No. 2, Lime and Maraschino, Rum, Rum Review, Silver Rum, Tanduay, White Rum | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 23, 2014
The Last Mountain Distillery is part of a small wave of Micro-Distillers which have began to appear on the Canadian landscape over the last few years. These are small ‘mom and pop’ operations which make their spirits in small batches usually only a barrel or two at a time. This particular distillery is located in Lumsden, Saskatchewan, and it is owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Colin and Meredith Schmidt.
In the early stages of the development of their rye whisky I was sent a sample bottle and asked to publish my thoughts here on my website, (see article here). It is almost 2 years later, and I am happy to report that the Last Mountain Canadian Rye Whisky (bottled at 40 % abv. and made from prairie wheat) is in full production.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… The dusty dry rye continues to pour out of the glass with smells of freshly baled straw, sanded oak, sandalwood and fresh tobacco running alongside. Joining are sweeter accents of butterscotch and honey. As the glass sits some fruity aromas develop as well with canned apricots and peaches, a few raisins and a hint of gooseberry jam bringing more sweetness to the nose …”
Please enjoy the review which includes a few nice cocktail recipes for your enjoyment, the Icy Breeze, and a nice Rye and Soda!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Icy Breeze, Last Mountain Distillery, Rye and Soda, Rye Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 21, 2014
The Alabazam is an old cocktail recipe usually credited to Leo Engels, an American bartender (working in London) who published the recipe in 1878 (recipe number 192 by the way) in his cocktail book, American and Other Drinks (grab yourself a copy because this is not the only gem in the book). His recipe bears a resemblance to the modern Sidecar, but with one significant difference, Mr. Engels used Angostura Bitters in the recipe (with the lemon juice and orange Curacao), lots of Angostura Bitters!
I have seen a few modern versions of the recipe, usually with the bitters toned down, and the teaspoon of sugar replaced with a teaspoon of simple syrup. However, I recommend the original construction, as well as the use of a robust brandy which will stand up to the bitters. After a bit of experimentation I found Miguel Torres 20 Hors d’âge works extremely well. (see review for Miguel Torres 20 Hors d’âge here)
Leo Engels recipe can be summarized as follows:
Half a wine glass of brandy (about 1 3/4 oz)
2 teaspoons Orange Curacao
1 teaspoon Angostura bitters
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Shake well over fine (crushed ) ice
Strain into a wine glass
The Miguel Torres 20 Hors d’âge Brandy, with its strong oak flavour running throughout, works very well with the heavy dose of bitters in the Alabazam. I also used Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao (see review here) to obtain as close to an original 1878 Curacao flavour as possible. When you try to duplicate the recipe please, do not skimp on the sugar, as the lemon juice and bitters are unforgiving if not balanced by the appropriate amount of sweetness.
Miguel Torres 20 Hors d’âge, is a double distilled brandy made by the Torres family (or bodega) who have been intrinsically linked to the wine making region of Spain known as the Penedès for over three centuries. Their brandy is produced from selected wines of the Parellada (a traditional Catalan white varietal) and Ugni Blanc (also known as Trebbiano in Italy) grape varieties. After distillation of the wine in copper pot stills, a careful selection process is undertaken to choose the most positive aromatic fractions, and these are aged in french Limousin oak barrels.
Posted in Brandy and Cognac, Brandy Review, Cocktails & Recipes | Tagged: Brandy, Brandy Review, Cocktails, Dry Curacao, Miguel Torres 20 Hors d’âge | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 20, 2014
The Auchentoshan Distillery is somewhat of an anomaly amongst Scottish Distillers. It is the only Scottish Distillery that triple distills their entire core range of whisky on three separate stills. Triple distillation is common amongst Irish distillers, but very uncommon for a distillery producing Single Malt Whisky. The result of this triple distillation is a more laid back easy-going style of whisky which perhaps carries more floral elements through to the new make spirit; but which also may be a little less robust in character than traditional single malts. As such, the Auchentoshan Whisky is considered by some to be a more approachable single malt whisky with a wider range of appeal than a heavier malt whisky.
The Auchentoshan 11 Year Old Bordeaux Cask Single Malt Whisky is part of the Auchentoshan Distillery’s Freedom of Expressions Limited Edition Range of Single Malts. The whisky is (of course) a triple distilled Single Malt which has been produced from aged stocks which were barreled in French Oak (Bordeaux Casks) for 11 years and bottled at 58 % alcohol by volume.
You may read my full review here:
“… As the glass breathes I begin to detect hints of the Bordeaux wine finish. Some Turkish Delight candy bar and red licorice seem to have woven themselves into the breezes with both willow bushes and fresh-cut poplar wood also finding their way into my consciousness. Hints of vanilla, and some light nutty almond aromas round out the nose which is pleasant …”
For your enjoyment I have included a nice tall Scotch Whisky cocktail (Black Donald) which tastes great when mixed with the high-octane goodness of the Auchentoshan 1999 Bordeaux Cask.
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Auchentoshan, Black Donald, Bordeaux Cask, Cocktails, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off