Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 6, 2014
Soyombo Super Premium Mongolian Vodka is a spirit which celebrates the mystical history of the Mongolian people. The vodka which bears the symbol of Soyombo is (according to the website information I found) produced at the original distillery site of Bogd Khan’s Winter Palace (Bogd Khan was the last Mongolian Emperor). This site is located in Ulaanbaatar, which is the capital city of Mongolia. The Soyombo symbol is the first character of the original Mongolian Soyombo script which was developed (according to legend) by Undur Geghen Zanabazar, the First Resplendent Saint and Bogd Khan of Mongolia. According to the legend, Zanabazar had a vision of symbolic signs drifting amongst the clouds in the eternal blue skies of Mongolia. From these heavenly signs he created the Soyombo script. The Soyombo has since become a national symbol of Mongolia, and is found on both the Flag of Mongolia, and upon the national Coat of Arms.
The Soyombo Vodka is produced from what the website calls ‘high quality Alpha Grade spirit’. (Alpha Grade spirit apparently must be a 100 % wheat spirit.) To produce the Soyombo Vodka this Alpha grade spirit is distilled six times, and then it is filtered for five days over a bed of quartz, diamonds, and silver. The water source for the vodka is the icy glaciers atop the Sacred Bogd Khan Mountains. The melted glacier water flows down the Sacred Mountains feeding the underground aquifers from which the water for the Soyombo Vodka is drawn.
Lemon Ginger Martini
I was provided with a sample bottle from the local importers of the spirit, River Valley Beverage. I sampled the spirit after chilling it in my freezer until it had reach a temperature of just above zero degrees Celsius. I also allowed the Soyombo Vodka to warm up in my glass during the sampling session to investigate how the spirit reacted to warmer serving temperatures.
You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt link:
“… When I brought the Soyombo vodka to my nose, I noticed a light but firm impression of fresh-baked bread crust drifting in the breezes above my glass complete with the light aroma of caramelized sugars, toasted marshmallow and ever so light impressions of milk chocolate. (Grab some fresh bread and break the crust under your nose, and you will know what I mean.) I also noticed wisps of a light lemony citrus scent in the breezes above my shot-glass and a hint of cream of wheat porridge …”
I constructed two very nice cocktails with the Soyombo Super Premium Vodka, the Lemon Ginger Martini, and the Grapefruit Blush.
Enjoy the review and of course enjoy my new cocktail recipes!
Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails, Grapefruit Blush, Lemon Ginger Martini, Soyombo, Super Premium Vodka, Vodka, Vodka Review | 3 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 3, 2014
Kavalan Whisky is produced by the King Car Group at the newly built Kavalan Distillery at Yi-Lan, Taiwan. The distillery features imported copper pot stills from Scotland and clean water sourced from the Central Mountain and Snowy Mountain Ranges of Ylan to produce a unique Taiwanese whisky. The first expression of their Concertmaster series is a Port Cask finish single malt whisky which was of course finished in a variety of Port Wine casks from Portugal (which include Ruby, Tawny, and Vintage Port). The Whisky does not carry an age statement; but because we know that the distillery opened in 2008, and the fist Concertmaster whisky began to appear in Canada in 2013; we can assume the Whisky is no older than 5 years and may be as young as three years old.
The Crushed Polly
You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt link:
“… The initial breezes above the glass brought forward a pleasant fruit-like scent of sweet red cherries within a backdrop of clean oak spice. There was a sweetness in the air similar to the aroma of cotton candy and marshmallows, and as the sweetness combined with the cherry like fruitiness I was reminded of Turkish Delight and red licorice …”
I found the whisky was suited very well for tall cocktails, and as a result I included a few recipe suggestions in the review including my own mixed drink, the Crushed Polly.
Posted in Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Cocktails, Concertmaster, Crushed Polly, Kavalan, King Car, Single Malt Whisky, Taiwan, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 30, 2014
Amarula is a relatively new cream liqueur from South Africa which has recently been made available in my market. This is a cream based alcohol liqueur produced from cream (of course), the fruit of the African Marula Tree (also known as the Elephant Tree), and sugar. It is bottled at 17% alcohol by volume, and occupies the same market niche as Bailey’s Irish Cream and Kahlua.
I have received several mini (50 ml) bottles of Amarula over the past two years (usually attached as a free mini sampler to the neck of a larger 750 ml spirit). I usually enjoy the free sampler in my morning coffee or drizzled over ice-cream, but with my most recent mini bottle, I decided to write a review.
The product is imported into Alberta by PMA (Peter Mielzynski Agencies Ltd.), and is available in a 375 ml, as well as 1000 ml and 1750 ml configurations.
You may read the full review by clicking on the following excerpt;
“… I detect some mild chocolate and coffee aromas with hints of butterscotch, vanilla, and a light nuttiness akin to hazelnut. Within these familiar cream liqueur scents is a zesty citrus component which seems to bring a little life to the glass elevating the familiar into something exotic …”
Please enjoy my review which concludes with a decadent rum and Amarula based cocktail which I call the Plush Martini.
Have a great Sunday everyone!
Posted in Cream Liqueur, Liqueur, Liqueur Review | Tagged: Amarula, Cocktails, Cream Liqueur, Liqueur, Liqueur Review, Plush Martini | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 27, 2014
Baker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is part of Jim Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. This collection is composed of Booker’s, Baker’s and the previously reviewed Knob Creek,and Basil Hayden’s. The whiskey collection is considered by Jim Beam Distillers to be a selection of ‘ultra-premium’ bourbon whiskeys created to establish a high-end category for bourbon, and thus to appeal to the serious whiskey aficionado.
The Baker’s Bourbon was named for Baker Beam, who was the grand-nephew of James Beauregard Beam (Jim Beam). It is bottled at 107 proof (53.5% alcohol by volume) and produced from bourbon whisky which was aged for a minimum of 7 years. Interestingly, the mash for this spirit was apparently fermented utilizing a special strain of ‘jug yeast’ that has been in the Beam family for over 60 years.
Wisconsin Old Fashioned (Whiskey)
Recently I was given a bottle of Baker’s by the Alberta Beam Global Team for the purpose of a review upon my website, and you may read that review by clicking on the following excerpt link:
“… The spiciness is off the charts no doubt aided by the 53.5% alcohol by volume bottling strength of the Baker’s Whisky. Despite the full barrel of spice (and despite the obvious push of alcohol) the spirit is remarkable easy to sip. This is because all that spice is accompanied by an equally forceful explosion of flavour and sweetness …”
A recipe which has become fashionable to write about on the cocktail blogs lately is the Wisconsin Old Fashioned, which mixes a nice oaky brandy with an orange slice, brandied cherries, and Angostura Bitters. It is really quite delicious. When I was tasting the Baker’s Bourbon, I could not help but think to myself how well this particular spirit would work using the Wisconsin method. At the conclusion of my review you will find my recipe for the Wisconsin Old Fashioned modified slightly to accommodate the Baker’s Bourbon rather than a fine Brandy.
Take care everyone, and please enjoy Responsibly!
Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: Baker's Bourbon, Bourbon, Cocktails, Jim Beam Small Batch, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey, Wisconsin Old Fashioned | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 23, 2014
According to the El Dorado Website, the El Dorado 8 Year old Cask Aged Rum is blended from selected stocks of rum which included rum from no less than four of DDL’s traditional Heritage Stills including both the original Wooden Coffey Still which was rescued from the Enmore Estate and the Double Wooden Pot Still which was rescued from the Port Mourant Estate. Each of these stills is well over 200 years old and they represent the last of their kind operating in the world today. The use of these ancient stills ensures that the Demerara Rum produced at DDL’s Diamond Distillery is unlike anything produced anywhere else in the world. (For more information on the unique Heritage Stills in operation at the Diamond distillery you may read my first hand account here (Diamond Distillery Tour).
The new 8 Year Old Rum from El Dorado Rum was recently released in Ontario, Canada and I was provided a sample bottle by the distributor Woodman Wines and Spirits.
Rum Manhattan with El Dorado 8 Year Old Rum
You may read my full review of the El Dorado 8 Year Old Cask Aged Rum by clicking on the following excerpt link:
“… The rum carries sweet flavours of butterscotch, toffee, and dark brown sugar as well the bitterness of dark caramel treacle. Within the sweet and the bitter, I taste luscious baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg) and firm impressions of roasted walnuts and pecans. Marmalade, a ribbon of corn whisky, impressions of cocoa, a touch of leather and brine, and a firm imprint of tobacco …”
As I was tasting this El Dorado Rum, it occurred to me that the spirit would work very well in a Rob Roy cocktail. Of course, once I substituted the Scotch in the cocktail for the 8 Year Old Rum, what I had really created was a Rum Manhattan which I decided would serve very well as the suggested cocktail featured at the end of the review.
Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails, Dark Rum, Demerara Distillers Limited, El Dorado Rum, Rum, Rum Manhattan, Rum Review | 1 Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 20, 2014
About a year and a half ago I met Matteo Luxardo, who is the Export Manager of Luxardo S.P.A. and part of that sixth generation who are still active in the ownership and management of the distilling company which bears their name. We met at a small gathering sponsored by Lifford Wines who bring a wide range of the classic Italian liqueurs produced by Luxardo into the Alberta Market. A few of these products include, Amaretto, Grappa, Sambuca, Limencello, and of course Luxardo Maraschino.
The unique flavour of Maraschino Originale is a product of the fruit of the Marasca cherry (exclusively cultivated in orchards owned by Luxardo). Matteo explained to those of us at the gathering that Luxardo Maraschino (Originale) is one of the very few liqueurs in the world which is produced through distillation.
Bluebird of Happiness
You may read my full review of the Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur by clicking on the following excerpt (link):
“… The air above the glass is very sweet with the somewhat penetrating scent of the Marasca cherry. This scent resembles Turkish Delight with a lightly spicy twist. There is also a bit of an earthy almond-like scent underlying that cherry aroma which seems to bear a resemblance to the aroma crushed apple seeds …”
Of course my review includes a nice cocktail, the Bluebird of Happiness, which was inspired by the original Bluebird cocktail credited to W.J. Tarling.
Enjoy the review everyone, and let us hope the snow that is falling on this the first day of spring is but a blip in the weather, and the Bluebird of happiness will be singing her song of spring very soon!
Posted in Liqueur, Liqueur Review | Tagged: Bluebird of Happiness, Cocktails, Liqueur, Luxardo, Maraschino, Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 17, 2014
Today is the day of St. Patrick, and in many places throughout the world, this is a day to revel in the Irish heritage which we either share by birth, or (on St. Patrick’s Day at least) we share by spirit. Some of us will wear green clothing; some of us will attend parades; and some of us will even drink green beer in what has become more of a secular holiday which celebrates Irish culture, than a religious holiday which celebrates the Patron Saint after which the day was first named.
And in fact, celebrating Irish culture is not a bad thing; it was after all the Irish who first distilled ‘uisce beatha‘, which translates from Irish into English as ‘the water of life‘. I could go into a long and detailed etymology, but suffice it to say that ‘uisce beatha’ is probably very close to the original form of the word which would later become ‘whiskey’. My blog is full of reviews of this wonderful spirit; but as I have admitted in the past, it is sorely lacking in content dedicated to the Irish form of the spirit.
Today, I will go a small way towards correcting this imbalance by reviewing a whiskey from the Emerald Isle which embodies the character and the class of spirits we call Irish Whiskey. And, one which bears a rather obscure link to St. Patrick’s Day.
Like St. Patrick, who was born (in 385 A.D.) of Scottish parentage, but found his calling (and fame) in Ireland where the holiday of St. Patrick first bore his name, so to John Jameson was also born a Scotsman (in 1740 A.D.), and he also found his calling (and established his fame) in Ireland with the Whiskey Company that still bears his name, Jameson Irish Whiskey.
And so in honour of the celebration of the Day of St. Patrick, I have chosen to review the flagship Whiskey of Jameson brand, Jameson Irish Whiskey. You may read my full review here:
“… The initial aroma in the breezes above glass represents a soft punky sweet butterscotch interlaced with clean oak spices. As the glass breathes, I notice a light woodiness of freshly sanded oak in the background with the wood spices beginning to resemble ginger, cilantro, cardamom, and freshly harvested grain. There is also a mild punky smell within the whiskey which is obviously a reflection of the Irish pot still influence …”
As is my custom, I have included a nice recipe suggestion as part of my review, a classy cocktail I have named, the Emerald Crusta.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day Everyone!
Posted in Irish Whskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Cocktails, Emeral Crusta, Irish Whisky, Jameson, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 14, 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 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 it sells almost exclusively into Asia.) The Tanduay invasion was launched with two premium rums (a Silver, and a Gold). The Silver Rum (reviewed here) is a blending of rums which have been aged up to 5 years and filtered to be a pale straw coloured spirit meant for mixing high-end cocktails. The Gold Rum is a blending of rums aged up to 7 years and is meant to be a spirit to be enjoyed neat or over ice, although the makers of the rum do not shy away from recommending their Gold Rum for quality cocktails as well.
Here is a link to my full review of the Tanduay Gold Asian Rum:
” … I sense a light honeyed brown sugar and toffee aroma rising from the glass with spicy accents that are enticing. The spiciness carries impressions of ginger, cardamom, vanilla, clean oak and orange peel. There is also a bit of an exotic flair within this spice hinting that the rum may have a few surprises for me when I taste it …”
My review includes a classic nineteenth century cocktail recipe which tastes very nice indeed with the Tanduay Gold Rum. That recipe, the Rum Crusta is based upon a 1878 variation of the Brandy Crusta developed by Leo Engels who almost certainly used Joseph Santini’s 1840 Brandy Crusta recipe as his inspiration (see the Leo Engels Brandy Crusta recipe and explanation here).
Cheers everybody, and let us hope that the recent warmer weather is a harbinger of springtime!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Brandy Crusta, Cocktails, Dark Rum, Rum, Rum Crusta, Rum Review, Tanduay Gold, Tanduay Holdings | Comments Off
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