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Posts Tagged ‘Flavoured Rum’

The 2011 Rum Howler Awards – Part 1 (Best Mixers)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 8, 2011

Last year I began my Rum Howler Awards which sought to recognize the most favoured spirits I had sipped and sampled over the past year. Today I am continuing what I hope will be an annual tradition with my Second Annual Rum Howler Awards! Of course, everyone should understand that I must introduce some provisos when I hand out these awards. I cannot judge any spirit which I have not tasted. I also cannot attempt a comparative final tasting when the previous sample I received for my review, was so small that I now have none left to compare. Fortunately for the most part, like last year, I was able to save enough of each product sample just for the purpose of these awards.

The Rum Howler Awards are meant to be a fun excuse for me to revisit my most favoured distilled spirits and share that re-visitation with you my readers. I am trying to choose the best of the best, but like all competitions of this nature, the awards are subjective and will reflect my personal preferences. The awards for today will concentrate on those spirits which I have found make particularly tasty cocktails. (I have added Gin, Tequila and Vodka categories to round out the awards to include all distilled spirits I review.)

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Best White Rum in a Daiquiri

And the Winner is:

Newfoundlander’s White Rum

Honorable mention to Mount Gay Eclipse Silver.

I consider the daiquiri to be the benchmark cocktail for white rums. In my side by side tastings it was basically a contest which pitted the clean crisp flavour of  Newfoundlander’s White Rum against the funky character of the Mount Gay Silver Eclipse. I found that the new White Rum from the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation was simply outstanding in the cocktail. (The Silver Eclipse from Mount Gay is very ‘funky’ and delicious as well.)

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Most Outstanding Gin in a Lime Fizz

And the winner is:

Tangueray No. 10

Honourable mention to No. 3 London Dry Gin, and Bombay Sapphire Gin.

A Gin Fizz (similar to a Tom Collins) is a simple cocktail which mixes gin with lemon or lime juice, simple sugar and soda. It is a very popular bar-drink/cocktail, and because I like ‘fizz’ style bar-drinks more than Martinis or the standard Gin and Tonic, I decided to use the Gin Fizz as my cocktail of choice for judging this spirit in a cocktail. It was the smoothness of the Tangueray No. 10, which won the day in my side by side comparisons.

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Most Outstanding Whisky in a Horses Neck

And the winner is:

Chinook Canadian Whisky

Honourable mention to Gibson’s Finest Sterling Canadian Whisky, and Pendleton (Let ‘er Buck) Canadian Whisky.

Anyone who has read my reviews realizes that I love to mix cocktails and bar drinks. I believe that the vast majority of whisky drinkers do the same even when they buy a premium bottle. The Horse’s Neck (Whisky and ginger-ale) is the standard cocktail that I like to drink with my whisky, and as such it is a very suitable bar drink to use for judging the mixability of each whisky. All three of the Nominees above are great whiskies for serving with ginger-ale; but my friends and I have been ‘hooked on the Chinook‘ ever since we first tried it several months ago.

It was no surprise to me that it won the day in my head to head taste-off.

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Most Outstanding Blanco Tequila in a Margarita

And the winner is:

PaQuí Tequila (Silvera)

Honourable mention to Cabo Wabo Blanco

Like the Daiquiri, the Margarita is another benchmark cocktail. Whenever I review Blanco Tequila, I mix a Margarita to begin to test the spirit’s cocktail range. I tasted four different spirits side by side in a Margarita taste-off this summer, and it came down to a choice between the Cabo Wabo and the PaQui. Both were excellent; but, by a small margin I preferred the Margarita made with PaQui Tequila. 

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The Best Vodka in a Cosmopolitan

Pristina Vodka

Honourable mention to Patriot Excellence Vodka, Nemiroff Lex Vodka, and Last Mountain Hand Crafted Vodka.

Of all the awards presented today, I think perhaps that his was the toughest to judge. I (and some of my friends) sampled the Cosmos several times attempting to rank the spirits; but we seemed to come up with a different winner each time. It was the Pristina Vodka however, which always seemed to rank first or second each time I did a taste comparison. You cannot go wrong with any of these Vodkas for mixing premium cocktails, but by the slimmest of margins, I prefer the Pristina.

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And there you have it, the first five Rum Howler Awards for 2011:

The Best White Rum in a Daiquiri, Newfoundlander’s White Rum.

The Best Gin in a Lime Fizz,Tangueray No. 10.

The Best Whisky in a Horses Neck, Chinook Canadian Whisky.

The Best Blanco Tequila in a Margarita, PaQuí Tequila (Silvera).

The Best Vodka in a Cosmopolitan, Pristina Vodka

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Each week until Christmas I shall reveal some more of the Awards… Stay Tuned!


Posted in Awards, Extras | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Big Black Dick Dark Caribbean Rum Update

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 26, 2011

My Big Black Dick Dark Caribbean Rum Review has aroused the curiosity of almost everyone who visits my website, and that’s why it has become my most ‘clicked on’ review of all time. I thought I should provide an update for my readers because the Big Black Dick Rum website referred to in my review shut down barely two weeks after my original review. (We hope my review was not responsible.)

However, I can now let everyone know, after much hard work on my part, that I have found the new website for Big Black Dick Rum.  The Rum is now featured on the Blackbeard’s Trading Co. Ltd. website. The new website is not quite as ‘colourful’ as the old website, but it still advertises that “stiff, yet tasty” flavour of the Big Black Dick Dark Caribbean Rum!

And for those few who never read my original review of this Dark Caribbean Rum, here is an excerpt:

“….I would have expected this rum to have more thrust and energy in the delivery, but instead it is rather limp and subdued as if waiting for you to arouse its charm. What is found instead of charm is a molasses and dark caramel laden rum. Prunes, raisins, and dates rest with a leathery tobacco deeper down adding a bitterness that sits beside the sweeter molasses. …”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Big Black Dick Dark Caribbean Rum

Posted in Dark Rums, Flavouerd Rums, Howls, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off

Review: Juan Santos Coffee Infused Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 3, 2011

Juan Santos (Coffee Infused Colombian Rum) is produced by Casa Santana, a rum company born in Columbia in 1994.  I posted my original review of this flavoured rum way back in October of 2009,  as one of the first ten reviews I opened this website with.

I thought that I should re-post this review such that my new readers could become aware of what I think is an outstanding flavoured rum, perhaps the best coffee favoured spirit I have come across.  Here is an excerpt from that original review:

“…The aroma from the glass is steeped with rich coffee. I love coffee, and I love the aroma. It smells rich and sweet, more like a liqueur than the type of rum spirit I am used to. The rum notes are there as well, complimented by the coffee but not drowned in it. ..”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Juan Santos Coffee Infused Rum

Please Enjoy this early review of mine!

Posted in Flavouerd Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Gosling’s Black Seal

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 26, 2011

This Tuesday I continue what I began last Tuesday, with my re-posting of old reviews which may have been missed by my more recent readers. Goslings Black Seal is a rather famous dark rum produced in Bermuda by Gosling’s Rum. The taste profile is quite unlike anything else I have tried and it has found a nice place on my rum shelf for when the nights turn Dark and Stormy. Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…First off I will say that the rum looks a little foreboding. I thought the bottle was darkly colored, but when I tipped the bottle I saw that instead it is the rum which is dark. Inky dark with red tones. Almost wicked looking…..”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Gosling’s Black Seal

Please Enjoy this early review of mine!

Posted in Dark Rums, Flavouerd Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Nemiroff Honey Pepper Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 3, 2011

Last week I shared my experiences with my first authentic Vodka tasting. I had received a few review samples, and in the interests of getting things right I invited my good friend Lukasz who was born in Poland and is familiar with the rituals of tasting Vodka to oversee my first tasting. He also advised me on how I should (and should not) approach this spirit. Based upon his instruction, and some research conducted on the internet (Vodkaphiles was a great reference site), I developed a method for reviewing Vodka which I hope respects the traditions of Vodka and allows me to write a meaningful review.

My first review is one of the spirits in the original set of samples I received from the Nemiroff Ukrainian Vodka Company. It is apparently their most popular Flavoured Vodka, the Nemiroff Honey Pepper Vodka, available in over 30 countries world-wide.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…the Vodka brings forth an aroma of freshly ground black pepper. Indeed, as the Vodka is sipped for the first time this pepper coats the palate and the spicy feeling builds rather than diminishes. Swallowing the first sip brings the pepper to the back of the throat, but no burn is apparent down the throat…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Nemiroff Honey Pepper Vodka

Please enjoy my first Vodka review. I have included recipes for a Canadian vodka cocktail which is particularly well suited to the unique flavours of Nemiroff Honey Pepper Vodka, The Caesar, and a cocktail of my creation, The Hot Shot.

And always remember that the aim of my reviews is to help you drink better spirits, not to help you drink more spirits, cheers!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Flavoured Vodka, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off

Diplomatico Hacienda Saruro

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 8, 2011

Hacienda Saruro is an aged rum liqueur produced by Distilerias Unidas, S.A. In case that particular distilling company doesn’t roll off your tongue easily, just think Diplomatico Rum.  That’s right, the people who brought us the wonderful Diplomatico Rums are responsible for Hacienda Saruro.

If you are wondering what an aged rum liqueur is supposed to be, then my next suggestion is that you think about Drambuie. Drambuie is the honey flavored scotch whisky liqueur made from aged malt whisky, heather, honey, and a blend of herbs and spices.  What Drambuie is to Scotch, Hacienda Saruro has the potential to be to Rum.

I was given my first sample of this elixir over a year ago at a special tasting I was invited to by the local Importers of Diplomatico Rum, PB Beverages. At the tasting, everyone who was there was bowled over by the flavour and richness of this unique spirit. It has taken a year to finally reach the market, but the product has finally arrived in Alberta, and so has my sample bottle from PB Beverages.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“… There is a nice mixture of honey sweetness and sharper oak tannin, as well as a bevy of dry fruit and fieldberries sitting underneath to support the flavour. I taste a nice ribbon of orange flavour as well as citrus zest riding in the currents. Vanilla, hazelnut and almonds ride in the currents as well although the nutty flavours are not assertive…”

You may read my full review here:

Review: Diplomatico Hacienda Saruro

As usual I have included a nice recipe after the review which I call the Kentucky Crocodile.

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Flavouerd Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Cruzan Black Strap Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 24, 2010

The Cruzan Rum Company is located on the Island of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. The Island of St. Croix is the largest of the US Virgin islands, being approximately 28 miles long and 7 miles wide. Along with the tourism industry and one of the largest oil refineries in the Caribbean, the St. Croix economy is dependent to a large extent upon the Rum Industry as a major engine of their economic growth.

All of the Cruzan Rums are produced using a modern five column distillation method which produces a light bodied rum, the quality of which can be tightly controlled by the five column distillation. The rum is then aged in once used American oak bourbon barrels. The Cruzan Black Strap Rum is a ‘navy style’ rum which is full of molasses flavour but which is perhaps a lighter bodied rum than one would find in a typical navy rum.

The sample bottle of Cruzan Blackstrap Rum for this review was given to me  by Simon Mooney, the local Brand Ambassador for Beam Global and is pictured below and to the right.  It is bottled at 40 per cent alcohol by volume and is, I believe, aged for two years in the aforementioned American Oak.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…Cruzan Black Strap Rum is an aromatic bombshell. When I opened my bottle  for the very first time, my nostrils were immediately aware of the rich molasses filled aroma in the air which contained strong accents of black coffee and dark licorice….”

You may read the entire review here:

Review: Cruzan Black Strap Rum

And remember, my aim is to help you drink better spirits… not more spirits!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dark Rums, Flavouerd Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Rum Howler Awards – The Rum Wrap Up

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 22, 2010

Today I am wrapping up the Rum portion of my Rum Howler Awards presenting what might be considered the ‘grand prize’ awards for best rums I have tasted over the past year.  I wanted to be completely fair about things so I decided that perhaps I should bring in some help and have the final tasting session done by panel rather than by myself alone.

All final tastings were done in a blind format. The panel members were not even tasting the same spirits at the same time. The rums were ranked  by each panel member and then the rankings were compared to choose the best spirit for each category. Categories based loosely on age and price were established as you can see below:

The Rum Howler Award for Best Rum (aged 5 years or less):
(A price point below $37.50 in my market (Alberta) was also required.)

Juan Santos 5 Year

Honourable mention, Bermudez Ron Anejo 1852, El Dorado 5, and Diplomático Añejo,

This was a very close race with each of the four finalists receiving at least one first place vote from each of the panel members. In the end, The Juan Santos was a clear winner receiving second place votes on every scorecard where it was not ranked number one.  For those who are not familiar with Juan Santos, it is a Colombian Rum produced by Casa Santana and is sold in some markets as Ron Santero 5 Anos. In all 9 rums were considered here and the four mentioned were the cream of the crop.

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Rum: (aged 10 years or less)
(The rums must also be priced below $50.00 per 750ml in my market of Alberta)

Bermudez Don Armando

Honourable mention to, Juan Santos 9 Year, Diplomatico Reserva, and Bacardi 8 Yr Old Rum

The Colombian rums from Casa Santana just keep surprising the panel. However a bigger surprise was the Bermudez Don Amando which scored highly on every panel members scorecards. A soft light bodied rum which seemed to win everyone over. The Diplomatico Reserva and the Bacardi 8 yr had strong advocates as well but, the scoring was not as consistently high.  In all eight rums were considered for this award.

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The Rum Howler Award for The Rum of the Year:
(Age and price irrelevant)

Cubaney 25 Solera

Honourable mention Appleton Estate Master Blender’s Legacy, Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva, and Juan Santos 21 Year.

What a finish for the Rum of the year Selection!  A completely surprising result as the unexpected Sample bottle sent to me just recently by Oliver and Oliver (via Pavol Kazimer of Drums) literally ran away with the title on every panel members scorecards.  On some cards it wasn’t even close.  The Appleton Master Blender’s Legacy showed much better than I anticipated, and South America had two rums in the final four.

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And here is a summary of this portion of the Rum Howler 2010 Rum Awards

The Rum Howler Award for The Rum of the Year, Cubaney 25 Solera

The Rum Howler Award for Best Rum (aged 10 years or less), Bermudez Don Armando

The Rum Howler Award for Best Rum (aged 5 years or less), Juan Santos 5 Year

All of my 2010 Rum Awards can be found on this summary page:

The Rum Howler Awards for Rum Excellence!

Posted in Dark Rums, Flavouerd Rums, Howls, Rum, Rum Reviews, White Rums | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Big Black Dick Dark Caribbean Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 19, 2010

My second review in honor of International “Talk Like a Pirate” Day is for a rum inspired by the exploits of the not so well-known pirate, “Big Black Dick”

According to the Big Black Dick Rum website,  Big Black Dick is believed to have been born  of ‘Royal’ African parentage.  You can pretty much guess at the story, Hometown Boy Prince captured by French slavers. Rejecting his African name they decide to call him ‘Richard Le Noir‘ , which means ‘Black Richard’. He gets tossed overboard by the slavers near an uncharted Caribbean island, where he miraculously swims ashore only to be promptly captured and becomes a slave working in the Cane fields.

After years of labour, he learns the secret of how to turn sugar cane into the Caribbean’s finest rum. Because he was such an honest hard-working guy, he is granted his freedom in the early 1700’s.  Of course, he immediately became a dashing pirate who wore incredible purple velvet, carried four pistols, and becomes known as Big Black Dick, the Pirate. Unlike most other pirates, he lives a long and hearty pirate life, and then he retires to a fine life making his famous Pirate Rum… and his famous Secret Seasonings,….and of course his famous Caribbean Hot Sauce.

I seriously doubt, much, if any of the story is true….but hey, it’s a heck of a story and serves as the backdrop for a very interesting marketing campaign.

You may read the full story of the rum in the bottle here:

Review: Big Black Dick Dark Caribbean Rum

Posted in Dark Rums, Flavouerd Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off

Review: Kōloa Kaua`i Dark Hawaiian Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 16, 2010

Photo courtesy DakineImages.com/Jo Evans (http://dakineimages.com)

It was at the Rum Renaissance in Miami Florida this past May that I was first introduced to Kōloa Kaua`i Hawaiian Rum. Although The Kōloa Rum Company had been ‘up and rumming’ for only a little more than a year, the Kōloa Kaua`i Dark Hawaiian Rum garnered one of prestigious gold medals at the Rumxp Tasting Competition which was in held conjunction with the event. This was a remarkable feat considering that the license to distill alcohol had been issued only one year previous, on April 1, 2009.

I decided I had better get to know this company a little better, and after I emailed my information request, I was contacted by Jeanne Toulon, Director of Public Relations, for the Kōloa Rum Company.  Jeanne was only too happy to help me out and soon deluged me with news clippings, a cool video and as much information as she could stuff into the large brown envelope that she sent my way.  (I was even given a small sample of the crystallized brown sugar from the Gay and Robinson Plantation which is the basic raw material from which all of the Kōloa Rum is distilled. )

Photo Courtesy Jeanne Toulon (Kōloa Rum Company)

Her generosity also extended to a sample bottle of each of the rums in the Kōloa range to review at my leisure here on my blog. Sadly I have come to the last of these sample bottles, happily it is a sample of the Kōloa Kaua`i Dark Hawaiian Rum, the Gold medal winner at Rum Renaissance.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…The rum is gentle and brings forward initial flavours of vanilla, dark molasses, and sweet caramel. A layer of hotter spices lies underneath and warms the mouth. In particular I seem to get a nice accent of cloves which brings about a certain depth of flavour…”

You may read the full review here:

Kōloa Kaua`i Dark Hawaiian Rum

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dark Rums, Flavouerd Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

 
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