Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 17, 2013
Caorunn Gin is rather unusual in that it not only uses six botanicals which are seen as traditional in the gin trade; but it also contains five non traditional Celtic botanicals which are found growing in the hills which surround the Balmenach Distillery where the gin produceded by Gin Master, Simon Buley is crafted. According to the Caorunn Gin website, the six traditional botanicals are, juniper berries, coriander seed, orange peel, lemon peel, angelica root, and cassia bark. The non traditional Celtic ingredients are rowan berries, heather, bog myrtle, dandelion, and coul blush apple.
The gin is hand-made in small batches (about 1,000 litres per batch), 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 contain the botanicals.
(Note: I was provided a sample bottle of Caorunn Gin by The Bacchus Group, who are responsible for its importation here in Alberta.)
You may click on the following excerpt to read my full review:
“… my initial impression was that this spirit seems to look and smell very much like a traditional London Dry Gin. The scent of juniper is foremost (as it should be) and citrus accents of lemon and orange peel fall nicely in behind. However, after the glass sits for a minute or two I begin to notice a sort of herbal spiciness in the air …”
I have included two excellent cocktail suggestions as part of the review, The Dandelion Martini, and The Grange Cocktail.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Balmenach Distillery, Caorunn, Cocktails and Recipes, Dandelion Martini, Gin, Gin Review, Grange Cocktail | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 7, 2013
Magellan Iris Flavoured Gin is a French spirit imported into North America by Crillon Importers Ltd. The gin is named to pay homage to Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer whose expeditions on behalf of King Charles I of Spain, led to the first circumnavigation of the globe.
Magellan’s travels were in search of a westward route to the Spice Islands (also known as the Maluka Islands of Indonesia). The key here of course is Magellan’s search for the Spice. Magellan’s Expedition around the world brought back three barrels of cloves (although Ferdinand Magellan died before the trip was completed), and apparently cloves are an important ingredient in the overall flavour profile of the Magellan Gin.
Of course there is much more than cloves in the botanical mixture of this blue gin. In all eleven botanicals are listed on the Magellan Gin website: cloves, Iris root and flower, juniper berries, cinnamon, cassia, orange peel, coriander, licorice, grains of paradise, cardamom, and nutmeg.
You may click on the following excerpt to read the full review:
“… The aroma from the glass is rather fascinating. I notice the floral character of the gin immediately. This must be the iris flower, although for me the scent very similar to hyacinth especially with its perfume-like intensity. Under that rich floral aroma, I can discern a light but firm juniper, a hint of lemon balsam, and the vague spiciness of cloves and cinnamon …”
Please enjoy the review which includes a new recipe variation called the Long Darby.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Cocktails and Recipes, Crillon Importers, Flavoured Gin, Gin, Gin Review, Iris, Magellan | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 10, 2013
Citadelle Gin has a history which stretches back to 1775 when King Louis XVI authorized two Frenchmen, Carpeau and Stival, to open a genievre distillery at the Citadelle in Dunkirk, which would serve as the Royal Distillery with an exclusive 20 year privilege. The Citadelle Distillery produced about 1000 litres of genievre per day which was predominantly shipped in small casks for sale in England, where gin was very popular.
Cognac Ferrand, recognized that in France, gin had become more of an industrial spirit with much of its original heritage and refinement lessened by time. They decided to create a handcrafted gin using small copper pots in the style and tradition of the Citadelle Distillery of old. Fortunately, records existed of the old gin making techniques at the Citadelle Distillery, and after several years of research Alexandre Gabriel was successful in distilling an old style handcrafted gin under the Citadelle name at the Cognac Ferrand facilities in Cognac, France.
Please click on the following excerpt to read the full review which contains a fantastic cocktail recommendation, The March Lion.
“… The initial scents from the glass reveal a fair amount of juniper with hints of the other botanicals reaching my nostrils. Over time, the lightly spicy scent of cardamom appears giving the glass a light effervescent character. The juniper and cardamom are then joined by floral accents (mainly lilac) and a light lemony citrus. There is much more … “
Please enjoy the review, and do try my new March Lion Cocktail.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Citadelle Gin, Cocktails, Cognac Ferrand, Gin, Gin Review, March Lion | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 13, 2013
Victoria Gin is hand crafted using a German copper pot wood-fired still. The company producing the spirit (Victoria Spirits) is located on Vancouver Island, British Colombia, and it is produced in a small batch process from a neutral grain spirit which has been enhanced with ten natural and wild-gathered botanicals. These botanicals include, juniper berry, coriander seed ,angelica, orris root, lemon and orange peel, star anise, cinnamon bark, rose petals and a secret ingredient which the company encourages you guess. Prior to distillation, these ingredients are blended with natural spring water and neutral grain spirit and allowed to steep overnight.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“”… Soft piny notes of juniper greet my nostrils beside some light scents of orange and lemon citrus. Mild scents of ginger rise into the breezes along with some light floral notes and a quiet but firm impression of licorice (Anise) …”
Here is a link to the full review:
I would like to thank Blue Note Wine & Spirits Inc. who provided my sample bottle for review.
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Canadian Gin, Gin, Gin Review, Victoria Gin | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 26, 2012
When I began to publish my Rum Howler Awards two years ago, I had no idea how quickly they would grow, nor how popular they would become. Although, these awards were originally meant to be a fun excuse for me to revisit my most favoured distilled spirits and share that re-visitation with you, my readers, from the beginning I tried my best to treat the process with respect. Apparently Industry respects my awards too. Last year I saw my Rum Howler Award Badge proudly displayed on company websites (see here), on bottle neck ringers (see here), and in the advertising campaigns (see here) of some of the winners. It is my belief that my Rum Howler Awards have become more than just a fun excuse to revisit my most favoured spirits, they have become important markers for both connoisseurs and for industry.
This Year I am going to begin presenting my awards by looking at the Rum Howler’s Year in Gin.
Here is a Link to the Awards Page:
Congratulations to all the Award Winners!
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: DrinkWire, Gin, Gin Review, Rum Howler Awards | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 14, 2012
Alexandre Gabriel (Cognac Ferrand)
Allow me to welcome Alexandre Gabriel, President and Owner, of Cognac Ferrand to my website.
Alexandre Gabriel was born in France, on a farm in southern Burgundy near the medieval town of Cluny, where his grandfather taught him how to make wine and distill spirits. He went to university in Lyon, and then in the U.S. as an exchange student, before returning to Paris to attend business school. More than 20 years ago, Alexandre came upon an ancient and almost defunct Cognac house. Through his passion and his vision, Alexandre Gabriel turned this small Cognac House into a specialized house of artisan spirits before the term was even coined. He re-built what is known today as Cognac Ferrand, in the heart of the Grande Champagne district of Cognac.
Mr. Gabriel believes in making spirits for people who enjoy the epicurean life and for the bartenders that make these epicurean libations possible.
I was given the opportunity to conduct an email interview with Alexandre Gabriel here on my website, and to my delight, Mr. Gabriel exceeded all of my expectations sharing his energy and passion for Craft Spirits. Mr. Gabriel shares how he “fell into a barrel of Cognac” when he was “only 2 years into drinking age by American standards”. He explains why craft spirits are so important to Cognac Ferrand, and whether or not he is he is leading the spirits world into the realms of madness.
We discuss not only Cognac, but also Gin, Vodka and Rum, and then Mr. Gabriel shares not only two of his favourite cocktails with me, but also (after a certain amount of wailing and gnashing of the teeth), his favourite or most treasured spirit which Alexandre would wish for if he were to be stranded on a deserted island…
Here is a link to the full interview:
Posted in Brandy and Cognac, Cocktails & Recipes, Extras, Gin, Interviews, Rum, Vodka | Tagged: Alexandre Gabriel, Cocktails and Recipes, Cognac, Cognac Ferrand, Gin, Interview, Rum, Vokda | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 30, 2012
Highwood Distillers is a Canadian distillery situated in the town of High River, Alberta, which lies just about 40 minutes due south of Calgary, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. I have visited the distillery and watched first hand as they turned the local wheat into whisky, vodka. and gin. Sahara Dry Gin is produced in the London Dry style. This spirit is produced from Canadian wheat and naturally sourced Rocky Mountain water. 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. I was provided with a sample bottle of this gin from the folks at Highwood Distillers (early in the summer) for the purpose of a review on my website.
Here is an excerpt from the resulting 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 …”
Here is a link to my full review:
I have also provided a very nice ‘cooler’ style cocktail to enjoy with the Sahara, one I call the Jumping Buffalo Cooler. Please enjoy my review and my suggested cocktail.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Canadian Gin, Cocktails and Recipes, Gin, Gin Review, Highwood Distillers, London Dry Gin, Sahara Dry Gin | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 30, 2012
I have been on a bit of a gin kick lately, and recently re-acquainted myself with Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin. The reunion went quite well, and I thought I would update my review here on the website. The result was some minor changes to the tasting notes and a very minor change in the score.
Bombay Sapphire Gin is distributed by Bacardi. It was launched in 1987, and draws its unusual name from a competition where several marketing agencies were asked to submit possible names and bottle designs for the new Gin. Bombay Sapphire, the chosen name, refers to the British Empire and India heritage for the spirit in India, as gin was an extremely popular spirit during the time of the British Raj. The Star of Bombay (featured on the label) is a famous Indian Sapphire now on display at the Smithsonian Institute.
Bombay Sapphire Gin is a London Dry Gin. This style of gin is produced through a double distillation of a neutral grain spirit with botanicals added during the second distillation. The botanicals in Bombay Sapphire Gin which are listed on the company website are as follows:
Spanish almonds and lemon peel, West African grains of paradise, Chinese licorice, juniper berries from Tuscany, orris root from Italy, angelica root from Saxony, coriander seed from Morocco, cassia bark from Indo China, and cubeb berries from Java.
It will be most interesting to see what this bevy of ingredients from around the world has imparted into the spirit.
“… The aroma from the glass is a clean aroma with a piny (juniper) citrus note. A well-defined floral character sits with the juniper, but it will take a better nose than I have to distinguish the effects of each of the ten botanicals used to produce the gin. What i smell is a hint of lilac and mint. I also seem to catch an aroma reminiscent of sweet grass, and a vague humus like scent in the glass which is not unappealing.… “
You may read my full review here
This is such a nice gin that instead of one recipe, I found myself recommending two, the traditional Dry Gin Martini, and my recipe, Mean Streets.
Please enjoy the review, and do try a few cocktails, Cheers!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Bombay Sapphire, Cocktails and Recipes, Gin, Gin Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 16, 2012
Tanqueray Gin was originally produced by Charles Tanqueray in London, England in 1830 at the Bloomsbury Distillery. The distillery prospered through the nineteenth century; but after being in production for over one hundred years, it was almost destroyed in the bombing raids of World War II by the German air force. One still survived, and this still affectionately called “Old Tom” was moved to the new facilities in Cameron Scotland where Tanqueray Gin is currently produced.
Tanqueray No. 10, is produced through a quadruple distillation process with the botanicals infused prior to the fourth distillation. Rather than using only the citrus peel for their infusion, Tanqueray 10 is instead made with the whole fruit. Thus entire grapefruits, oranges and limes are used along with juniper, angelica, coriander, licorice and chamomile in the production of the No. 10 Gin. It is named for the “Tiny Ten” still, from which all of the No. 10 Gin is distilled, and is considered the most premium gin in the Tanqueray line up.
I recently revisited Tanqueray No. 10 and here is an excerpt from my new review:
“… The initial nose is light juniper and alpine forest. It reminds me of what I sense when I go camping in the forests of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. There are some sweet floral notes which are hard to identify (probably some chamomile in there); but the floral character combines well with the citrus flavours of lime and grapefruit (especially the grapefruit). I also sense a light ribbon of orange liqueur and the subtlety of other mixed botanicals. Nosing this Tanqueray gin is relaxing and enjoyable, as everything seems well balanced with no sharp notes and no single element causing disharmony… “
You may read my full review here
This is such a nice gin that instead of one recipe, I found myself recommending three, the Key Lime Gimlet, the Key Lime Slushy, and one of my favourites, the Pink Rocket.
Please enjoy the review, and do try a few cocktails, Cheers!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Cocktails and Recipes, Gin, Gin Review, Tanqueray Gin | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 6, 2012
London No. 1 Original Blue Gin is a product of Gonzalas Byass who are a Spanish wine/cellars company which also produces a variety of distilled spirits including brandy, anisette, botanical vodka and of course gin. Their gin is triple distilled (from English grain in London, England) on a traditional pot still in small batches by Master Distiller, Charles Maxwell. According to the London No. 1 website the gin is distilled with 12 key botanicals which include: Juniper from Croatia; Angelica root and Savory from France; Coriander from Morocco; Cassia bark from China, Liquorice from Turkey, Cinnamon from Ceylon, Almond from Greece; and Lemon peel, Orange peel, Lily root and Bergamot from Italy.
The product was first test marketed in Spain, and is now being launched in limited quantities internationally. It is bottled at 47 % alcohol by volume ensuring a more concentrated flavour than more traditional distilled spirits which are bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
I was given a bottle for review by Woodman Wines and Spirits Inc. who have informed me that this product is now available in limited quantities in Ontario, Canada.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“… The aroma from the glass is intensely floral. It has a sharp quality which similar to freshly bloomed lilacs. The more familiar gin aromas of earthy juniper, spicy cardamom, lemon peel and orange citrus lie somewhat behind that floral intensity …”
You may read my full review here:
I included a classic cocktail recipe, The Pegu Club Cocktail, with this review. Please enjoy the review and of course my included recipe.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Blue Gin, Cocktails and Recipes, English Gin, Gin, Gin Review, London No. 1 Gin | Comments Off