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Posts Tagged ‘Highwood’

Come Hell or High River!

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 10, 2013

Highwood DistilleryOn Thursday, June 20th, in the middle of the day (about noon) a massive flash flood hit the town of High River, in Southern Alberta. Initial estimates are that this flood was an unprecedented event with levels of water not seen in the documented history of the town. This was a true tragedy as town residents literally had to flee to the roof tops of their houses to await rescue by boat and helicopter. There were even reports of local farm equipment (tractors and combines) driving in to rescue stranded people from the roofs of their homes.

One particular business in High River that I have a strong connection to is Highwood Distillers. I have visited the distillery and wrote about it numerous times (see The Highwood Distillery Tour). The folks who work for Highwood impressed me with their blue-collar work ethic and the clean honest taste of their brand of Canadian Whisky.

Alas, the distillery lies near the heart of the downtown directly in front of the small creek that on that day instantly became a giant river. The Highwood Distillery was unfortunately directly in the path of the flash flood. The folks working in the distillery that day report that they had only 6 minutes to find safety. The safety they found was upon the roof tops of their cars, and they were amongst those who had to be rescued by boat and helicopter, (and yes I have a report that some of the staff were rescued by combines).

SAM_0405 CS 25

Rum Howler Best Overall Whisky for 2012

Indications are that the distillery was a mess. All of the bottled goods inventory had to be destroyed; much of the distilling and bottling equipment has been damaged; and inventories of barreled whisky have almost certainly been compromised.

But here is the thing, the folks at Highwood are resilient. That small-town blue-collar work ethic which I admired during my visit to the distillery is serving the town well. The process of cleaning up and rebuilding has begun, and according to the Highwood Distillers website they are working hard and hope to be able to recommence business in a short two months!

I for one, am absolutely certain that Highwood Distillers will be back and that they will continue the path that they were upon making great whisky (see review for Century Reserve (Lot 1525) Canadian Rye Whisky) after great whisky (see review for Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky) not to mention their fantastic Vodka (Pristina) and their Rum Howler Award winning gin (Sahara Dry Gin).

Note: I also declared Highwood’s Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky the Best in the World when I published my 2012 Rum Howler Awards for Whisky! Trust me, these folks make great whisky!

I urge all of you who have come love Highwood’s clean honest family of spirits to have patience, if your favourite brand becomes unavailable for a time. They will rebuild, and they will continue to impact the landscape of Canadian Whisky in a positive manner when they are back. Highwood has recently become a shooting star of sorts amongst Canadian Distillers, and I am sure that their star will continue to shine, Come Hell or High River!

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(Note: I have a bit of experience with floods (although not nearly on the scale as this). On July 4rth, 2004, a massive storm centered itself above West Edmonton Mall (where my retail business is located) and compromised the drainage system of the second floor parking lot directly above my Sports Memorabilia Store). I was working alone at the time, and I can remember the ceiling tile above me breaking and water pouring in from seemingly everywhere. I rushed to get my stock out to safety, but unfortunately, there was no safety. My store, my stock, indeed my entire business was a 100 % write-off. As horrible as my experience nine years ago was, the experience for the people of High River was and is much worse. Today, a full three weeks after the event, many residents still have not been allowed to go back to their homes as the water is still impacting the area such that some neighbourhoods have been deemed too dangerous to re-enter. My heart goes out to the people of High River, and I wish all of them the best that God can offer in a time such as this. May other Canadians and Albertans be generous in their support of your community, and may your insurance claims all be redeemed at full value.)

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Extras, Howls, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Centennial Honey Canadian Rye Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 29, 2013

Centennial HoneyHighwood Distillers is a Canadian spirits manufacturer in the town of High River, Alberta, which is situated 40 minutes south of Calgary, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. A few years ago, I visited this distillery, and watched first hand as they turned the local prairie grains into whisky, vodka. and gin. They make their spirits one batch at a time in a family style atmosphere which could not help but make me a fan. Recently I received a sample of their Centennial Honey Canadian Rye Whisky. The spirit represents a fusion of Highwood’s 10 Year old Centennial Rye Whisky with the decadent sweetness of natural honey. No artificial flavours or additives (except caramel for colour) have been used in the production of this whisky liqueur which is bottled at 35 % alcohol by volume.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“… The theme of light and appealing continues with a flavoured whisky which is both smooth and delicious. I was fearful that the honey flavor (which might have been too intense) would overpower the subtle nuances of the Centennial Rye Whisky. However, I am pleased to report that although the flavour of the natural honey is obvious, the flavour of good old Canadian rye whisky also shines through…”

You may read my full review which contains my new recipe, Cool Honey, here:

Review: Centennial Honey Canadian Rye Whisky

Please Enjoy the review!

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Flavoured Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Northern Lights Eggnog

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 15, 2012

Northern Lights Eggnog is a rum based premix from Highwood Distillers. Highwood produced 500 cases for the Western Canadian market last Christmas, and I was given a sample bottle by the distillery to sample at my leisure (and to provide feedback to the distillery). The test product must have done well as this year Highwood has reintroduced the Northern Lights Eggnog for the festive season.

I have been told by the distillery that Northern Lights Eggnog is produced with real rum from the distillery (their Highwood Brand) and uses (as much as possible) authentic natural ingredients. I admit I was very curious and I thought it would be fun to do an ‘official’ review here on the website.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…I am quite pleased by what I see after I pour myself a little of the premixed eggnog into my glass. This looks rich and creamy in the glass and the ‘eggnog’ aroma has a nice firm imprint of rum and a nice mild spiciness. The vanilla is obvious and I sense hints of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, but, none of the spices seem overpowering or out of balance. This is going to be an easy-going eggnog as far as spiciness is concerned and one in which the rum is allowed to flourish in the mix….”

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Northern Lights Eggnog

Please enjoy the review and the festive season!

Posted in Cream Liqueur, Liqueur, Premix, Rum | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Wild Cinnamon Whisky Liqueur

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 5, 2012

Highwood Distillers is a Canadian spirits manufacturer in the town of High River, Alberta, which is situated 40 minutes south of Calgary, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Recently, I visited this distillery, and watched first hand as they turned the local prairie grains into whisky, vodka. and gin. They make their spirits one batch at a time in a family style atmosphere which could not help but make me a fan.

Recently I received a sample of their Wild Cinnamon Whisky Liqueur. The spirit represents a fusion of Canadian Whisky and aromatic cinnamon. No artificial flavours or additives (except caramel for colour) have been used in the production of this whisky liqueur which is bottled at 36 % alcohol by volume.

Here is an excerpt from my resulting review:

“… When I pour the liquid from the bottle into my glass and bring it to my nose, what I smell first and foremost is cinnamon. In fact the aroma is very reminiscent of those little red cinnamon heart candies which are all the rage on Valentines Day. Under this obvious cinnamon scent are some indications of whisky, but these whisky accents are only that, accents upon a strong cinnamon presence… “

Here is a link to the full review:

Review: Wild Cinnamon Whisky Liqueur

Enjoy the review and my wonderful cocktail that follows, the Buzz Saw.

Cheers Everyone!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Flavoured Whisky, Liqueur, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review, Whisky Liqueur | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Introducing White Owl Spiced Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 18, 2011

The guys at Highwood Distillery are at it again. In 2010 they broke all the rules, (and a few sales records too) when they introduced their premium aged White Owl Whisky (a clear Canadian Whisky which is aged up to 10 years). To say this product was s success is a vast understatement, as the only problem that surfaced with respect to the White Owl Whisky was that Highwood could not make it fast enough to satisfy the demand across Canada.

As I said, they are at it again. Highwood has just introduced White Owl Spiced Whisky. While other distillers are producing young brown whisky and using the spice to smooth out the flavour. Highwood is taking the other road, using a well aged clear whisky, and then using the spice to add a little depth and polish to an already smooth spirit.

I was sent a sample bottle of this new whisky, and here is an excerpt from my review:

“…I really like what I am sensing on the nose, and during one of my tasting sessions when I had invited my friend Lucasz to join me I discovered I was not the only one who really liked it. We both sat in our chairs for a good ten minutes just enjoying the subtle soft aroma of the spiced whisky smiling and exchanging those knowing glances of anticipation as we both relished the scents above our glasses…”

Here is a link to the full review:

Review: White Owl Spiced Whisky

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Flavoured Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Northern Lights Eggnog

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 17, 2011

Northern Lights Eggnog is a new rum based premix from Highwood Distillers. Highwood produced 500 cases for the Western Canadian market this Christmas, and I was given a sample bottle by the distillery to sample at my leisure (and to provide feedback to the distillery).

I have been told by the distillery that Northern Lights Eggnog is produced with real rum from the distillery (their Highwood Brand) and uses (as much as possible) authentic natural ingredients. I admit I was very curious and I thought it would be fun to do an ‘official’ review here on the website.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…I am quite pleased by what I see after I pour myself a little of the premixed eggnog into my glass. This looks rich and creamy in the glass and the ‘eggnog’ aroma has a nice firm imprint of rum and a nice mild spiciness. The vanilla is obvious and I sense hints of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, but, none of the spices seem overpowering or out of balance. This is going to be an easy-going eggnog as far as spiciness is concerned and one in which the rum is allowed to flourish in the mix….”

Here is a link to my full review and my suggesting serving, Northern Lights Eggnog Supreme:

Review: Northern Lights Eggnog

Please enjoy the review and the festive season!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Cream Liqueur, Extras, Liqueur, Liqueur Review, Premix, Rum | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off

Introducing Ceili’s Cream

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 10, 2011

Last week I reviewed Ceili’s Cream Cappuccino and I found it to be a likable cream liqueur with a nice firm coffee flavour. This week I had a chance to taste another Cream Liqueur from Highwood Distilleries, the lightly flavoured Ceili’s Cream. Ceili (pronounced Kay-lee) is an Irish word for a sort of community get-together complete with music, song, dance, and of course, a little food and the drink. Thus Ceili’s Cream is produced to be a Cream Liqueur  suitable for such an occasion. It is a product of Highwood Distillers, and is a cream liqueur which melds authentic Canadian Whisky with a lightly flavoured cream. It is bottled at 15 % alcohol by volume, and occupies the same market niche as Bailey’s Irish Cream, and Kahlua.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…The flavour in the mouth is rather sweet with butterscotch and vanilla accented by hints of mocha. The rye influence is very noticeable, and I suspect that some persons will really like this while others would prefer the rye to be more buried in the cream and butterscotch. I also taste a little hint of spice…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Ceili’s Cream

Enjoy!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Cream Liqueur, Liqueur, Liqueur Review | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Ceili’s Cream Cappuccino

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 3, 2011

Ceili (pronounced Kay-lee) is an Irish word for a sort of community get-together complete with music, song, dance, and of course, a little food and the drink. Thus Ceili’s Cream Cappuccino is meant to be a Cream Liqueur suitable for such an occasion. It is a product of Highwood Distillers, and is a rich and creamy liqueur which combines Canadian Whisky with a richly flavoured coffee cream. It is bottled at 15 % alcohol by volume, and occupies the same market niche as Bailey’s Irish Cream, and Kahlua.

I was given a sample of the Ceili’s Cream Cappuccino by the Highwood Distillers Marketing team, and I am happy to share my review here on my website:

Here is an Excerpt from that review:

“…When poured, the Ceili’s Cappuccino is light brown in colour with a creamy appearance similar to that of melted ice-cream. The aroma of coffee is obvious, but we catch glimpses of other scents and smells as well. Some light cocoa, some butterscotch and a bit of vanilla rise into the breezes as well…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Ceili’s Cream Cappuccino

I have included a nice recipe which combines the Ceili’s Cream Cappuccino with White Owl Whisky and Coffee. I call this recipe, the Morning Owl.

Please enjoy the recipe and the review!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Cream Liqueur, Liqueur, Liqueur Review | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Pristina Espresso Flavoured Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 19, 2011

Four of us were gathered around my kitchen table sampling four flavoured Vodkas and two new rums on a lazy Sunday afternoon a couple months ago. The line up of flavoured Vodkas included Alchemia’s Chocolate Infused Vodka and their Ginger Flavoured Vodka. We also had the Birch Special from Nemiroff.  And the two rums were great, Panamonte’s Panama Red 108, and Atlantico’s Private Cask Rum. If you follow the links you can read all the reviews; but, I did save the last review from that lazy Sunday afternoon flight of spirits for the one which surprised me (in a most delightful way) the most. The Pristina Espresso Flavoured Vodka towered over the rest in that informal tasting session, and it is time for me to provide a review.

As a bit of background information, the Pristina Espresso Flavoured Vodka was introduced to the Western Canadian market in 2009 by Highwood Distillers. The product is produced from Highwood’s own quadruple distilled, triple filtered, wheat vodka (called Pristina Vodka), and flavoured with the extracted oils from real espresso coffee beans (and inverted sugar from Taber, Alberta). A final filtration is completed after the flavoring process is complete to ensure spirit clarity and removal of any suspended particles. The result of Highwood’s care and attention to detail is evident in the final spirit.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…I wish that I would have had a video camera rolling when I poured those first shot glasses of Pristina Espresso on that lazy Sunday afternoon with three of my friends. The reactions each of them had as they raised the glass to their noses to take a sniff was absolutely priceless. It was a look of shock, mingled with joy and excitement, and that look was the same on all of the faces (probably my face as well)…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Pristina Espresso Flavoured Vodka

Please enjoy the review and the suggested recipe that follows!

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

Review: Sweet Sippin Canadian Maple Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 11, 2010

As I promised a few weeks ago, I have completed my full review of a nice Maple Whisky Liqueur from Highwood Distillers.   To refresh your memory,  Sweet Sippin’ Maple Whisky is the fusion of three ingredients, Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky (a five-year old wheat based Canadian Whisky), 100% pure natural Amber Maple Syrup from Quebec, and Pure Natural Spring Water.  No additives are used in producing the Maple Whisky which probably accounts for the inviting flavour profile I encountered.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…In the glass, the liqueur has a very nice aroma. A gentle sweet maple rising up with just a hint of rye whisky. The maple is very dominant and effectively hides the more subtle nuances of the whisky.  If one allows the glass to sit caramel tones become apparent,  and very light alcohol tones begin to disperse as well….”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Sweet Sippin’ Canadian Maple Whisky

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Liqueur, Whisk(e)y Review, Whisky Liqueur | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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