Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 3, 2013
As the Highwood Distillery readies itself to recommence production at their facilities in High River, Alberta in the aftermath of the June 20th, 2013 flash flood. I thought it would be an appropriate time to revisit their flagship spirit, Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky. The Highwood Distillery is the only locally (Albertan) owned distillery in Canada. It sits in the heart of the High River community, producing more than 300,000 cases of bottled spirits per year. Although the bulk of their production goes towards Vodka, Flavoured Vodka, and Premixes, they also produce a sizable (and growing) amount of Canadian Whisky each year.
I consider the Highwood Canadian Whisky to be a unique product unlike anything else on the Canadian whisky landscape (I also find it very tasty). What is so original about the Highwood Whisky is the grain from which it is distilled. Highwood uses local Canadian prairie wheat for the distillation base of all of their Highwood branded whisky. This is because wheat alcohol, rather than barley or corn alcohol, has less heavy non-digestible components. This makes for an extremely smooth easy to drink whisky. After sampling most of the Highwood Whisky range, I have come to the conclusion that they are making some of the smoothest whisky in the world.
Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky is produced from prairie rye and wheat grain in a batch style distillation (the grains are distilled and aged separately). The whisky is aged for at least five years in charred American white oak barrels (without the addition of additives), and when it is mature, it is blended to produce that distinctive Canadian ‘rye’ flavour profile consistent with our Canadian Whisky. The whisky is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
You may read my review by clicking on the following excerpt (link):
“… The first thing I noticed about the Highwood Whisky as I sipped it was that it is a smooth, gentle, and mellow whisky which has the soft sensation in the mouth of a much older whisky. Honeycomb, ginger, wood spice, and a light dab of vanilla all support a wonderfully clean, dusty rye flavour. There is polish in evidence here …”
I included two classic Canadian Whisky cocktails at the end of the review, the Canadian Rye-Whisky Splash, and the Old Fashioned Cocktail.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Canadian Whisky Review, Cocktails, Highwood Whisky, Old Fashioned Cocktail, Whisky, Whisky Review, Whisky Splash | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 2, 2013
Canadian Club Whisky is the oldest (and arguably also the most influential) Canadian Whisky brand in the world. It is sold in over 150 countries world-wide, and sales in Canada are unmatched by any other whisky brand. The company has been granted numerous Royal Warrants from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II, and it has been reported that Canadian Club was the whisky of choice when Al Capone smuggled thousands of cases of Canadian Whisky into the USA during prohibition.
Recently there have been some changes in the Canadian Club family. One of the brands which has undergone a revamping is the Canadian Club Classic (12 Years Old) which has been replaced by the Canadian Club Classic Small Batch (also 12 Years Old). The newer version of the whisky has a new bottle (shown right) and the two words, “Small Batch” have been added to the label. My understanding is the whisky is now constructed from a smaller selection of aged whisky (oak barrels) in an effort to bring a fuller flavour and more smoothness to the blend.
The Alberta Beam Global team recently gave me a sample bottle to examine, and if you click the following excerpt you may read my latest review:
“… The initial breezes above the glass bring forward scents of caramel and oak which are melded nicely with dabs of light tobacco and spicy orange peel. As the glass breathes, I notice some rye spices and some sweet corn pushing though. The oak and tobacco scents have deepened bringing me impressions of fresh-cut cedar and honeycomb. The caramel and wood spice come together as toffee, and the orange peel has softened into marmalade …”
Please enjoy my latest review and if you happen to already have a bottle of the new Small Batch Classic, do not hesitate to make yourself a nice Old Fashioned Cocktail . You swill not be disappointed!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Beam Spirits, Canadian Club, Canadian Whisky, Old Fashioned Cocktail, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 28, 2013
In 1856, John Gibson purchased 40 acres and built a distillery along the shore of the Monongahela River in Pennsylvania. By the turn of the century, the Gibson’s Distilling Company was the largest producer of rye whisky in North America. Unfortunately, early in the new century, fate dealt the company a tragic blow, in the name of Prohibition. Consumption of legal whisky all but dried up, and Gibson’s Distilling Company went bankrupt. In 1923, the entire contents of the distillery including the stills, the aging barrels, all of the remaining spirit, (and even the grain which was on site) was sold via Sherriff’s auction to Schenley Industries of New York. Fifty years later this whisky brand, which was born on the US side of the border in Pennsylvania, was resurrected by the brand owner at the Schenley Distillery in Valleyfield, Quebec. Now, of course, it has become one of the iconic brands of Canadian Whisky.
Of course the story continued and Shenley Distillers underwent re-organization at the end of the 20th century. As part of that reorganization, the Gibson’s Finest Whisky brand was purchased by William Grant & Sons in 2002. Some time after the acquisition, William Grant & Sons moved the production of Gibson’s Whisky from the Schenley plant in Valleyfield, Quebec to the Hiram Walker Distillery in Windsor, Ontario.
You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt:
“… The initial aroma is spicy with a firm oak presence. The breezes above the glass are filled with tobacco, rye, and (what I am going to term) clean firm oak spices. These dominant scents are accented by caramel, butterscotch and vanilla. Some dusty dry notes of freshly harvested grain, autumn cornstalks, and dry straw rise into those initial breezes as well …”
Please enjoy my review, and my suggested bar drink, The Old Fashioned Cocktail.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Cocktails and Recipes, Gibson's Finest Whisky, Old Fashioned Cocktail, Whisky, Whisky Review | 2 Comments »