Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 6, 2014
A Brass Bonanza served with Blanton’s Gold Edition
Blanton’s is a bourbon whiskey brand created by Sazerac and launched in 1984. The brand is named for Albert B. Blanton who worked at the Buffalo Trace Distillery for more than 50 years, and who apparently spent much of his time at the distillery promoting the traditions of handcrafted bourbon. Blanton’s claims to be the first modern whiskey designed and sold as a single barrel bourbon, and indeed the original brand name for the brand was “Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon”.
Blanton’s Gold Edition is produced from a mash bill of corn, rye, and malted barley which is distilled to 140 proof and barreled at 125 proof. Each bottle of Blanton’s Gold Edition is bottled from a single barrel (brought to 103 proof) after the whiskey has been chill filtered. Because even barrels which lie side by side in an aging warehouse (even though they may have exactly the same batch of distillate) will almost certainly age differently, there will be much potential for flavour variation between particular bottles of this Blanton’s bourbon. However, the general character of the whiskey should remain the same between bottlings as the master blender is selecting only those barrels which meet the particular flavour profile he is aiming for.
You may read my full review by clicking the following link excerpt:
“… The nose is very nice with honey, sap and wood spice rising into the breezes alongside subtle notes of Christmas cake (chocolate, raisins, dates and walnuts). There is a bit of an alcohol push along with a few grassy notes and some youthful astringency. As I let the glass sit I notice baking spices building (vanilla, dark brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg) in the air along with some baked apples and canned pears. There are also some nice sweet and spicy notes of pipe tobacco …”
Included in the review is a nice bar drink which mixed the Blanton’s Gold Edition with a few drops of bitters and a splash of ginger-ale. I called the resulting cocktail, the Brass Bonanza.
Please enjoy the review and the provided mixed drink recipe!
Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Blanton's Gold Edition, Bourbon, Brass Bonanza, Cocktails, Review, Sazerac, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 22, 2014
Luxardo S.P.A. was founded in 1821 in Zara, a port city on the Dalmatian coast of what is now the Republic of Croatia. At the conclusion of World War II and as a consequence of the borders within Europe having been redrawn, the company transferred its holdings to Torreglia in 1947, and has remained an Italian Company, 100% controlled by the founding family. Today, Luxardo is one of the oldest European firms which produce liqueurs, and now almost 200 years after it was established, it remains in the control of the sixth generation of the original Luxardo family.
Sambuca dei Cesari is the licorice flavoured Sambuca produced by Luxardo. Like the well-known Greek licorice flavoured Ouzo, it is a sweet liqueur with a strong licorice flavour derived from the oils of the Star Anise. These oils are obtained from the seeds of this plant by a process of steam distillation. A concentrated solution of sugar and other natural aromas are added to this before bottling at 38 % alcohol by volume.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… The flavour of the Sambuca dei Cesari matches the aroma perfectly as the liqueur tastes just like a black jelly bean which has already melted in my mouth. I taste candied sweet black licorice with a hint of mintiness ….”
At the conclusion of the review I have included a nice refreshing recipe called Clarity, which mixes Sambuca dei Cesari with Lemonade. It is perfect for a warm sunny Sunday.
Please enjoy the review and the stunningly delicious tall cocktail!
Posted in Liqueur, Liqueur Review | Tagged: dei Cesari, licorice Liqueur, Liqueur, Luxardo, Review, Sambuca | Comments Off
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 August 15, 2013
Noble One Botrylis Semillon which is the subject of this review was created in 1982 by Darren De Bortoli. Currently the wine has 26 vintages, and has become the standard-bearer for the De Bortoli family. The Noble One is produced from a late hand-picked harvest of the Semillon grape. The agent at work is a specific fungus called “Botrytis cinerea“ which affects the grapes by absorbing their moisture making them dry. As the fruit loses moisture, its sugar content increases dramatically. Other factors may be at work as well with the final result being that the “botrytised” or rotten grapes are able to produce an intensely sweet and flavourful wine. Fortunately for De Bortoli, autumn in the Riverina region (where the Semillon grapes are grown) often sees long, dry, warm days interspersed with a sprinkling of showers and heavy morning dews, an ideal situation for producing the Noble Fungus.
I met Darren Blood the Export Manager (Americas and New Zealand) for De Bortoli Wines at a portfolio tasting for Lifford Wines, who are the local distributors of the Australian Noble One Botrytis Semillon dessert wine. Darren arranged for me to receive a 375 ml sample of the Noble One for review upon my website.
You may click on the excerpt to read the full review:
“… The breezes above the glass were enticing. There is a suave richness in the air which gives me impressions of sweet nectar and honey. I smell full bunches of green grapes, fresh apples and ripe pears. Some vanilla accents these initial impressions and a certain light spiciness reminds me of sandalwood and white oak …”
Please enjoy my review of this succulent dessert wine!
Posted in Dessert Wine Review, Dessert Wines | Tagged: Botrytised Wine, De Bortoli, Dessert Wine, Noble One, Review | Comments Off
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:
Please enjoy the review and the festive season!
Posted in Cream Liqueur, Liqueur, Premix, Rum | Tagged: Eggnog, Highwood, Northern Lights, Premix, Review, Rum | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 13, 2012
The Chenin Blanc is a very versatile white grape wine varietal which can produce wines of any level of sweetness from dry table wine to sweet dessert wine. These wines are generally recognized for their high level of acidity and for their long aging potential. The variety is commonly associated with the Loire Valley in France where the varietal has been grown for nearly 1300 years.
At the Château de Targé (in the Loire Valley) the Chenin Blanc grape varietal is harvested at three different maturity levels to produce three different wines. A hand-picked harvest of just ripe grapes is used for the Brut Blanc, over matured grapes are picked for the Fresnettes and sometimes, although not every year, grape clusters are allowed to Botrytize (noble rot) to concentrate their sweetness thanks to the famous fungus, (Botrytis Cinerea) to make Coteaux de Saumur dessert wines.
It is the Chateau de Targe (Chenin Blanc) Coteaux de Saumur 2009 which is the subject of this review. Here is an excerpt:
“… The wine displays a pale yellow straw colour in the glass with an initial nose which brings strong green apple and fresh peach aromas into the air. A honeyed sweetness is obvious, but there is also a nice spicy intensity about the nose which is appealing. As the glass rests, tart almost ripe green grapes, stronger apple notes and more spice rise into the breezes… “
You may read my full review here:
Please enjoy this review of a most excellent dessert wine!
Posted in Dessert Wine Review, Dessert Wines | Tagged: 2009, Botrytized Wine, Chateau de Targe, Chenin Blanc, Coteaux de Saumur, Dessert Wine, Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 28, 2012
Tokaj-Hétszolo white dessert wines are made from 100% Furmint grapes at the Tokaj-Hétszolo Estate, which lies on the south side of Mount Tokaj in the north of Hungary, 200 km east of Budapest. This part of the world is known for its exceptional growing climate; and in fact, has been protected since 1772 by the first appellation of origin awarded in the entire world, (a full 83 years before Bordeaux wines were officially classed). The Tokaj-Hétszolo dessert wines are unique not just for where they are created; but also because of the unique manner in which the grapes are harvested. The grapes selected to produce the wine are not picked when they have ripened; rather they are left to “rot” or “Botrytise” on the vine and picked by hand as late as possible in the growing season.
I should point out that the appearance of the “noble rot” depends not only upon the location (or terroir) of the vineyards, but upon the irascible weather. It is not uncommon for no Aszú grapes to appear for several years at a time. This makes the Hetszolo Tokaji Aszu a special wine which can only be produced when conditions are right.
The particular Aszu wine I am reviewing today is the Hetszolo Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos (2001). I was provided with this bottle by Thirsty Cellar Imports who is the local importer here in Alberta.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“… The wine displays a pleasing golden amber in the glass, and the initial nose brings forward immediate notes of green apple jelly and fresh green grapes. Swirling the wine gently in the glass brings much more into those breezes above the glass. The scents of freshly opened cans of apricots and pears; a sweet aroma of honey and caramel; light sensations of freshly sliced lemons and pineapple; and a vague but persistent impression of cashew peanuts all dance playfully above the glass…. “
Here is a link to the full review (which contains a little more information about botrytised wines):
Please enjoy my review!
Posted in Dessert Wine Review, Dessert Wines | Tagged: Aszu, Botrytised Wine, Dessert Wine, Hetszolo, Review, Tokaj-Hétszolo, Tokaji | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 2, 2012
Inver House Distillers own five Scottish distilleries, Pulteney, Balblair, Knockdhu, Speyburn, and Balmenach. The company produces a diverse portfolio of brands which includes mot only Scotch Whisky (Single Malt, Blended Malt, and Blended), but also Vodka, Gin, liqueurs, and premixes. The subject of this review, the Balblair 2001 Vintage is a Single Malt Whisky produced at the Balblair Distillery (which is located in the Highlands of Scotland). This distillery was founded by John Ross in 1790 on the shores of the Dornoch Firth in the village of Edderton.
Each year at Balblair, the Distillery Manager, John MacDonald, selects what he believes to be the best representative whiskies of the Balblair Highland Single Malt brand. Out of the thousands of barrels he samples each year, only a select number are chosen to be bottled as Balblair Vintage Single Malt. These barrels represent the very essence of the Balblair brand.
I was sent a sample of the Balblair 2001 Vintage by Woodman Wine and Spirits, who are the Ontario distributors for the Balblair brand. The Whisky has recently been released in Ontario, Canada and is available through the Whisky Shop at the LCBO.
Here is an excerpt from the review:
“… There is a nice oak taint in those breezes with perhaps a touch of charcoal or graphite. A soft punky Halloween toffee is evident, as is a real sense of fruit and almond. The fruity smells are complicated. I sense both fresh fruit (green apples, peaches and pears) as well as dried apricots and plums. Other smells drift in and out of my sensory range, some sharper citrus zests, and even hints of an alpine meadow…”
Here is a link to my full review:
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Balblair, Inver House, Review, Scoch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisky | Comments Off
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:
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Liqueur, Whisk(e)y Review, Whisky Liqueur | Tagged: Cocktails and Recipes, Highwood, Maple Whisky, Review, Whisky Liqueur | 1 Comment »