Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 10, 2014
The Balvenie Distillery is located at Dufftown which is of course, pretty much situated in the heart of the Speyside region of Scotland. This is a Single Malt Distillery; but one which holds the distinction of being the only such distillery where every part of the process of making whisky takes place right at the distillery. The distillery grows and malts its own barley (about 10 % of its total requirement); it has its own cooperage; and it has its own copper-smith. Owned by William Grant and Sons, the distillery is one of the top 10 producers (by volume) of Scottish Single Malt Whisky.
The Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel is one of the company’s most recent offerings to arrive in Canada, and it replaces The Balvenie 15 Year Old Single Barrel whose stocks have been dwindling such that this expression is now quite hard to find (at least where I live). The 12 Year Old (like the 15 Year Old before it) is a true Single Barrel Whisky as each bottle is drawn from a single first-fill Bourbon cask selected by The Balvenie Malt Master, David Stewart. These casks were chosen to represent a consistent Balvenie character; however, each barrel will have its own unique character, and therefore each bottling from each unique barrel will be slightly different from each other. (And yes, this whisky spent its entire 12 year aging life in one single first-fill barrel.)
You may read my full review here:
“… The breezes above the glass indicate that the whisky has a firm oak character as those breezes are filled with a firm presence of clean oak spice. This woody spiciness is accented (quite nicely) with vanilla, sawgrass and almond scents. As the glass breathes, the whisky breezes become more complex bringing forward additional hints of butterscotch, honey and some sweet beer-like malt …”
Note: Only 300 cases of this limited edition single malt are available for purchase at LCBO stores across Ontario starting February 2014. There were previously 300 cases released for purchase in Alberta in December 2013.
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Balvenie, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt, Whisky, Whisky Review, William Grant & Sons | 1 Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 6, 2014
Glenfiddich is credited by most whisky writers as being the distillery which brought Single Malt Scotch Whisky into prominence after World War II. According to Michael Jackson in his wonderful publication, Scotland and its Whiskies (pages 101-103, Copyright Duncan Baird Publishers, 2001), the independent operators of the distillery began to produce and sell their whisky with an emphasis on the Single Malt expression rather than depending upon selling their whisky to blenders. The result of this foresight is that Glennfiddich is now the most popular (by sales) producer of Single Malt whisky with a market share which accounts for over 30 % of world-wide sales. The flagship whisky of the brand is their 12 Year Old Glenfiddich Single Malt Whisky.
Mamie Taylor Cocktail
The 12-year-old expression is a Single Malt Whisky produced from a blend of stocks which were aged in American bourbon and Spanish Sherry oak barrels. I received a sample bottle of the Glenfiddich 12 Year Old just prior to Christmas, and I decided to share the results of my examination here on my website.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… As the glass breathes I sense impressions of some lowland sawgrass, a few crushed gooseberries, and fruit-like hints of spicy raisin as well as sliced green apples and pears. Over time the air above the glass develops more of an herbal quality with indications of lemon balm and heather …”
Please enjoy my review which includes a nice recipe recommendation, the Mamie Taylor Cocktail!
Important Note: In June of 2013, Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch announced that $2.00 from every bottle sold of the older Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera Whisky in Canada would be donated to benefit Canadian Forces Members as part of their continued support for Wounded Warriors Canada. This program is ongoing and I have been informed that as of the end of 2013, $161,616 have been raised for Wounded Warriors Canada through these $2.00 donations. Founded in 2006, Wounded Warriors Canada is a non-profit organization that helps Canadian Forces Members (be they full-time members or reservists) who have been wounded or injured in their service to Canada.
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Cocktails, Glenfiddich Whisky, Mamie Taylor, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 20, 2014
The Auchentoshan Distillery is somewhat of an anomaly amongst Scottish Distillers. It is the only Scottish Distillery that triple distills their entire core range of whisky on three separate stills. Triple distillation is common amongst Irish distillers, but very uncommon for a distillery producing Single Malt Whisky. The result of this triple distillation is a more laid back easy-going style of whisky which perhaps carries more floral elements through to the new make spirit; but which also may be a little less robust in character than traditional single malts. As such, the Auchentoshan Whisky is considered by some to be a more approachable single malt whisky with a wider range of appeal than a heavier malt whisky.
The Auchentoshan 11 Year Old Bordeaux Cask Single Malt Whisky is part of the Auchentoshan Distillery’s Freedom of Expressions Limited Edition Range of Single Malts. The whisky is (of course) a triple distilled Single Malt which has been produced from aged stocks which were barreled in French Oak (Bordeaux Casks) for 11 years and bottled at 58 % alcohol by volume.
You may read my full review here:
“… As the glass breathes I begin to detect hints of the Bordeaux wine finish. Some Turkish Delight candy bar and red licorice seem to have woven themselves into the breezes with both willow bushes and fresh-cut poplar wood also finding their way into my consciousness. Hints of vanilla, and some light nutty almond aromas round out the nose which is pleasant …”
For your enjoyment I have included a nice tall Scotch Whisky cocktail (Black Donald) which tastes great when mixed with the high-octane goodness of the Auchentoshan 1999 Bordeaux Cask.
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Auchentoshan, Black Donald, Bordeaux Cask, Cocktails, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 15, 2014
The Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky has a history in Scotland reaching back in time to 1896 when Wine Merchants, Matthew Gloag and Son, first blended their Grouse Whisky. Over the next nine years, the whisky became so popular that Matthew Gloag decided to add the word ‘famous’ to the name in 1905. Over the next century it would become one of the most popular brands of whisky in Scotland. Although the home of famous Grouse is the Glenturret Distillery, according to The Famous Grouse Website, the Famous Grouse Whisky is a blend which contains premium single malts such as The Macallan and Highland Park.
The Black Grouse is an offshoot of its popular cousin which begins where The Famous Grouse ends. The whisky is the result of a further blending of the Famous Grouse Whisky with Islay Malt Whiskies. The resulting whisky has a peated flavour profile with a reportedly dark smoky character.
It has been about four years since I examined each of these blended whiskies, and recently I had a chance to sample each blend side by side as I was gifted a bottle of each this past Christmas. I took advantage of this opportunity to revisit each of my previous reviews tweaking the tasting notes and the scores (neither changed significantly).
Here are the links to each of the revised reviews:
Note: The astute reader will notice that the suggested cocktails for each have been tweaked as well!
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Black Grouse, Blended Whisky, Edrington Group, Famous Grouse, Scotch Whisky, Whisky | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 8, 2014
Edmonton Whisky Festival
The Macallan Masterclass with Brand Ambassador – Dan Volway
Where: Edmonton Delta South Hotel
When: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 (6:30 PM – 7:30 PM)
Ticket Price: $25.00 each
The 2014 Edmonton Whisky Festival is proud to welcome, Dan Volway, trained Sommelier and former Instructor with the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers at Niagara and George Brown College.
For years Dan had imbibed on fine wines until a longtime friend introduced him to scotch whisky and effectively converted his grape biased palette to appreciate the nuances of fine hand-crafted scotch. As his repertoire expanded, Dan fell madly in love with The Macallan, Highland Park and Famous Grouse – brands known across the globe for their heritage, quality and unrivaled approach to whisky making. When the opportunity arose to represent his favourite scotch portfolio in Western Canada, Dan jumped at the chance and was willing to move across the country from Toronto to Vancouver to fulfill his duties as Brand Ambassador.
Dan’s role is to connect with like-‐minded individuals, groups and establishments from the Prairies to the Pacific, exposing the virtues of the whiskies he’s been charged to represent. His schedule is filled with meetings and events held by various whisky appreciation groups, where he works on building relationships and cultivating connoisseurs who share the very same passion for whisky that attracted him to the business. Dan is also responsible for connecting his brand with people in the spirit trade with staff from some of the country’s top bars and prestigious restaurants all the way to swanky speakeasies and stalwart pubs.
If you are already have tickets to the Edmonton Whisky Festival, why not add a voluptuary adventure exploring The Macallan Single Malt Whisky with Brand Ambassador Dan Volway!
“It’s a real privilege to be in a position to share my knowledge and passion for Scotch whisky with aspiring scotch enthusiasts and experts, alike,” Dan says. “If I can help to bring a special epicurean experience to someone with humour, warmth and insight, then I feel as though I’ve done my job.”
For more information please contact:
Vines – Riverbend Wine Merchants (Edmonton)
Tickets are now available from Vines or through the new website: (http://edmontonwhiskyfestival.ca/)
Posted in Festivals and Events | Tagged: Dan Volway, Edmonton Whisky Festival, Master Class, Scotch Whisky, The Macallan | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 4, 2014
Photo Courtesy Morrison Bowmore
Vines Welcomes Morrison Bowmore’s Global Master of Malts – Iain MaCallum
With over 20 years experience at Morrison Bowmore Distillers (MBD), first as a Laboratory Technician Trainee, then as Distillery Manager at Auchentoshan, Bowmore and Glen Garioch, and finally as Senior Blender. Iain MaCallum has now joined the sales and Marketing team as Global Master of Malts, a world-wide educational role for Morrison Bowmore.
Vines Riverbend Wine Merchants is proud to provide a unique opportunity to welcome Iain McCallum and to have him share a few drams from MBD’s three great Scottish distilleries (Auchentoshan, Bowmore and Glen Garioch), considered three of the most recognized names in Single Malt Whisky.
Where: Vines – Riverbend Wine Merchants (2331 Rabbit Hill Rd NW, Edmonton)
When: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Price: $36.99 prepaid
Limited Seating Available
Reserve your seat by contacting:
Vines – Riverbend Wine Merchants
Posted in Festivals and Events, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: Auchentoshan, Glen Garioch, Iain McCallum, Morrison Bowmore, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Tasting, Whisky | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 22, 2013
I tasted a lot of great whisky this year from all over the world, and I noticed a few trends which deserve noting. Whisky is growing in popularity throughout the world, and this is having consequences in both the variety of whisky available to the consumer, and the quality of the whisky available to the consumer. In terms of variety, things have never been better as I can find whiskies on the store shelves from places I would never have imagined a few years ago. The number of brands available from India and Japan keep growing, and as well brands from places like New Zealand, England, Wales, and Australia are also surfacing in my local liquor stores. A stronger selection of brands available to the consumer can only be good news; and hopefully consumers (and whisky critics) can put their prejudices aside and give these brands the chance they deserve.
However the flip side of this world-wide popularity of whisky is a disturbing reluctance from some of the major players to maintain their age statements. The simple fact is that there is just not enough aged whisky stocks to maintain the present brands due to the growing world-wide popularity of the spirit. Of course the marketing hype proclaims the spirits are as good as ever, but I guess I question the veracity of those statements. Time will tell, and thankfully there are still many brands maintaining their standards and many more great whiskies for me to discover.
It is time for my to make my yearly proclamations regarding the best whiskies which I have personally tasted in the year which is 2013. As is the case each year, all of my Rum Howler Awards are based upon side by side tastings within each category of spirit. I taste the spirit neat, and I also mix a few cocktails with each spirit. All spirit samples which I receive to review on my website are automatically considered for my awards. I do my review, and then I set aside the remainder of the spirit for the end of the year judging. I also receive additional industry samples specifically for these awards. My side by side tastings are completed, and it is time for me to reveal the recipients of my 2013 Rum Howler Awards for Excellence in the Production of Whisky.
These Awards are for the best Whisky Spirits I encountered in the year 2013!
Posted in Awards, Extras, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: American Whiskey, Bourbon, Canadian Whisky, Rum Howler Awards, Scotch Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Reviews | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 6, 2013
The Auchentoshan Distillery (pronounced “OCK-un-tosh-un”, and meaning “corner of the field”) is located on the outskirts of Glasgow, and is somewhat of an anomaly amongst Scottish Distillers. It is currently the only Scottish Distillery that triple distills their entire core range of whisky. Triple distillation is common amongst Irish distillers, but very uncommon for a distillery producing Single Malt Whisky. The result of triple distillation is a more laid back easy-going style of whisky which perhaps carries more floral elements, but which also may be a little less robust in character than traditional single malts. As such, the Auchentoshan Whisky may be more approachable for novice Single Malt Whisky enthusiast.
The Auchentoshan 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky is part of the core range of Auchentoshan Single Malts. It is (of course) a triple distilled whisky which has been produced from stocks matured solely in American bourbon casks, and then bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume. (The Auchentoshan Distillery and its brands are owned by Morrison Bowmore.)
You may click on the excerpt to read the full review:
“… I receive spicy notes of oak and fresh willow which share the breezes alongside a waving field of ripening barley. The scent is clean and fresh with dabs of sweet honey and butterscotch, and some hints of tobacco. As the glass breathes I notice a grassy hayfield nearby with green foxtail, millet, and timothy just beginning to ripen in the late summer sunshine …”
Please enjoy my latest review!
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Auchentoshan, Morrison Bowmore, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 29, 2013
The Glenfarclas Distillery is located on the Recherlich Farm at Ballindalloch in the heart of Speyside. The Distillery was purchased by the Grant Family in 1865, and it has remained in the control of the Grant Family for six generations up to the present day. In fact, Glenfarclas is one of only a few distilleries remaining in Scotland which is independently family owned and managed.
All of the Glenfarclas whisky is matured in two styles of oak barrels, plain oak barrels which have previously contained Bourbon or Scotch whisky, and Spanish oak which has previously contained Oloroso or Fino Sherry from Seville. The whisky is stored in traditional ‘dunnage’ warehouses that date from the late 1800s. These warehouses have thick stone walls and earth floors. The subject of this review, the Glenfarclas 17 Year Old Whisky is bottled at 43 % alcohol by volume.
You may read my full review of Glenfarclas 17 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky by clicking on the following excerpt:
“… The 17 Year Old Whisky enters the palate with nice mellow wood spices which have combined or melded with the smooth sherry flavours which are full of bittersweet dark chocolate and dried fruit. The vanilla is more obvious in this whisky than in the younger expressions, as is a nice nutty lightly bitter walnut flavour which sits underneath …”
Have a great day, and please enjoy the review!
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: George Grant, Glenfarclas, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisky, Whsky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 10, 2013
The newest expression of the 15 Year Old Glenfiddich is a Single Malt Scotch Whisky aged in European (Spanish Sherry), American (American Bourbon) and New American (virgin) oak. The resulting whisky is then mellowed in a Solera Vat (which when introduced by Glenfiddich for the 15-year-old Single Malt, had no counterpart in the world of Scotch whisky). The final blend is married in Portuguese Oak Tuns. The resulting whisky is (according to the Glenfiddich website) the first 15-year-old expression to become one of the top 10 best-selling Single Malt whiskies in the world.
On June, 2013 Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch announced that $2.00 from every bottle sold of Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera Whisky in Canada would be donated to benefit Canadian Forces Members as part of their continued support for Wounded Warriors Canada. In honour of the ongoing partnership, Glenfiddich has changed its regular packaging throughout 2013 and beyond in recognition of the donation program to help raise awareness and funds for Wounded Warriors Canada.
Founded in 2006, Wounded Warriors Canada is a non-profit organization that helps Canadian Forces Members (be they full-time members or reservists) who have been wounded or injured in their service to Canada.
I arranged to receive a new sample of this expression of Glenfiddich such that through my published review, I could help bring awareness to Wounded Warriors Canada.
You may click on the following excerpt to read my full review of the 2013 bottling:
“… The initial nose reveals nice oaky scents of honey and butterscotch with some hints of dark fruit (raisin and dates) and mild notes of black licorice and cocoa. Some additional impressions of spruce and pine touch my nose with touches of heather and willow …”
Please enjoy my review, and remember every bottle purchased in Canada helps to support our Canadian Forces Members (be they full-time members or reservists) who have been wounded or injured in their service to Canada.
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Glenfiddich Whisky, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt, Solera Vat, Whsiky Review, Wounded Warriors Canada | Comments Off