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 | Leave a Comment »
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
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 2, 2013
The Bowmore Distillery sits at the edge of Loch Indaal where the briny breezes of the sea blow directly across the warehouses full of Bowmore whisky barrels. As every barrel of Bowmore whisky produced spends at least some of its maturing life inside these warehouses it is reasonable to assume that at least some of that seaside character makes its way into the whisky. As well, the distillery is one of the few remaining Scottish distilleries which produces its own peated malt on its own malting floor. The location of the aging warehouses next to Loch Indaal, and the peated barley produced under Bowmore’s own malt drying kiln have been linked to the unique flavour and character of the whisky known as Bowmore.
Bowmore Legend is the youngest expression in the Bowmore Single Malt core range. It does not arrive with an age statement, and is produced solely from whisky aged in American ex- bourbon barrels. I was given a sample bottle for this review by Lifford Wines who are the local importer (in Alberta) and distributor of Morrison Bowmore products.
You may click on the following excerpt (link) to read the full review:
“… I notice bits of heather and willow thicket; a lowland hay-field of long green saw grass; some saltiness reminiscent of ocean brine and a few touches of iodine. I also sense some clean oak spices, orange peel, light citrus lemon balm, and a nice wafting of vanilla in the air. The whisky seems lively, and I appreciate that the peat has not devoured the rest of the whisky aroma …”
Please enjoy the review which contains a recipe (Bowmore Punch) suggested by Iain McCallum, the current Global Master of Malts for Morrison Bowmore Distillers.
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Spiced Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: Bowmore Punch, Bowmore Whisky, Iain McCallum, Morrison Bowmore, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 20, 2013
The core range of Glenmorangie Distillery includes three unique extra matured whiskies, the La Santa which is a Sherry finished whisky, the Nector D’or which has a Sauternes wine finish, and the whisky which I am reviewing in this article, the Quinta Ruban, which has a Ruby Port Finish. I note that there has been a recent change in the labeling of the Quinta Ruban whisky. It now carries a 12 year age statement. Previously (when I had reviewed the whisky four years ago) the whisky carried no age statement, and the only information I could find on the website was that the whisky had matured in ex-bourbon barrels for 10 years before being finished in Port pipes. I am unsure whether the whisky is now aged longer than before in the Port pipes which brings the total aging time to 12 years, or whether the age has always been 12 years, but the current clarity of the age statement is appreciated.
You may click on the following excerpt to read my full review:
“… The initial aroma in the breezes is fruity, oak filled, and stained with chocolate. I notice zesty citrus notes in the air as well as impressions of maraschino cherry and dry fruit. Oak spices seem to lift from the glass giving me indications of orange peel, and spicy pepper. As the glass sits walnuts and pecans and light scent of baking spices (vanilla, nutmeg, with hints of cinnamon) are added to the breezes …”
Please enjoy the review which includes a nice suggested cocktail, the Scottish Tiger!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Cocktails, Glenmorangie Whisky, Quinta Ruban, Scotch Whisky, Scottish Tiger, Single Malt, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 16, 2013
The Glenfarclas Distillery is located in the Glenfarclas valley on the Recherlich Farm at Ballindalloch which is 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. I have had the good fortune to meet George Grant (of that sixth generation of the Grant Family) right here in Edmonton at several tasting events sponsored by Pacific Wine & Spirits Inc, who are the local importer/distributor of Glenfarclas Highland Single Malt Whisky in Alberta. Based upon my tasting notes from those events and from additional samples provided by Pacific Wines, I was able to fashion this review for the Glenfarclas 15 Year Old Whisky.
You may click on the excerpt below to read the full review:
“… The nose is very rich with the scents and smells of the sherry influence upon the whisky. Dried fruit (raisins, dates, and prunes) lead out with a very noticeable accent of dark chocolate. Dark toffee smells enrich the air above the glass, and as the whisky sits, rich baking spiced build and build. I can smell rich brown Demerara sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla in the breezes above the glass…”
Please enjoy the Review!
Note; Here are links my other Glenfarclas Whisky reviews:
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Glenfarclas, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 9, 2013
According to the Old Pulteney website, this whisky is produced at the northernmost distillery on the Scottish mainland, in Wick. (It was founded in 1826 by James Henderson during the time of Wick’s herring boom.) The distillery lies in the heart of ‘Pulteneytown’, which was created for the fishermen in the area, and the distillery is an integral part of the history of this coastal town. Last year Old Pulteney shocked more than a few people when their 21-year-old expression won the big award in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible as the world’s best whisky in 2012. This year they are making more waves with the recent release of the distillery’s oldest production release, a 40-year-old single malt whisky. (The Old Pulteney 40 Year Old is extremely limited; but it has apparently been seen in a few stores here in Alberta.)
My 375 ml sample bottle of the Old Pulteney 12 Year Old Single Malt was provided by Woodman Wines and Spirits Inc. who are the importers/distributors of this brand in the Province of Ontario. I am told that this whisky will once again be available again in Ontario as the LCBO is about to launch it’s “spring” Whisky Shop selections across the Province.
You may click on the excerpt to read my full review:
” … The initial breezes above the glass set into my mind a vision of a lowland meadow as the scents carry light aromas of almond, vanilla, honey, meadowland grasses, and wood spice. As the glass sits, I catch some scents of sea brine and it makes me think there must be an ocean nearby. The wood spices build in the glass bringing me images of orange peel, willow, and fresh tobacco …”
Cheers Everybody, and enjoy the review!
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Old Pulteney, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 9, 2013
The Glen Garioch Distillery (pronounced ‘Glen Geery’) is located in the town of Oldmeldrum, approximately 20 minutes from Aberdeen. It is the Eastern-most distillery in Scotland, in the Valley of Garioch, which is apparently one of the best barley growing regions of Scotland. The distillery was established in 1797.
The Glen Garioch 1797 Founder’s Reserve is the distillery’s signature Highland malt. The whisky is blended to achieve a specific taste profile which features the Glen Garioch characteristic taste profile of honey sweetness with hints of heather and just a touch of spice. This whisky does not have an age statement specifically because it is blended to have that signature profile rather than to be of any specific age.
You may click on the excerpt to read the full review:
“… The initial scents remind me of a grassy meadow surrounded by willow thicket with clumps of heather here and there. Light butterscotch and vanilla scents waft through the meadow giving the scene a relaxed atmosphere. Soon some spicier scents drift in over the willow thickets, light oak spices with hints of cinnamon and faint puffs of clean white pepper …”
Enjoy the review which includes a recipe for the traditional Polly’s Cocktail.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Cocktails and Recipes, Glen Garioch, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 28, 2013
Although Adelphi Distillers are primarily known for their selection of Single Cask Malt Whiskies, I have discovered that they also produce a fine blended whisky they call the Adelphi Private Stock. It is bottled at 40 % and is a blend of 4 grains combined with a high proportion of aged Single Malts from the west coast and the Speyside regions of Scotland. The whisky was originally known as “Granny’s Blend” because it was created for the grandmother of Adelphi’s previous owner, Jamie Walker.
The whisky was blended from a large selection of ‘blind’ samples with the final recipe being a closely guarded secret. Interestingly, the final blend is matured in a solera-style vat. Each time a quantity is drawn off for bottling, the vat is topped up with exactly the same blend of whiskies. This practice allows Adelphi to maintain a consistent flavour for each small batch bottling (each batch contains no more than 12,000 bottles).
I was given a bottle of this whisky by Thirsty Cellar Imports who are the importer of Adelphi Whisky here in Alberta. You may click on the following excerpt to read the full review:
“… The nose was rather interesting with wood spices, some honey and butterscotch, perhaps a touch of heather and little dollop of boggy peat.
As I let the glass breathe I noticed some almond and vanilla, and a hint of canned fruit (peaches and pears). The spiciness reminds me of Speyside, and the boggy peat aroma reminds me of Islay (but much gentler than Islay can be) …”
Please enjoy my review!
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Aldelphi, Blended Whisky, Scotch Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off