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Posts Tagged ‘Scotch Whisky’

Review: Highland Park 12 Year Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 13, 2012

I bought my first bottle of Highland Park Whisky about 4 years ago when I began to my serious exploration of different whisky styles from other parts of the world besides Canada. Although I was familiar to some degree with blended Scotch and Single Malts, I was suspicious of this particular whisky as the back of the package clearly indicated “Aromatic Peat” which, to be honest, did not sound appealing at all. However, I was assured of the quality of this brand by the owner of the liquor store I had stopped at.  He even gave me small sample to belay my fears.

Of course by now the Highland Park 12 Year Old is a mainstay of my liquor cabinet. When I have a guest over who is suspicious of peated whisky (like I was), I give them a little sample of this whisky first. On more than one occasion my guest has wandered over to the liquor store on his own a few days later and picked up his own bottle.

The Highland Park Distillery has a great website, and you should give it a read as it contains a plethora of information about not only their fine whisky but also the history and heritage of their unique locale in the Highlands of Scotland.

Here is an excerpt from my original review written over 2 years ago:

“…When I was young I would have to wake up early in the mornings, and go walk about a mile into the pastureland to bring the cows home for milking.  Our pasture was in a lowland muddy creek bottom, where the soil was rich in peat and sawgrass. I smell that boggy, muddy creek bottom in the glass when I fill it with Highland Park Whisky…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Highland Park 12-Year-Old Whisky

Cheers!

Posted in Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Dalmore 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 16, 2012

Since 1839, the Dalmore Distillery has been producing single malt whisky. The still-house contains 8 unique stills, 4 ‘flat top’ wash stills, and 4 ‘cold water jacket’ spirit stills each uniquely shaped and sized. The whisky is said to gain its distinctive character because of these unique stills and the order in which the distillate is ran through them. The whisky is aged in two types of oak barrels, first fill bourbon barrels from Kentucky, and aged sherry casks from the Spanish Sherry House Gonzalez. Because the distillery is located (near sea level) at the north shores of the Firth of Cromarty, the sea-facing dunnage warehouses are constantly influenced by the briny sea-air which also adds a unique distinctiveness to the Dalmore Malt.

I have been informed that the Dalmore 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch has recently underwent a change in its construction. Formerly the whisky was predominately made from stocks aged in Kentucky Bourbon barrels; however, the whisky is now produced with much more stocks aged in sherry casks. The whisky will now carry more of the sherry influence in its flavour profile with perhaps a richer rounder taste than before.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“… Dark treacle (caramelized sugars) and dried fruit (raisins and prunes) drift out of the glass with a light but firm imprint of oak.  As I let the glass decant, the dry fruit gains more expression, and I also began to sense some orange peel and almond  in those breezes above the glass. There is perhaps a bit of candied sweetness building as well which is very enticing…. “

You may read my full review here:

Review: Dalmore 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch

Please enjoy the review and my recommended cocktail, Tarnished Brass.

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off

Review: StrathIsla 40 Year Old (Gordon and MacPhail)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 29, 2011

Gordon and Macphail (who own the Benromach Distillery) is an independent family owned and managed firm which acts as a retailer, a wholesaler, an exporter, and a bottler of Single Malt Scotch Whisky. This particular whisky, the StrathIsla 40 Year Old Single Malt from Gordon and MacPhail is of course sourced from the Strathisla Distillery which is in the City (town) of Kieth, in the County of Banff, and is located in the Speyside region of Scotland. According to the Gordon and Macphail website, the whisky was drawn from aged stocks of first fill and refill Sherry casks.

I opened my bottle of this whisky last June when my beloved Boston Bruins won their first Stanley Cup in 39 years. Over the course of the summer (and this fall), I have slowly sipped and sampled away about half of my bottle, and I finally decided that a review was in order.

Here is an excerpt from that review:

“… I encountered a bit of floral peat welling up into the breezes with a strong smoky influence of dried fruit. This aroma is full of prunes and dates, and has a rather subdued oaky backdrop. The aroma is a little demanding, but not unpleasant…”

Review: StrathIsla 40 Year Old (Gordon and MacPhail)

Please enjoy the Review!

Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Auchentoshan 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 11, 2011

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. Triple distillation is common amongst Irish distillers, but very uncommon for a distillery producing Single Malt Whisky. The result of the 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 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky is part of that core range of Auchentoshan Single Malts. It is (of course) a triple distilled whisky which has been produced from aged stocks (at least 12 years) of a variety of different barrel types which may include Bourbon Casks, Oloroso Sherry Casks, Pedro Jimenez (Sherry) Casks, and Fine Wine Casks. I recently received a sample bottle of the Auchentoshan 12-year-old from the Regional Manager of Shiralli Agencies which is the local importer and distributor of Morrison Bowmore Products. (The Auchentoshan Distillery and its brands are owned by Morrison Bowmore.)

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“… When I poured the Auchentoshan 12 Year Old into my glass, I was quite taken aback by what I encountered on the nose. There was so much going on that I found myself sitting in my tasting room, not tasting anything. Instead I was just sitting there nosing the glass and wondering where all those wonderful scents were coming from…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Auchentoshan 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

Please enjoy the review of this surprising Single Malt Whisky as well as the surprisingly good cocktail suggestion, The Sour Scotsman.

Cheers!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Glen Garioch 12 Year Old Single Malt

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 27, 2011

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 12 Year Old is a Highland malt which has been blended from stocks of two types of oak cask groups. Spanish Sherry casks are utilized to provide a strong depth of flavour, and American Bourbon casks are used to soften the finished malt. I recently received a sample bottle of the Glen Garioch 12 Year Old from Shiralli Agencies who are the local importers and distributors of Morrison Bowmore Products. (The Glen Garioch Distillery and its brands are owned by Morrison Bowmore.)

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“… If I close my eyes and sniff the breezes above the glass I can imagine I am in a grassy meadow with bits of heather and sweet-grass growing amongst the other grasses. Clumps of willow lie at the edges of the meadow, and over the nearby hill a few pine trees are sending faint scents into those breezes. I am enjoying the aroma from the glass; Although it is sweet and spicy, it is also laid back and relaxing…”

You may read my full review here:

Review: Glen Garioch 12 Year Old Single Malt

Please enjoy the review, and the recipe which follows.

Cheers!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

The 2011 Rum Howler Awards – (Regional Whisky Awards)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 22, 2011

Today I am continuing with my Rum Howler Awards as I am selecting the best whiskies from various parts of the world. I have an Award for Best Canadian Whisky, and Award for Best Scotch Whisky, and Award for Best American Whisky, and an Award for Best Irish Whisky.

All of these awards are based upon side by side tasting sessions held over a period of several weeks. I began at the start of August slowly tasting different whiskies from my collection of reviews samples bringing only the very best forward for the final tastings which took place over the past month.

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Canadian Whisky

and the winner is:

Alberta Premium 30 Year Old

Honourable mention to Forty Creek Confederation Oak, Gibson’s Finest 12 Year, and Canadian Club 30 Year Old Whisky

It was a great year for Canadian Whisky, and I could easily have added several more honourable mentions to this category. I had great fun narrowing the field during some blind tasting runs where I had my wife pour me samples that I scored several times to arrive at the final four. The surprise finalist I guess would be the Gibson’s Finest 12 Year Old, but truthfully all four finalists are deserving nominees. What was not surprising to me was my decision to grant the Award to the Alberta Premium 30 Year Old. It was not only the tastiest in head to head competition, it was also probably the best bargain in the entire Whisky World last year. (A 30 Year Old 100 % Rye Whisky, that sold for less than $50.00 per bottle in all markets where it was available.) Unfortunately I am using past tense, as at that price it is no small mystery that the Alberta Premium 30 has disappeared.

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Scotch Whisky

and the winner is:

Highland Park 25 Year Old Whisky

Honourable mention to Signatory Dufftown 1984, and Glenmorangie Original

The fun continued as I had the opportunity this year to taste (and own) some incredible Scotch whisky. As with the Award for Best Canadian Whisky, I had my wife bring me small samples of each of the best Scottish Whiskies I had reviewed over the past year. It came down to three finalists, but in the end it was the staggering complexity of the Highland Park 25 Year Old whisky that won the day. This is a monster of a whisky and if you can afford to treat yourself to something really special, I recommend treating yourself to this one!

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The Rum Howler Award for Best American Whisky

and the winner is:

Basil Hayden’s Straight Kentucky Bourbon

Honourable mention to Maker’s 46  Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

I have to admit that my experiences with American Whiskies were rather limited this year. I reviewed only five on my website, and my sampling at whisky shows and tastings did not broaden that experience significantly. However, I will say that I have become quite enthusiastic about Basil Hayden’s Straight Kentucky Bourbon. I really dig the laid back style of the Basil Hayden’s and highly recommend that you try it because I think if you give this whisky a fair chance in your glass that you will really dig it too.

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Irish Whiskey

and the winner is:

Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey

Honourable mention to Writer’s Tears Pot Still Blend, Greenore 8 Year Old Single Grain, and Redbreast 12 year Old

There was really no serious competition in this category, as the Jameson 18 Year old Limited Reserve was by far and away the best Irish Whiskey I have tasted to this point. I fell in love with the depth of its pot still flavour and the love affair has continued throughout the year. I did sample (but not review) quite a few other Irish whiskeys this year, the Greenore 8 Year Old Single Grain Whisky, Writer’s Tears Pot Still Blend, and the Red Breast 12 Year Old were a few of the notables which I tried. However, none of these whiskeys seemed to match the style and the depth of flavour of this gem from Jameson.

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I have no award this year for the whiskies from the rest of the world. Simply put, I did not have the opportunity to sample many Japanese whiskies, or Indian whiskies, or the whiskies from other locales. I apologize for this unfortunate circumstance, but I will try to do better nest year.

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And so to wrap up the Rum Howler Regional Whisky Awards:

The Rum Howler Award for Best Canadian Whisky:  Alberta Premium 30 Year Old

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Scotch WhiskyHighland Park 25 Year Old Whisky

The Rum Howler Award for the Best American WhiskyBasil Hayden’s Straight Kentucky Bourbon

The Rum Howler Award for the Best Irish Whisky: Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Next week I shall tackle some Rum, cheers!

Posted in Awards, Howls | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Glenfarclas 12 Year Old Highland Malt

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 6, 2011

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 for a total sum of £511.19sd. 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.

The Glenfarclas Single Malt Whisky line-up includes the Glenfarclas 10 Year Old, the Glenfarclas 12 Year Old, the Glenfarclas 15 Years Old, the Glenfarclas 21 Years Old, the Glenfarclas 25 Years Old, the Glenfarclas 30 Years Old and the Glenfarclas ’105′ Cask Strength. I was provided with a sample of the Glenfarclas 12 Year Old by Pacific Wine & Spirits Inc. who is the importer/distributor of Glenfarclas Highland Single Malt Whisky in Alberta.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“… The initial nose from the glass is full of floral oak spice with obvious honey and marzipan notes rising up as well. If I close my eyes and allow the glass to breathe, I can imagine that I am surrounded by saw grass in a lowland meadow. Some heather and lavender grows in small clumps nearby, and a few pine trees lie on the edge of my sensory range. These scents and smells from the glass are clean and pleasant….”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Glenfarclas 12 Year Old Highland Malt

Although I found the Glenfarclas 12 Year Old Single Malt to be an outstanding whisky for sipping, it is also such an approachable spirit, that I could not resist constructing at least one cocktail recipe,  Soft Touch for your enjoyment as well.

Please enjoy the review and the cocktail!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Jura Superstition Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 2, 2011

The Isle of Jura apparently has only one road and one hotel, and its population is about 200 persons strong. It has one Distillery which was built at an old smugglers’ cave near the hamlet of Craighouse in 1810. The distillery in those early days led a troubled life. It was never really a viable enterprise, and it soon fell into disrepair and was abandoned. However, 153 years later in 1963 the distillery was rebuilt by two local businessmen, Robin Fletcher and Tony Riley-Smith who turned it into a going concern. That is when they began to distill their Jura Single Malt Whisky.

When the folks at Authentic Wine and Spirits learned that I was reviewing a few Single Malts this fall they added a couple of the Jura expressions to the review line-up. Last week I reviewed the Isle of Jura 10 Year Old Single Malt, and today I am tackling the Jura Superstition.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…I immediately noticed rich scents and aromas climbing out of the glass to greet my nose. If I closed my eyes and held the glencairn under my nose I could imagine I was in an evergreen forest with damp moss covering the ground. A boggy meadow must be nearby as I smell the damp peat under the meadow grass…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Jura Superstition Single Malt Whisky

Please enjoy the review!

Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Review: Jura 10 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 25, 2011

The Isle of Jura lies just seven miles wide and is 30 miles long. It apparently has only one road and one hotel, and its population is about 200 people strong. The Distillery (the island has only one), was built at an old smugglers’ cave near the hamlet of Craighouse in 1810. Unfortunately the distillery in those early days led a troubled life, and it soon fell into disrepair and was abandoned. It was not until 153 years later, in 1963, that the distillery was rebuilt by two local businessmen, Robin Fletcher and Tony Riley-Smith who then began to distill their Jura Single Malt Whisky.

I mentioned to the folks at Authentic Wine and Spirits, that I was going to be reviewing a few Single Malts this fall, and to my delight added a couple of the Jura expressions to the review line-up.

Here is an excerpt from the review:

“….The initial aroma from the glass is of oak spice, almond and marmalade, with a certain fruitiness in evidence as well. Some drier woody notes begin to rise in the breezes and the effect is not unlike the smell of the willow trees in my backyard in the springtime. As the glass breathes hints of peat begin to well up and that almond scent turns to marzipan. Like most whiskies the scents and the aromas grow in the glass over time …”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Jura 10 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

I have included a cocktail suggestion, The Isle of Pleasure.

Please enjoy the review and the cocktail!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Bowmore 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 17, 2011

The Bowmore Distillery sits at the edge of Loch Indaal where the briny breezes of the sea blow directly across and into the warehouses full of Bowmore whisky barrels. This means that at least some of that salty brine is bound to make its way into the casks and set its imprint into the flavour.  The distillery itself contains two pairs of stills, six Oregon washbacks, and it is one of the few remaining Scottish distilleries to produce its own malt on its own malting floor. The location of the distillery 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 know as Bowmore.

I should mention that due to the sheer volume of whisky produced by Morrison Bowmore, there is insufficient room to age all of the casks in the Bowmore seaside warehouse facility, nor does the facilities’ malt floor have the capacity to produce all of the malted barley to meet Bowmore’s requirements. However, both portion of whisky aged in the Bowmore warehouses, and the portion of malted barley produced on their malt drying floor are significant such that these unique characteristics of the Bowmore Distillery are well worth noting.

The Bowmore 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky is part of the core range of Bowmore Single Malts. This whisky is matured in a combination of American Bourbon Casks and Spanish Sherry casks. I was given a small set of 3 200 ml sample bottles of the Bowmore 12, the Bowmore 15 (Darkest) and the Bowmore 18 year Old Single Malt Whisky for review here on my website. My review of the Bowmore 18 Year Old is the third review in the series.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…The Bowmore 18 leads out with the rich taste of chocolate toffee which permeates all of the other flavours I encountered. The peat and sherry smoke flavours become evident immediately as they ride in the currents of that chocolate accenting the flavour with herbal tones from the peat and dry fruits (like raisins and prunes) from the sherry. The oak is making things just a little heated in the mouth but a strong undercurrent of sweetness works with this heat making everything taste delicious…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Bowmore 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

Please enjoy the Review!

Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off

 
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