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Posts Tagged ‘Single Malt Whisky’

The 2011 Rum Howler Awards – (Whisky Wrap-Up)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 6, 2011

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 September slowly tasting different whiskies from my private collection of bottles and bringing only the very best forward for the final tastings which took place over the last two weeks. Only spirits which I had tasted in the past year (between October 1, 2019 and September 30 2011) were considered.

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky Value
(under $30.00 in my market of Alberta)

and the Winner is:

Potter’s Special Old Whisky

Honourable mention to Gibson’s Finest Sterling Canadian Whisky and Chinook Canadian Whisky

As I indicated in my Rum Howler Vodka Awards, the taxation and storage fees in my locale can add up to $18.00 a bottle to the price of a 750 ml spirit. It is rare to see anything on the shelves of the local liquor store for less than $22.00. This means that my standard for this category, being only those whiskies which are under $30.00, is a tight standard indeed. But even at that low price quality can be found in my marketplace as evidenced by the three final nominees. In head to head tasting, serving each whisky in a couple cocktails (the Buckeroo and the Horses Neck) as well as sipping each neat, the competition was close.  However, the Potter’s Special Old Canadian Whisky rose to the occasion and captured the award.

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky Value
(under $60.00 in my market of Alberta)

and the winner is

Alberta Premium 30 Year Old Rye Whisky

Honourable mention to Glenmorangie, The Original 10 Year Old, and Basil Hayden’s Straight Kentucky Bourbon

All of the nominees are wonderful spirits. I tasted each of the three finalists neat, at room temperature to determine the winner and reaffirmed my belief that the Alberta Premium 30 is an absolute gem of a whisky. It not only was by far the best tasting whisky in the under $60.00 range. It was by a full $10.00 less expensive than its two rivals , and if you possibly can still find a bottle on a liquor store shelf, do not hesitate…. buy it!

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Blended Whisky

and the winner is:

Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey

Honourable mention to Canadian Club 30 Year Old Whisky, and Gibson’s Finest 12 year Old Canadian Whisky

In Canada we pride ourselves on having the best and smoothest blended whisky in the world. However, in my side by side tastings of each of these spirits neat, I found I preferred a little of the Irish this time. The Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve has a suave sort of creamy sweetness that doesn’t cloy at the palate after the whiskey is sipped. Things are smooth and refined in a finish which is long and satisfying.

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The Rum Howler Award for Best Single Grain or Single Malt Whisky

and the winner is:

Alberta Premium 30 Year Old Rye Whisky

Honourable mention to Highland Park 25 Year Old Single Malt, and Dufftown 1984 (Signatory)

I suppose it might be a little disconcerting to some that I have combined the Single Grain and the Single Malt category this year. They are after all two different styles of whisky. However, due to my limited tasting experiences with single grain whiskies this year, I decided to consolidate the two categories. I was after all curious how a $50.00 Canadian Single grain whisky would stack up against the competitors which cost up to 6 times more in my local liquor store. The Alberta Premium 30 Year Old did more than just stack up, it proved to be the best in side by side tastings. It just goes to show that the top price does not always reflect the top quality.

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And finally the Award that I am sure you have all been waiting for:

The Rum Howler Award for Best Overall Whisky
(Age, price and style irrelevant, her I am only concerned with what is the Best!)

and the winner is

Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey

Honourable mention to Alberta Premium 30 Year Old Rye Whisky, and Highland park 25 Year Old Single Malt

Even I have to admit my surprise when I chose the Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve over the Alberta Premium 30 year Old Canadian Whisky, and the Highland Park 25 year Old Single Malt Whisky. But when I began my taste comparisons I fell in love with the Jameson all over again. If you have not experienced Irish Pure Pot Still flavour, then you will have to take my word for it that it is quite wonderful. After 18 years of aging they have morphed into something that resembles a creamy soft punky toffee embedded in honeycomb and light marzipan and tainted with flavours of sour mash bourbon. The oak flavours weave in and out, and all of this comes together in a wonderful display of balance. The whiskey has such a beguiling delivery, that I was hooked right from the very first sip, and I suspect you will be too.

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And there you have it, my Rum Howler Awards for Whisky all wrapped up. Here is a recap of Today’s awards:

The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky Value (under $30.00 in my market of Alberta)   Potter’s Special Old Canadian Whisky

The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky Value (under $60.00 in my market of Alberta) Alberta Premium 30-year-old Whisky

The Rum Howler Award for Best Blended Whisky   Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Whiskey

The Rum Howler Award for Best Single Grain or Single Malt Whisky    Alberta Premium 30-year-old Whisky

The Rum Howler Award for Best Overall Whisky  Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Whiskey

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

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

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

Review: Bowmore 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 19, 2011

Morrison Bowmore Distillers was founded in 1951 by Mr. Stanley P. Morrison and Mr. J. Howat. Like most major distilling companies the ownership of Morrison Bowmore has changed over the years, and it is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Suntory Linited, a Japanese spirits conglomerate. The subsidiary company owns three major distilleries in Scotland; the Bowmore Distillery (on the Hebridian Island) in the  Islay Region of Scotland, the Auchentoshan Distillery in the Lowland Region of Scotland, and the Glen Garioch Distillery in the Highlands of Scotland. The Bowmore brand is the flagship whisky brand of Morrison Bowmore Distillers and has grown to be one of the most important whisky brands in all of Scotland.

I was fortunate enough to meet Morrison Bowmore’s, Regional Manager for North America, Jamie MacKenzie at the Edmonton Whisky Festival this past winter. He asked me to reach out to him when I was ready to review some of the Bowmore Whiskies on my website, and I did so recently. As a result, I was forwarded a small gift pack which included three 200 ml bottles of the Bowmore 12, the Bowmore 15 Darkest, and the Bowmore 18 Year Old Single Malt Whiskies. These three bottles form the heart of the Bowmore core range.

My first review of this range is the Bowmore 12 Year old Single Malt Whisky. Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…I allowed the glass to decant which caused the aroma to deepen. The peat began to demonstrate some floral characteristics, and it seemed to begin to carry more herbal qualities as well. The whisky is still bringing  forward a light ash-like aroma similar to the smell of coals from a wood burning fire when you are camping…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Bowmore 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

I have followed the review with a classic cocktail suitable for a Peated Islay Whisky, The Rusty Nail.

Please enjoy the review!

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

Review: The Macallan Sherry Oak 18 Year Old Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 1, 2011

Permission to use this picture was granted by J.L. Wheelock

The oak casks which age The Macallan Sherry Oak Whiskies have been selected from refill Sherry casks originating in Jerez Spain where they previously held aged sherry for two years. Using two-year old Sherry casks is an expensive proposition; however, the makers of The Macallan Whiskies believe that the resulting combination of rich Sherry seasoning, and relatively young oak casks will result in a superior whisky. Indeed in my review I note the strong oak influence which sits astride the Sherry enhancement.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…Upon nosing the glass, smoke-filled sherry notes of raisins, prunes, and dates present themselves forcefully. Damp tobacco, and notes of caramelized brown sugars abound. I also detect a strong oak presence giving the glass somewhat of a cognac flair…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: The Macallan Sherry Oak 18 Year Old

Please enjoy the review!

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

Review: The Macallan Fine Oak 17 Year Old Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 24, 2011

Permission granted for the use of this picture by J.L. Wheelock

The Macallan Fine Oak Series is a range of single malt Scotch whiskies, produced at The Macallan Distillery at Craigellachie, in the Speyside region of Scotland. These whiskies are matured in seasoned American oak casks, (sherry as well as bourbon), as well as seasoned sherry casks from Spain. I have previously reviewed the The Macallan Fine Oak 10 Year and The Macallan Fine Oak 15 Year Old expressions here on my blog, and I am happy to continue this series with a review of The Macallan Fine Oak 17 year Old. Here is an Excerpt from the review:

“…When I pour the 17 Year old Macallan Fine Oak into my glass, my nose is greeted by sweet honey and marshmallow scents as well as a lovely creamy butterscotch. This is noticeably sweeter on the nose than my previously reviewed 15 Year Old Macallan Fine Oak, and that sweetness seems to make the aroma more penetrating and assertive….”

You may read my full review here:

Review: The Macallan Fine Oak 17 Year Old Whisky

Please enjoy the review!

Note: This review is based upon a small sample provided to me from the personal collection of J. L. Wheelock, who is part of the Beam Global team here in Alberta. The sample was smaller than my normal 200 ml minimum sample size, and the reader should be cautioned that I was not able to give the sample my normal rigorous tasting regimen of five independent tasting sessions. Instead I completed two tasting sessions of the sample and completed my review on that basis.

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

Review: Highland Park 30 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 26, 2011

I returned this week to that selection of sample jars given to me from the personal collection of  J. Leslie Wheelock, (a member of the Alberta Beam Global team).  These samples showcase an impressive range of unique whiskies from Canada, Scotland, and the USA.  This week I dipped into the samples and chose Sample Jar # 9, Highland Park 30 Year Old Single Malt Whiskey.

Unlike the previously reviewed Highland Park 25 Year Old Whisky which is produced with a high percentage of the whisky coming from 1st fill Sherry Casks; the Highland Park 30 Year Old Whisky is produced with all of the whisky coming from refilled Sherry Casks. This change in the style of maturation serves to dampen the effect of both the oak and the sherry influence upon the whisky. This should allow the Orcadian peat to have a greater effect upon the flavour and character of the final whisky. Like the 25 Year Old Highland Park, this whisky is bottled at 48.1 per cent alcohol by volume. The combination of long-term aging and higher bottling strength should provide a whisky which will be somewhat intimidating, but also one which should be full of flavour and nuances that will linger in the palate long after the whisky is consumed.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…I was not prepared for the treat that greeted my nostrils when I opened my sample container which held the Highland Park 30-year-old. In fact, it was as if I was transported back in time…”

You may read my full review here:

Review: Highland Park 30 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

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

 
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