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 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 July 30, 2013
Words like “hand crafted” and “‘Small Batch” seem to be words thrown about by liquor producers in the same manner that rice and confetti are thrown about at a TV wedding. I guess the theory is that if you throw out enough rhetoric, some of it is bound to stick. So it is refreshing to write about a distillery where the words “hand crafted” and “‘Small Batch” really mean exactly what they imply.
Barry Bernstein and Barry Stein own and run the Still Water Distillery, and as far as small batch distilling goes, they are the real deal. They founded Ontario’s first micro-distillery in 2009, and pride themselves in not only being the Distillers and the Blenders of their craft spirits; but also in being the distillery’s Chief Bottle washers and Bottle Fillers. In fact, there is not a single aspect of the business that they do not either personally oversee or do themselves. Barry and Barry bring their spirits from grain to bottle in small batches, first sourcing locally grown grain, then mashing, fermenting, distilling, maturing, and bottling the spirits right at the distillery. And yes, they bottle and package every spirit they produce by hand!
Still Waters Single Malt Vodka is one of their hand-made spirits. It is not your typical Vodka. It is made from 100 % malted barley on their own German-made pot still.
Here is a link to my full review of this new Single Malt Vodka:
“… I received indications of a very light butterscotch sweetening the spirit just a little. I also sensed some indistinct floral notes with maybe a hint of licorice …”
At the end of the review I suggest a couple of nice cocktails, the Vodka Mojito, and Civility.
Please enjoy the review, and of course my cocktail suggestions!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Canadian Vodka, Cocktails, Hand Crafted, Micro Distillery, Single Malt, Small Batch, Still Waters Distillery, Vodka, Vodka 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 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 December 19, 2012
I am not sure how many of you remember my previous posting Revealing Some Magic: The Oldest Bowmore Ever; however, I am pleased to pass on the following press release:
Bowmore® Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky Announces
The No. 1 Bottle of BOWMORE 1957 – 54 YEARS OLD
Has Sold For £100,000
Islay, Scotland (December 19, 2012) – Bowmore®, the first Islay Single Malt whisky, is delighted to announce that the No. 1 bottle of its oldest ever expression, the exceptionally rare Bowmore 1957, 54 Years Old has been sold for £100,000 (approximately $160,000) at the Bowmore Distillery on Islay. This bottle is not only the oldest whisky the distillery has ever released, it is also the oldest Islay Single Malt ever released. As promised by Morrison Bowmore Distillers, owners of Bowmore, all the net proceeds will be donated to five Scottish charities. The owner, a resident of the United States, would like to remain anonymous.
Distilled in 1957 and bottled in 2011, this 54-year-old marvel has been maturing in the finest oak in Bowmore’s legendary No. 1 Vaults, the oldest maturation warehouse in Scotland. Only 12 bottles exist in the world, two of which are kept in the Morrison Bowmore archives and nine now remain for sale at the Bowmore Distillery.
Bottle No. 1’s profit will be donated to five Scottish charities that encompass a variety of worthy causes: Alzheimer Scotland (care for people with dementia, their caregivers and families); The Beatson Oncology Centre (care for cancer patients receiving treatment in the west of Scotland); Chas (children’s hospice services); Erskine (medical care for Armed Forces); and Marie Curie Cancer Care (cancer care and research).
Says Mike Keiller, Morrison Bowmore Distillers Chief Executive Officer,
“We are delighted to have sold bottle No. 1 of our Bowmore 1957 just before Christmas allowing us to keep our promise to donate all the net proceeds to charity as our gift to those in need in Scotland.”
A collection of 1957 casks were bottled in 1995 but one in particular was held back because it was more exceptional than the rest. Since 1995, the whisky in that cask has been examined every six months to check the quality, the taste, the developments and changes the spirit was taking on its aging voyage. In 2011 it was determined that the liquid had reached its potential and was bottled.
According to information sent to me the five Charities will each receive £11,000 for Christmas from this sale!
Now that’s a nice Merry Christmas Story!
Posted in Fund Raisers, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: Bowmore 1957, Charity Fundraiser, Morrison Bowmore, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 3, 2011
The Bowmore Distillery is the oldest of the Islay Distilleries in Scotland, (and it is one of the oldest distilleries in all of Scotland). It sits at the edge of the sea on the craggy coastline of the Hebridean Island, and has sat there since 1779. This location close to the sea and of course close to the rich Islay peat has been linked to the distinctive floral and smoky character of the Bowmore Whisky. This character is a result of rich peat flavours being absorbed by the barley as it dries under the peated fire of the malt drying kiln, and of the whisky aging in the famous Bowmore seaside vaults (which are below sea-level) as the briny seaside air is allowed to mingle with the oak aging casks.
The Bowmore Darkest 15 Year Old Single Malt Whisky is part of the core range of Bowmore Single Malts. This whisky is matured in American Bourbon Casks and then ‘finished’ for 3 more years in 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 Whiskies for review here on my website. My review of the Bowmore Darkest 15 Year Old is the second review in the series.
Here is an excerpt from the review:
“…As the glass breathes, scents of charred caramel build as do the individual aromas of oak and peat. I sense a bit of boggy willow thicket and a little bit of muddy creek bottom in the glass as well. The dried fruit and chocolate from the sherry cask continue to pour out of the nose enveloping the other scents, and the overall effect is quite nice…”
You may read the full review here:
Please enjoy the Review!
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Bowmore Whisky, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 5, 2010
Grown on The Macallan Estate (and by special contract off of it) is The Macallan’s own special strain of barley known as Minstrel Barley. This barley is used exclusively by The Macallan Distillery to serve as a proportion of the barley mash from which their whisky is distilled. But, it is not only the barley which makes their whisky unique. The Macallan Distillery also uses special “curiously small” copper stills to distill their whisky. The smaller stills are specially made, and their unique shape in conjunction with their copper construction helps to act as a catalyst to enhance the formation of sweeter esters while at the same time minimizing impurities in the distillation.
However, that is not enough care and attention for this particular distillery. The distillation is carefully monitored and The Macallan whisky will be made from only 16 % of the resulting spirit. This is amongst the smallest percentages of distillation utilization in all of Scottish Whisky. Only the best of the distillation is selected to fill The Macallan Casks. And still, that does not satisfy their desire for ensuring The Macallan is the best possible whisky.
Aging Barrels in The Macallan Warehouse (Photo Courtesy L.J. Wheelock)
The oak casks which age the whisky have been selected from refill Sherry casks originating in Jerez Spain where they have previously held aged sherry for two years. Only these particular seasoned casks (which must be transported 2000 miles to The Macallan Estate) are considered sufficient to mature The Macallan Sherry Cask Whisky into a rich, complex spirit full of aroma and flavour.
The Macallan Website expands upon this information, and if you are curious I suggest you follow the link I have provided and take a look around. It is definitely one of the nicest and most comprehensive distillery websites I have visited.
But on to the business at hand, recently, I was given a bottle of the Macallan Cask Strength (Sherry Cask) Single Malt Whisky by Leslie J. Wheelock, the Scotch Brand Ambassador for The Macallan, Highland Park, and Famous Grouse whiskies. His hope was for an unbiased review of the whisky on my website, and it is time to begin.
Here is an excerpt from the review:
“…The whisky delivers a wallop of over-proof alcohol goodness and smokey sherry flavours as it enters the mouth. There is an almost leathery flavour and consistency which makes the whisky seem almost chewable. Spicy oak, dried fruit, cherries, and little pockets of cinnamon Danish cascade through the palate…”
You may read the full review here:
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Cocktails and Recipes, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt, The Macallan, Whisky, Whisky Review | 3 Comments »