Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 5, 2013
Forty Creek Whisky has for the last number of years produced a special limited release whisky and allowed the public to participate in the release by offering to let you choose your own numbered bottle. As well you can have your bottle signed by their own Master Distiller and Whisky Maker, John Hall, when you arrive to pick up your pre-ordered bottles. These special release whiskies are built upon the foundation of the company’s flagship whisky, Forty Creek Barrel Select, and are basically versions of this whisky which have spent additional time finishing in selected oak barrels. The 2013 Special Limited Release Canadian Whisky, Heart of Gold, is a spirit with an emphasis on Canadian rye grain.
According to Whisky Maker, John Hall:
“This project started nearly a decade ago, focusing specifically on Canada’s noble rye grain. I have always brought out the spicy, fruity notes of rye in my whiskies, but this time, I wanted to perfect how to capture the underlying delicate floral notes of the rye that too often get lost in the process.“
Heart of Gold is not a 100 % rye grain whisky, as the whisky blend also includes a barley whisky, which adds some nutty flavours, and a corn whisky, which adds weight and body. But make no mistake about it, the intent of John Hall in creating this whisky is to showcase the spicy, fruity and floral notes of Canadian Rye.
I was given a pre-release media sample a few months ago and from that small sample I constructed a review of the spirit which roughly coincided with the numbered bottle offering upon the Forty Creek website. At that time the whisky was just being bottled, but as is John Hall’s way, these bottles are ‘rested’ for up to two months before the whisky is released to the public. Now that the whisky has been released I have had an opportunity to sample the spirit from a full sealed bottle. I decided to revisit the review to see if this resting period had had any effect upon the spirit or my review.
Here is a link to my newly revised review (which incidentally contains very few changes):
“… The breezes above the glass are full of wood spices (cardamom, ginger, sandalwood, sawdust and white pepper), and those breezes remind me of autumns past when the ripened grain in the fields was being combined …”
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Forty Creek Whisky, Heart of Gold, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 26, 2013
The Still Waters Distillery proudly proclaim themselves to be the first Micro Distillery in the Province of Ontario. Barry Bernstein and Barry Stein commenced operations in the fall of 2009 and produced their first new-make spirit just two months after they received their custom German-made pot still. The year is now 2013, and this means that the Still Water’s Distillery, being in its fourth year of operation, is just now bottling their first batches of their own 100 % Hand-Crafted whisky which they have aged the required 3 years in oak barrels.
In the case of the Still Water’s Single Malt Whisky, the distillery has chosen to bottle each of the first barrels of whisky as Single Cask offerings. I was rather fortunate in that I received my sample of the Stalk and Barrel Single Malt Whisky from the very first cask (Cask 1) to produce Single Malt whisky at the Still Waters Distillery. This cask was a previously used American bourbon barrel, and the whisky it produced was bottled at 63.2 % alcohol by volume. This is a 3 Year Old Canadian Single Malt whisky, the youngest allowed by Canadian law.
You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt:
“… the initial aroma reminded me strongly of the 100 % corn whisky blends from the Highwood Distillery in Western Canada. The first breezes above the glass carried scents of sweet butterscotch bathed in corn syrup with tantalizing oak spices and almond scents meandering within …”
Enjoy my review of this surprisingly good 3 Year Old, Canadian Single Malt Whisky!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Micro Distillery, Single Malt Whisky, Stalk and Barrel, Still Waters Distillery, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 10, 2013
The Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old is a Canadian Whisky which I have only tasted twice, and each time, it was in a blind tasting flight that contained over 45 other Canadian Whiskies. Of course this was when I served on the jury for the 2012 Canadian Whisky Awards. I made simple tasting notes for every whisky I tasted when I ran through the tasting flight the first time, and then I returned to those notes revising and adding to them when I went through the flight a second time. Each time I visited each whisky, all I knew about the spirit was its sample number. The samples were only 50ml in size, so I had to be judicious each time I tasted each sample such that my notes and my scores were accurate reflections of my feeling towards each of the whiskies.
The Fountana Group Canada is the brand owner, and it turns out the whisky is produced by Highwood Distillers right here in my home Province of Alberta. The Fountana Group contracted Highwood to produce a well aged whisky for export to Asia (where it apparently has been well received). I should point out that the whisky was also well received by the other jurors on that panel for the Canadian Whisky Awards as this brand won the prestigious Connoisseur Whisky of the Year for the Export Market at those 2012 Canadian Whisky Awards.
As I am unlikely to receive a bottled sample of this whisky, my review is based solely upon those brief tasting notes I wrote while I was acting as a whisky judge. I guess my hope is that the brand owner (and the folks at Highwood Distillery) might read the review, and figure out that maybe Canada deserves this Whisky too.
You may read my review of this outstanding Canadian Whisky by clicking the following link:
Please enjoy the review!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Rockies Whisky, Canadian Whisky, Highwood Distillers, Whisky, Whisky Review | 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 September 3, 2013
As the Highwood Distillery readies itself to recommence production at their facilities in High River, Alberta in the aftermath of the June 20th, 2013 flash flood. I thought it would be an appropriate time to revisit their flagship spirit, Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky. The Highwood Distillery is the only locally (Albertan) owned distillery in Canada. It sits in the heart of the High River community, producing more than 300,000 cases of bottled spirits per year. Although the bulk of their production goes towards Vodka, Flavoured Vodka, and Premixes, they also produce a sizable (and growing) amount of Canadian Whisky each year.
I consider the Highwood Canadian Whisky to be a unique product unlike anything else on the Canadian whisky landscape (I also find it very tasty). What is so original about the Highwood Whisky is the grain from which it is distilled. Highwood uses local Canadian prairie wheat for the distillation base of all of their Highwood branded whisky. This is because wheat alcohol, rather than barley or corn alcohol, has less heavy non-digestible components. This makes for an extremely smooth easy to drink whisky. After sampling most of the Highwood Whisky range, I have come to the conclusion that they are making some of the smoothest whisky in the world.
Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky is produced from prairie rye and wheat grain in a batch style distillation (the grains are distilled and aged separately). The whisky is aged for at least five years in charred American white oak barrels (without the addition of additives), and when it is mature, it is blended to produce that distinctive Canadian ‘rye’ flavour profile consistent with our Canadian Whisky. The whisky is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
You may read my review by clicking on the following excerpt (link):
“… The first thing I noticed about the Highwood Whisky as I sipped it was that it is a smooth, gentle, and mellow whisky which has the soft sensation in the mouth of a much older whisky. Honeycomb, ginger, wood spice, and a light dab of vanilla all support a wonderfully clean, dusty rye flavour. There is polish in evidence here …”
I included two classic Canadian Whisky cocktails at the end of the review, the Canadian Rye-Whisky Splash, and the Old Fashioned Cocktail.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Canadian Whisky Review, Cocktails, Highwood Whisky, Old Fashioned Cocktail, Whisky, Whisky Review, Whisky Splash | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 27, 2013
I like to go back to my early reviews and re-sample the spirits to see how time and experience has changed my perceptions. (It could also be that the spirit changes over time.) This afternoon I opened a bottle of Corby Royal Reserve Canadian Rye Whisky and sampled it next to my old tasting notes. I decided to make some minor adjustments to my tasting notes, and to my original score.
This is a brand which traces its roots all the way back to a time before confederation, when Henry Corby began to distill whisky on the banks of the Moira River. In 1881, Henry’s son, also Henry (aka Harry), took over, and through the next ten years the Company began to bottle their own brand of whisky and sold it under the name of Corby.
Today Corby Distilleries Ltd. produces a strong portfolio of whisky brands which includes Corby Royal Reserve, Hiram Walker Special Old Rye Whisky, as well as the entire Wiser’s family of whiskies.
You may read my revised review of Corby Royal Reserve Canadian Rye Whisky by clicking on the following excerpt:
“… The aroma is one of oak spices mingled with rye, and an underlying butterscotch and vanilla. There is a touch of roughness in the air which some will find offsetting. I actually like a rye whisky to have some kick, so I am not put off rather I feel anticipation as I lift the glass …”
The review includes a nice recipe at the end, the Woodcutter.
Have a great day!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Corby, Royal Reserve, Whisky Review, Woodcutter | 2 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 20, 2013
Seagram’s has a rich and storied history which can be dated back to 1857 when the Granite Mills and Waterloo Distillery Company was formed. About seven years later, Joseph Seagram joined the company and by 1911 the company was known as Joseph E. Seagram & Sons. Today, over 100 years later, the Seagram name is still in use as a brand, but ownership of this whisky has been passed on to Diageo who now use the aged stocks at their Valleyfield Distillery in Quebec to produce the whisky.
You may read my review of the whisky by clicking on the following excerpt:
“… There are hints of sugary sweetness rising up which remind me of Corn Pops cereal. As well, the air above the glass seems somewhat effervescent with intense sweet and sour citrus zest. The longer the glass sits the more the sugared corn and the sweet and sour citrus zest take over …”
Please enjoy the review!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Diageo, Five Star, Seagram's, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 16, 2013
Spicebox Whisky is based in Montreal, Quebec where they blend and bottle their Spicebox Canadian Spiced Whisky. Their new Spicebox Pumpkin Spiced Whisky was introduced last fall, and if you search enough through the liquor stores here in Alberta you can still find a few bottles hanging around. I really do not know much about this flavoured whisky as Spicebox website hasn’t listed it yet. I believe it is a seasonal product which might return in larger numbers again this fall. The Whisky is bottled at 70 proof or 35 % alcohol by volume and was brought into the Alberta Marketplace by Mondia Alliance Wine and Spirits of Montreal.
You may click on the excerpt to read the full review:
“… Impressions of vanilla, brown sugar and butterscotch are dominant, however bits and dabbles of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and ginger work their way into the breezes as well. These breezes above the glass actually do remind me of the sweet spicy aroma of a freshly baked pumpkin pie, (minus the actual pumpkin of course) …”
I admit this offering surprised me with its tastiness, and I was able to construct a very nice cocktail, the Orange Pumpkin Spice Muddle!
Enjoy my review, and if you happen to own a bottle of the Spicebox Pumpkin Spiced Whisky, do try my cocktail!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Flavoured Whisky, Spiced Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review, Whisky Liqueur | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Flavoured Whiskly, Mondia Alliance, Pumpkin Spiced, Spicebox Spiced Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 8, 2013
Barry Bernstein and Barry Stein own and run the Still Water Distillery, Ontario’s first micro-distillery which they founded in 2009. They not only manage the distillation and the blending of the Still Waters’ products, they also act as the distillery’s Chief Bottle Washers and Bottle Fillers. In fact, there is not a single aspect of their business that they do not either personally oversee or do themselves.
Late last year, Still Waters released the cryptically named Still Waters 1+11 Canadian Whisky, a blend of selected whiskies from other Canadian producers to which they have added up to 10 % of their own Hand-Crafted whisky. I tasted this new whisky last fall when I scored it blind as part of my duties as one of the jurors for the Canadian Whisky Awards. When I later examined my scores and noticed the Still Waters Whisky had done well on my score sheet, I decided to contact the distillery to see if they would be interested in a review.
Happily, they agreed and forwarded me the necessary sample.
You may click on the following excerpt (link) to read the full review:
“… The initial nose brings a lovely dry rye grain to the breezes filled with scents of autumn harvest including the fresh straw and chaff. As the glass breathes, impressions of caramel and corn build with accents of tobacco, sandalwood and oak spice. I notice indications of both zesty citrus fruit (lemon in particular) as well as a touch of fruity sourness with the two nuances playfully dancing together in the light breezes above my glass …”
Please enjoy the review which includes a new cocktail I call the Crow’s Nest.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: 1+11 Canadian Whisky, Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Still Waters Distillery, Whisky, Whisky Review | 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