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Review: Hennessy Very Special Cognac

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 14, 2015

Hennessy V.S.Hennessy Cognac is produced from the fruity Ugni Blanc grape picked from one of the four great crus of the Cognac region (Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies and Fins Bois). The grape wine produced from the Ugni Blanc harvest is (of course) double distilled upon Hennessy’s own copper Charentes Stills, and then selected eaux-de-vie is set down to age for several years in french oak casks which have constructed from old growth oak timbers.

In 1865, Maurice Hennessy, the great-grandson of the original founder, devised a cognac classification system based upon varying numbers of stars which defined the quality of the bottled spirit. Again the classification devised by Hennessy was later adopted by the entire industry. Today, Hennessy’s Three Star Cognac, is now known as Hennessy Very Special (VS).

Blood Orange Bitters SAM_1369

Blood Orange Bitters

You may read my full review here:

Review: Hennessy Very Special Cognac

” … I allowed the glass to breath for a few minutes and was pleased by the melding of aromas that resulted. The oak, the caramel toffee and the fruit all coexist harmoniously with no particular element outshining any other. I notice some new smells of rich vanilla and honeycomb rising into the air; as well, some nutty smells of almond and walnut are wafting in the breezes as well …”

I hope you enjoy this review which concludes with a very nice cocktail which I found on the Jas Hennessy & Co. website, Blood Orange Bitters. It is as tasty as it sounds!

Posted in Brandy and Cognac, Cognac Review | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Angostura 1919 Aged Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 12, 2015

Angostura 1919 Orange Daiquiri SAM_1469

Angostura 1919 Orange Daiquiri

In 1973, the House of Angostura bought Fernandes Distillers Ltd, adding the accumulated expertise of that Trinidadian distilling company to their own. According to the Angostura website, their Angostura 1919 Aged Rum pays homage to a particular rum produced in the 1930s by the master blender of Fernandes Distillers, J.B. Fernandes. (In fact, that rum produced by Fernandes Distillers is now considered to be of historical significance to those who study the development of rum in Trinidad and Tobago as well as the rest of the Caribbean.)

This historic rum was the result of a fire which consumed the Government Rum Bond in 1932. Mr. Fernandes purchased the remaining charred casks (which still contained rum) and discovered that they had been filled in the year 1919. The purchased rum was blended and became known as “1919 Aged Rum”. This 1919 aged rum became so highly regarded, that the House of Angostura chose to keep its memory alive with their own Angostura 1919 Aged Rum.

My sample bottle for this review was provided to my by the Bacchus Group who distribute the Angostura spirit throughout Western Canada.

Alpaco

Varlhona Noir Alpaco

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Angostura 1919 Aged Rum

” … Oak spice underlain by dry grassy tobacco leads out upon the palate with impressions of butterscotch and orange peel zest quickly following in their wake. If you allow the rum to breathe in your glass for about ten minutes a dry grassy mustiness is revealed with indications of herbal menthol and dried flowers  …”

Please enjoy my review which includes my suggested cocktail, the Angostura 1919 Orange Daiquiri, which I found uses the spicy orange peel spiciness found within the Angostura 1919 Rum to great effect. I also included an indulgent chocolate pairing, Varlhona Noir Alpaco, which is a pure Dark Chocolate from Ecuador. (Read the review to learn more.)

Cheers Everyone!

 

Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Review: Poliakov Peach Flavoured Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 10, 2015

Poliakov Peach Tonic SAM_1414In late November, I received an email from the Export Marketing Assistant for the independent French spirits group, La Martiniquaise. He was writing to me from Farnace to see if I would be interested in sampling some of the revamped new flavoured range of Poliakov Vodka. For those unfamiliar with the brand, Poliakov is an international Millionaire brand with sales in over 50 countries. It is today one of the Top 20 international Vodka brands. The owner of the brand, La Martiniquaise is an independent French group founded in 1934. They are currently the second-largest spirits group in France, and owners of 4 other Millionaire brands, LABEL 5 and SIR EDWARD’S (Scotch Whisky), POLIAKOV (Vodka) and NEGRITA (Rum).

As it was explained to me in his email, Poliakov is attempting to bypass the prevailing “flavour fatigue”  which they feel reigns within the flavoured vodka category, and rather than conjuring up new exotic flavours which are probably unfamiliar to their customers, the revamped Poliakov range focuses on ‘within-reach flavours’ which are familiar to their customers.

I agreed to taste some of the Poliakov flavoured range, and William arranged for me to receive three flavours, Poliakov Vanilla, Peach and Lemon Flavoured Vodkas.

Here is a link to the review for Poliakov Peach Flavoured Vodka:

Review:  Poliakov Peach Flavoured Vodka

“… What I do sense very clearly in the air above the glass is a wonderful aroma which matches the scent of a freshly sliced fully ripe peach. The aroma seems clean and pure with no distraction. My mouth actually began to water slightly as I sniffed at the breezes above my glass …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a very refreshing recipe, Poliakov “Kool Tonic”. Cheers!

Posted in Flavoured Vodka, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Crown Royal Limited Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 8, 2015

Crown Royal Limited SAM_1436Crown Royal Canadian Whisky is currently produced in Gimli, Manitoba, at the Crown Royal Distillery. The distillery and the brand are owned by the spirits conglomerate, Diageo, and I think it is fair to say that Crown Royal is Diageo’s flagship Canadian Whisky brand. Several years ago Crown Royal Limited was introduced as an addition to the Crown Royal family of whiskies. This Crown Royal is apparently blended from a selected group of batch distilled whiskies and bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume to provide a more premium alternative to the flagship brand Crown Royal Deluxe.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Crown Royal Limited Canadian Whisky

“… As the glass sat the rye spices seemed to build up filling the air with scents of ginger and coriander as well as some dusty dry scents of fresh grain and chaff. A bit of sweet punky corn began to assert itself making it known that this was indeed a Crown Royal brand, although I should add that these punky corn scents were quite muted as compared to the original CR Whisky …”

My review concludes with a new cocktail loosely based upon the 1878 Brandy Crusta as formulated by Leo Engels. My recipe is a more modern version and is of course designed for Canadian Whisky rather than Brandy. I call my recipe, the Resplendent Iced Cocktail.

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Rum Nation Jamaica White Pot Still Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 5, 2015

Pot Still Cocktail SAM_1447

Jamaican Pot Still Cocktail

Rum Nation has been delighting me over the past few years with their fresh approach to the spirit we enjoy as rum. Fabio Rossi, who owns and manages the company, purchases select rums from various distillers in the Caribbean and the Americas, and provides a rather unique assortment of rare limited edition rum bottlings to both the European, and the North American market. Up until recently, all of Fabio’s rums have been well aged wonders. Some are aged solely in their country of origin where tropical aging increases the rate of interaction between the oak and the wood, and some have also seen a second period of aging in Europe where the more moderate climate allows for a more delicate interaction and additionally refines the spirit in a more subtle way. Sampling these well aged marvels has given me a greater appreciation of how both the dimensions of time and location affect the outcomes of maturity and taste with respect to aged spirits.

Last year, Fabio went in a different direction entirely with his Rum Nation Jamaica White Pot Still Rum. In the case of this spirit, the dimensions of time and location with respect to maturity are rendered irrelevant. Instead, the dimension Fabio chose to explore within this rum monster was flavour, as this new rum revels in its brutish, unaged, concentrated (bottled at 57 % alcohol) Jamaican pot still flavour (and it is anything but smooth and refined).

TAINORI

Valrhona Tainori Chocolate

This is a new direction for white rum, and you may read my full review by clicking on the following link:

Review: Rum Nation Jamaica White Pot Still Rum

“… When I took my first cautious sniff from the glass, I was struck by the depth and the intensity of the bouquet. This rum will not be for those who fear adventure in their glass. There is an omnipresent resin-like aroma similar to model airplane glue which dominates the breezes above the glass along with a grassy (chlorophyll like) scent which rides at the edges of that resin …”

Please enjoy my review which includes not only a cocktail suggestion, the Jamaican Pot Still Cocktail, but also contains my suggested chocolate pairing an intense bittersweet Dominican Cacao chocolate, Varlhona Tainori.

Posted in Overproof Rum, Rum, Rum Reviews, White Rums | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Review: Citadelle Reserve Gin (2013 Edition)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 3, 2015

Citadelle 2013 SAM_1363While most gins are not matured in oak casks, Citadelle Reserve (2013 Edition) Gin is not only aged in small oak casks, it is the first gin to be aged using a solera style maturation. According to the information provided on the Citadelle Gin website:

“The Solera aging method used for Citadelle is a very intensive process of putting Citadelle into different type casks for a anywhere from 2 to 5 months and will include American oak cask (to impart a touch of vanilla sweetness) and casks that once held Pineau de Charente (for a full-bodied, flowery roundness) and also Brandy (which imparts elegance). Once the gin has spent some time in casks, a portion of the gin from each cask will be moved into a large vat for blending, and new gin will be added to the remaining gin in the cask. Again, after aging for a specified period, the process of taking some of the aged gin out to be blended and adding new to the casks starts all over again.”

I was given a bottle of the 2013 Citadelle Reserve Gin directly from River Valley Beverages (the distributor for Cognac Ferrand spirits here in Alberta) for the purpose of a review here on my website.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Citadelle Reserve Gin (2013 Edition)

“… The 2013 Citadelle Reserve Gin has a lightly sweet and moderately spicy flavour profile with dominant flavours of juniper, oak, coriander, cardamom, and lemony citrus zest forming its backbone. Although the gin has a moderate but firm spiciness, it is nevertheless easy to sip (especially with an added ice-cube) …”

The 2013 Edition of Citadelle Reserve Gin is a spectacular gin! It is marvelously complex, and the oak forward spiciness is extremely appealing set beside the juniper forward flavour profile. The moderate spiciness within the gin which gives me an impression of robust masculinity; however there is more than enough other nuances of flavour found within which make the gin extremely interesting to sip.

Cheers Everyone!

Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Absolut Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 1, 2015

Absolut Daiquiri SAM_1450

Absolut Daiquiri

According to the Absolut website, Lars Olsson Smith introduced the process known as continuous distillation (with respect to producing vodka) in 1879. Using his continuous still, he produced what he called Absolut Rent Brännvin (Absolute Pure Vodka). His claim of purity was based upon the theory that during the  process of continuous distillation a potion of the distillate constantly recycles in the still, and (if the still was allowed to function indefinitely) this small portion would be continuously distilled an infinite number of times.

Note: It doesn’t quite work like that as the portion which recycles grows smaller and smaller over time such that the idea that the distillate is continuously distilled infinitum was a rather dubious statement at best.

In 1979, Lars Olsson’s brand Absolut Rent Brännvin was relaunched in New York City as Absolut. The vodka brand is produced near Åhus, Sweden which is the town in which Lars Olsen Smith was born. The vodka is produced from locally grown wheat and apparently does not contain any added sugar or artificial ingredients.

You may read my full review of Absolute Vodka by clicking the following link:

Review: Absolut Vodka

“… As we each tested the aroma above our glasses a common report from my guests was that the Absolut was very clean when it was cold: However, we all noted that the aroma changed significantly as the spirit’s temperature increased during the tasting. At first we noticed light grainy spice in the air above the glass, with hints of lemon balsam. This hint of lemon grew stronger as the vodka warmed …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a nice cocktail suggestion, the Vodka Daiquiri!

Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: El Dorado Superior Dark Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 29, 2015

El Dorado Dark Rum Punch SAM_1443The El Dorado Dark Rum is part of Demerara Distillers‘ superior range of El Dorado rums which also includes the Superior White Rum, and the Superior Gold Rum. These are the youngest rums in the El Dorado Range and each would be aged up to two years in American Oak barrels before being blended and bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume. The Eldorado Dark rum is a traditional Dark Rum. This style of rum achieves a portion of its flavour, aroma, and colour from whatever special ingredients (caramel, molasses, et cetera) are added to the blend prior to bottling. Dark rums remain very popular throughout the world because of the full rich flavour profile which is their trademark characteristic.

El Dorado Dark Rum is distributed in Alberta & British Columbia by Wine Matters and More Distribution.

You may read my full review here:

Review: El Dorado Superior Dark Rum

“… The initial breezes above the glass are full of molasses and candied caramel. As well, some dark liquorice, bits of cinnamon and a hint of cloves all taint the air above the glass with their presence. There is a healthy dose of vanilla and perhaps some indications of dark fruit such as raisins and dates. Allowing the rum time to breathe reveals some nice accents of dark cocoa and espresso coffee scents …”

Please enjoy my review which includes my suggested recipe, El Dorado Dark Rum Punch!

Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Casamigos Reposado Tequila

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 27, 2015

Casamigos Reposado and the Valerie Project

Casamigos Reposado and the Valerie Project

Casamigos is a new tequila brand promoted by George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman. According to the website information this is an ultra premium tequila made in a small batch process from ‘hand-selected 100% Blue Weber agaves, grown in the rich red clay and cool climate of the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico‘.

As a Highland Tequila, we can expect Casamigos to exhibit strong fruity citrus notes and to have a little hot pepper in the delivery and in the finish. (This is as opposed to lowland tequila which has stronger earthier flavours of agave and less hot pepper.)

I was provided a sample bottle by the Alberta distributors Charton Hobbes, who have brought both the Casamigos Blanco and the Casamigos Reposado into my home Province.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Casamigos Reposado Tequila

“… The initial entry is a little soft and buttery with a stronger impression of caramel sweetness than the nose implied. Milk chocolate and a little bit of sea salt seem to ooze from the caramel making this a very interesting tequila to sip. Of course we also taste that squeal of highland white pepper, but the spiciness does not translate into burn across the palate …”

Although Casamigos Reposado is a very nice sipper it also works very well as a high-end mixer, and my review includes a new Margarita style cocktail, the Valerie Project.

Enjoy my review, and my cocktail!

Posted in Reposado Tequila, Tequila, Tequila Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Review: Canadian Club Small Batch Sherry Cask

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 25, 2015

Sherry cask Port Manhattan SAM_1428Recently there have been some changes in the Canadian Club family. One of the brands which has undergone a revamping is the Canadian Club Sherry Cask which has been replaced by the Canadian Club Small Batch Sherry Cask. The newer version of the whisky has a new bottle and the two words, “Small Batch” have been added to the label. My understanding is the whisky is made from the familiar Canadian Club “blended at birth“  recipe of corn, rye, rye malt and barley spirits. The spirits from these grains are blended before entering the white oak barrel, and then set down for six to eight years to age. The matured whisky is then recasked for an additional finishing period  in Sherry Casks from Jerez Spain.

The second maturation allows the whisky to acquire some of the characteristics of the sherry (similar to sherry cask matured scotches); but this second maturation is of a much shorter time period which ensures that the core Canadian Club spirit remains the centerpiece of the whisky. When the Canadian Club Sherry Cask is bottled, it is done so at 41.3% alcohol by volume, just a hair over the regular 40 % strength of the rest of their line-up.

You may click on the following link to read my full review:

Review: Canadian Club Small Batch Sherry Cask

“… The initial aroma brings dark fruit (raisins and dates) and red licorice (Turkish delight) with fine wood spices running alongside which feature a smattering of ginger, white pepper and cardamom. As the glass sits, some rich tobacco builds up as does hints of orange marmalade, and rich baking spices (vanilla, dark brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and a hint of cloves) …”

Please enjoy the review and if you happen to have your own bottle already, do try my cocktail suggestion, the Sherry Cask Port Manhattan.

Cheers!

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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