Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 29, 2014
Last, year Highwood Distillers was severely impacted by a massive flash flood which devastated Southern Alberta on June 20th, 2013. The folks working at the distillery had only minutes of warning before the flood hit, and the severity of the event was such that some distillery staff had to be rescued from the tops of their cars by helicopter. If you followed the news regarding the aftermath of the flood (see my story here) you will know that it took more than a few weeks for the company to bring itself back onto its feet. Fortunately for those of us who love Canadian whisky, the distillery picked up the pieces and literally came roaring back to life. In fact, this past Christmas when my tasting panel and I blind-tasted and judged over 45 of the best Canadian Whiskies, Highwood Distillers placed more bottlings in the top 25 than any other Canadian Distillery (see the Top 25 list here).
This should not be considered a recent success, as Highwood has for years now been producing some of the most unique (and under-appreciated) whisky in Canada. In fact, in 2010, they broke new ground, (and a few sales records too), when they introduced their premium clear cocktail whisky, White Owl Whisky (see review here). To say this product was s success is a vast understatement, as the only problem that surfaced with respect to the White Owl Whisky was that Highwood could not make it fast enough to satisfy the demand across Canada. In 2012, the distillery extended the White Owl brand with White Owl Spiced Whisky (see review here), and this year they extended the brand once more with their White Owl Ginger Lime Whisky. Like the previous spirits which have carried the White Owl brand, this is a cocktail whisky carrying at its heart, Highwood’s famous clear White Owl Whisky, but in this case, it is enhanced with zesty lime and ginger flavours.
You may read my full review of the White Owl Ginger and Lime Whisky here:
“… when you bring the glass to your nose you cannot mistake the mild butterscotch, sandalwood and rye notes which rise into the breezes telling you that the base of this flavoured spirit is a gentle rye whisky. As the glass breathes, spicy notes of ginger begin to increase in strength, and building with them is the unmistakable zesty, but retrained note of lime and citrus peel …”
This is a cocktail whisky, and so of course I had to try a few mixed drink recipes during the review process. At the conclusion of the review I decided to feature a recipe of my creation, Cucumber Delight.
Please enjoy the review and the cocktail recipe provided. :)
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Flavoured Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Canadian Whisky Re, Cocktails, Cucumber Delight, Ginger and lime, Highwood Distillers, Rye Whisky, White Owl Whisky | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 23, 2014
The Last Mountain Distillery is part of a small wave of Micro-Distillers which have began to appear on the Canadian landscape over the last few years. These are small ‘mom and pop’ operations which make their spirits in small batches usually only a barrel or two at a time. This particular distillery is located in Lumsden, Saskatchewan, and it is owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Colin and Meredith Schmidt.
In the early stages of the development of their rye whisky I was sent a sample bottle and asked to publish my thoughts here on my website, (see article here). It is almost 2 years later, and I am happy to report that the Last Mountain Canadian Rye Whisky (bottled at 40 % abv. and made from prairie wheat) is in full production.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… The dusty dry rye continues to pour out of the glass with smells of freshly baled straw, sanded oak, sandalwood and fresh tobacco running alongside. Joining are sweeter accents of butterscotch and honey. As the glass sits some fruity aromas develop as well with canned apricots and peaches, a few raisins and a hint of gooseberry jam bringing more sweetness to the nose …”
Please enjoy the review which includes a few nice cocktail recipes for your enjoyment, the Icy Breeze, and a nice Rye and Soda!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Icy Breeze, Last Mountain Distillery, Rye and Soda, Rye Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 19, 2013
Pendleton Whisky is named to honour The Pendleton Round-up, a rodeo in Pendleton Oregon, and in fact, Pendleton Whisky sponsors numerous other rodeos, including the aforementioned the Pendleton Round-Up, the Cheyenne Frontier Days, and the Walla Walla Frontier Days.
Their premium whisky, Pendleton 1910 Canadian Whisky, is definitely a spirit with a western flair. It is crafted from a 100 % rye blend, distilled and oak-aged in Canada for 12 years. After the spirit is fully matured, it is transported to Oregon in bulk where it is brought to bottling proof by Hood River Distillers using the glacial fed waters from Mt. Hood.
Note: I was able to confirm that the whisky is distilled by Alberta Distillers Limited (ADL) in Calgary, Alberta. ADL is the largest distiller of rye whisky in the world.
The folks down at Hood River are onto something good as their 12-year-old 100 % rye whisky checks into my Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown in the Number 7 position. Here is a link to my September 2012 Review:
“… The Pendleton 1910 is sweet and spicy. It displays sweet honey and butterscotch complimented beautifully by a spicy oak and rye presence. I taste real cereal grain in the glass, mostly rye grain, but also hints of sweeter corn. Fresh tobacco, sandalwood, cardamom and ginger add to the spicy rye flavour. A delicate dusting of cinnamon heats up the palate further while the honey, maple and butterscotch continue to provide just the right amount of sweetness …”
Pendleton 1910 reminds me of why I love rye whisky! The combination of spicy rye and sweet butterscotch is just about perfect.
Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here: The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies
Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: 1910, Canadian Whisky, Pendleton Whisky, Rum Howler Awards, Rye Whisky, Top 25 Canadian Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 3, 2013
I consider the Highwood Distillery to be a rather unique whisky producer making a style of Canadian Whisky unlike anything else on the Canadian Whisky landscape. What is so original about the Highwood Whisky is the grain from which it is distilled. Highwood is the only distillery which uses local Canadian prairie wheat for the distillation base of all of their Highwood branded whisky. They do this because wheat alcohol, rather than barley or corn alcohol, has less heavy, non-digestible components which makes for an extremely easy drinking spirit. As well, rather than distilling their grain upon a large column still (as most Canadian Whisky is produced) they make all of their whisky upon a pot still one batch at a time.
I have been a rather vocal proponent of their style of whisky ever since I first tasted it. Highwood Whisky is suave, mellow and full of delicious, delicate flavour nuances. What a pleasant surprise it was to find that my Rum Chums liked the distillery’s flagship whisky more than I did. The result of all of this love, is that Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky landed at the number 23 spot on my Canadian Whisky Countdown.
Here is a link to my recent September review:
“… 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, but a little rough and tumble too, as the wood spices liven the mouth-feel and take me back in time to when rye was the King of Canadian Spirits …”
For those who are value conscious, I should make the point that this whisky is probably the most affordable spirit in the entire countdown, a hidden gem in the foothills of the Rockies!
Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here: The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies
Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Highwood Distillery, Highwood Whisky, Rum Howler Awards, Rye Whisky, Top 25 Canadian Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 22, 2013
Lot No. 40 (Single Copper Pot Still) Canadian Whisky was first released in the 1990′s as an upscale connoisseur’s whisky for the North American market. Alas, timing is everything, and the whisky never really caught on, as apparently the market wasn’t quite ready for such a new style of Canadian Whisky back then. However, with the new surge of interest in Canadian Whisky across North America (and in particular at the premium end of the market), Corby (the owner of the Wiser’s Brand), is optimistic that the time for this whisky has finally arrived.
Lot No. 40 is, make no mistake about it, a new style of Canadian Whisky. It is made with locally grown rye which has been distilled upon a single 12,000-litre copper pot still. The final whisky is aged in new oak barrels to showcase the creamy caramelized flavours which new freshly charred oak barrels bring.
Dr. Livermore, the current Master Blender at the Hiram Walker Distillery, elaborated on the whisky for me:
“Without getting into specific recipes, Lot 40 is comprised of 100% of our (Hiram Walker) rye whisky. This whisky was made via pot distillation and subsequently aged in new casks. There is a proprietary proportion of distillers malt(s) used in the brewing process that allows for conversion of the rye grains into fermentable sugars. The brewing process is made in small batches according to the traditional recipes dating back to the early 1900s.”
You may read my review of this new Canadian Whisky by clicking the following excerpt from the review:
“… The initial nose is filled with the scents and smells of honeycomb, freshly harvested rye, and freshly cut oak and cedar planks which are still seeping bits of sap from the wood grain. Caramel toffee and green tobacco, and even more fresh rye climbs up out of the glass into the breezes …”
Please enjoy my review of this exceptional Whisky!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Corby, Hiram Walker, Lot 40, Rye Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review, Wiser's Whisky | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 5, 2012
Alberta Premium is the flagship whisky of Alberta Distillers Limited (ADL). The whisky is one of the few 100 % rye grain whiskies in the world. In fact, according to Davin de Kergommeaux, of Canadian Whisky, ADL produces more 100% rye whisky than every other distillery in North America combined! This makes the people at ADL, perhaps the world’s most renowned experts on rye whisky.
This also means that Alberta Premium, the flagship whisky from the distillery renowned for its rye whisky, must be pretty good. And in fact, Jim Murray, one of the world’s most renowned whisky critics, not only thinks this whisky is good, he thinks it is great! For years he has extolled the virtues of the Alberta Premium in his Whisky Bible even naming it the best Canadian Whisky in 2006, 2007, and 2009. (The year that is missing, 2008 was the year that Alberta Premium 25 Year Old won the award.)
Of course this is my website, and although I respect the opinions of others, it is my opinion that is presented. And for my opinion, you must follow the link to my review:
Here is an excerpt:
“…The initial nose from the glass is of a fruit-filled rye with very obvious notes of vanilla. There is a presence of oak and a touch of citrus zest in the background. As the whisky decants the fruit gains momentum as does the oak, and I also begin to sense a light touch of almond in the breezes….”
The full review my be read here:
Please enjoy the review, and remember that the aim of my website is to help you choose better spirits, not to help you drink more spirits!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: Alberta Premium Whisky, Canadian Whisky, Rye Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 12, 2011
I began to hear the whispers of a rumour about six months ago. Persons close to Alberta Distillers would casually mention, ” Alberta Premium 30 Year Old”, and then they would clam up and tell me they were speaking off the record.
Well, it’s not a rumour anymore, the Alberta Premium 30 Year Old Limited Edition Rye Whisky has been released in Alberta, and it is literally flying off the shelves. (I know because I had to scramble to find a couple of bottles.) The rye whisky was produced in Calgary, Alberta by Alberta Distillers Limited (ADL) who is one of the few remaining producers of 1oo % Rye Grain Whisky in North America (if not the world). Distilled from carefully selected Canadian rye grain over thirty years ago, and then aged in charred white oak barrels this whisky is possibly the oldest production 100 % rye grain whisky ever produced in Canada.
If you have read my past reviews of Canadian Whisky, you know that Alberta Premium 25 Year Old Limited Edition Rye Whisky, is one of the best whiskies I have ever tasted. In fact I believe that the Alberta Premium 25-year-old is one of the purest expressions of Canadian Rye Whisky ever produced. Sadly that 25-year-old expression is long gone from the store shelves….
But happily, it’s older brother has arrived!
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“…When I took my first sip my initial reaction was … wow! I was greeted with a wonderful mellow rye accented by caramel oak syrup! I have tasted so many aged spirits where the oak turns to bitter sap and smothers the other flavours, but not here. Instead the oak has melted into the rye creating a subdued, sweet and spicy elixir that has my mouth begging for another sip….”
You may read the full review here:
Please enjoy my review, cheers!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Alberta Premium Whisky, Canadian Whisky, Rye Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | 2 Comments »