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Posts Tagged ‘Whisky Review’

Review Crown Royal XO

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 17, 2015

Crown Royal XO bottle 2Last year, (January 16, 2014) Crown Royal® made an addition to its portfolio of Canadian Whiskies (in the USA) with the introduction of Crown Royal XO, which they have promoted as an “ultra-premium blended Canadian whisky”.  The whisky was crafted by Crown Royal Master Blender, Andrew MacKay and according to the fact sheet I was sent, it is a blend of more than 50 of Crown Royal’s finest whiskies which are finished in cognac casks from the French Limousin Forest.

According to Mr. MacKay:

“The ultra-premium nature of Crown Royal XO and the smoothness of the liquid can be attributed to the handcrafted approach we took while creating the unique blend. We’re looking forward to sharing this special blend with adults across the country and encourage them to incorporate it into their celebrations of extraordinary moments and events.”

For those of you familiar with the family of Crown Royal whiskies available in Canada, Crown Royal XO, sounds remarkably similar to the Crown Royal Cask No. 16 (click on the link for my previous review) which according to the Crown Royal (Canadian) website, is also a blend of more than 50 different aged Canadian whiskies which are finished in Cognac casks from the Limousin forest in France.

Here is a link to my full review which includes information regarding how these two blends differ as well as how they compare:

Review: Crown Royal XO

“… The initial aroma from the glass revealed sweet butterscotch and maple rising into the air with a combination of light but firm rye accents and fine wood spices. As the glass sat I began to sense some of that typically punky Crown Royal sweet corn aroma along with a few slightly musty ripe corn cobs alongside some spicy grain. I searched for an indication of the Cognac Cask enhancement and found a few apple scents wandering in the air and some very light indications of dry raisins …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a new cocktail suggestion, Crowning Glory.

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Crown Royal Monarch 75th Anniversary Blend

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 24, 2015

Crown Royal Monarch 75th Anniv Blend_2In 2014, Crown Royal® Master Blender, Andrew MacKay created a limited edition whisky to commemorate the brand’s 75 year anniversary. According to Mr. MacKay:

“Crown Royal was originally created for royalty, crafted over time and the fact that the whisky is still being enjoyed 75 years later is really special to all of us at Crown Royal. We’re excited to share this special limited edition blend with consumers and look forward to celebrating many more years of unmatched whisky.”

Crown Royal Monarch 75th Anniversary Blend is perhaps a little more rye-forward in its approach than previous Crown Royal whiskies. This is because the Monarch is produced from a blend of whiskies which include rye whisky from the distillery’s Coffey rye still. As you will see from the review, the rye from this historic still makes a real impression upon the flavour profile of the Monarch Whisky.

Horse's Neck

Horse’s Neck

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Crown Royal Monarch 75th Anniversary Blend

“… The Crown Royal Monarch is an excellent whisky which features a nice melding of sweet maple and butterscotch flavours within a firm oaky character. Although the whisky features more rye than other Crown Royal Whiskies, the influence I taste is of an earthier stye of rye (almost like sourdough rye bread) which combines very well with the traditional punky corn forward flavour profile of Crown Royal …”

The added rye makes this Crown Royal Whisky a perfect candidate for the traditional tall Canadian Whisky cocktail, Rye and Ginger. which is also known by its more obscure name, a Horse’s Neck.

Please enjoy my review and my suggested cocktail recipe.

 

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Royal Pride Exquisite Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 3, 2015

Black Cove (Royal Pride)Royal Pride Exquisite Whisky is produced by Jagatjit Industries Ltd. who both distill and bottle the blended whisky in the small town of Hamira which is situated in Kapurthala district, India. (Jagatjit Industries was founded in the year 1944 by Mr. L.P. Jaiswal in the erstwhile State of Kapurthala under the patronage of its Maharaja Jagatjit Singh.) In addition to whisky, this company also produces Rum, Gin and Vodka, and is currently the third largest IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liquor) producer on the sub continent.

The Royal Pride is a blend of select Indian grain whiskies and imported (aged) Malt Whiskies from the Highland, the Speyside and the Islay regions of Scotland. The spirit is bottled at 42.8% alcohol by volume, and has been brought to Alberta by Madira Spirits Inc. who requested that I provide an independent review here on my website.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Royal Pride Exquisite Whisky

“… The tasting notes on the side of the box indicated that on the nose I should detect honey & vanilla combined with a balance of smoke, peat and fragrances in the breezes above the glass. I am pleased these tasting notes are accurate. I would add that there is some underlying oak and wood spice drifting into the breezes … “

Please enjoy my review of a whisky from the other side of the globe. I have included a nice cocktail (the Black Cove) which I enjoyed while watching the stars late Sunday evening as the March Lion rose along the eastern rim of the elliptic.

Cheers!

Posted in Indian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | 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: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Crown Royal Limited Canadian Whisky

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: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Canadian Club Small Batch Sherry Cask

The Year in Whisky (2014 Rum Howler Awards)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 10, 2015

It is timeRH-winner2014 for to unveil my Rum Howler Awards with respect to best Whisky I have tasted in 2014. As is the case each year, all of my Rum Howler Awards are based upon side by side tastings within each category of spirit. I taste the spirit neat, and I also mix a few cocktails with each spirit. All spirit samples which I receive to review on my website are automatically considered for my awards. I do my review, and then I set aside the remainder of the spirit for the end of the year judging. I also receive additional industry samples specifically for these awards. My side by side tastings are completed, and it is time for me to reveal the recipients of my 2014 Rum Howler Awards for Excellence in the Production of Whisky.

Here is a link to the Awards Page for the 2014 Rum Howler Award winners for excellence in the production of Whisky:

The 2014 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Whisky

Posted in Awards, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Rum Howler 2014 – Canadian Whisky of the Year: Wiser’s Red Letter (2013 Release)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 24, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Wiser’s Red Letter was re-introduced to Canadians in 2007 to pay homage to the 150th anniversary of John Philip Wiser’s distillery in Prescott, Ontario 1857 – 2007), as well as to the original Red Letter Whisky which Wiser’s produced in the late 1800s. In 2009, when I reviewed the inaugural 150th Adversary Edition (see review here), I was told by my contacts within Corby, that the spirit contained various blends of whisky which (although they ranged in age) were all ten years old or more. After these mature whiskies were blended they were then finished in virgin white oak barrels for 150 days. Once the final characteristic of flavour had been achieved, the Red Letter was bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume (non chill filtered). In developing the spirit, the folks at Wiser’s apparently researched the original J.P Wiser’s Red Letter 19th century recipe using it as a guideline to construct their celebratory whisky.

Red Letter SAM_1386Last year Corby once again in a tribute to their founder J.P Wiser released Wiser’s Red Letter Whisky (2013 Release). As with the 150th Anniversary edition the whisky was finished in virgin white oak casks and then bottled without chill filtering at 45 % abv..

Although it took me a full year to acquire my sample bottle, I am glad that I was persistent, as this year Wiser’s Red Letter Whisky is without a doubt the finest Canadian Whisky I have sampled all year, and well deserving of the accolade, Rum Howler 2014 Canadian Whisky of the Year!

Here is my review for Wiser’s Red Letter (2013 Release):

Rum Howler 2014 #1 Canadian Whisky – Wiser’s Red Letter (2013 Release)

“… I taste a firm presence of sharp wood spices and orange peel, however, this sharpness ( which I am sure is also due to the 90 bottling proof) is contrasted by the silky mouth feel of a luscious corn whisky. Honeycomb and maple flavours slide through the hot spiciness of the whisky, and soon the orange peel tastes more like marmalade, and the fine wood spices more like a nice spicy maple toffee. Underpinning everything is a impression of lovely chocolate flavours which seem to ooze from the whisky as it is swallowed …”

Every year I seem to encounter a whisky gem which knocks me for a loop. The 2013 Red Letter Whisky is full of spice and attitude, yet it has its silky softer side which makes it all the more engaging. A wonderful whisky, one of Canada’s very best ever!

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Note: You may find my full Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Howler 2014 – Canadian Whisky of the Year: Wiser’s Red Letter (2013 Release)

Rum Howler 2014 #2 Canadian Whisky – Wiser’s 18 Year Old (2014 Edition)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 23, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014This year I noticed that Wiser’s had increased its Limited Release production for its 18 Year Old whisky from a total of 3500 cases produced each year to 5600 cases produced. In the past the number of whisky barrels selected to produce each batch rum was relatively small. In fact, according to Hiram Walker Mater Blender, Dr. Don Livermore, the number of casks selected for each bottling of Wiser’s 18 Year Old was in the range of only 15 to 20 ex bourbon casks per batch. With such a small group of barrels to work from, it is inevitable that variations will exist between separate batches.

Wiser's 18 SAM_1401And, I have noted in my previous reviews how this particular whisky seems to be spectacular one year, and then falls to a level of mere excellence in the next. This year, (perhaps because of a greater number of barrels used to produce a larger production rum) the whisky has moved back towards the realm of the spectacular, and the 2014 edition of Wiser’s 18 Years Old Limited Release Canadian Whisky, is number 2 on my Countdown.

Here is my newly written review:

#2 Canadian Whisky – Wiser’s 18 Year Old (2014 Edition)

“… I let the glass sit for several minutes, and when I returned the clean wood and rye spices have not abated; however, alongside the wood spice I sense a growing sweetness of maple and butterscotch toffee. There is some lovely marzipan underneath and given enough time in the glass the orange peel begins to turn to marmalade as the orange peel spice melds into the butterscotch …”

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Howler 2014 #2 Canadian Whisky – Wiser’s 18 Year Old (2014 Edition)

Rum Howler 2014 #3 Canadian Whisky – Crown Royal Cask No. 16

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 22, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Crown Royal® Canadian Whisky was originally introduced in 1939 (by Samuel Bronfman of Seagrams) as a special whisky bottling to commemorate the Royal tour of Canada by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in that year. Until 1964, the whisky was only available in Canada; however, today it is available world-wide and is in fact the number one Canadian whisky brand sold in the USA. Crown Royal is currently produced in Gimli Manitoba, at the Crown Royal Distillery which (since the dissolution of the Seagrams portfolio in 2000) is owned by the spirits conglomerate Diageo.

Cask No. 16 is according to the company website,

“handcrafted from more than 50 different aged Canadian whiskies and then finished in Cognac Oak casks from the Limousin forest in France”

Cask No. 16 SAM_1402Although rumours persist as to the demise of this outstanding blend, I note that as of the end of 2014, it remains listed on the Crown Royal website as part of the Crown Royal Family, and remains readily available in my home Province of Alberta.

And, I am quite happy that the Cask No. 16 is readily available, as I have placed it in the number 3 spot, in my Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown of 2014.

Here is my recently updated review:

#3 Canadian Whisky – Crown Royal Cask No. 16

“… The first sensation in my mouth was of an incredible softness that this whisky presents. It is almost chewy soft. A mellow corn whisky is up front on the palate, but rich soft butterscotch, caramel and sweet brown sugar sit under the corn flavour supporting and enhancing the experience. A nice spicy bite which has the hallmarks of pears and grapes grabs at the taste buds … “

For those who prefer a more subdued corn profile and a milder rye like burn, this is probably the perfect Canadian whisky. It is wonderfully luxurious and rich, yet full of character and complexity. Sip it neat, or on the rocks, and you will not be disappointed.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Howler 2014 #3 Canadian Whisky – Crown Royal Cask No. 16

Rum Howler 2014 #4 Canadian Whisky – Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Years Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 21, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014In 1856, John Gibson purchased 40 acres and built a distillery along the shore of the Monongahela River in Pennsylvania. By the turn of the century, the Gibson’s Distilling Company was the largest producer of rye whisky in North America. Unfortunately, early in the new century, fate dealt the company a tragic blow, in the name of Prohibition. Consumption of legal whisky all but dried up, and Gibson’s Distilling Company went bankrupt. In 1923, the entire contents of the distillery including the stills, the aging barrels, all of the remaining spirit, (and even the grain which was on site) was sold via Sherriff’s auction to Schenley Industries of New York. Fifty years later this whisky brand, which was born on the US side of the border in Pennsylvania, was resurrected by the brand owner at the Schenley Distillery in Valleyfield, Quebec. Now, of course, it has become one of the iconic brands of Canadian Whisky.

802621_18YRAccording to my correspondence with the media company responsible for, Gibson’s Finest Whisky, the Gibson’s Finest brand is produced from of two sources: a base grain whisky (which would be a corn-based column still whisky), and a blend of rye based flavouring whisky which contains rye and malted barley (distilled by a single column still and a pot still). When aging their whisky, Gibson’s Finest uses a variety of barrels: ex-bourbon barrels, new oak barrels, etc. The ratio of each barrel-type used can differ from batch to batch because the whisky is blended to a specific taste profile rather than to a specific barrel regimen. Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Years Old Whisky is limited to a production of not more than 12,000 bottles per year.

We have reached the number 4 spot in my Countdown of the Best Canadian Whiskies of 2014, and that spot belongs to Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Years Old.

Here is a link to my most recent review:

#4 Canadian Whisky – Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Years Old

“… The initial aroma is spicy with a firm oak presence. The breezes above the glass are filled with tobacco, rye, and (what I am going to term) clean firm oak spices. These dominant scents are accented by caramel, butterscotch and vanilla …”

There are only 3 spaces left in my 2014 Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown, and I hope that there has been a few surprises so far. The final three spirits were tasted against each other one more time just to be sure I had it right. I wonder if anyone can guess which three they are?

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Howler 2014 #4 Canadian Whisky – Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Years Old

 
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