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Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

#14 Beluga Noble Gold Line Vodka (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 11, 2015

Beluga Noble Gold Line Vodka is an exclusive ultra-premium Vodka, and according to the Beluga Website, it is manufactured from malted spirit and pure Getreidemalz Siberian spring water. Even though artesian spring water is naturally pure, for this Vodka, the spring water must also undergo an extra filtration for an even higher level of purity. After being distilled five times, the vodka is enriched with special ingredients such as rice extract and golden root (rhodiola rosea) extract.

Beluga Noble Gold Line SAM_1887The addition of minute quantities of special ingredients is consistent with what I know of traditional European production methods where each distilled vodka has its own recipe and its own special ingredients. It is these special ingredients used in very small proportions which contribute to the individual character of each Vodka. (By small quantities I really do mean small; typically these extra ingredients are measured in parts per million.)

After all of this, the Vodka is rested for 90 days before bottling. This rest period apparently allows the molecular components within to stabilize allowing for a smoother more velvet-like mouth-feel and taste.

Here is a link to the review of the best Vodka I have ever tasted, and the #14 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#14 – Beluga Noble Gold Line Vodka

“… The first taste was lightly sweet and lightly spicy with a flavour I would describe as soft and clean. Hints of lemon tantalized my mouth, and I seem to taste mild hints of bay leaf and thyme, and perhaps an ever so light impression of ginger. As the vodka warmed, the flavours increased in strength; but they never become more than vague impressions. It is almost as if I feel the flavour rather than taste it …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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The Rum Howler’s #15 Canadian Whisky of 2015 – Century Reserve 21 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 10, 2015

Century_Reserve_21_Yr_-_shadowIn November of 2005, Highwood Distilleries Ltd. finalized the purchase of Potters Distilleries (founded by Ernie Potter in 1958). Part of this acquisition, was the purchase of all of the remaining barrel aged stocks of whisky in the Potters facility. These barrels of whisky were transferred from the Potters warehouse facilities in Kelowna, B.C. to the newly constructed warehouse facility in High River, Alberta, where they were allowed to continue to age at the foot of the Rocky Mountains on the western edge of the Canadian Prairies. The whisky brands which Potters had established (Century and Potters) were added to the Highwood portfolio.

According to the information provided me when I reviewed this whisky the first time, Century Reserve 21 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky, is a premium a 21-year-old single grain corn whisky.

Here is a link to the Rum Howler #15 Canadian Whisky of 2015

Century Reserve 21 Year Old

“… The breezes above the glass are luscious. Indications of roasted corn-0n-the-cob, rich oak spices, toffee, butterscotch, and tobacco all rise up to greet my nose. As the whisky breathes, those scents and smells above the glass become even richer with oak sap, stronger tobacco accents, marmalade and hints of vanilla pudding marrying themselves into the overall aroma …”

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You may read about the Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown here:

The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Rum Howler’s #15 Canadian Whisky of 2015 – Century Reserve 21 Year Old

#15 Glenmorangie Tùsail (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 10, 2015

Glenmorangie Tùsail is a member of the company’s Private Edition Range (the sixth in the series). The Private Edition Range features limited edition whiskies which are meant to bring a new or unique characteristic to the Glenmorangie line-up. In the case of Tùsail, its unique character is derived from the barley from which it is distilled, Maris Otter Barley. Maris Otter was derived in 1965 as a cross between two other barley varieties, Proctor and Pioneer. It is a two-row varietal designed as a low nitrogen barley with superior malting characteristics. Whisky distillers experimented with the Maris Otter variety briefly in the 60s and 70s as the grain was noted for its ability to impart strong robust flavour and character to the malt; however its usage as a malt barley for production whisky was widely discontinued due to its low yield characteristic.

TusailAlthough this variety of barley fell out of favour for production whisky, its strong flavour characteristic caused it to remain in high demand for premium products especially in the home brewing sector and as a key ingredient for traditional ales in micro breweries. Because of this strong flavour characteristic, Glenmorangie’s Director of Whisky Creation and Distilling, Dr. Bill Lumsden, decided the time was right to produce a premium Single Malt using the premium Maris Otter grain. The resulting whisky, Tùsail was created exclusively from this barley grain which during production was floor malted (by hand), distilled upon Glenmorangie’s unique high, long-necked copper pot stills, and then matured in a small amount of specially selected casks.

Here is the review for a wonderful whisky which arrives as the #15 Spirit in my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#15 – Glenmorangie Tùsail

“… The initial breezes bring scents of fresh-baked bread crust into the air pushed ahead of peppery oak spices. I soon begin to notice impressions of granola perhaps with a bit of Cap’n Crunch cereal along for the ride. there are hints of milk chocolate and a discernible nutty element which reminds me of fresh slivered filberts (hazelnuts) …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

 

 

Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on #15 Glenmorangie Tùsail (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

The Rum Howler’s #16 Canadian Whisky of 2015 – Coyote Ugly Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 9, 2015

Coyote Ugly WhiskyCoyote Ugly Canadian Whisky is produced by Highwood Distillers in Southern Alberta, for the team of Celebrity Cellars International founder, Jeff Harder, and the founder of the Coyote Ugly Saloon, Liliana Lovell. The brand is produced from a blend of winter wheat and rye whisky which has been blended from three, four and five-year old stocks aged in American oak.

Here is a link to the Rum Howler #16 Canadian Whisky of 2015:

Coyote Ugly Canadian Whisky

“… The whisky smells of rich butterscotch and caramel. Light rye scents waft into the breezes with dabs of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. A light footprint of vanilla and almond compliment the delicate baking spices leaving impressions of marzipan in the air above the glass …”

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You may read about the Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown here:

The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on The Rum Howler’s #16 Canadian Whisky of 2015 – Coyote Ugly Canadian Whisky

The Rum Howler Top 25 Rums of 2015 – #’s 20 thru 16

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 9, 2015

This posting will help catch up my Top Rums of 2015 Countdown with the other two countdowns currently underway, The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits Countdown and the Rum Howler 2015 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies.

I thought at this time that I should make one thing clear to everyone. Whereas my 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown is a compilation of the best spirits I have ever tasted, the 2015 Top 25 Rum and Canadian Whisky Countdowns are compilations of the best spirits (in those categories) which I have both tasted and which are currently available in the year 2015.

Pumpkin 23This means that the astute reader, when utilizing the various list to do their Christmas shopping, should take into account that my Top 100 Spirits list contains great spirits which are no longer available to the public. However, every rum and whisky listed on the Top 25 Rum And the Top 25 Canadian Whisky lists are currently available for retail purchase somewhere in the world. Some may not be available in your locale, but they are available.

Which brings us on to the next batch of great rums. Here are the links to the reviews for the # 20 through to the #16 ranked rums in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Rums:

20)  Rum Nation Panama (Aged 21 years)
19)  Pumpkin Face 23
18)  Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Barbados Rum
17)  El Dorado 25 Year Old Vintage Reserve Rum
16)  Ron Zacapa Centenario XO 15

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You may read about and follow the Top 25 Rum Countdown here:

The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Rums

Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Rum Howler Top 25 Rums of 2015 – #’s 20 thru 16

#16 Citadelle Reserve Gin 2011 Edition (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 9, 2015

Citadelle Gin has a history which stretches back to 1775 when King Louis XVI authorized two Frenchmen, Carpeau and Stival, to open a genievre distillery at the Citadelle in Dunkirk, which would serve as the Royal Distillery with an exclusive 20 year privilege.  The Citadelle Distillery produced about 1000 litres of genievre per day which was predominantly shipped in small casks for sale in England, where gin was very popular.

Citadelle Reserve Gin (2011 Edition) SAM_1879About 200 years later in 1989,  Alexandre Gabriel of Cognac Ferrand, recognized that in France, gin had become more of an industrial spirit with much of the heritage and refinement lessened by time. He decided to create a handcrafted gin using small copper pots in the style and tradition of the Citadelle Distillery of old. Fortunately records existed of the old gin making techniques at the Citadelle Distillery, and after several years of research Alexandre Gabriel was successful in distilling an old style handcrafted gin under the Citadelle name. The Gin is produced at the Cognac Ferrand facilities in Cognac, France, and according to the Citadelle Gin website, it is produced under naked flame in small copper pot stills using a complex array of 19 botanicals.

Here is a link to the review of the best gin I have ever tasted, and the #16 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#16 – Citadelle Reserve Gin (2011 Edition)

“… The aroma which drifts upwards is light and elegant, and very appealing. Mild piny notes of juniper seem to lead into the breezes with scents of lemon and balsam arriving almost as quickly. The oak manifests itself as sandalwood with light rye spices which build up as the glass sits. There is also a soothing floral characteristic to the nose which reminds me of  lilacs in the springtime …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Extras, Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Rum Howler’s #17 Canadian Whisky of 2015 – Wiser’s Small Batch

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 8, 2015

WisersSmBatch-Oct12-lgWiser’s Small Batch Canadian Whisky was released in the fall of 2008 replacing the Wiser’s Reserve. There were a few important differences in Wiser’s Small Batch which made it somewhat unique as far Canadian Whisky was concerned at that time. First, it is made in small batches using traditional distilling methods, hence the name Wiser’s Small Batch, and secondly, the bottling strength is 43.4 % rather than the traditional 40 %. This slightly higher strength should allow the whisky to display more texture in the mouth and a more concentrated flavour and aroma.

Since the release of Wiser’s Small Batch in 2008 the innovations introduced through this brand have been widely adopted by many other Canadian Whisky Producers.

Here is a link to the Rum Howler #17 Canadian Whisky of 2015

Wiser’s Small Batch

“… Wiser’s Small Batch is soft and supple on the tongue with hot oak spices which carry a bevy of flavour along for the ride across the palate. I taste some fresh oak and cedar; some sweet caramel, butterscotch and maple; soft corn and spicy rye; some light impressions of honeycomb and tobacco, and some delicious canned fruit (marmalade, apricots and pears) …”

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You may read about the Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown here:

The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Rum Howler’s #17 Canadian Whisky of 2015 – Wiser’s Small Batch

#17 Forty Creek Portwood Reserve 2009 (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 8, 2015

Forty Creek Whisky has for the past several years produced a special limited release whisky and allowed the public to participate in its release by offering to let those who pre-order the whisky to choose their own numbered bottle(s). These special release whiskies are built upon the foundation of the company’s flagship whisky, Forty Creek Barrel Select, and are actually versions of this whisky which have spent additional time finishing in certain selected oak barrels. (I think you can guess the nature of the ‘special cask’ for this particular offering.)

Forty Creek PR 1st SAM_1876In 2009 the special release was spectacular, Forty Creek Portwood Reserve (2009).

Here is a link to the review of the #17 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#17 – Forty Creek Portwood Reserve (2009)

“… It seemed that every time  I visited this whisky, a new experience presented itself. In the glass, the whisky is a medium to light  brown with an obvious reddish tone. Notes of cherry and blackberry sit at the forefront of the nose, with spicy cinnamon and caramelized brown sugar rising up in between. Tiny Legs become apparent on the sides of my glencairn glass, and as I nose this more deeply I smell distinctive vanilla and light bourbon. A classic …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on #17 Forty Creek Portwood Reserve 2009 (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

The Rum Howler’s #18 Canadian Whisky of 2015 – Gooderham and Worts

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 7, 2015

Gooderham and WortsCorby Spirit and Wine Limited has added yet another premium brand to its whisky line-up, Gooderham and Worts Four Grain Canadian Whisky. The whisky pays homage to the former whisky giant, Gooderham and Worts which in the latter half of the 19th century was the largest spirits producer in Canada. (The company was founded in the early to mid-nineteenth century by James Worts and his brother-in-law William Gooderham.)

Here is a link to the Rum Howler #18 Canadian Whisky of 2015

Gooderham and Worts Four Grain Whisky

“… I receive firm indications of oak and grain spice. Honeyed toffee rises up as well as dank corn smells and a lightly sour fruitiness. If I was to nose this in a blind format, I might be tempted to believe I was nosing an Old Canadian Club whisky from the 70s and early 80s when the brand had a stronger overt sour fruit aroma and taste profile (at least that is how I remember it) …”

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You may read about the Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown here:

The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

 

 

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on The Rum Howler’s #18 Canadian Whisky of 2015 – Gooderham and Worts

# 18 Havana Club Cuban Barrel Proof Rum (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 7, 2015

Havana Club is a Cuban Rum produced by Havana Club International (a joint venture between the Cuban Government and Pernod Ricard) currently produced in two Cuban locations, San José de Las Lajas and Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba. According to tradition the production of the rum which was to become Havana Club began in 1878 when Spanish immigrant José Arechabala established Destileria La Vizcaya in the port city of Cárdenas, Cuba. The distillery remained in the hands of the Arechabala family and in 1934  José’s grandson (also named José Arechabala) apparently created the recipe for Havana Club Rum and began to market it throughout the world. However, the family lost control of the distillery and the brand when after the Cuban Revolution of 1959, the Cuban Government nationalized the distillery and company.

Havana Club BP SAM_1733The Havana Club Barrel Proof Rum underwent a rather unique maturation process where it is first aged in old white oak barrels, and when the final rum is blended, it is then finished in specially ‘selected’ younger finishing casks. I have heard of this ‘Double Barrel’ approach with whisky, but the Havana Club Cuban Barrel Proof Rum, was the first rums that I know of which used older white oak maturation casks and then younger fresh oak finishing casks.

Here is a link to the review of the #18 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#18 – Havana Club Cuban Barrel Proof Rum

“… As I poured the rum into my glencairn glass my nose was immediately swatted with a sweet toffee updraft.  Hints of cinnamon spice compliment the aroma, and I am very pleased with the complete lack of any charred or burnt notes.  This is intense, sweet and clean.  I let the drink sit for just a moment, and a pleasant liquorice aroma reminiscent of Sambuca enters the fray.  I even catch just a smidgen of raw oak sitting at the very back of the nose.  This is marvellous …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Note: The Havana Club Barrel Proof brand was replaced a few years ago by Havana Club Selección de Maestros Rum. Although the Selección de Maestros is reported to be made from the same stocks and in the same manner as the original Barrel Proof Rum, whenever I have had occasion to taste the two brands side by side, I always have a firm preference for the older brand.

Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on # 18 Havana Club Cuban Barrel Proof Rum (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

 
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