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Archive for the ‘American Whiskey’ Category

Review: Wild Turkey 81 (Kentucky Straight Bourbon)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 3, 2015

Wild_Turkey_81_BourbonWild Turkey produces their bourbon from a mash bill which includes three grains: corn, barley, and rye. This mashbill is said to have a relatively high proportion of rye which gives the whiskey brand its signature spicy kick. The new flagbearer for the brand, Wild Turkey 81 (Kentucky Straight Bourbon) has recently replaced Austin Nichols Wild Turkey Bourbon in the Wild Turkey line-up here in Alberta. This bourbon spirit, rather than being bottled at the regular 40 % alcohol by volume is instead bottled at a slightly higher proof, 40.5% alcohol by volume or 81 proof hence the name Wild Turkey 81.

According to the Wild Turkey website, this flagship whiskey is meant to be a mixing spirit. In fact the website describes Wild Turkey 81 as,

“an everyday whiskey that can stand up to any mixer or in any cocktail with the bold, in-your-face taste that is distinctively Wild Turkey.”

Although the spirit carries no age statement, the producer’s website informs us that this Kentucky Straight Bourbon is aged for approximately six to eight years in what the company refers to as their ‘famous #4 alligator char‘ American Oak barrels.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Wild Turkey 81 (Kentucky Straight Bourbon)

“… The initial breezes above the glass bring forward a sweetened butterscotch note wrapped in oak and cedar spice. Scents of vanilla and honeycomb come forward mingling in the air with the fine wood spices creating an impression of light toffee. The spices grow in intensity and begin to throw off dry rye-like scents of ginger …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a great cocktail suggestion, the Honeylemon Ginger Julep.


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

Review: Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon (Very Old)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 29, 2015

Jeffersons Reserve SAM_1688Jefferson’s Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey is considered to be the flagship brand of the Jefferson Bourbon line-up. It is a small batch bourbon reportedly produced by marrying a selection of only 8 to 12 barrels of aged bourbon. The spirit has no age statement although the bottle makes a point of mentioning that the spirit is ‘very old’. (Of course this could mean practically anything, and whether a significant amount of whiskey younger than 8 years enters the blend is unknown to me.)

The spirit (owned by Castle Brands) was created in 1997, by Chet and Trey Zoeller. It is bottled at 45.1 % alcohol by volume and named for the third president of the United States who apparently repealed the Whiskey Tax after his Republican Party came to power in 1801.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon (Very Old)

“… The initial aroma from the glass is steeped in oak and cedar spice. I can smell wood sap and freshly sawn oak planks. Mingled within the oak is a deep rich caramel toffee which smells delicious. As I let the glass sit and breathe, I notice some chocolate and cola aromas entering the breezes with notes of honeycomb and delicious barbecued corn on the cob …”

Please enjoy my review.



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

Review: Michter’s US *1 Bourbon

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 27, 2015

Michter'sThe Michter’s brand can trace its heritage to the Pennsylvania’s historic Bomberger’s Distillery, which in 1980 was declared a National Historic Landmark and is thought to have been up until the time of its closing, one of the oldest distilleries in the United States. In fact, the still house, the warehouse, and the jug house all date back to the 1840s.

The Mitcher’s brand itself was first distilled at the Bomberger facility in 1951 when it was owned by Louis Forman. Forman and his Master Distiller, Charles Everett Beam, apparently created the original whiskey that was named Michter’s Original Sour Mash Whiskey. The name was apparently a play on the names of Forman’s sons Michael and Peter. Over time the Bomberger distillery became associated with the Michter’s Whiskey and became known as the Michter’s Distillery. It was unfortunately closed in 1989 due to bankrupcy.

Since 2004, the Michter’s brand has been produced in Bardstown, Kentucky by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers with the brand currently owned by Chatham Imports, Inc.  The company has apparently built a new Michter’s Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky and has begun to produce their own spirit. This new production has not yet made its way into Michter’s US *1 Bourbon.

1878 Whiskey Cocktail over Ice

1878 Whiskey Cocktail over Ice

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Michter’s US *1 Bourbon

“… The immediate nose is assertive with alcohol (from the high bottling proof), as well as spicy oak and sap, grassy tobacco and sweet butterscotch all reaching up and grabbing at me. There is a lot of fruit including both orange and banana peel, some yellow apple and even a few apricot brandy-like aromas …”

I hope you enjoy my review which includes a nice suggested recipe, the 1878 Whiskey Cocktail over Ice.


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Review: Duke* Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 17, 2015

duke-bourbon-bottle-shot-front-webMonument Valley Distillers call themselves artisan distillers who craft small batches of bourbon, whiskey and brandy. The genesis for the company was a conversation over dinner between founders Ethan Wayne, (son of the epic movie actor, John Wayne) and Jayson Woodbridge and Chris Radomski (vintners of Hundred Acre Wines) in Calistoga, California. The company they created as a result of that conversation (Monument Valley Distillers) is based in California, and it spawned DUKE Spirits which is now tasked with preserving the legacy of Ethan’s father, John Wayne, by creating authentic products bearing his name.

DUKE* Kentucky Straight Bourbon is distilled in Lawrenceburg Kentucky, and (again according to the website information) is blended from small batches of  hand crafted five to ten year old whiskeys which have been aged in new heavily charred American Oak barrels. The resulting bourbon whiskey is bottled at 44 % alcohol by volume.

You may read my full review here:

Review: Duke* Kentucky Straight Bourbon

“… When I returned to the glass, light butterscotch aromas and bits of vanilla had revealed themselves; however, a sort of peppery grassy aroma of green tobacco was still dominating the breezes. There was also some spicy orange citrus peel and a few almond scents …”

Please enjoy the review!


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Review: Bulleit Rye Frontier Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 1, 2015

Bulleit Rue SAM_1513

Bulleit traces its heritage back to 1830 when tavern keeper Augustus Bulleit (after a few experimental trials) created his Bulleit Bourbon and began to market his whiskey both locally and then later to areas outside of Kentucky. As misfortune would have it, Augustus Bulleit disappeared while transporting some barrels of his bourbon to New Orleans, and the brand disappeared for over 100 years. In 1987, Tom Bulleit revived the brand which bears his great-great grandfather’s name. (Today the brand is owned by the Diageo Conglomerate who market the product throughout North America and into Europe.)

Bulleit Rye Frontier Whiskey is bottled at 45% alcohol by volume and (according to the Bulleit  website) the spirit is a straight whiskey produced from a heavy rye mashbill (95 % rye) which also contains a small amount of malted barley (5 %). The whiskey carries no age statement, however based upon my tastings I would estimate the age of the spirit to be in the range of 5 years old with some of the whiskey possibly older, and some of the whiskey possibly younger.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Bulleit Rye Frontier Whiskey

“… full of sappy new wood smells of both oak and cedar with accents of fresh rye bread. Dusty dry grain and honeycomb are is evident as well. There is a sense of fresh tobacco and some light baking spices (vanilla, ginger and cinnamon) and maple syrup as well. As the glass sits, the woody oak builds, some bittersweet chocolate reaches up and more rye and rye spice well up into the breezes …”

Please enjoy my review!

Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Angel’s Envy (Rum) Finished Rye Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 1, 2014

Anel's Envy Rum FinishAngel’s Envy was founded by Lincoln Henderson (a former Brown-Forman Master Distiller) and his son Wesley in 2010. Although the company now has the facilities in place to produce their own whiskey, Lincoln and Wesley have (since opening in 2010) sourced their whiskey from another (undisclosed) distillery such that they would have finished whiskey to sell immediately.

According to Wes, when the company began to contemplate their Rum Finished Whiskey, they began by sampling over one hundred rums to find the right flavour complement for their bold style of rye whiskey. They also compared six different blends of rye which were eventually narrowed down to just one, a 95 % Rye Whiskey which (according to my emails with the distillery) was aged for 7 to 8 years in new charred American oak barrels. They chose to finish this Rye Whiskey for 18 months in ex-Plantation XO Rum Barrels.

In case you did not know, these Plantation barrels began their life as French Cognac barrels which were then were used as the finishing barrels for Plantation’s fantastic XO Anniversary Rum (See my review for Plantation XO 20th Anniversary Rum here). Thus these finishing barrels contained not only the compliment of a fantastic rum within their oak fibres, they also may have contained hints of cognac as well. The finished whiskey is bottled at 50 % alcohol by volume.

Note: Angel’s Envy is a craft producer who blends their whiskey in small batches. The Whisky is not available in Canada; however, fortunately for me, I was given a sample bottle by the good folks at UNWINED – Fine Wine, Spirits and Ales in St. Albert a few weeks ago when I served as the guest host for their El Dorado Rum Tasting (thanks for your hospitality guys). 

You may read my full review of this wonderful whiskey by clicking on the following excerpt link:

Review: Angel’s Envy (Rum) Finished Rye Whiskey

“… The whiskey is a maple and spice delight with a full flavour that rocks the palate with layers of rye and wood spice coupled with the candied sweetness of maple and brown sugar. Hot wood spices full of cinnamon and clove heat the palate while sweet maple and dark brown sugar have their way with my taste buds. Vanilla and oodles rye spice crash the party joined by port dipped cigars and old-fashioned home-made cinnamon buns stuffed with walnuts and pecans …”

Please enjoy this review of a spectacular new Rye Whiskey!

Cheers Everyone!


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Review: Marshall’s Bourbon Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 11, 2014

Marshall'sMarshall’s Bourbon Whiskey is produced in Bardstown, Kentucky for the Beveland Liquor Company. In case you did not know, Beveland is located in northern Spain, near the French border, and they are (as far as I can reasonably tell from their website) a small to medium-sized wine and spirits company which sells a variety of distilled spirits into the European market.

Northern Mint Julep

Northern Mint Julep

I am not really sure how I came upon this particular sample bottle. It seems to have appeared unannounced upon my review shelf in my tasting room. I tried to locate its source; however, I could not even locate a local distributor for the brand. I suspect a friend or relative came upon the bottle in their travels, and slipped it upon my review shelf with the other bourbon whiskeys as an unexpected treat for me. This should be a fun review as I have no idea what to expect from a Bourbon which I could find hardly a trace of on the internet.

You may read my full review here:

Review: Marshall’s Bourbon Whiskey

“… The initial aroma from the glass revealed spicy oak sap and woody cedar scents pushed forward by a rather firm alcohol astringency. Light butterscotch aromas and bits of vanilla pushed through this astringency as did a sort of tobacco-like grassiness. There is some spicy citrus peel in the air as well us some nutty almond …”

I hope you enjoy this review which includes a nice summertime deck drink, the Northern Mint Julep.

Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Marshall’s Bourbon Whiskey

Review: Blanton’s Gold Edition Bourbon

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 6, 2014

Brass Bonanza SAM_1189

A Brass Bonanza served with Blanton’s Gold Edition

Blanton’s is a bourbon whiskey brand created by Sazerac and launched in 1984. The brand is named for Albert B. Blanton who worked at the Buffalo Trace Distillery for more than 50 years, and who apparently spent much of his time at the distillery promoting the traditions of handcrafted bourbon. Blanton’s claims to be the first modern whiskey designed and sold as a single barrel bourbon, and indeed the original brand name for the brand was “Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon”.

Blanton’s Gold Edition is produced from a mash bill of corn, rye, and malted barley which is distilled to 140 proof and barreled at 125 proof. Each bottle of Blanton’s Gold Edition is bottled from a single barrel (brought to 103 proof) after the whiskey has been chill filtered. Because even barrels which lie side by side in an aging warehouse (even though they may have exactly the same batch of distillate) will almost certainly age differently, there will be much potential for flavour variation between particular bottles of this Blanton’s bourbon.  However, the general character of the whiskey should remain the same between bottlings as the master blender is selecting only those barrels which meet the particular flavour profile he is aiming for.

You may read my full review by clicking the following link excerpt:

Review: Blanton’s Gold Edition Bourbon

“… The nose is very nice with honey, sap and wood spice rising into the breezes alongside subtle notes of Christmas cake (chocolate, raisins, dates and walnuts). There is a bit of an alcohol push along with a few grassy notes and some youthful astringency. As I let the glass sit I notice baking spices building (vanilla, dark brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg) in the air along with some baked apples and canned pears. There are also some nice sweet and spicy notes of pipe tobacco …”

Included in the review is a nice bar drink which mixed the Blanton’s Gold Edition with a few drops of bitters and a splash of ginger-ale. I called the resulting cocktail, the Brass Bonanza.

Please enjoy the review and the provided mixed drink recipe!

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Review: Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 20, 2014

1878 Whiskey Cocktail with Maker's Mark

1878 Whiskey Cocktail with Maker’s Mark

Maker’s Mark is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky brand distilled in Loretto, Kentucky, and owned by Beam Global. Bill Samuels Sr. is credited with creating the first version of Maker’s Mark in 1954, and the folks at the Maker’s Mark Distillery have been producing the whiskey since 1958.

The process of producing the bourbon begins with pure limestone fed spring-water, yellow corn, red winter wheat, and natural malted barley (note the absence of rye grain which was replaced by red winter wheat in the mash bill). It continues with a unique milling, cooking, fermentation and small batch distillation process; and it ends with the spirit being aged in new oak barrels. Of course the final whisky is tested and tasted to make sure it is just right before being bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume.

You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt link:

Review: Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky

“… As I nose the glass, I find the breezes are filled with dry oak and cedar scents with a bit of the ‘sappiness’ which I have come to expect from straight American whisky. The firm scents of wood grain and fresh sap are soon joined by orange peel, honeycomb and bits of maple and caramel. There are also indications of baking spices (vanilla cinnamon and cloves), dry grassy cigarette tobacco, and bits of almond …”

The recipe I have decided to showcase at the conclusion of the review is an old whiskey cocktail I found in Leo Engels 1878 book, American and Other Drinks. In his book, Leo simply calls the recipe a Whiskey Cocktail (for simplicity I call it the 1878 Whiskey Cocktail), and I suspect his recipe is close to the original version of what we today call, the Old Fashioned Cocktail.

Please enjoy the review everybody, and enjoy my cocktail suggestion!

Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky

Review: Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 8, 2014

Four Roses Small batch SAM_1137Four Roses is a Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey owned by the Japanese firm, Kirin Brewery Company. The brand traces its history back to 1884 when Paul Jones Jr. opened an office in Louisville, Kentucky on a section of Main Street called, “Whiskey Row.” In 1888 Jones acquired his trademark for the name ‘Four Roses’, and in 1922 he purchased the Frankfort Distilling Company. The Four Roses brand became well established, and in 1943 it caught the eye of Seagram, who purchased the Frankfort Distilling Co., and with it, the Four Roses Kentucky Straight Bourbon trademark.

The brand underwent a few changes in the 1950s as the whiskey was converted into a blend by Seagram for the US market, but remained a Straight bourbon overseas in Asian and European Markets. As a blended whiskey the brand lost some of its importance was eventually sold to Vivendi and subsequently to Diageo. Diageo sold the Four Roses trademark to Kirin in 2002, and Kirin made a decision to discontinue the sale of blended whiskey and returned the focus of the brand back to Bourbon Whiskey.

1878 Bourbon Smash

1878 Bourbon Smash

Four Roses is now produced at the Four Roses Distillery under the guidance of Master Blender, Jim Rutledge. The Distillery uses 5 proprietary yeast strains in combination with two different mashbills to produce 10 different Bourbons recipes. To produce Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, Jim Rutledge chooses select bourbon barrels from four of these recipe Bourbons.

You may read my full review of Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon by clicking on the following excerpt link:

Review: Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

“… The aroma from the glass reveals spicy oak sap and woody cedar aromas surrounded by additional scents of vanilla  and sweet butterscotch. There is a bit of spicy orange peel as well us some nice dollops of maple and honeycomb. I allowed the glass to breath and began to notice some spicy cinnamon and clove as well as some tobacco and hay-like grassiness …”

Please enjoy the review which includes a tweaked version of Leo Engels, 1878 Bourbon Smash as the feature recipe!

Have a great Sunday!

Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon


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