Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 6, 2015
Yesterday, I received my first bottle of the brand new Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel Whisky. What makes the bottle I received even more special is that this particular bottle has been drawn from a very particular barrel. The barrel that my good friend Davin De Kergommeax selected right out the Crown Royal whisky warehouse in Gimli, Manitoba.
If you do not know Davin, although I suspect many of you do, he is (like myself), is a true devotee of our great Canadian Spirit, whisky! He has created his own website (Canadian Whisky) where he publishes various articles about our mutual passion and of course his fantastic reviews. He has also been instrumental in launching the first ever fully independent Canadian Whisky Awards! These awards have highlighted not only the best tasting whiskies made in Canada, but they also award special achievements by Canadian Whisky Distillers in areas of innovation, brand extension, and media/advertising. And as if that was not enough, he is also the award-winning author of “Canadian Whisky: the portable expert” which is probably the best guide ever published about the great Canadian Spirit.
If you haven’t heard of Crown Royal Hands Selected Barrel, it is the first production Canadian whisky ever to sold in the single barrel format, drawn from a single oak cask and brought to a full 51.5 % alcohol by volume bottling proof. Now the folks at Crown Royal didn’t just go into their warehouse and start checking random casks of whisky for this expression. They chose a very particular whisky to showcase as their first Single Barrel Whisky. A whisky from a rye heavy mashbill (64% corn, 31.5% rye, and 4.5% malted barley) which was distilled upon their one of a kind Coffey Rye still which is located in their Gimli facility.
Davin de Kergommeaux
Now, I was curious, and so I asked Davin how the selection process worked for him. He told me that he went down to the facility in Gimli in May of 2014 to taste some of the barrels. Then he went back in December (of the same year) to make his final selection. According to Davin:
“It was freezing cold so we tasted the whisky from four “finalist” barrels in the office. They were remarkably different from each other. I brought a sample home with me to sip on until the final product arrived a couple of weeks ago. It really was a lot of fun from start to finish.”
And now I have one of the bottles drawn from the barrel that Davin himself chose. I find this so remarkable, that I have decided to share my first tasting of this remarkable spirit with anyone who cares to join me tomorrow at 1:30 PM (Mountain Standard) on Twitter (https://twitter.com/RumHowler). I will have my camera ready and my glencairn glass full, and if all goes according to plan publish my first thoughts and tasting notes live online on my twitter account using the hashtag ‘Rum Howler Tastes Crown Hand Selected Barrel’. I hope some of you join me, and if any of you happen to also have a bottle or sample of Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel, please post your thoughts online as well.
(And if any of you have ideas as how to make this easier for everyone to follow and participate, please post your ideas, I am pretty much a rookie at Twitter Tastings, having never done one before.)
Chimo, and see you tomorrow at 1:30 PM (MST)!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Crown Royal, Davin de Kergommeaux, Single Barrel, Twitter Tasting | 5 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 4, 2015
This is one of my favourite times of the year, as every year in early June, Forty Creek Whisky announces their annual special limited release whisky. This years release has been named Forty Creek Three Grain Harmony, and the distillery is once again inviting the public to participate in the release by offering to let you choose your own numbered bottle.
Reservations for choosing your bottles open at noon on Monday, June 8th and continue until 5:00 p.m. on June 26th, 2015. Of course numbers are available on a first come basis and no two bottle numbers will be the same. (Only 9000 bottles will be produced.)
According to the folks at Forty Creek:
Forty Creek Three Grain Harmony is the 9th Limited Release from Forty Creek Whisky. This year, we decided to create a bit of music by carefully blending and harmonizing three single grains: rye, barley and corn. We began by fermenting and distilling each individual grain separately. Both the rye and the barley stocks date back to when we first began our Forty Creek Distillery. This Limited Release marks the first time these stocks have been introduced into one of our whiskies. As with many of our Signature Editions, the separate, single grain whiskies were patiently aged in toasted white oak barrels. At their peak flavour potential, they were then artfully blended to create the subtle yet complex whisky we named Three Grain Harmony.
The new special release whisky will be bottled at 43% alcohol by volume, and you can find more information here:
(Barley and Rye stocks that date back to the beginnings of the distillery sounds pretty special to me. I usually reserve a few bottles for myself, and this year will be no different.)
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Forty Creek, Special Release, Three Grain Harmony, Whisky | 4 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 31, 2015
Glenglassaugh Distillery is located just outside of the Speyside Whisky Region in Northeast Scotland. It is near the town of Portsoy, Banffshire about 50 miles from Aberdeen. The distillery was established in 1875 by Col. James Moir who managed the business (with his two nephews) until 1892, when Highland Distillers stepped in and acquired the facility. The distillery remained in production until 1986 when, due to industry consolidation, it was mothballed.
In 2008, the distillery and the Glenglassaugh brand was purchased by the Scaent Group with the intention of rebooting the facility to take advantage of the surge in interest in whisky word-wide. Part of the marketing strategy was to release some existing warehouse stocks as vintage whisky bottlings, as within the facility were barrels of whisky which had sat in limbo quietly aging since 1986.
Five years later, in 2013, due in no small part to the success of the vintage bottlings, (as well as the new whisky being produced) the BenRiach Distillery Company took over the Distillery bringing in new investment capital and corporate management to ensure the growth of the rebooted Glenglassaugh brand.
Glenglassaugh 26 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is one of the iconic vintage bottlings which was produced from spirit which had been distilled in 1984, and then had sat silently in a mixture of various oak barrels including both American Oak and ex sherry barrels. This whisky was bottled at 46% alcohol by volume (abv) sometime in 2010 and limited to a small production of 1002 bottles.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… The initial aroma is full of oaky smells along with candied toffee and fruity sherry-like aromas. As I let the glass sit there continued to be a lot of oak and cedar in the breezes; however these wood spice and woody sap-like smells seemed to be well melded into the sweet toffee and the dark fruit which gave the nose good balance …”
Please enjoy my review!
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: 26 Year Old, Glengassaugh, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off on Review: Glenglassaugh 26 Year Old
Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 11, 2015
Highwood Distillers is a Canadian spirits manufacturer in the town of High River, Alberta, which is situated 40 minutes south of Calgary, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. When I visited their facilities a few years ago I could not help but notice how they make their spirits one batch at a time in a friendly, family style atmosphere. I was impressed and I have been a fan of Highwood ever since.
Recently I received a sample of their Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky (Dark Chocolate). The spirit represents a melding of their Centennial Rye Whisky with the a small dollop of Dark Chocolate flavour. The flavoured whisky is bottled at 35 % alcohol by volume.
Orange Chocolate Martini
Here is a link to my full review:
“… The Dark Chocolate Whisky has a pale mahogany colour which seems at odds with the rich dark chocolate scents which seem to ooze out of the rye and wood spices drifting in the breezes above the glass. The impact of the chocolate seems to be softened by an impression of fresh dairy cream within the make-up of its aroma …”
This spirit plays well with caramel, cola, coffee, and even (if you check out my recipe below) orange liqueurs. Those are some of my favourite flavours, so I think you can safely assume that my recommendation for the Centennial Dark Chocolate is quite enthusiastic.
Please enjoy my review which includes a nice dessert martini recipe which have I dubbed the Orange Chocolate Martini.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Flavoured Whisky, Liqueur, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review, Whisky Liqueur | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Centennial Rye Whisky, Cocktail, Dark Chocolate, Flavoured Whisky, Highwood Distillers, Orange Chocolate Martini, Review | Comments Off on Review: Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky Dark Chocolate
Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 1, 2015
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:
“… 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: Bulleit, Diageo, Frontier, Review, Rye, Whiskey | 2 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 17, 2015
Last 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:
“… 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: Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Crown Royal, Crown Royal XO, Crowning Glory, Diageo, Whisky, Whisky Review | 2 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 10, 2015
Forty Creek Whisky has for the last number of years produced a special limited release whisky and allowed the public to participate in the release by offering to let you choose your own numbered bottle. As well you can have your bottle signed by their own Master Distiller and Whisky Maker, John Hall, when you arrive to pick up your pre-ordered bottles. These special release whiskies are built upon the foundation of the company’s flagship whisky, Forty Creek Barrel Select, and are basically versions of this whisky which have spent additional time finishing in selected oak barrels.
Forty Creek Evolution is the eighth annual special Limited Edition Release from Forty Creek Whisky. Most of the whiskies in this blended Canadian Whisky began their journey 12 years ago. These whiskies were aged in American White Oak for 3 years, then selected barrels were re-distilled in Forty Creek’s copper pot still to further concentrate their flavour. The resulting whisky was then re-barreled in French Oak casks that had previously held Kittling Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, and then aged for an additional 9 years. As a final step John Hall selected some of his personally held barrels to blend into the final product.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… I received a mild indication of sweet caramel and butterscotch which were playing with rye spices and a touch of menthol. When I gave the glass a little time to develop I began to notice some dry scents of freshly baled straw and the chaff reminiscent of the scents and smells of a fresh fall harvest when the newly harvested grain has still left its imprint in the air above the straw windrows …”
Please enjoy my review and enjoy the coming weekend which is shaping up to be a good one!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Canadian Whisky Re, Evolution, Forty Creek, Whisky | 7 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 24, 2015
In 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.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… 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: Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Crown Royal, Diageo, Horse's Neck, Monarch, Whisky, Whisky Review | 2 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 21, 2015
A few years ago Wiser’s introduced Wiser’s Spiced Whisky (Vanilla) to the Canadian market. My understanding is that this new spiced whisky brand was very successful, and as a result, the company decided to further develop their spiced whisky portfolio. As part of this redevelopment, Wiser’s Spiced Whisky (Vanilla) was re-branded as JP Wiser’s Spiced Whisky No. 5 (Vanilla), and another flavoured/spiced whisky brand was introduced, JP Wiser’s Spiced Whisky No. 9 (Scorched Toffee).
I recently received bottles both new flavoured whiskies, and have decided to review each here on my website.
Here is a link to the review the review for JP Wiser’s Spiced Whisky No. 9 (Torched Toffee).
“… Butterscotch, maple and vanilla led out as the Torched Toffee whisky certainly rides on the sweeter side of the palate. There is a bit of bitter treacle riding along which I guess must be the torched toffee. There is a bit of spicy heat as well which reminds me of ginger and cinnamon …”
Please enjoy my review which includes a nice recipe, Torched Toffee Lemon Sour.
Enjoy Springtime folks, even it did not come in like a lamb this year. Cheers!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Spiced Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Cocktails, Flavoured Whisky, J.P. Wiser's, Lemon Sour, No. 9, Review, Spiced Whisky, Torched Toffee, Whisky | Comments Off on Review: JP Wiser’s Spiced Whisky No. 9 (Torched Toffee)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 17, 2015
In 1988 John Teeling bought the Cooley Distillery (formerly a potato schnapps distillery) from the Irish Government essentially as a purchase of a facility meant for the scrap heap. The distillery however, was never scrapped. Instead John Teeling and his Master Distiller, Noel Sweeny, turned their perceptions of the facility around, rolled up their sleeves, and ten years later started making some of the most unique Irish whiskey in the Country. (Not that it was easy, Dr. Teeling tried unsuccessfully to sell the distillery five years into the process to rid himself of the bad investment. But… innovation and desire played their part, and the remarkable turn around of the Cooley Distillery is now the stuff of legend.)
Four major four major brands (Kilbeggan, Connemara, Greenore, and Tyrconnell) were produced by Cooley all of which were all acquired by Beam Global (now BeamSuntory) in January 2012. Jack Teeling, who was the managing director of Cooley, decided at this point to go on his own again and created the Teeling Whiskey Company. At this time the flagship whiskey of the Teeling brand is their small batch Teeling Irish Whiskey.
The Teeling Whiskey Company website has this to say about Teeling (Small Batch) Irish Whisky:
“Our Flagship Irish whiskey and our attempt to create the most interesting Blended Irish whiskey. This small batch bottling consists of hand selected casks which are given further maturation in ex-rum barrels imparting extra character and smooth flavour unique to Irish whiskey. By bottling at 46% with no chill filtration completes an Irish whiskey of true character.”
Here is a link to the full review:
“… The initial aroma from the glass brings forward a light candied sweetness which reminds me of malt scotch, butterscotch and a few wisps of cotton candy. As the glass breathes I also notice some dry lemongrass, bits of sandalwood and few dusty dry wood spices in the breezes along with impressions of almond, dusty grain and a light wafting of vanilla which tags along for the ride …”
Please enjoy the review which includes a nice Irish Whiskey cocktail, the Emerald Crusta.
Happy St. Patrick’s everyone!
Posted in Irish Whskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Cocktails, Crusta, Emerald Crusta, Irish Whiskey, Review, Small Batch, Teeling Whiskey, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | Comments Off on Review: Teeling Irish Whiskey (Small Batch)