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Archive for the ‘Whisk(e)y’ Category

#31 Amrut Indian Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 24, 2015

The Amrut distillery is situated in Bangalore ‘the garden city’ of India. The distillery sits in a tropical locale 3000 ft above sea level with its water source being the Himalayan Mountains. According to the information printed upon the back of the cannister which houses the Amrut Indian Single Malt Whisky:

Amrut Single Malt SAM_1734” … when Gods and Rakshasas – the demons – churned the oceans using the mountain Meru as churner, a golden pot sprang out containing the Elixir of Life. That was called the “Amrut” The great founders of our distillery aptly named it Amrut Distilleries …”

The flagship whisky produced at the distillery is a Single Malt Whisky made entirely from selected Indian barley.

Here is a link to the review of the #31 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#31 – Amrut Indian Single Malt Whisky

“… I’ll start by saying that I am glad Amrut had the sense to make an Indian single malt whisky. There are flavours here I have never encountered in other whiskies. Whether this is from the locally selected Indian grain used, or due to aging in the Bangalore tropical climate I am not sure. The only comparison I can make is to the floral nature of Highland Park whisky and its unique heather infused peaty taste. This has no peat and no heather, but there is a tremendous floral note in the whisky which is unique to this brand …”

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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, Indian Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on #31 Amrut Indian Single Malt Whisky

# 32 Highland Park 25 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 23, 2015

The Highland Park Distillery is located in the Highlands of Scotland on the Island of Orkney which is famous for its heather rich meadows and its unique organic Orcadian peat. At this distillery, all of the Highland Park Whisky is matured in two styles of oak barrels which are stored in warehouses with earthen floors and stone walls. Some of the whisky is matured in Spanish (Sherry) oak, and some of the whisky is matured in American (Bourbon) oak. Maturing the whisky in two different styles of oak allows the blender to capture characteristics of each in the final blend.

HP 25The Highland Park 25 Year Old Whisky is blended with up to 50 per cent of  its whisky coming from the matured (1st refill) Spanish oak, and it is bottled at 48.1 per cent alcohol by volume. This is a full 20 % higher than the 40 per cent bottling strength we typically see in North America. The combination of the higher bottling strength and a larger portion of Spanish oak whisky in the blend will bring forward a stronger more assertive aroma and flavour than the other whiskies in the Highland Park portfolio, and may even make the whisky a little intimidating at first tasting.

Here is a link to the review of the #32 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#32 – Highland Park 25 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

“… caramelized butterscotch toffee, sweeter underlying sugars, and a floral peat rich with heather, citrus, damp spruce moss, and humus. As more of the scents separated in the air I was reminded of mildly boggy saw-grass growing in a damp lowland meadow below a field of ripe alfalfa and timothy growing in the early fall just before cutting. (This place I am describing is a real memory from my childhood days on the farm. The Highland Park Whiskies always seem to evoke these early memories from my youth …”

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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, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on # 32 Highland Park 25 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

#35 Forty Creek John’s Private Cask No. 1 Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 20, 2015

A few years ago, I had lunch with Whisky Maker, John Hall (then Owner of Forty Creek Whisky) when he was in town for the Edmonton Whisky Festival. One of the things we talked about was Mr. Hall’s penchant for saving his best whisky barrels for his own private use. You see, every once in a while when John was testing and tasting his barrels of whisky to see how they were coming along, he would hit upon a barrel that was absolutely exceptional.

Forty Creek Private Stock SAM_1882These barrels would be squirreled away and earmarked for his own private stash. John admitted to me that this had kind of gotten out of hand, and he had accumulated far more of these ‘Private Casks’ than what he would ever need, or be able to consume. It turns out John figured out what to do with these exceptional casks as in the fall of 2011 he released his new special release, John’s Private Cask No. 1 Whisky.

Here is a link to the review of the #35 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#35 – Forty Creek John’s Private Cask No. 1 Canadian Whisky

“… A bevy of oak and rye spices quickly heat things up; but, the mouth feel is eased by the softness of vanilla, maple and caramel. The flavours I taste include fresh-cut cedar planks, and a strong dollop of rye. There is also a bit of orange peel which evolves into marmalade as the glass sits, and just like on the nose,the oak and baking spices build and build in the glass …”

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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 #35 Forty Creek John’s Private Cask No. 1 Canadian Whisky

# 37 Baker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 18, 2015

Baker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is part of Jim Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. This collection is composed of Booker’s, Baker’s, Knob Creek,and Basil Hayden’s. The whiskey collection is considered by Jim Beam Distillers to be a selection of ‘ultra-premium’ bourbon whiskeys created to establish a high-end category for bourbon, and thus to appeal to the serious whiskey aficionado.

BakersThe Baker’s Bourbon was named for Baker Beam, who was the grand-nephew of James Beauregard Beam (Jim Beam). It is bottled at 107 proof (53.5% alcohol by volume) and produced from bourbon whisky which was aged for a minimum of 7 years. Interestingly, the mash for this spirit was apparently fermented utilizing a special strain of ‘jug yeast’ that has been in the Beam family for over 60 years.

Here is a link to the review of the #37 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#37 – Baker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

“…The breezes above the glass were rich and enticing with the scents of sappy oak and caramel chocolate. Honeycomb and vanilla join in with dabs of rich baking spices (particularly cloves and cinnamon) drifting in the breezes as well. As the glass breathes, the scents and smells in the air all seem to meld together and it becomes more and more difficult to separate one impression from another. A vague nuttiness seems to bring an impression of marzipan forward which is seemingly interlaced with spicy orange marmalade. This is truly wonderful to nose …”

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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 American Whiskey, Awards, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on # 37 Baker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

#39 Glenfarclas 30 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 16, 2015

All of the Glenfarclas whisky is matured in two styles of oak barrels, plain oak barrels which have previously contained Bourbon or Scotch Whisky, and Spanish oak which has previously contained Oloroso or Fino Sherry from Seville. The barrels are stored in traditional ‘dunnage’ warehouses which date from the late 1800s. The Glenfarclas 30 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky which is the subject of this review has been bottled at 43 % and is produced from both first fill sherry casks and refill bourbon casks.

Glenfarclas 30 Year OldMy review of the Glenfarclas 30 Year Old was facilitated by Pacific Wine & Spirits Inc who provided a sample for me to assess, and who kindly invited me to several tasting events hosted by George Grant, the Sales Director for the Glenfarclas Distillery where I was able to sample the entire core range of Glenfarclas Whisky in side by side comparisons. Mr. Grant is part of the 6th generation of the Grant Family who originally purchased the distillery in 1865. His family still controls and manages the distillery today.

Here is a link to the review of the #4o spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#39: Glenfarclas 30 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky

“… This whisky is rich and luxurious on the nose. Chocolate, coffee, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cardamom and wonderful oak spices all rise up in a veritable bouquet for the nostrils. The whisky show its age in the glass but it also shows its character with a complex oakiness which is almost perfectly melded into the 30-year-old sherried whisky …”

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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, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on #39 Glenfarclas 30 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky

#44 Johnnie Walker Black Label

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 11, 2015

The Johnnie Walker Brand of whisky is one of the most iconic brands in all of the world. With its unique square bottle, and the labels tilted a 24 degrees off-center, the company has created a strong brand image and is considered by many to be the quintessential Scottish whisky. The company was born in about 1820, and has grown steadily to become one of the most important Scottish whisky brands in the world today.

Johnny Walker Black SAM_1726The Black Label is a blended Scotch Whisky, which is composed of up to 40 malted and grain whiskies. The origins of the blend can be traced back to 1867, when Alexander Walker copyrighted and began to bottle Old Highland Whisky. In 1909 the name of the blend was changed to Johnnie Walker Black Label in reference to the color of the label which had become the generic means of identifying the blend amongst the Johnnie Walker customers.

At the time of my review (in 2010), all of the whiskies in the Black Label blend were aged at least 12 years, which gave this whisky a deeper character and smoothness than one normally associates with blended whiskies.

Here is a link to the review of the #44 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#44 – Johnnie Walker Black Label

“… The aroma which rises from the glass is steeped in complexity. Initially, I smell a nice cherry soaked butterscotch which seems to have a hint of green apple rising out of the glass with it. As I allow the glass to decant, the aroma deepens with accents of dried fruits and a rather floral smoke.  At the very bottom lies a well of boggy peat …”

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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, Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on #44 Johnnie Walker Black Label

#47 Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey (15YR)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 8, 2015

In 1988 John Teeling bought the Cooley 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 were 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 the stuff of legend.

Old Fashioned with GreenoreOne of the more innovative products produced under the Cooley banner is the Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey. At the time of my review (in 2010) it was the only single grain Irish Whiskey which was produced from a double distillation of a single grain (corn) in a continuous column still. The whiskey was aged in used bourbon barrels for 15 years and bottled at 43% alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to the review of the #47 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#47 – Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey (15YR) 

“… This is unmistakably a corn whiskey with tasty cereal corn flakes  providing the platform upon which all else has been built. The initial delivery of the whiskey leads out with rich oak spice and honey. A sweet vanilla bourbon flavour swamps the taste-buds, and early into the tasting, I am fully aware that this whisky is unlike any Irish whisky I have tasted previously …”

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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, Irish Whskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on #47 Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey (15YR)

#48 Canadian Club 30 Year (150th Anniversary Whisky)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 7, 2015

Canadian Club is the elder statesman of Canadian Whisky brands being the both the oldest, and the most influential, Canadian Whisky brand in the world. Ironically, the originator of the brand was an American grocer hailing from Michigan. Legend has it, that this American, Hiram Walker, correctly foresaw the changing climate of the American attitude towards alcohol consumption and moved his distilling operations across the Detroit River to (what would become) Walkerville, Ontario. Ironically the whisky which would become the standard-bearer for Canadian Whisky, was originally (and still is) intended for the American palate.

Canadian Club Ann 30 Year SAM_1730The Canadian Club 30 Year Old Whisky was produced in 2008 to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Hiram Walker’s Distillery in Walkerville, Ontario which began operations in 1858. It was produced from 89 barrels of whisky which had been set down in 1988. One of the unique aspects of Canadian Club Whisky is that it is blended before barrel aging. This process allows the whisky to fully ‘marry’ in the barrel before bottling. The Canadian Club 30-Year-Old Whisky has thus been married for thirty years in oak melding the flavours of the blended whisky with the oak barrel for three decades.

Here is a link to the review of the #48 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#48 – Canadian Club 30 Year (150th Anniversary Whisky)

“… The initial nose is one of a rich oak spices tainted with dark brown sugar and that typical dank Canadian Club aroma. As the whisky decants, the nose deepens into a deep dark rich baking spice aroma with Demerara accents of dark brown sugars, rich toffee, vanilla, wisps of cinnamon, and even a hint of maple.  Playing in the merry little breezes is a subtle smokiness with the fleeting aroma of dried fruits and cigar tobacco …”

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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 #48 Canadian Club 30 Year (150th Anniversary Whisky)

#50 Crown Royal Cask No. 16

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 5, 2015

Crown 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 SAM_1402Cask 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”

Although rumours persist as to the demise of this outstanding blend, I note that as of the end of 2015, it remains listed on the Crown Royal website as part of the Crown Royal Family, and is readily available in my home Province of Alberta.

Here is a link to the review of the #50 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#50 – Crown Royal Cask No. 16

“… 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. Carrying all of this flavour forward is a wonderful mild oak presence that never dominates. The oak acts as it should, as a garnish which heightens the other flavours with its presence …”

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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 #50 Crown Royal Cask No. 16

# 53 Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 2, 2015

The Amrut Distillery is situated in Bangalore, ‘the garden city’ of India. The distillery sits in a tropical locale 3000 ft above sea level with its water source being the Himalayan Mountains.

The Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky is produced from two geographically disparate grains. The majority of the barley used to produce this whisky was grown and harvested at the foot of the Himalayan Mountains.This Punjabi barley was mashed, distilled and aged in the distillery at Bangalore. The distillery also uses a peated barley sourced in Scotland and this barley is as well brought to the facilities in Bangalore to be separately mashed, distilled and then aged until maturity.

SAM_1016 FusionWhen each separately distilled whisky is ready, they are blended and then aged for a second period of time to allow the different whiskies flavours to marry in the barrel prior to bottling. Incidentally, all of the barrels used for maturation of the whisky are refill America Bourbon oak barrels. As all of the mashing, distillation, aging and blending was done at the same Bangalore distillery in India, the whisky is a true single malt which represents the fusion of two different whiskies.

Here is a link to the review of the #53 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#53 – Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky

“… The initial breezes above the glass carried the light indications of a peated whisky with a firm oaked character. I could smell a bit of a boggy lowland meadow complete with clumps of heather and sawgrass, and a stand willow trees growing near a black bottomed creek. There was a floral element in the air reminding me of lavender and lilac bushes, and some interesting notes of spearmint, orange peel, tar, iodine and salty brine …”

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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, Indian Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on # 53 Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky

 
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