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Review: Paddy Irish Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 29, 2015

Paddy SAM_1540Several weeks ago, my friend Dennis returned from a trip to Ireland (where he had been enjoying a well deserved holiday with his girlfriend), and he brought back a couple of whiskeys for me to try. The first one he showed my was Paddy. I didn’t know too much about it, and so I visited their website, to see what I could find out.

What I learned is that Paddy Whiskey is matured for up to 7 years in oak barrels after being distilled from 100 % barley grain. A proportion of the whisky (an unusually high percentage the website says) is malted barley whisky, as well,  some of the Paddy Whiskey blended with what is called Irish Pot Still Whisky. The whiskey is produced in Cork at The Middleton Distillery, and is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Paddy Irish Whiskey

“… A combination of honeyed butterscotch and soft punky pot-still caramel flavours greet my palate as I take my first sip. There are lively oak spices and some light herbal tones of heather and spearmint. Vanilla and almond flavours settle into the whiskey and bits of orange peel zest nibble at the edges of flavour giving the spirit a bit of a spicy edge …”

Please enjoy the review which concludes with a nice cocktail suggestion, the Emerald Crusta.

Chimo!

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

Review: Polar Ice Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 27, 2015

Polar IcePolar Ice is an economy vodka sold in Canada by Corby Distilleries Limited. The brand is extremely popular in Canada, and in fact, according to the information on the Corby Brands website, it is the number one Canadian vodka. Corby’s branded products are notoriously hard to research as the websites created for each brand do not got into very much depth regarding each brand’s production. All I could find was a statement on the aforementioned website which stated that Polar Ice is crafted from the purest water and grains, and that it is quadruple distilled to create an exceptionally smooth taste.

Iced Vodka Daiquiri

Iced Vodka Daiquiri

When I sampled Polar Ice Vodka for the first time, I was also sampling with three other vodka spirits, Opulent, Iceberg and Skyy Vodka. I created a set of tasting notes for each spirit, and from those notes, and from a second set of tasting notes which I prepared in my private tasting room when sampled Polar Ice in isolation from the other spirits afterwards, I prepared my review.

Here is a link to the full write-up:

Review: Polar Ice Vodka

“… When I took to sip, I allowed a little vodka to sit on my tongue before swallowing. I noticed a lightly bitter taste of citrus pith on my tongue which was coupled with penetrating spiciness. A corn-like sweetness followed …”

I hope you enjoy my review which concludes with a nice cocktail recipe, the Iced Vodka Daiquiri.

Chimo!

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Review: Hawaiian Moonshine (Okolehau)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 24, 2015

Moonshine Mojito SAM_1676A couple of friends of mine went to Hawaii this past Spring and brought me back a bottle of Hawaiian Moonshine. According to the label on the bottle this product is produced by Island Distillers and it is apparently a re-creation of an original Hawaiian spirit called Okolehao. For those interested, Okolehao was originally an old Hawaiian fermented beverage whose main flavour ingredient was the root of the ti plant. It was if you will a ‘ti root’ beer.

When distillation was introduced  to the Hawaiian Islands sometime around the end of the 18th century their ti root beverage began to be distilled into a unique alcohol spirit which became known as Okolehao. Over time local recipes for Okolehao included other fermentable sugar products as well such as sugarcane and pineapple, however two elements common to almost all recipes were a high alcohol content and the continued use of ti root.

Island Distillers recreation of the Okolehao spirit is bottled at 100 proof (50 % alcohol by volume) and it labeled as Hawaiian Moonshine 100 Proof Okolehao. At the bottom of the label we are told that this version of Okolehao is a product of “Cane Spirit with Ti Root”.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Hawaiian Moonshine (Okolehau)

“… The nose indicates a firm cane-like sweetness which I am sure helps to temper the alcohol heat which would normally have a fuller impact in the breezes above the glass. I notice some light mint and licorice scents in the air as well as some mild coconut-like smells. As I take my time with the glass I begin to sense more complexity which includes smells of soft banana and some citrus zest …”

Please enjoy my review which concludes with a delicious Moonshine Mojito Recipe.

Chimo!

Posted in Flavouerd Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: OFFLEY Ruby Port Wine

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 22, 2015

OFFLEY Ruby SAM_1643The subject of this review, is a bottle of OFFLEY Ruby Port Wine. The brand traces its history back to 1737, which was the year that Englishman William Offley founded the company. In 1831, Joseph James Forrester, who was apparently a nephew of the William Offley, joined the company. According to the company website, Forrester was the first person to map the River Douro and its region, and his contributions to the development of the Port Wine trade, earned him the title of Baron which was bestowed by the King of Portugal. In 1997 OFFLEY was purchased by Sogrape, and they are the current owners of the brand.

Red Owl Cooler SAM_1667

Red Owl Cooler

Offley Ruby Porto is a young red wine produced in the traditional Porto method. The crushed grapes (produced in the Douro Region of Portugal) are fermented with the stalks removed, and the resulting wine is fortified and left in the Douro region until the following spring. Then they are taken to Vila Nova de Gaia to be matured in oak wood casks at Offley’s centuries old lodges and aging cellars. To make the Ruby Porto, a blend of wines is selected whose ages vary from about 2 years up to 5 years. The resulting wine is then filtered and cold stabilized prior to bottling.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: OFFLEY Ruby Port Wine

“… The flavours that develop represent a nice combination of ripe cherry and plum flavours accented by a light acidity and some raisiny spiciness. There is also a chalky mineral-like quality underneath and a bit of tannin-like dryness that reminds me of grape skins which pucker the mouth slightly. Over-all the Offley Ruby Porto is easy-going …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a recipe suggestion which mixes White Owl Whisky with OFFLEY Ruby Port, I call it the Red Owl Cooler.

Chimo!

Posted in Ruby Port, Wine Reviews - Port | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Legacy Small Batch Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 20, 2015

Legacy Small Batch SAM_1656The resurgence of interest in Canadian Whisky continues unabated as it seems that every time I venture into a local liquor store I see new brands that I have never tried before. One of these new brands, Legacy Small Batch caught my eye and I decided to request a bottle for review. The new brand is owned by Sazerac, and to produce this new Canadian spirit they import mature whisky from Canada and bottle it at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky.

There is not much information about this particular whisky on the Sazerac website except for a statement that, Master Blender Drew Mayville (Buffalo Trace), oversees the distillation of this particular whisky. Unfortunately I find this claim hard to reconcile based upon his own statements in a 2013 interview in The Spirits Business (see interview here) regarding the anonymity of Canadian Whisky distillers and his happiness at being a blender and not a distiller. (Note that Canadian Whisky by law must be at least 3 years old and therefore would have been distilled prior to those statements.) Perhaps the marketing people at Sazerac meant that Drew Mayville oversees the blending of the Legacy Small Batch, which of course would be right up his alley.

Canadian Caribou

Canadian Caribou

Here is a link to my full Review:

Review: Legacy Small Batch Canadian Whisky

“… I taste a very nice melding of rye-like spices with butterscotch toffee. There is a corn-like smoothness which permeates the whisky along with just enough peppery heat to pucker and dry the palate making it receptive to the next sip. There are also light bits of cinnamon, some gentle vanillans, and a touch of milk chocolate in the flavour profile and all of these flavours seem to be pulling in the same pleasant direction …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a nice recipe I created called the Canadian Caribou.

Chimo

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisky Liqueur, Whisky Review | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Iceberg Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 18, 2015

Reverse Vesper SAM_1632

Reverse Vesper with Iceberg Vodka

Iceberg Vodka is produced by the Canadian Iceberg Vodka Corp. (CIVC), which is headquartered St. John’s, Newfoundland. The spirit is produced by blending alcohol distilled from Ontario sweet-corn with water harvested from icebergs off the coast of Newfoundland with the aim of creating a premium vodka which is completely devoid of artificial pollutants. The arctic icebergs which float into what is called ‘iceberg alley’ just off the coat of Newfoundland are formed from glaciers which are over 10,000 years old.

When I opened my bottle of Iceberg Vodka for the first time, I was also sampling with three other vodka spirits, Polar Ice, Opulent and Skyy Vodka. I created a set of tasting notes for each spirit, and from those notes, and from a second set of tasting notes which I prepared in my private tasting room when I tasted each spirit in isolation from the others, I prepared my reviews.

Here is a link to the full review for Iceberg Vodka:

Review: Iceberg Vodka

“… When I took to sip, I allowed a little vodka to sit on my tongue before swallowing. I noticed a nice corn-like sweetness came though in front of the grainy spice and the combination of both was quite nice …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a nice recipe suggestion, the Reverse Vesper with Cucumber and Orange Peel.

Chimo!

Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Penny Blue XO Single Estate Mauritius Rum (Batch #002)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 16, 2015

bottleI was able to obtain a sample of Penny Blue XO Single Estate Mauritius Rum, from the Western Canadian distributor Charton Hobbs. This spirit is produced by the Indian Ocean Rum Company which is a partnership between the local Medine Distillery on the Island of Mauritius and the English spirits company, Berry Bros. & Rudd. Penny Blue is a true Mauritian Rum, distilled from the locally produced molasses from the Medine Distillery’s home-grown sugar cane.

According to the information provided to me, only 7000 bottles of Batch #002 were produced from 22 oak casks. Thirty percent of the rum was drawn from ex-Whisky casks, thirty percent from ex-Bourbon Casks, and 30 percent from ex-Cognac casks. The ages of these rums varied between 5 to 11 years. An astute person will note that this accounts for only ninety percent of the rum. The final ten percent of the rum was actually a portion drawn from Batch #001 which was added to the blend for additional flavour and complexity.

After blending the rum is bottled at the Medine Estate. This bottling strength may vary slightly from batch to batch, and Batch #002 was bottled at 43.2% alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Penny Blue XO Single Estate Mauritius Rum (Batch #002)

“… The butterscotch aroma is accented by hints of tobacco and leather, and the oak spice brings impressions of orange peel and baking spice (in particular cinnamon and bits of nutmeg). There is an underlying impression of almond as well as a few floral notes. The overall impression I have is that the rum promises to be quite pleasant with perhaps just a touch of heat to add to its character …”

Please enjoy my review and the cocktail suggestion which follows, The Rum Club Cocktail!

Chimo!

Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage Port 2008

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 14, 2015

late-bottled-vintage-2008Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) Port wine is (as the name implies) a style of Port which is bottled later than the more prestigious Vintage Port. LBV Port wine remains in neutral wood between four to six years, rather than the 2 years which would be typical for a Vintage Port. Since Port wine matures more quickly in oak vats than it would in the bottle, it is ready to be served when it is bottled. However, Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage Port, (unlike many other LBV Ports) is not filtered before it is bottled, as a result the Fonseca will continue to age and should continue to improve if stored properly.

The wines used to produce Fonseca LBV were drawn from a reserve of some of the best full-bodied red ports produced during the 2008 harvest. These grapes were grown both on Fonseca’s own vineyards as well as on other properties in the Cima Corgo and Douro Superior areas of the Douro Valley. The wines are aged in wood vats of 50 pipes (27,500 litres) capacity and then bottled after five years.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage Port 2008, Bottled 2013

“…   As the glass sits I soon received lush fruity smells of fresh dark BC cherries and fresh ripe plums. I really enjoyed the evolution of aromas as the smells above the glass began with dry fruity aromas and moved slowly to a fuller fresher aroma of ripe succulent fruit …”

I like Port Wine, and in particular, I like LBV Port Wine with its bevy of fresh fruity flavours. Unfortunately, in my particular local we have a rather limited selection of LBV Port and so my reviews of this style of wine are rather scant. However, I can say without a doubt that the Fonsecu Late Bottle Vintage 2008 is a spectacular example of how great LBV Port can be.

Please enjoy the review!

Chimo!

 

Posted in LBV Port, Wine Reviews - Port | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 12, 2015

Crown RoyalCrown Royal Single Barrel (Davin) SAM_1633®Canadian Whisky is currently produced in Gimli, Manitoba, at the Crown Royal Distillery. The distillery and the brand are owned by the global spirits conglomerate Diageo, and I think it is fair to say that Crown Royal is Diageo’s flagship Canadian whisky. The brand was 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 who traveled across the Country by train that year. (Apparently, the train carrying the Royal Couple was stocked with 10 cases of the new Crown Royal Blend.) 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 Canada and the USA by value. (I believe Canadian Club is still the number one brand in Canada by volume.)

Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel is the first production Canadian Whisky ever to sold in the single barrel format. It drawn from a single oak cask and bottled a full 51.5 % alcohol by volume bottling proof.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel

“… That intense butterscotch I noticed on the nose manifests itself as a sweet yummy honeyed butterscotch flavour when the spirit crosses the palate. Along with the sweet butterscotch are equally intense spicy rye wood spices which along with the 103 proof alcohol heat the mouth. I realize I have to be careful with this whisky, the flavour is so good I want a mouthful, but the heat the spirit possesses must be treated with respect …”

Please enjoy my review!

Chimo!

 

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

Review: Finlandia Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 9, 2015

Finlnadia Martini SAM_1588Finlandia describes itself as the Vodka of Finland. When I researched the spirit, I discovered it is distilled in the Finnish village of Koskenkorva, by the Altia Corporation from locally grown six-row barley and what the Finlandia website calls ‘untainted glacier water’. After distillation, the spirit is transported to Rajamäki (also in Finland) where it is brought to bottling strength and bottled. It is imported into Canada by Brown-Forman.

I sampled Finlandia side by side in a flight of vodka spirits which also included the more premium Belvedere Unfiltered Vodka, and AnestasiA Vodka, as well as a locally produced spirit Alberta Pure Vodka which shares a similar price point with Finlandia. I compiled notes for each Vodka, and from those notes (and from my notes in a separate tasting in my private tasting room) I constructed my reviews.

Here is a link to my full review for Finlandia Vodka:

Review: Finlandia Vodka

“… only a few wisps of grainy spice were apparent in the breezes before I took my first sip. The vodka has a soft lightly sweet lemon balsam flavour which spreads across the palate as you sip. There is also a mild spiciness that covers the tongue …”

Please enjoy my latest review which includes two nice recipes at its conclusion, a Vodka Martini (with Grapefruit Peel) and the Vodka Daiquiri

Chimo!

___________________________________________________________________________________

Note: If you are interested, here are the links for the three other Vodka Spirits in the flight which I sampled side by side with the Finlandia:

Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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