Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 14, 2015
Late 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:
“… 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!
Posted in LBV Port, Wine Reviews - Port | Tagged: Fonseca Port, Late Bottled Vintage Port 2008, LBV Port, Port, Review | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 12, 2015
Crown Royal®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:
“… 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!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Crown Royal, Hand Selected Barrel, Whisky Review | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 9, 2015
Finlandia 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:
“… 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.
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: Cocktails, Finlandia, Martini, Vodka Daiquiri, Vodka Martini, Vodka Review | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 7, 2015
Bayou Spiced Rum and Cola
Louisiana Spirits was formed in 2011 with the stated aim to produce a world-class rum in Lacassine, Louisiana from Louisiana sugarcane. By 2013 their distillery located a few miles east of Lake Charles, Louisiana, was producing a craft rum in what they call the largest privately owned rum distillery in the USA. They produce three rums, (a spiced, a flavoured, and a white rum) all of which have made their way into the Alberta market via Lifford Wines who distribute and market the spirit here in my home Province of Alberta.
Bayou Rums are distilled upon a traditional copper pot still using 100% locally (Louisiana) produced cane sugar and molasses. According to the company website:
Spiced Bayou Rum is infused with classic traditional spices with a Louisiana twist. Featuring Louisiana grown ingredients, this special gumbo of spices creates a unique and satisfying blend that makes it the perfect rum for mixing. Spiced Bayou Rum livens up everything from a rum and cola to unsweet tea or an ice cube.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… I noticed a butterscotch and vanilla sweetness rode in the breezes alongside a pleasant, somewhat pungent, spiciness. The spiciness reminded me of nutmeg and allspice, with perhaps a touch of cardamom and ginger as well. I also seemed to sense some sharper aromatic spices akin to cinnamon and cloves …”
As you can see from my photograph to the left, Bayou Spiced Rum mixes very easily with cola, and for that reason alone, the Bayou Spiced Rum with Cola promises to be on my menu for many a barbeque this summer.
Posted in Rum, Rum Reviews, Spiced Rum | Tagged: Bayou Spiced Rum, Louisiana Spirits, Rum, Rum Review | 1 Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 5, 2015
Canadian Club Whisky (owned by BeamSuntory) is the oldest (and probably the most influential) Canadian Whisky brand in the world. The company has been granted numerous Royal Warrants from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II and it has been reported that Canadian Club was the whisky of choice when Al Capone smuggled thousands of Cases of Canadian Whisky into the USA during prohibition. Today Canadian Club Premium is the flagship brand for the company. In Canada, it is aged for a minimum of 6 years in white oak barrels and bottled at 40 per cent alcohol by volume.
Recently Canadian Club added to their flavoured and spiced portfolio by releasing a new maple flavoured whisky , Canadian Club Chairman’s Select Maple. According to the Canadian Club website:
Our master distillers have brought together the world’s finest Canadian whisky with the perfect hint of maple flavour.
Chairman’s Maple Mammy
Here is a link to my full review:
“… When I steal a sip from the glass, again it is the flavour of maple which one notices immediately (as we should). However, I was pleased to taste a firm whisky presence within the spirit as well. Despite the obvious maple taint, the flavoured whisky still retains its character as a whisky …”
Included in my review is a nice cocktail suggestion which combine the Canadian Club Chairman’s Select Maple with lime juice and ginger-ale, the Chairman’s Maple Mammy.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Club, Canadian Whisky, Chairman's Maple Mammy, Chairman's Select, Cocktail, Flavoured Whisky, Maple Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 3, 2015
Belvedere Vodka is (according to their website) “the world’s first luxury vodka“. It is a four-time distilled spirit produced in the Polish town of Żyrardów from Dankowski rye and water pulled from Belvedere’s own underground artesian wells.
I first tasted the new Unfiltered Belvedere Vodka at a recent Martini Seminar hosted in Edmonton by Ali Dedianko, the Belvedere Vodka Global Ambassador. At the seminar Ali described the Belvedere Unfiltered spirit as a ‘whisky drinkers vodka’ which was produced to allow the flavour of the Dankowski Rye to shine through. This is because the spirit is produced exclusively from Dankowski Rye grain grown on a Single Estate on one selected Polish farm. (It has its own terroir, if you will.) Furthermore the new Vodka, after being distilled four times, is bottled without filtering (at 40 % Alcohol by Volume) to ensure that the rye flavour within the vodka is not lost.
Unfiltered Reverse Vesper
After the Martini event, I contacted the Western Canadian distributor of Belvedere products, Charton Hobbs who provided my sample bottle for this review.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… When I brought the chilled vodka to my nose I could detect light aromas of fresh-baked rye bread combined with a lovely milk chocolate scent. I was surprised that the aroma was so firm as the Vodka was very well chilled. As the Vodka warmed, the spicy rye grain seemed to unravel itself from the lightly sweet chocolate giving me another olfactory dimension to enjoy …”
Please enjoy the review, and at its conclusion I hope you also enjoy two Martini recipes I created which feature the outstanding flavour of the Belvedere Unfiltered Vodka, a Dry Vodka Martini (with lemon garnish) and a Reverse Vesper Martini (with cucumber and lemon garnish).
Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Belvedere Unfiltered, Cocktail, Dankowski Rye, Flavoured Vodka Review, Martini, Reverse Vesper, Vodka | Comments Off on Review: Belvedere Unfiltered (Rare Diamond Rye) Vodka
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 1, 2015
Rum Nation is an Italian company created by Fabio Rossi, who began his life in the spirits trade as a Oenologist (one who has studied wine-making). After his studies, Mr. Rossi left the wine business and started up a whisky company in Edinburgh (Wilson and Morgan) acting as an independent bottler of Single Malt Scotch Whisky. His interest turned to rum, and in 1999 Fabio Rossi founded Rum Nation. His company is headquartered in Italy; but Fabio purchases select rums from various distillers in the Caribbean and the Americas. As a result Rum Nation provides a rather unique assortment of limited edition bottlings. One such bottling is Rum Nation Jamaica 8 Year Old Rum (2015 release).
The 8 Year Old Jamaican Pot Still Rum was distilled in 2006 in a traditional Pot Still (distillery located St. Catherine, on the Island of Jamaica) and spent the first 7 years of its maturation on the island in ex-bourbon casks. From Jamaica, the rum was transported to Italy where it was transferred to ex-sherry casks (Oloroso), and then it spent an additional year aging in a cool wine cellar in the Piedmont. The final rum was bottled at a full 50 % alcohol by volume in Italy in 2015.
Jamaican Pot Still Punch
According to Fabio Rossi:
“We decided to bottle at 50% because we wanted it to stay ballsy, and appeal to whisky drinkers!”
You may read my full review of this ‘ballsy’ rum by clicking on the following link:
“… The breezes seem to be filled with baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon, and a touch of cloves), rich brown sugar, and sherry-like aromas of dark fruit (raisins and dates). I also sense a strong presence of orange peel which is typical of Jamaican rums. In the midst of those familiar rummy scents are the punky notes of the Pot Still …”
Please enjoy my review as well as the suggested punch recipe at its conclusion, Jamaican Pot Still Punch.
Happy Canada Day!
Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: 8 Year Old, Cocktails, Jamaica, Pot Still Punch, Pot Still Rum, Rum, Rum Nation, Rum Review | Comments Off on Review: Rum Nation Jamaica Pot Still 8 Year Old Rum
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 29, 2015
Gin appears to be the original Martini spirit. There is some speculation as to how exactly this bar drink evolved, the beginnings of this cocktail form was perhaps initiated as early as 1888 when a recipe for a bar drink which consisted of half a wine glass of Old Tom Gin, and half a wine glass of Vermouth was published (Johnson, Harry (1888), The New and Improved Illustrated Bartenders’ Manual; Or: How to Mix Drinks of the Present Style). Over time this simple bar drink evolved and changed into the present day Martini.
Prohibition did its part to popularize the Martini as its main ingredient, Gin, was very easy for an illicit establishment to produce (illegally), and by the time prohibition ended, the Gin Martin may well have been the most popular bar drink served in North America.
Today, it remains a popular cocktail. Like the Vodka Martini (which arrived later on the scene), the Gin Martini can be served at varying degrees of dryness depending upon the amount of aromatized wine (usually vermouth) is used in its construction. The traditional recipes found in the cocktail guides from the 1920’s usually recommend a ratio of gin to vermouth of 2:1. Modern recipes contain much less vermouth, and in fact my brother-in-law’s favourite recipe calls for his cocktail glass to be rinsed with Vermouth only and the rest of the volume of his cocktail to be gin and garnish.
Traditional Gin Martini (cucumber garnish)
At the recent Belvedere Martini Seminar hosted by Ali Dedianko, Belvedere Vodka Global Ambassador, she made the point that we should perhaps explore also a larger range of garnishes than the typical olive or lemon peel. One of the garnishes she suggested was cucumber, and that is the direction I have chosen to go for this particular construction of my Gin Martini which combines No. 3 London Dry Gin and Stock Vermouth with thin slice of cucumber in an excellent Martini cocktail:
The following link will take you to my recipe page:
Note: I made this point with respect to the traditional Vodka Martini, and it bears repeating again with respect to the Gin Martini. Once you open any bottle of vermouth, it is important that you realize that all aromatized wines have a very short shelf life. This is because the wine will begin to oxidize almost immediately, and after only one short week (even if the bottle is refrigerated) it’s flavour will have undergone a noticeable and undesirable change. I suspect in fact, that it is experiences with bad vermouth that have led many people to decrease its volume in the classic martini cocktail, not understanding that the vinegary component they are tasting is not a normal flavour component of good vermouth.
Please use fresh vermouth whenever you are serving Martini cocktails.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes | Tagged: Cocktails, Gin Martini, No. 3 London Dry Gin, Stock Vermouth, Traditional | 3 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 27, 2015
The 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
Here is a link to my full review:
“… 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.
Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: 1878 Whiskey Cocktail, American Whiskey, Bourbon, Cocktail, Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Michter's, Review, Whiskey | Comments Off on Review: Michter’s US *1 Bourbon
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 26, 2015
AnestasiA Vodka was created as a result of founder, Yuliya Mamontova’s desire to create a luxury spirit in the United States. Yuliya’s passion was a result of her upbringing, as she learned the arts of fermentation and distillation as well as the expertise of marketing and packaging firsthand growing up in a family of European Vodka Producers.
Her luxury vodka, AnestasiA, is produced in Bend Oregon from corn which is sourced from Pacific Northwest farms and water which flows from Bend’s Cascade Mountains. According to the company website:
“The waters of this range flow through riverbeds of lava rock, and thereby avoid picking the sediment—metallic salts such as magnesium and calcium—present in most water sources. In fact, our waters contain 90% less of these compounds than your average drinking water. This makes our water remarkably ‘soft’, and results in AnestasiA vodka’s naturally derived purity.”
The AnestasiA spirit is five times distilled, and after the final distillation, the distillate is brought to bottling proof with the soft Northwest water. Then it is filtered a further five times through crushed lava rock, neutral charcoal, and Arkansas-derived quartz crystal. The final Vodka is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume in a stunning decanter type bottle (shown to the left) which is made partially from recycled materials.
Founder, Yuliya Mamontova, reached out to me through my website, and asked me if I would agree to receive a bottle of her luxury Vodka to review.
Here is a link to that full review:
“… At the cold serving temperature I could detect absolutely no aroma above the glass, however, when I sipped the vodka I could taste a firm lemon zest with just a hint of grain spice. It is very pleasant especially with the lingering lightly sweet lightly spicy lemon flavour which coats the palate …”
Included with my review is a very nice cocktail which combines the AnestasiA Vodka with Gilbey’s Gin. I call it, Tactical Equilibrium.
Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: AnestasiA, Cocktails, Tactical Equilibrium, Vodka, Vodka Review | Comments Off on Review: AnestasiA Vodka