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#94 Glenfarclas 15 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 22, 2015

The Glenfarclas Distillery is located in the Glenfarclas valley on the Recherlich Farm at Ballindalloch which is in the heart of Speyside. The Distillery was purchased by the Grant Family in 1865, and it has remained in the control of the Grant Family for six generations up to the present day. In fact, Glenfarclas is one of only a few distilleries remaining in Scotland which is independently family owned and managed.

Glenfarclas 15 SAM_1740I have had several opportunities to meet George Grant (of that sixth generation of the Grant Family) right here in Edmonton at a tasting events sponsored by Pacific Wine & Spirits Inc, who are the local importer/distributor of Glenfarclas Highland Single Malt Whisky in Alberta. At each event I attended, I was allowed to sample the entire line-up of Glenfarclas Whisky. Each time, I took the time to write detailed tasting notes for each whisky.

Here is a link to my review of the #94 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#94 – Glenfarclas 15 Year Old

“… The nose is very rich with the scents and smells of the sherry influence upon the whisky. Dried fruit (raisins, dates, and prunes) lead out with a very noticeable accent of dark chocolate. Dark toffee smells enrich the air above the glass, and as the whisky sits, rich baking spiced build and build. I can smell rich brown Demerara sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla in the breezes above the glass …”


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: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

# 95 Camus XO Elegance (Cognac)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 21, 2015

Camus is the last of the major Cognac Houses that is entirely family run, and the House has been run that way for five generations. The construction of their Camus XO Elegance begins with a selection of different styles of eaux de vie in an effort to create a specific floral character suitable for the final Cognac. Specifically mentioned upon the Camus website are the eaux de vie from the Borderies Vineyards which are included in the blend.The distilled spirit is aged in cool damp cellars until the eau de vie reach perfect maturity.

CAM ELEGANCE XO 70CL_WHITE BACKGROUNDAlthough the distilled spirits which make up the Elegance blend must be aged for a minimum of six years, according to Richard Bush, the Area Manager (US Travel Retail, Canada and the Caribbean) for Camus Wines & Spirits, some of the eaux de vie in the Elegance XO blend has been matured for as long as 30 years.

Here is a link to my review of the #95 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#95 – Camus XO Elegance

“… The cognac leads out with oak spices (orange peel, ginger and cardamom) and candied fruit (oranges and apricots and raisins). Vanilla and almond flavours lie underneath with perhaps some dabs of honey. I really like how the sweetness mingles with the hotter oak spices giving the cognac a fresh almost flamboyant character. Some woody tannins pucker the mouth but again the candied sweetness acts beautifully to counterbalance. …”


You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Brandy and Cognac Reviews, Cognac Review, Extras | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

# 96 The Macallan Ruby

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 20, 2015

The Macallan Distillers Ltd recently launched a new line of Single Malt Whisky which they call, The Macallan 1824 Series. Each whisky in the 1824 Series is 100 % Sherry Cask whisky, and each whisky within the range draws its name from the colour of the whisky inside the bottle as the series moves up the ladder from Gold to Amber, Sienna, and finally to Ruby in that order.

Macallan 1824 Ruby These whiskies carry no age statement. Instead, the consumer is asked to draw a parallel between the colour of the whisky in the bottle and its age, complexity, and quality. Because these whiskies are naturally coloured by the casks from which they are drawn, the implication is that the richer darker whiskies have aged longer, and/or have had more of their blend drawn from the higher quality Sherry oak casks.

The Macallan Ruby is the darkest production whisky in the series. The Ruby is bottled at 43 % alcohol by volume, and all of this whisky was matured exclusively in European oak sherry casks.

Here is a link to my review of the #96 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#96 – The Macallan Ruby

“… The entry into the mouth brought somewhat of an unexpected rush of oak and spice forward as the whisky carried even more oak spice across the palate than what the nose implied. The complexity is top-notch as I tasted bittersweet dark chocolate, caramel toffee, raisin filled fruit cake, canned apricots, and zesty orange peel all mingling within that spicy rush of oak sap …”


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: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

#97 Santa Teresa 1796 Antiguo de Solera

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 19, 2015

The Ron Santa Theresa 1796 Antiguo de Solera is a Venezuelan rum which can trace its ancestry back to the year of 1796 when the Santa Theresa Hacienda was created. It was of course, 200 years later that the Ron Santa Theresa 1796 was created to commemorate the bicentennial anniversary of the Hacienda.

Santa Theresa 1796 SAM_1710This is a true Solera rum with 4 rows of aging barrels set one atop each other. As the rum ages, a portion of the rum moves through each row until it reaches the final solera row at the bottom years later. The barrels are not emptied fully and only a portion of the rum from the previous or higher row is moved to the lower row each time. According to the Santa Theresa website, a very small portion of the rum reaches an age approximating 25 years before bottling.

Here is a link to my review of the #97 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#97 – Ron Santa Teresa 1796 Antiguo de Solera

“… The rum has a different reddish tone and the initial aroma seems to be hinting that the spirit has at some point in its journey passed through an exotic wine cask which left an imprint of fruity dark cherries and plums upon the scent of the rum. Rich aromas of butterscotch and light smells of molasses join with these fruity scents and the result is most appealing …”


You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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

#98 – Glenfiddich 15 Year Old (The Solera Vat 2013)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 18, 2015

This expression of the 15 Year Old Glenfiddich is a Single Malt Scotch Whisky aged in European (Spanish Sherry), American (American Bourbon) and New American (virgin) oak. The resulting whisky is then mellowed in a Solera Vat (which when introduced by Glenfiddich for the 15-year-old Single Malt, had no counterpart in the world of  Scotch whisky). The final blend is married in Portuguese Oak Tuns. The resulting whisky is (according to the Glenfiddich website) the first 15-year-old expression to become one of the top 10 best-selling Single Malt whiskies in the world.

14272 GF 15 YO WW Tround MockWhat’s really cool is that in June of 2013, Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch announced that $2.00 from every bottle sold of this whisky in Canada would be donated to benefit Canadian Forces Members as part of their continued support for Wounded Warriors Canada. In honour of the ongoing partnership, Glenfiddich has changed its regular packaging throughout 2013 and beyond in recognition of the donation program to help raise awareness and funds for Wounded Warriors Canada. Founded in 2006, Wounded Warriors Canada is a non-profit organization that helps Canadian Forces Members (be they full-time members or reservists) who have been wounded or injured in their service to Canada.

Here is a link to my review of the #98 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#98 – Glenfiddich 15 Year Old (The Solera Vat 2013)

“… The initial nose reveals nice oaky scents of honey and butterscotch with some hints of dark fruit (raisin and dates) and mild notes of black licorice and cocoa. Some additional impressions of spruce and pine touch my nose with touches of heather and willow. The resulting breezes above the glass are rich and full of toffee and oak hinting at sherry smoke and a light herbal character …”


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: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

#99 El Dorado 8 Year Old Cask Aged Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 17, 2015

The Diamond Distillery sits on the East Bank of the Demerara River near Georgetown, Guyana. The Distillery, originally attached to the now closed Diamond Sugar Estate, is home to Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL). Two years ago, I was invited by DDL and Woodman Wines and Spirits to travel to Guyana for a very exclusive tour of DDL’s facilities with a small group of Canadian Spirits Writers and Restauranteurs. It was in Guyana that I encountered their new 8 Year Old Rum.

SAM_1070According to the El Dorado Website, the El Dorado 8 Year old Cask Aged Rum is blended from selected stocks of rum which were produced from no less than four of DDL’s traditional Heritage Stills including both the original Wooden Coffey Still which was rescued from the Enmore Estate and the Double Wooden Pot Still which was rescued from the Port Mourant Estate. Each of these stills is well over 200 years old and they represent the last of their kind operating in the world today. The use of these ancient stills ensures that the Demerara Rum produced at DDL’s Diamond Distillery is unlike anything produced anywhere else in the world.

(For more information on the unique Heritage Stills in operation at the Diamond distillery you may read my first hand account here (Diamond Distillery Tour).

Here is a link to my review of the #99 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#99 – El Dorado 8 Year Old Cask Aged Rum

“… As I let the glass sit and I enjoy the breezes above the glass, I notice that the oak spices are building and they have begun to meld into the brown sugar and toffee. As I let the breezes drift about, it is almost as though I can smell fresh cinnamon buns baking. I notice a few new nuances in the breezes as well; some mild indications of dry fruit (raisins and dates), the aroma of milk chocolate, and a delicate scent of tar and tobacco. …”


You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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

#100 Ultimat Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 16, 2015

This year, I thought I would do something special, a list of the 100 best spirits I have tasted and reviewed since opening my website about 6 years ago. To that end, I began working on my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits List at the beginning of July, and I put the final touches on it in early September. This list is the largest countdown list I have ever attempted, and I plan to bring you each spirit on the list, one day at a time, with the final spirit, the best that I have tasted, to be revealed on Christmas Eve.

SAM_0622 Ultimat cocktatilAs with my previous lists, I will publish reviews for each spirit in reverse order, or as I like to call it, countdown style. The first spirit to enter my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits countdown is Ultimat Vodka.

Ultimat is a Polish vodka (owned by The Patron Spirits Company), produced from the rather unusual mixture of both grains and potatoes. The grains (rye and wheat) are said to supply complexity and smoothness, while the potato spirit is said to lend a richness to the vodka which makes this spirit a new experience for the Vodka connoisseur.

You may read my review of this great spirit here:

#100:  Ultimat Vodka

“… is absolutely smooth even when taking a large swallow. Of course flavour impressions when sipping or shooting vodka are only that, impressions; but I tasted hints of anise, lemon balsam, and a light bread-like quality. The aftertaste was still lightly minty, although a touch of sourdough bread seemed to linger as well …”

I hope everyone enjoys my 2015 Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown List as I will reveal a new spirit each day on my way to revealing the best spirit I have tasted since opening my website. And to make it easier to follow along, I have created a separate page which will list the entire reveal as it happens.


You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Extras, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Captain Morgan Cannon Blast

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 15, 2015

Cannon Blast Bottle Image

Captain Morgan Cannon Blast has just begun to appear on store shelves throughout North America. The new spirit from Captain Morgan (apparently produced from Captain Morgan Rum as well as natural flavours and spices) promises to deliver a pleasing citrus sweet front end while providing a finish with a warming (as in spicy), but not overwhelming, sensation. The new spiced rum is apparently (based upon the media information provided) designed to be ideal for the shot glass.

Coinciding with the release of this new citrus and spice flavoured rum, the Captain Morgan media team began to send samples and product information to media outlets (like The Rum Howler Blog) encouraging all of us to use the #(Hashtag)Boom when we tweet and write about their new spirit.

Cannon Blast Blasted Brew ImageHere is a link to my full review:

Review: Captain Morgan Cannon Blast

“… The aroma carries an obvious rum-like caramel aroma which is tainted by the sweet and sour scent of a lemon drop candy. The lemon drop candy scent grows stronger as you let the rum breathe, and as well I begin to notice a light spiciness, which reminds me of ginger and cardamom …”

Please enjoy this review which includes a recipe, Blasted Brew, which mixes the Cannon Blast with Lager Beer.

Chimo!  (#Boom)

Posted in Flavouerd Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews, Spiced Rum | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Review: Dulce Vida Organic Tequila (Añejo)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 14, 2015

Dulce Vida anejoDulce Vida Tequila is produced from 100% organic agave grown in the Los Altos highlands which are situated in the Tequila Region of Mexico. The company produces the only 100° proof, 100% organic tequila (also free from additives of any kind) in the world. As well as being 100% organic, their tequila is also produced in a manner which embraces the concept of sustainability. During production of the spirit a complete waste recapture program is set in place which results in the production of a nutrient-rich soil supplement which is supplied to the local farming community. As well, the methane gas which is produced as a by-product of the waste collection & processing is captured and utilized to help power Dulce Vida’s production facilities in the village of San Ignacio Cerro Gordo at Campanario (in Mexico of course).

Although the Dulce Vida website does not specify the exact distillery which produces this agave spirit, I did notice that the identified NOM on the bottom of the label 1443. This NOM identifier is required by the Mexican Government to be placed on the label of each bottle of tequila to verify that it is produced legally from agave sourced in the Tequila region of Mexico. Each distillery has its own NOM, and thus we can trace the distillery of origin. In this case it is the Don Pilar Distillery who of course also produce Don Pilar Tequila.

Dulce Vida Organic Añejo Tequila has been aged for 24 months in American Bourbon Whiskey barrels.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Dulce Vida Organic Tequila (Añejo)

” … The breezes above the glass carries indications of a lightly sweet honey scent which is melded with enticing wisps of butterscotch and caramel. I also sense a firm indication of fine oak spices combined with hot white pepper. The typical earthy/fruity aroma (reminiscent of garden squash or pumpkin) of the agave is quite mild, however the peppery spice so typical of highland tequila is front and center …”

Please enjoy my review.


Posted in Anejo Tequila, Tequila, Tequila Review | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Autumn Margarita

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 13, 2015

dulce vida autumn margarita SAM_1712A few days ago, I made the point that as the weather turns cooler, my preferences with respect to the style of cocktail which I enjoy begins to change. When the evenings turn chill, I often want a stronger more intense cocktail than the typical tall deck drink offers. Making such a bar drink with an aged spirit rather than a young clear spirit also offers a cocktail with more depth and character.

Here is my Autumn Margarita made with those cool evenings in mind.

Autumn Margarita

2 oz Añejo Tequila (Dulce Vida Organic)
3/4 oz Orange Curacao
1/2 oz fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 oz sugar syrup (1:1 ratio)
Lime Slice

Add the first five ingredients into a metal cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Add a Lime Slice for garnish


If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more mixed drink recipes!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »


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