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#7 Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 18, 2015

Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon is part of Jim Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. This collection is composed of Booker’s, and the previously reviewed 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. The Booker’s Bourbon was named for Booker Noe, who in 1992 began to produce the Booker’s whiskey bottled “straight-from-the-barrel, uncut and unfiltered”.

Booker's SAM_1112Interestingly, Booker’s Bourbon does not carry a consistent age statement from batch to batch as barrels are chosen for character and flavour rather than for being a specific age. For that reason the age of a particular bottle can vary between 6 to 8 years old. Because the whiskey is bottled straight from the barrel the bottling strength can also vary (according to the website) between 59.5 % to 64.55 % per batch.

Here is the review for the #7a Spirit in my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#7a – Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon

“… I was treated to even more richness as indications of dry fruit revealed themselves above the glass along with hints of treacle and pan roasted walnuts. There were also delightful aromas of leather chairs and rich pipe tobacco meandering into the breezes with undertones of smoky charcoal and dabbles of licorice mixed in. What I sense only a little of, is any undo astringency from the whopping 64.55 % alcohol within the glass. Maybe I have a bottle from a particularly outstanding batch; but air above my glass represents a masterpiece of whiskey goodness …”

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

Note: I admitted earlier in the countdown that I had to place two spirits in the #25 spot because I had inadvertently failed to re-taste one extremely good spirit, and this necessitated a correction and addition of one extra spirit upon my list. 

I have to confess that another minor error  occurred which requires an addition. When I constructed my list, I made a counting error and halfway through the countdown I realized that I had one too many spirits upon the list. Because I felt the number 7 ranking in my Countdown caused me the most anguish, I decided to fix my error and score two spirits (a tie) at number 7.

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The Rum Howler’s #8 Canadian Whisky of 2015 – Wiser’s Legacy

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 17, 2015

Wiser's LegacyWiser’s Legacy Canadian Whisky (a Corby Brand) was released in early 2010 as a new entry into the fledgling “Super Premium” category of Canadian Whisky. At the time, a few other Super Premium Whiskies already existed in the market-place (Wiser’s own Red Letter, and Crown Royal’s, Cask No. 16 and Crown Royal  XR); but the category hadn’t really caught the buying public’s imagination. In fact the Super Premium category had seen more failures than successes to that point (at least as far as Canadian Whisky was concerned). However the tipping point for the category seems to have been the year 2010, and the brand which (in my opinion) which helped the most to bring about a this change was Wiser’s Legacy.

According to David Doyle, who was the Master Blender for Wiser’s Legacy:

“I have selected only the finest new, white oak casks, which are essential to the aging process and help mellow the perfect distillate under tightly controlled conditions. It is this careful and deliberate craftsmanship that makes Wiser’s Legacy the ultimate achievement in traditional Canadian whisky distilling.”

Here is a link to the Rum Howler #8 Canadian Whisky of 2015:

Wiser’s Legacy

“… The legacy seems like an attempt to inject a fuller oak presence into the Canadian Whisky profile. Fresh oak tannin is at the forefront of the flavour which is thick with corn and bourbon tones swimming in a pool of rye. A kind of punky dankness lingers under these flavours, and I catch hints of maple, and perhaps a touch of anise buried in that dankness …”

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You may read about the Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown here:

The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

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#8 Panamonte Reserva XXV – 25 Year Old Rum (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 17, 2015

The Panamonte Reserva XXV is a well aged Panamanian rum from PANAMONTE BRANDS. This is a molasses based rum produced from sugar cane grown and distilled in Las Cabras de Pese. This rum is very special, as every drop of the Panamonte Reserva XXV rum has been aged for a minimum of 25 years in used bourbon casks. It was handcrafted by Master Blender, Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandez Perez.

Panamonte RESERVA XXVI had a small hand in bringing this particular rum to Alberta, as I introduced the 25 Year Old to a local liquor importer, the Libor Group. It only took one taste to convince them that this rum despite its high price was a something very special.

Here is the review for the #8 Spirit in my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#8 – Panamonte Reserva XXV – 25 Year Old Rum

“… the impact of the oak gains momentum and stains all of the scents with its presence. The orange peel moves to marmalade; the brown sugars move to dark rich toffee; and the pungent spices move to smells of deep dark tobacco. I also begin to smell baked apples and dry fruit (raisins and dates) as if the rum has a sherry influence (I am told it does not), and although I wonder why I did not notice it before, the scent of roasted walnuts has grown in the glass giving the overall aroma even more depth and character …”

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

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The Rum Howler’s #9 Canadian Whisky of 2015 – Century Reserve (Lot 1525)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 16, 2015

CenturyReserve_2012_ShadowSomewhere in the Highwood Distillery barrel aging warehouse is a darkened corner where all of the oak barrels are all stamped “Lot 1525“.  This  corner contains the oldest whisky in the entire facility,  with the age of the whisky inside the barrels ranging  from 15 to 25 years. (It has been hinted to me that some of these barrels contain whisky that is perhaps even older!)  These whisky barrels were originally part of the consignment of whisky acquired when Highwood purchased the Potter’s Distillery in 2005.  As such, these are barrels of whisky produced from a corn-based distillation by the old Potters Distillery, in Kelowna British Colombia. The barrels made the journey to the Highwood facility in 2005 and have been sitting in the darkened corner waiting for the right moment to be tapped and bottled.  From this darkened corner, the Master Blender has carefully chosen just the right barrels, and then just as carefully blended the wonderful elixir within to create a blend of whisky which contains the distillery’s most prized aged whisky, the Lot1525 Century Reserve Custom Blend Canadian Rye Whisky.

Here is a link to the Rum Howler #9 Canadian Whisky of 2015:

Century Reserve (Lot 1525)

“… Upon entry into my mouth, I taste a clean rye whisky which oozes honey and spice.  A nice  light corn flavour rests underneath supporting the whisky with a gentle elegance.  Like the Centennial rye which I reviewed previously, this is polished, with the hard rye buffed and smoothed into a silky suave flavour experience. Oak spices and marzipan weave in and out of the corn, the rye, and the honey …”

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You may read about the Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown here:

The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

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

The Rum Howler Top 25 Rums of 2015 – #’s 10 thru 6

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 16, 2015

Appleton 12 YO CanisterWe have entered into the top 10 of my rankings of the Best Rums of 2015, and an intimidating 23-year-old masterpiece from Rum Nation (their Demerara 23 Year Old) leads us into the top 10. My favourite expression from Appleton Estate (the 12 Year Old) grabs the number 9 spot with a wonderfully complex 9 Year Old Agricole rum from Reimonenq (the only agricole Rhum to make my list) making it to number 8. Diplomatico’s sweet and succulent Reserva Exclusiva is always one of my favourites and one of the World’s most sought after rum’s the Zacapa XO (25 Year Solero) just misses the top 5.

Any of these rums would make a wonderful Christmas Gift for any rum aficionado.

Here are the next five wonderful cane spirits in my listing of the Best 25 Rums of 2015:

10)  Rum Nation Demerara 23 Year Old
09)  Appleton Estate Extra Old 12 Year
08)  Reimonenq Vieux 9 Year Old Rhum (Distilled 1999)
07)  Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
06)  Zacapa XO (25 Year Solero) Rum 

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You may read about and follow the Top 25 Rum Countdown here:

The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Rums

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#9 Wiser’s Very Old 18 Year (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 16, 2015

Wiser's 18 SAM_1885

In the early 2000s, Wiser’s 18 Years Old Canadian Whisky carried the moniker ‘Very Old, and it was usually my whisky of choice when I wanted a special treat. By the time my website had opened, the spirit had been re-branded as Wiser’s 18 Year Old Limited Edition as such I never reviewed the whisky from the ‘Very Old’ bottle. However, in my collection of rare spirits, I still have a few that I purchased from that time before I began to write reviews. When I began my tasting deliberations for this countdown, I decided to sample one of these older bottles (purchased in 2006) next to some of my current favourites. It turns out, that in 2006 when the spirit was called still Wiser’s Very Old , it was quite spectacular (at least the 2006 version was).

Here is the review for that particular bottle of whisky which arrives as the #9 Spirit in my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#9 – Wiser’s Very Old (18 Years Old)

“… as I waited for a moment, the nose coalesced into a deep dark rich baking spice aroma with dark brown sugars,  rich toffee, vanilla, and wisps of cinnamon.  It is a wonderfully rich aroma.  Behind the rich baking spices is a rich oak sap imparting a sturdy backdrop of oak wood and tannin.  This is the type of whisky aroma which makes my mouth water in anticipation of what is coming next …”

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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: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Rum Howler’s #10 Canadian Whisky of 2015 – Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 15, 2015

Lot No. 40Lot No. 40 is, make no mistake about it, a new style of  Canadian Whisky. It is made with locally grown rye which has been distilled upon a single 12,000-litre copper pot still. The final whisky is aged in new oak barrels to showcase the creamy caramelized flavours which new freshly charred oak barrels bring. Hiram Walker Distillery Master Blender, Dr. Don Livermore. elaborated on the process for me:

Without getting into specific recipes, Lot 40 is comprised of 100% of our (Hiram Walker) rye whisky. This whisky was made via pot distillation and subsequently aged in new casks. There is a proprietary proportion of distillers malt(s) used in the brewing process that allows for conversion of the rye grains into fermentable sugars. The brewing process is made in small batches according to the traditional recipes dating back to the early 1900s.”

Here is a link to the Rum Howler #10 Canadian Whisky of 2015:

Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still

“… The whisky has all the flavour that the nose implies with fresh new oak and lots of rye blazing a trail of flavour through the mouth. Bits of fruit (grapes and applesauce), some spicy wood sap, green tobacco, and orange peel join in the onrush of whisky flavour that threatens to batter the taste buds. Tempering the full throttle of oak and rye however, are sweet accents of honeycomb, toffee, maple and hints of chocolate …”

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You may read about the Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown here:

The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

 

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

#10 Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial Rum (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 15, 2015

Although Ron Millonario, is headquartered in Italy (owned by Rossi and Rossi S.R.I.), the rums of Ron Millonario are distilled and aged in Northern Peru. The company website does not give us the exact location of the distillery which produces the Millonario rums although it does speak of a mid-sized Northern Peruvian distillery with three old Scottish column stills and a slow distillation process which is used to produce their rum from sugar cane molasses.

Ron Millonario XO SAM_1404Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial Rum is the premier rum produced by this Italian Company, and it has been one of my most favoured rums ever since I first tasted it.

Here is a link to my review of the #10 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#10 – Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial Rum

“… The main flavours of caramel/molasses, oak spice and baking spices seem to be perfectly melded together. Hints of raisin, figs, tobacco and chocolate seem to provide just the right accent to make this a suave mouth watering rum. There is plenty of sweetness, but this sweetness is tempered by the more pungent flavours such that the rum never seems to be too sweet, it just seems delicious …”

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

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The Rum Howler’s #11 Canadian Whisky of 2015 – Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Years Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 14, 2015

Gibson's Finest 18 SAM_1743According to my correspondence with the media company responsible for, Gibson’s Finest Whisky, the Gibson’s Finest brand is produced from of two sources: a base grain whisky (which would be a corn-based column still whisky), and a blend of rye based flavouring whisky which contains rye and malted barley (distilled by a single column still and a pot still). When aging their whisky, Gibson’s Finest uses a variety of barrels: ex-bourbon barrels, new oak barrels, etc. The ratio of each barrel-type used can differ from batch to batch because the whisky is blended to a specific taste profile rather than to a specific barrel regimen.

Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Years Old Whisky is limited to a production of not more than 12,000 bottles per year. All of the whisky in the blend, is of course 18 years old or more, and it is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to the Rum Howler #11 Canadian Whisky of 2015:

Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Years Old

“… the clean oak spice that poured into the breezes above the glass is the centerpiece of the whisky. It is hot with rye spice and white pepper; but the spiciness brings along just enough flavours of caramel, butterscotch, maple, and canned fruit (apricot and pear) to make this a joyous ride through the glass. The rye brings me impressions of ginger and cardamom. I sense waving fields of ripened rye and barley in the foreground, and more distant fields of ripened corn in the background …”

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You may read about the Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown here:

The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

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

The Rum Howler Top 25 Rums of 2015 – #’s 15 thru 11

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 14, 2015

Millonario Sistema Solera 15 Reserva EspecialThe next 5 great rums in my countdown of the Best Rums of 2015 demonstrate a growing trend upon my website. Rums from South America are beginning to dominate the landscape of premium rum. Three of the next five rums are South American, one from Peru (Ron Millonario), one from Colombia (Juan Santos), and one from Guyana (El Dorado). It could be argued that there is a fourth South American Rum on the list as Pusser’s Navy Rum, although blended from rums of various Caribbean countries, receives the lion’s share of its taste characteristic from the giant wooden double pot stills of Demerara Distillers in Guyana, South America as well.

In fact, when I look over my list of top 25 Rums for 2015, over 50% of the rums I have selected are from South America. That’s quite a high percentage considering that 10 years ago I had never even tasted a single rum produced from the southern continent.

Here are the next five wonderful cane spirits in my listing of the Best 25 Rums of 2015:

15) Ron Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial 
14)  Pusser’s 15 Year Old Navy Rum (Nelson’s Blood)
13) Rum Nation Caroni 1998 (Bottled in 2014 @ 55%) 
12)  Juan Santos 21 Yr Antigua Reserva Rum
11)  El Dorado 12 Year Old Special Reserve Rum 

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You may read about and follow the Top 25 Rum Countdown here:

The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Rums

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

 
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