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2015 Rum Howler Margarita Challenge

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 3, 2015

Alfred Cointreau Margarita SAM_1517s

Alfred Cointreau Margarita

During the months of March and April, my Rum Chums and I embarked on a Tequila Odyssey, as we sampled and tasted a series of blanco spirits in an attempt to determine the best Tequila to feature this summer when sipping Margarita Cocktails. Prior to this engagement, I contacted several of my industry sources letting them know about my plans for the Margarita Challenge which I would publish as a series of reviews during the month of May. I was of course provided with samples from some of these sources and after combining those samples with the bottles of tequila which I already owned, I felt I had enough agave spirit to make for a worthwhile competition. Hence my plans for the 2015 Rum Howler Margarita Challenge came to fruition.

During my initial deliberations regarding the Margarita Challenge, the folks at Select Wines stepped up and arranged for me to receive a bottle of Cointreau singed by Alfred Cointreau himself, and asked me if I would consider using their spirit as the orange liqueur of choice for the cocktail challenge. I thought using the special bottle of Cointreau was a splendid idea, and in honour of Mr. Cointreau (for supplying and signing my bottle) I have dubbed my version of the quintessential Tequila cocktail used for the challenge, the Alfred Cointreau Margarita.

(You can find the recipe here.)

Herencia Margarita SAM_1514s

Herencia Margarita

The deliberations regarding the Margarita Challenge are complete and my Rum Chums and I have determined what we believe are the best 10 blanco tequila spirits for this summer’s backyard cocktail enjoyment. I will begin to publish the official results on May 05 (Cinco de Mayo), however I could not resist providing you with a prequel of sorts by offering my recently re-visited review for Herencia de Plata Tequila a spirit which deserves an honourable mention as it fell just outside the top ten.

Here is a link to the newly republished and re-scored review of Herencia de Plata review:

Review: Herencia de Plata Tequila

“… The aroma from the glass is somewhat soft and earthy with hints of honey caressed by a very light smoke and even lighter vanilla. A smattering of white pepper and of zesty lime has risen into the breezes, and that punky agave scent we know so well has melted nicely into the citrus and pepper …”

This inexpensive blanco tequila is a real crowd-pleaser with a taste which matches many much more expensive brands.

Posted in Awards, Blanco Tequila, Tequila, Tequila Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on 2015 Rum Howler Margarita Challenge

Review: Bulleit Rye Frontier Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 1, 2015

Bulleit Rue SAM_1513

Bulleit traces its heritage back to 1830 when tavern keeper Augustus Bulleit (after a few experimental trials) created his Bulleit Bourbon and began to market his whiskey both locally and then later to areas outside of Kentucky. As misfortune would have it, Augustus Bulleit disappeared while transporting some barrels of his bourbon to New Orleans, and the brand disappeared for over 100 years. In 1987, Tom Bulleit revived the brand which bears his great-great grandfather’s name. (Today the brand is owned by the Diageo Conglomerate who market the product throughout North America and into Europe.)

Bulleit Rye Frontier Whiskey is bottled at 45% alcohol by volume and (according to the Bulleit  website) the spirit is a straight whiskey produced from a heavy rye mashbill (95 % rye) which also contains a small amount of malted barley (5 %). The whiskey carries no age statement, however based upon my tastings I would estimate the age of the spirit to be in the range of 5 years old with some of the whiskey possibly older, and some of the whiskey possibly younger.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Bulleit Rye Frontier Whiskey

“… full of sappy new wood smells of both oak and cedar with accents of fresh rye bread. Dusty dry grain and honeycomb are is evident as well. There is a sense of fresh tobacco and some light baking spices (vanilla, ginger and cinnamon) and maple syrup as well. As the glass sits, the woody oak builds, some bittersweet chocolate reaches up and more rye and rye spice well up into the breezes …”

Please enjoy my review!

Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 23, 2015

bluechair_coconutFishbowl Spirits Llc. is a company wholly owned by Kenny Chesney, the well-known Country Music Singer from Knoxville, Tennessee. In May, 2013 Fishbowl Spirits launched Blue Chair Bay Rum, which features an assortment of rums which were apparently inspired by the relaxed island lifestyle of the country music star. The line-up includes an assortment of flavoured rums (a Coconut Rum, a Coconut Spiced Rum, a Banana Rum and a limited time only Coconut Spiced Rum Cream, as well as a standard White Rum. Although Blue Bay Chair Rum is based in Nashville, the assortment of rums they produce are distilled in Barbados and then bottled in Rochester NY by LiDestri Food & Beverage.

Three of these spirits, the Coconut and Coconut Spiced rums, as well as the White Rum have been brought into Alberta by Glazer’s Of Canada Llc, and they arranged for me to receive all three rums to review here on my website.

Nylon Pool

Nylon Pool

Here is a link to my full review for the Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum:

Review: Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum

“… The initial aroma is very nice with firm coconut scents mingling with cane and vanilla accents. I like that the aroma appears laid back, clean and natural. I served the rum to my Rum Chums a few weeks ago, and they all seemed to quite like the natural aroma and felt the spirit was a step up from other coconut flavoured rums they had tried in the past …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a nice summertime cocktail, the Nylon Pool.

Chimo!

________________________________________________________

Note: Here are links to my other reviews of Kenny Chesney’s Rums:

Review: Blue Chair Bay White Rum
Review Blue Chair Bay Coconut Spiced Rum

Posted in Flavouerd Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum

Review: 1921 Añejo Tequila

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 19, 2015

1921 Anejo1921 Tequila is made from 100% Agave cultivated in the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. The distinction between tequila made from highland agave versus tequila made from lowland agave is important because agave grown in the highlands tends to carry a different flavour profile into the final tequila than lowland tequila. Highland tequila tends to have more sweet fruity citrus flavours and perhaps a touch more hot pepper in the finish.

The website for 1921 Tequila states that their Añejo Tequila has spent  a year in white oak. The tequila is described on the website as:

“…It is definitely a Tequila made to be tasted calmly and enjoyed slowly in a cognac wine glass, allowing the description of the authentic taste of the white oak barrel aged for 12 months, where the wood has blended its most sophisticated characteristics with the agave from Jalisco´s soil…”

I decided to follow the advise of the website and began my tasting session with a cognac glass and the 1921 Añejo Tequila served neat without ice.

Maximiliano Tequila

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: 1921 Añejo Tequila

“…As I brought the brandy glass up to my nose, the fruity agave began to assert itself into the air around the glass. Nice soft pepper and ginger notes come forward out of the glass as well, followed by lime citrus and soft butterscotch. A hint of  vanilla wafts into the air with some scattered tea leaves.  The aroma is very nice…”

I have followed the review with a cocktail recommendation called, Maximiliano Tequila.

Please enjoy my review!

Note: I have been on a bit of a tequila kick lately re-visiting the many of the brands which I first reviewed several years ago. This has all been in preparation for the Rum Howler 2015 Margarita Challenge which my Rum Chums and I have been working on in secret the last several weeks. The purpose of the Challenge is to determine what we feel is the best Blanco Tequila for this Summer’s Margarita Season. The results of our determinations will be published in May, when I will revisit many Blanco spirits here on my website and introduce a few more. Until then I hope you have been enjoying my re-visitations of the previously reviewed Reposado and Anejo tequila spirits on my website. (The astute observer will have noticed a few new reviews were scattered in as well.)

Posted in Anejo Tequila, Tequila, Tequila Review | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Review: 1921 Añejo Tequila

Review Crown Royal XO

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 17, 2015

Crown Royal XO bottle 2Last year, (January 16, 2014) Crown Royal® made an addition to its portfolio of Canadian Whiskies (in the USA) with the introduction of Crown Royal XO, which they have promoted as an “ultra-premium blended Canadian whisky”.  The whisky was crafted by Crown Royal Master Blender, Andrew MacKay and according to the fact sheet I was sent, it is a blend of more than 50 of Crown Royal’s finest whiskies which are finished in cognac casks from the French Limousin Forest.

According to Mr. MacKay:

“The ultra-premium nature of Crown Royal XO and the smoothness of the liquid can be attributed to the handcrafted approach we took while creating the unique blend. We’re looking forward to sharing this special blend with adults across the country and encourage them to incorporate it into their celebrations of extraordinary moments and events.”

For those of you familiar with the family of Crown Royal whiskies available in Canada, Crown Royal XO, sounds remarkably similar to the Crown Royal Cask No. 16 (click on the link for my previous review) which according to the Crown Royal (Canadian) website, is also a blend of more than 50 different aged Canadian whiskies which are finished in Cognac casks from the Limousin forest in France.

Here is a link to my full review which includes information regarding how these two blends differ as well as how they compare:

Review: Crown Royal XO

“… The initial aroma from the glass revealed sweet butterscotch and maple rising into the air with a combination of light but firm rye accents and fine wood spices. As the glass sat I began to sense some of that typically punky Crown Royal sweet corn aroma along with a few slightly musty ripe corn cobs alongside some spicy grain. I searched for an indication of the Cognac Cask enhancement and found a few apple scents wandering in the air and some very light indications of dry raisins …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a new cocktail suggestion, Crowning Glory.

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Captain Morgan Grapefruit Flavoured Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 14, 2015

Grapefruit Smitten

Several weeks ago I received my sample bottle of Captain Morgan Grapefruit Rum (as well as bottle of the new Pineapple and Coconut Rums) and I promised to review it (and the others) here on my website.  These new flavours are each five times distilled and of course made from cane molasses. Each of the expression blends natural fruit flavors with CAPTAIN MORGAN® White Rum, resulting in a spirit which can be enjoyed as a summer cocktail mixer.

According to Dan Kleinman, Vice President of Marketing, Rums for Diageo North America:

“This summer, we’re looking for consumers to flip over their hammocks and have a little fun with their mojitos and daiquiris by enjoying our new pineapple, coconut and grapefruit extensions. After last year’s successful launch of CAPTAIN MORGAN® White Rum, we wanted to expand our offerings in the category. These flavors allow adult fans to diversify their cocktails, providing them with a taste of the Caribbean no matter where they may be responsibly enjoying our products.”

Here is a link to my first review of the flavoured series from Captain Morgan:

Review: Captain Morgan Grapefruit Flavoured Rum

“… the grapefruit flavour of the spirit is refreshing, and this fruit flavour is accompanied by a mild rum-like sweetness which not only compliments the dominant grapefruit, it enhances it as well taking the flavoured rum to a level of enjoyment that I had not expected …”

Please enjoy my review, and if you have a chance to grab a bottle of the Captain Morgan Grapefruit Rum, do try my simple cocktail suggestion, Grapefruit Smitten; it is simply delicious!

Posted in Flavouerd Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Jose Cuervo Tradicional (Reposado)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 12, 2015

SAM_0543 Jose Cuervo TradicionalAccording to the Jose Cuervo website, it all began in 1795 when Jose María Guadalupe de Cuervo began to commercially produce his Mexcal wine spirit based upon an official permit from the King of Spain. By 1812, he had established La Rojena, the distillery which to this day still produces Jose Cuervo Tequila. By 1844, Jose Cuervo Tequila was being distributed within Mexico, and in 1873 the earliest known documented export of the Tequila outside of Mexico occurred when 3 bottles of Jose Cuervo were transported across the United States border by donkey. Those exports have continued (although no longer by donkey), and now the Jose Cuervo brand is the best-selling tequila brand in the entire world.

Jose Cuervo Tradicional is produced from 100% blue agave, and aged (or rested) in oak barrels for a minimum of two months.

Here is a link to my newly updated review:

Review: Jose Cuervo Tradicional (Reposado)

“… The delivery is quite soft in the mouth as the spirit seems to have a bit of an ‘oily’ consistency. The herbaceous agave flavour is somewhat muted (I am reminded of baked squash, and grilled pineapple with a light dusting of white pepper). Hints of light oak, vanilla, and honey accompany that mild, fruity agave flavour across the palate …”

Please enjoy the review which includes a few cocktail suggestions in the body of the write-up as well as a tequila shot recipe at the conclusion of the review which I have dubbed Cinnamon Skin.

Chimo!

Posted in Reposado Tequila, Tequila, Tequila Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Jose Cuervo Tradicional (Reposado)

Review: Forty Creek Evolution

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 10, 2015

Forty Creek EvolutionForty Creek Whisky has for the last number of years produced a special limited release whisky and allowed the public to participate in the release by offering to let you choose your own numbered bottle. As well you can have your bottle signed by their own Master Distiller and Whisky Maker, John Hall, when you arrive to pick up your pre-ordered bottles. These special release whiskies are built upon the foundation of the company’s flagship whisky, Forty Creek Barrel Select, and are basically versions of this whisky which have spent additional time finishing in selected oak barrels.

Forty Creek Evolution is the eighth annual special Limited Edition Release from Forty Creek Whisky. Most of the whiskies in this blended Canadian Whisky began their journey 12 years ago. These whiskies were aged in American White Oak for 3 years, then selected barrels were re-distilled in Forty Creek’s copper pot still to further concentrate their flavour. The resulting whisky was then re-barreled in French Oak casks that had previously held Kittling Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, and then aged for an additional 9 years. As a final step John Hall selected some of his personally held barrels to blend into the final product.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Forty Creek Evolution

“… I received a mild indication of sweet caramel and butterscotch which were playing with rye spices and a touch of menthol. When I gave the glass a little time to develop I began to notice some dry scents of freshly baled straw and the chaff reminiscent of the scents and smells of a fresh fall harvest when the newly harvested grain has still left its imprint in the air above the straw windrows …”

Please enjoy my review and enjoy the coming weekend which is shaping up to be a good one!

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

Review: Old Monk The Legend

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 7, 2015

Old Monk The legendI was sent a sample bottle of Old Monk Legend by the local Alberta distributor, Madira Spirits Inc. and asked if I could provide a review here on my website. This version of Old Monk is a limited edition bottling which was launched in 2013. The rum arrives in a special bottle in the shape of a bust presumably of H.G. Meakin, the founder of Meakin & Co. Ltd., who was perhaps, the original Old Monk. Old Monk Legend does not have an age statement, although the small box the rum arrives in makes the claim that the rum inside is a blended masterpiece meant for rum connoisseurs.

Old Monk is a dark rum brand produced by Mohan Meakin Limited in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India. According to the information I received, it is a molasses distilled rum, blended and aged for a minimum of 7 years. The Old Monk brand receives very little attention from the press, and does not appear to be represented in any advertising campaigns which I have seen. Rather Old Monk relies upon word of mouth and customer loyalty for its sales. Word of mouth must be good as this rum is (again according to information I received) the second largest selling  dark rum in the world.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Old Monk The Legend

“… In the breezes above the glass the Old Monk Legend does not seem to have the same forceful push of cinnamon and clove that its brethren did. Those elements are there, but I sense more fine oak spice and less overt pungent spice (and less molasses) in the Legend. There also seems to be a tad more orange peel, banana, and butterscotch …”

Please enjoy my final look at the Old Monk line-up (for now anyways).

Chimo!

Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Old Monk The Legend

Review: Captain Morgan Silver Spiced Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 26, 2015

Spiced Darwin

Spiced Darwin

Captain Morgan Rum traces its history back to 1945 when Seagram’s CEO, Samuel Bronfman, negotiated the purchase of the Long Pond Distillery from the Jamaican Government and formed the Captain Morgan Rum Company. The company’s iconic rum brand, Captain Morgan’s Original Spiced Rum was based upon a recipe purchased from two local Jamaican pharmacists, the Levy Brothers, who had developed the recipe using rum from the Long Pond Distillery. The brand is now owned by the Diageo Conglomerate, and their Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum is the best-selling spiced rum in the world. The subject of this review revisitation, is the lessor known Captain Morgan Silver Spiced Rum, which, is a blend of clear, rich Puerto Rican white rum and tropical spice with sweet vanilla character. It is bottled at 35% alcohol by volume. Here is a link to the full review which includes a great cocktail of mine, the Spiced Darwin:

Review: Captain Morgan Silver Spiced Rum

“… The initial aroma is pleasant with a pleasing (but very mild) mixture of butterscotch and vanilla rising into the breezes. I sense some tropical fruit (mango, banana and orange peel) and light accents of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Also rising into the breezes is a very light oakiness…. “

Please enjoy the review, Chimo!

Posted in Rum Reviews, Rum, Spiced Rum | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Captain Morgan Silver Spiced Rum

 
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