Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 2, 2013
Canadian Club Whisky is the oldest (and arguably also the most influential) Canadian Whisky brand in the world. It is sold in over 150 countries world-wide, and sales in Canada are unmatched by any other whisky brand. 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.
Recently there have been some changes in the Canadian Club family. One of the brands which has undergone a revamping is the Canadian Club Classic (12 Years Old) which has been replaced by the Canadian Club Classic Small Batch (also 12 Years Old). The newer version of the whisky has a new bottle (shown right) and the two words, “Small Batch” have been added to the label. My understanding is the whisky is now constructed from a smaller selection of aged whisky (oak barrels) in an effort to bring a fuller flavour and more smoothness to the blend.
The Alberta Beam Global team recently gave me a sample bottle to examine, and if you click the following excerpt you may read my latest review:
“… The initial breezes above the glass bring forward scents of caramel and oak which are melded nicely with dabs of light tobacco and spicy orange peel. As the glass breathes, I notice some rye spices and some sweet corn pushing though. The oak and tobacco scents have deepened bringing me impressions of fresh-cut cedar and honeycomb. The caramel and wood spice come together as toffee, and the orange peel has softened into marmalade …”
Please enjoy my latest review and if you happen to already have a bottle of the new Small Batch Classic, do not hesitate to make yourself a nice Old Fashioned Cocktail . You swill not be disappointed!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Beam Spirits, Canadian Club, Canadian Whisky, Old Fashioned Cocktail, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off on Review: Canadian Club Small Batch Classic (12 Year Old)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 7, 2012
Big things are afoot at Alberta Distillers, as today Beam will be launching Alberta Premium® Dark Horse Canadian Whisky in my home Province of Alberta. This whisky promises to build upon the success of the Alberta Premium® brand which has won accolades for being one of the best rye whiskies in the entire world. In fact, Jim Murray, one of the world’s most renowned whisky critics, not only thinks the Alberta Premium Canadian Whisky is good, he thinks it is great! For years he has extolled the virtues of the Alberta Premium in his Whisky Bible naming it the best Canadian Whisky in 2006, 2007, and 2009. (The year that is missing, 2008 was the year that the Alberta Premium 25 Year Old won the award.)
According to my contacts at Beam, Alberta Distillers Limited is raising the bar with the new Dark Horse Whisky because they believe that Canadian whisky connoisseurs are ready for a bolder, richer tasting premium whisky. The Alberta Premium Dark Horse Whisky is designed to meet this challenge with a distinct new flavor profile which is to represent a bold new experience for the Canadian rye whisky drinker.
This new deluxe Canadian whisky builds upon its rye base with an added touch of sherry and bourbon flavour. The whisky is aged in heavily charred American white oak barrels, and represents a blend of 12-year-old rye, and 6-year-old small pot rye. It is bottled at a higher than normal 45 % alcohol by volume, and is being launched as a premium Canadian sipping whisky designed to deliver, (quoting from the information sheets here):
“high barrel aging extractives and a richer colour and flavour profile.”
This whisky launches today in Alberta, and will soon be available across Canada.
I received a pre-release bottle of the Alberta Premium® Dark Horse from Beam Global (who are the brand owners), and I have decided to provide a timely review here on my website.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“… The nose is complex and engaging, presenting the sharp spicy smells of rye alongside aromatic breezes full of black cherries and fieldberries (strawberry, saskatoons, and black currants). The air above the glass is sharp with oak and rye spices leading out (represented by ginger, cinnamon, and hints of cardamom). Caramelized brown sugars, a freshly bitten Turkish Delight candy bar, and bits of black licorice all find their way into those breezes which also has a distinctive bourbon taint…”
Here is a link to the full review:
Although this is intended as a sipping whisky, I could not resist constructing a very nice cocktail which is appropriately called, the Dark Horse Cocktail.
Please enjoy my review and my cocktail libation, Cheers!
(Note: As more information has come to light, I have learned that the “added touch” of bourbon flavour is a whopping 8 to 8.5 % by volume addition of corn whiskey to the blend, and the “added touch” of sherry flavour is about 0.5 % by volume addition of sherry. These percentages stretch the definition of “added touch” and this knowledge which came to me after the review was written serves to illuminate some of my comments in the review especially with respect to balance.)
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Alberta Distillers, Alberta Premium Dark Horse Whisky, Beam Spirits, Canadian Whisky, Canadian Whisky Review, Whisky, Whisky Review | 2 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 9, 2011
(rī)1™ (pronounced rye one) Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey is a rye whiskey produced by Beam Global Spirits. It is a blend of several different straight rye whiskeys of differing ages (minimum 4 years). It is bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume bringing a little more zip to the palate than a lower proof spirit.
I was gifted a bottle recently when my oldest son traveled to Boston and decided to pick me up something that I wouldn’t find here in Alberta. I decided that a review of this spirit here on my website would be a fun exercise.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“…The nose from the glass is full of wood and rye spice. The woody notes are manifesting themselves as banana peel which has a certain astringent spiciness similar to the sharpness of Appleton Reserve Rum. Dry grain notes are evident, in particular rye grain which adds to that spicy flair, although I also sense some honeycomb in the breezes as well. Fresh sap filled pine planks are being cut somewhere in the background and green grassy tobacco smells well up as well…”
Here is a link to my full review:
Please enjoy the review and the two cocktails which follow, the Buckeroo, and the Horses Neck.
Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Beam Spirits, Cocktails and Recipes, Rye Whiskey, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | Comments Off on Review: (rī)1 Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 12, 2011
Hornitos Reposado Tequila is a 100 % Agave Tequila produced by the Sauza Tequila Import Company located in Tequila, a municipality of the state of Jalisco, Mexico. The Tequila is the creation of Don Francisco Havier Sauza (Don Franco), a third generation member of the Sauza family who founded the La Preseverancia, distillery. Don Franco is credited with helping the Mexican Government to establish the Jalisco region of Mexico as the exclusive origin of genuine tequila in 1974. Hornitos was reported to be Don Franco’s favourite tequila. Unlike other spirits which proudly boast of a maturation period in small oak barrels to ensure heavy contact between the spirit and the oak, Don Franco’s Hornitos spirit is different. The Hornitos Reposado is aged in large 10,000 gallon oak ‘pipones’ to ensure limited contact with the wood during maturation such that the agave flavour remains as pure as is possible in a reposado spirit.
And this concept of minimal wood contact may have some merit. I have spoken with many Tequila aficionados who insist that aging Tequila in oak damages the spirit rather than enhances it. These Tequila connoisseurs are looking for that pure agave expression which Hornitos Reposado promises. Sauza is now part of Beam Global Spirits, and it was the Beam Global Team here in Alberta who made a sample of Hornitos Reposado available to me such that I could provide this review. Here is an excerpt from that review:
“…The initial nose is full of spicy herbal agave fruit. It is a powerful, earthy smell that pours out of the glass growing deeper and stronger as you allow the tequila to breathe. White pepper scents and tart green apples reach the breezes along with grilled pineapple and lemons to round out the nose which is robust and anything but laid back. The scents and aromas from my glass interest me, but I sense a strong warning in those breezes. This is going to be intense…”
You may read the full review here:
As well I have constructed a new cocktail for the Hornitos Reposado which I affectionately call, Nightmare in Pink.
Please enjoy the review and the cocktail!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Reposado Tequila, Tequila, Tequila Review | Tagged: Beam Spirits, Cocktails and Recipes, Hornitos, Reposado Tequila, Tequila, Tequila Review | Comments Off on Review: Hornitos Reposado Tequila
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 30, 2011
Canadian Club Whisky or C.C. as it is known amongst its advocates was my father’s favourite whisky. He was quite happy when a family event like a wedding or anniversary would come around, and he could volunteer to supply the spirits for the event. Dad never paid much mind to which beer he chose, or which wine, or even which rum, vodka or gin; but… he always insisted on Canadian Club Whisky. In fact as he grew older he would often share a story where he remembered fondly the 25th Wedding Anniversary Celebration for Mom and himself. As the night was winding down many of the guests commented to him that he certainly didn’t shave off any corners with respect to the liquor. He served his friends the best; he served them Canadian Club. Dad was proud of the reaction his neighbours and friends showed him that evening, and he always cherished that night where he was universally recognized for his generosity and his good taste.
The Canadian Club Classic, which is the subject of my review is a whisky my Dad would certainly have enjoyed. It is a couple of steps up from his whisky of choice, the previously reviewed Canadian Club Premium. ‘Blended at Birth’, the C.C. Classic Whisky is a mixture of rye, rye malt, corn. and barley malt spirits. These spirits are blended before being placed in white oak barrels where they age together for a minimum of 12 years. The Classic contains a higher amount of malted barley in the blend than its younger sibling the Premium, and the result is a slighter sweeter more rounded whisky with the smoother character that the longer time spent aging in oak provides.
You may click on the following link to read the full review:
“…The entry into the mouth is soft and creamy. That typical ‘dank’ Canadian Club flavour is muted in this expression, and the whisky finds more sweet butterscotch than spicy toffee at first tasting….”
Please enjoy the review and the great new cocktail I have included called the Classic Canadian Ice Storm.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Beam Spirits, Canadian Club, Canadian Whisky, Cocktails and Recipes, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off on Review: Canadian Club Classic
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 23, 2011
For the past two weeks I have been reviewing some bourbon whiskey which I received in a collection of sample jars from the personal collection of J. Leslie Wheelock, (a member of the Alberta Beam Global team), which spanned an impressive range of unique whiskies from Canada, Scotland, and the USA. This week I dipped into the samples and chose Sample Jar # 14, Red Stag Black Cherry Flavoured Bourbon.
Red Stag Flavoured Bourbon is a black cherry flavoured, 4-year-old, Jim Beam Bourbon. It appears to be intended primarily for the mixing of cocktails and bar drinks although it has been suggested that it can be enjoyed as a sipper as well.
For the purposes of the review I broke the process into two parts. The first part of the review process involved five independent taste sessions (about one ounce each) consumed neat and with ice, and I drew my tasting notes from that part of the review process. I then constructed a few cocktails including two which I found on the Red Stag Website (The Brass Buck and Red Stag and Cola). I used these cocktails to round out the review with ancillary information regarding the suitability of the flavoured Whiskey for bar style cocktail drinks.
You may read the results of my research here:
And please remember that the intention of my blog is to help you drink better spirits, not more spirits!
Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Flavoured Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Beam Spirits, Cocktails and Recipes, Flavoured Whisky, Whisk(e)y Review | Comments Off on Review: Red Stag by Jim Beam
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 19, 2011
Hiram Walker was the visionary American entrepreneur (born in New England), that immigrated north to Ontario and set about creating a most distinctive brand of Canadian Whisky which became known as Canadian Club. Although he began his distilling days in Michigan, he perfected his craft north of the American border in what would become Walkerville, Ontario. The whisky which Hiram Walker created was unique. He utilized methods of production which were not just unusual, but actual contrary to common whisky practices of the day, and his Canadian Club whisky is even today made in that contrary fashion being the only major whisky brand in the world to be blended before being aged in oak barrels, (Blended at Birth).
Canadian Club Whisky is now the oldest (and probably the most influential) Canadian Whisky brand in the world. It is found in over 150 countries, with sales in Canada that are unmatched by any other whisky brand. The company has been granted numerous Royal Warrants from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth 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. It is aged for a minimum of 6 years in white oak barrels and bottled at 40 per cent alcohol by volume. Still ‘Blended at Birth’, the whisky affectionately called C.C. by its adherents is practically a Canadian Institution.
Here is a snippet from my review:
“….The flavour is full of damp tobacco and fermenting fruit flavours. The C.C. whisky is spicy too, with oak tannins disguised as orange peel zest heating up the mouth. Caramel flavours seep in and out as does an impression of vanilla….”
My full review may be read here:
As is my usual style I have included my favourite Canadian Club cocktail at the end of my review.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Beam Spirits, Canadian Club, Canadian Whisky, Cocktails and Recipes, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off on Whisky Review: Canadian Club Premium
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 15, 2011
Two weeks ago I began a series of reviews based upon a collection of whisk(e)y samples provided from the personal collection of J.L. Wheelock, a member of the Beam Global team here in Alberta. Part of the sample set of whiskies were a selection of Bourbon Whiskeys from the Jim Beam Distillery. I was not given a sample of Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon as part of this sample group; however, I happened to have a small 375 ml flask of Jim Beam on hand so I thought that I would provide a review of the flagship whiskey of the Jim Beam brand as part of this series of reviews.
The Jim Beam distillery was founded in 1795, and it has been operated as a family run business for seven generations. Currently Jim Beam Straight Kentucky Bourbon is produced at the Clermont Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, and (according to the Jim Beam Website) is the best-selling bourbon in the world. The spirit is aged for 4 years in white American oak barrels and bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
The bottle I am reviewing is the 375 ml flask style bottle pictured to the left.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“…The aroma from the glass is one of rough timbers freshly cut. A waft of vanilla rises with the timbers, and deeper down we have some dank corn and oodles of raw honeycomb. Waiting for a minute or so I also catch some toffee aroma building in the glass as well…”
You may read the full review here:
As well I have included my version of a nice cocktail called The Kentucky Margarita. Please enjoy the review.
Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Beam Spirits, Bourbon, Cocktails and Recipes, Whisk(e)y Review | Comments Off on Whiskey Review: Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 11, 2011
I mentioned a week ago that I had received a collection of sample jars from the personal collection of J. Leslie Wheelock, (a member of the Alberta Beam Global team), which spanned an impressive range of unique whiskies from Canada, Scotland, and the USA. This week I dipped into the samples and chose Sample Jar # 13, Maker’s 46 Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey.
Maker’s 46 Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey begins where Maker’s Mark Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey ends. Bill Samuels, Sr. is credited with creating the first version of Maker’s Mark in 1954. After a few years of practice the folks at the Maker’s Mark Distillery have been producing this whiskey the same way since 1958. The process begins with pure limestone fed spring-water; follows with yellow corn, red winter wheat, and natural malted barley; continues with a unique milling, cooking, and fermentation process; and ends in a small batch distillation and moving (eg; rotating) barrel aging process. Of course the final result is tested and tasted to make sure it is just right.
In a recent display of innovation, Master Distiller Kevin Smith, began a sort of ‘trial and error’ series of experiments to come up with a new twist on the Maker’s Mark. In December 2009, Maker’s 46 was born. (click on the link to get the full story right from the Maker’s Mark Website.)
In a nutshell, fully aged Maker’s Mark is removed from its barrel, ten seared wooden staves are then placed inside of that barrel. (The staves are seared to caramelize the sugars in the wood.) These wooden staves are basically flat panels of wood each about 4 inches wide and 12 to 18 inches long. The aged Maker’s Mark is then put back into the barrel and aged several more months. When the proper taste profile is achieved, Maker’s 46 is removed from the barrel, bottled, corked and dipped.
I admit that after reading a little bit about Maker’s 46, I was eager to give my small sample a few tasting sessions and write down my impressions. Here is an excerpt from my review;
“….Maker’s 46 is surprisingly soft as it enters the palate, and I want to call this creamy in spite of the rush of wooden timbers and heavy toffee that quickly builds. Things are not as sweet as the nose would have implied however, and impressions of drier fruit, tobacco and cocoa seem to take hold at mid palate with the oak spiciness expressing itself as cloves and cinnamon….”
You may read my full review here:
Please enjoy the review and remember that the aim of my blog is to help you drink better spirits, not to help you drink more spirits!
Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Beam Spirits, Bourbon, Maker's 46, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | Comments Off on Review: Maker’s 46 Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 5, 2011
Just before Christmas I was greeted by J. Leslie Wheelock, who is part of the Beam Global team here in Alberta, who had brought with him a with a veritable treasure trove of small whisk(e)y samples from his personal collection for me to inspect and enjoy in the hopes that I might write about a few of them here on my blog. No strings were attached, and I was left free to try them on my own time-table and to share whichever opinions I had which were fair and honest here on my blog.
The samples are a tour de force of some of the best whiskies which Beam Global has produced and includes Bourbon Whiskey samples from Jim Beam, Scotch Whisky samples from The Macallan and Highland Park, and Canadian Whisky samples from Canadian Club.
The samples all came in little sealed and numbered jars with a master-list letting me know what was in each jar. Originally, I was to receive 19 samples but since I have already received a full sample bottle of The Macallan Cask Strength, sample # 3 was omitted.
I decided that I wanted to experience a little bourbon first, which is why, when I chose to begin this series of mini reviews for the sample bottles, I decided to begin with Sample # 19, Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“…. this is a gentle bourbon that caresses the mouth with honeycomb cereal, vanilla and mild toffee on the entry. Spicier tannins from the oak build and gather strength in the mouth but they never reach a point where they overwhelm the other flavours….”
You may read the full review by following this link:
Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Beam Spirits, Bourbon, Whisk(e)y Review | Comments Off on Basil Hayden’s Small Batch Bourbon