Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 22, 2013
I tasted a lot of great whisky this year from all over the world, and I noticed a few trends which deserve noting. Whisky is growing in popularity throughout the world, and this is having consequences in both the variety of whisky available to the consumer, and the quality of the whisky available to the consumer. In terms of variety, things have never been better as I can find whiskies on the store shelves from places I would never have imagined a few years ago. The number of brands available from India and Japan keep growing, and as well brands from places like New Zealand, England, Wales, and Australia are also surfacing in my local liquor stores. A stronger selection of brands available to the consumer can only be good news; and hopefully consumers (and whisky critics) can put their prejudices aside and give these brands the chance they deserve.
However the flip side of this world-wide popularity of whisky is a disturbing reluctance from some of the major players to maintain their age statements. The simple fact is that there is just not enough aged whisky stocks to maintain the present brands due to the growing world-wide popularity of the spirit. Of course the marketing hype proclaims the spirits are as good as ever, but I guess I question the veracity of those statements. Time will tell, and thankfully there are still many brands maintaining their standards and many more great whiskies for me to discover.
It is time for my to make my yearly proclamations regarding the best whiskies which I have personally tasted in the year which is 2013. As is the case each year, all of my Rum Howler Awards are based upon side by side tastings within each category of spirit. I taste the spirit neat, and I also mix a few cocktails with each spirit. All spirit samples which I receive to review on my website are automatically considered for my awards. I do my review, and then I set aside the remainder of the spirit for the end of the year judging. I also receive additional industry samples specifically for these awards. My side by side tastings are completed, and it is time for me to reveal the recipients of my 2013 Rum Howler Awards for Excellence in the Production of Whisky.
These Awards are for the best Whisky Spirits I encountered in the year 2013!
Posted in Awards, Extras, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: American Whiskey, Bourbon, Canadian Whisky, Rum Howler Awards, Scotch Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Reviews | Comments Off on The Year in Whisky (2013 Rum Howler Awards)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 7, 2013
Broken Bell Bourbon is a whiskey brand developed by Distiller Sales Company of Princeton, Minnesota. Distiller Sales is a division of a company called USDP (United States Distilled Spirits Co.). They describe themselves as a “leading developer of corporate brand distilled spirits programs”. The company boast sales in 32 Countries worldwide, and some of those brands which are available in my home market include: Ethan Koll 8 Year Old Canadian Whisky, Cross Keys 5 Yr Old Barbados Rum, Monkey Paw Rum, Luxus Vodka, Capatina French Vodka and Veil Premium Vodka.
I was provided a sample bottle of Broken Bell Bourbon by Jfj Agency Inc. who is the distributor of Distiller Sales Co. brands in Alberta.
Here is a link to my full review and tasting notes:
“… The aroma from the glass is typical of a young bourbon featuring fresh oak scents melded with barbequed corn. I sense spicy tobacco and raisins, dried apricots, some spicy oak sap and orange peel spice …”
Included in the review are two nice bourbon recipes, the Buckeroo, and Minted Brass. Please enjoy the review!
Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Bourbon, Broken Bell Bourbon, Buckeroo, Cocktails, Distiller Sales Company, JFI Agency, Minted Brass, Whiskey, Whsikey Review | Comments Off on Review: Broken Bell Bourbon
Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 17, 2013
Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is part of Jim Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. This collection is composed of Knob Creek, Booker’s, Baker’s and the previously reviewed, 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. Knob Creek is the oldest of these small batch whiskeys, and is aged a full nine years in newly charred oak barrels, then bottled at 100 proof or 50 % alcohol by volume. The whiskey brand is owned by Beam Global and is produced at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, Kentucky.
You may read the full review by clicking on the following excerpt (link):
“… The initial aroma is deep and rich with smells of freshly hewn oak timbers dripping with sap. I also sense loads of honeycomb, barbequed corn on the cob, baking spices (vanilla and cinnamon), brown sugar, and fresh maple toffee. As I take my time with the glass, indications of chocolate caramel and cola rise in the breezes along with rich pipe tobacco and crushed walnut shells …”
Please enjoy my review, slainte!
Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Bourbon, Knob Creek, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | Comments Off on Whiskey Review: Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 13, 2013
Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is produced by the Jim Beam Distillery which was founded in 1795, and has operated as a family run business for seven generations. According to the company website, after bourbon whiskey ages (or any other straight whiskey for that matter), and it is emptied from the oak barrel, a certain amount of the spirit is left behind, trapped within the wood fiber of the empty barrel. This portion of trapped whiskey is called the “devil’s cut” and is usually lost to those who make bourbon. Recently however, the folks at Jim Beam have developed what they call a proprietary process which releases the devil’s cut from these empty barrels. What Jim Beam extracts from the barrel is held for a certain length of time (which apparently allows the flavour to develop), and then blended with a 6-year-old bourbon. The mixture is bottled at 90 proof (45 % ABV) and the result is a new style of bourbon which they call Jim Beam Devil’s Cut.
You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt.
“… Very briefly I taste sweet impressions of caramel, marmalade and maple syrup. However, very quickly the woody flavours and the spices within the whiskey build up and overwhelm the sweetness. The heart of the Devil’s Cut is a sort of whiskey extract which is literally pulled from the inside of the wood fibers of oak barrels …”
Please enjoy the review which includes a nice cooler style recipe of mine called Minted Brass.
Have a great day everyone!
Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Bourbon, Cocktails, Devil's Cut, Jim Beam, Minted Brass, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | Comments Off on Review: Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Bourbon Whiskey
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 31, 2013
Bulleit Bourbon is produced at the Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. The brand traces its heritage back to 1830 when tavern keeper Augustus Bulleit (after a few experimental trials) created the brand and began to market it locally and eventually to areas outside of Kentucky. As misfortune would have it, Augutus 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 grandfather’s name. Today the brand is owned by the Diageo Conglomerate who market the product throughout North America and into Europe.
The sample bottle of Bulleit Bourbon which I received was bottled at 45% alcohol by volume and is the standard bottle sold in North America. Here is an excerpt from my review:
“… There is a bit of a spicy swat that tickles the tonsils, but there is also a nice maple and caramel sweetness which accompanies that spicy swat and makes you want to take another sip. I can taste oak planks which are seeping just a little fresh sap from the wood pores, some delightful rye spices, and of course that rather sweet impression of maple and caramel …
Here is a link to my review which includes a recipe for the Old-Fashioned Cocktail:
Please enjoy the review!
Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Bourbon, Bulleit Bourbon, Cocktails and Recipes, Diageo, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | Comments Off on Review: Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey
Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 19, 2012
According to the Wild Turkey website, Austin Nichols Wild Turkey Bourbon, is composed of a mash bill which includes three grains: corn from Kentucky and Indiana; barley from Montana; and rye grain from North Dakota. Apparently the yeast used in the fermentation has been cultured at the distillery and the actual strains used are kept a closely guarded secret. The whiskey is distilled to a low proof which results in less water needing to be added after maturation to bring the spirit to bottling strength. The belief is that this leads to a fuller more authentic ‘just from the barrel’ flavour.
Wild Turkey, like all American bourbon is aged solely in new white American oak barrels.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“… The Wild Turkey is full of oak and rye spices in the initial delivery. Being a huge fan of rye, I am really liking what I am tasting. Along with the rye and the oak, I taste the sweetness of corn, some honeycomb and tobacco, a nice smattering of cloves, cinnamon and vanilla; and a light dry bitterness which actually works well with the overall flavour…”
You may read the full review here:
I included a nice Mint Julep recipe with the review, one which I call the Northern Julep.
Please enjoy my review and cocktail!
Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: Austin Nichols, Bourbon, Cocktails and Recipes, Mint Julep, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey, Wild Turkey | Comments Off on Review: Austin Nichols Wild Turkey Bourbon
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 9, 2011
I like eggnog at Christmas, and so for the third year in a row I am going to post my favourite recipe for Christmas Eggnog.
This is a simple recipe in terms of ingredients, but it requires a bit of a baker’s touch get it just right. I switched up the Rum and the Whisky in the recipe from last year and found it to be as good as ever.
Arctic Wolf’s Christmas Eggnog
(This makes about four servings. )
3 eggs at room temperature, (yolk and whites separated)
3/8 cup sugar (for the yolks)
3 tablespoons sugar (for the whites)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
a touch fresh ground cloves (About 1/16 of a teaspoon)
a pinch of fresh grated nutmeg (About 1/8 of a teaspoon)
a dash of fresh ground cinnamon (About 3 /16 of a teaspoon)
1 1/2 cups whipping cream, chilled
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup Spiced Rum (George Street Spiced)
2/3 cup Bourbon Whiskey (Knob Creek)
Here is how to make it:
First the yolks
Separate your egg yolks and your egg whites in two bowls. Whisk the first amount of sugar and the vanilla into the egg yolks. Add a touch of ground cloves, a pinch of nutmeg and a dash of cinnamon into the yolk bowl. Add the cream, the milk and the rum and whisky (for adult consumption only). Make sure everything is mixed thoroughly.
Now the whites
This is where a baker’s touch is necessary.
Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks (3-4 minutes). Add the second amount of sugar slowly during this beating process.
Now we combine
Gently and with large circular motions blend the egg white mixture into the yolk mixture, trying to keep things as ‘poofy’ as possible.
Sprinkle a little left over spice on the top of each glass, and enjoy with your favourite chocolates!
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Flavouerd Rums, Howls, Rum, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: Bourbon, Eggnog, George Street Spiced Rum, Knob Creek, Rum, Spiced Rum | 1 Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 29, 2011
The Buffalo Trace Distillery is located in Frankfort, Kentucky and is the oldest (although unfortunately, not continuously running) distillery in the Unites States. The Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon was introduced by the distillery in 1999. The Bourbon is made from a mash-bill of Indian Corn, selected rye grains, and malted barley. The resulting spirit is placed in selected white oak “center ring” barrels from selected trees which are aged from 70 to 80 years old. Finally, according to the Buffalo Trace website, meticulous inspection of the various locations in the Buffalo Trace warehouses had concluded that the very best whiskey was being produced on the fourth floor of warehouse C and the fourth through sixth floors of Warehouses I and K on the distillery site. For this reason all of the Buffalo Trace Bourbon is aged only in these locations.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“…The initial aroma from the glass is layer upon layer of fresh cedar and oak planks with the sap still dripping from the fresh wood. The scent has a touch of astringency, and it is hard to get at the sweeter underlying aroma of honeycomb, vanilla and corn. But, as I let the glass decant, I began to notice them, first the honeycomb came wafting up mixed with sweet toffee, and then the vanillans and corn pushed through the breezes….”
You may read the full review here:
As well I have designed two great cocktails which suit this particular bourbon perfectly, the Kentucky Crocodile, and The Crocogator. Please enjoy the review and the cocktails provided!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Bourbon, Buffalo Trace, Cocktails and Recipes, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | 2 Comments »
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