Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 8, 2015
Alberta Springs is produced by Alberta Distillers Limited (ADL) (owned by Beam Suntory) right in the heart of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. According to Rick Murphy, the Production Superintendent at ADL, Alberta Springs was originally (in the 1970s) a pure 100 % rye whisky; however, the spirit moved towards a rye and corn blend in the 1990s due to economic factors. In our discussion, Rick steadfastly maintained the whisky is still very much a rye based whisky with a consistent taste profile from year to year. Apparently the distilleries quality assurance tasting panel ensure that the flavour remains consistent as the mash bill may change slightly over time due to the dictates of economics.
I have tasted Alberta Springs many times over the past six years, and in fact it is one of the more decorated whiskies upon my website regularly winning Rum Howler Awards as one of the great whisky bargains in the world. I (like the distillery’s tasting panel) have not noticed any changes in the whisky’s flavour profile over the past six years; and more importantly, I have found that Alberta Springs is a great whisky!
Here is a link to my review of the #78 entry in my 2015 Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.
“… The initial nose from the glass is of a spicy rye which carries scents of tobacco along for the ride. There is a nice presence of oak and a touch of vanilla but the spicy rye is dominant. As the whisky decants the tobacco gains a little steam and a ripe sweet and sour fruitiness is evolving from the rye which is also filling the air with scents of ginger and cardamom. A few baking spices evolve as does a gentle touch of corn which rounds out the nose and makes this whisky a treat to sniff …”
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, Whisky Review | Tagged: Alberta Distillers limited, Alberta Springs, Canadian Whisky, Review, Rum howler, Top 100 Spirits, Whisky | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 18, 2015
Forty Creek Spike Honey Spiced Whisky is produced by the Forty Creek Distillery (now owned by Campari). Former owner of the distillery and brand, John Hall is the Whisky Maker (as he likes to refer to himself) at Forty Creek, and this spirit was produced under his direction.
According to the label on the bottle the ingredients are, Canadian Whisky (presumable John Hall’s flagship whisky Forty Creek Barrel Select), sugar, and natural flavors (presumable honey and spices). It is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… The spirit caries a deep golden colour with reddish hues visible in the glass. The breezes are mild, and along with the notes of honey are additional notes of butterscotch, vanilla, banana, ginger and cinnamon …”
Please enjoy my review which concludes with a nice tall summertime back deck drink, the Spiced Mammy.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Spiced Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Coctails, Forty Creek, Honey, Spiced, Spiced Mammy, Spike, Spike Honey Spiced, Whisky | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 8, 2015
Spicebox Whisky is based in Montreal, Quebec where they blend and bottle their Spicebox Cinnamon Canadian Spiced Whisky. The product is currently bottled at 66 proof or 33 % alcohol by volume and has been brought into the Alberta Marketplace by Mondia Alliance Wine and Spirits who are also based out of Montreal.
Buzz Saw Highball
According to the information which Mondia supplied to Vancouver’s Hopscotch Festival, their cinnamon blended whisky “combines the tastes of smooth, rich rye whisky with a kick to the kisser of cinnamon heat” which to me sounds rather intriguing.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… The aroma which jumps out of the glass is of course laced with cinnamon although I also detect a strong sweetness running alongside, with hints of woodspice. The overall effect reminds me both of cinnamon heart candies, and those cinnamon toothpicks I used to buy at the candy store as a kid. If you love cinnamon this will delight you, if cinnamon heat is not your thing, the aroma will warn you away …”
Please enjoy my latest review which includes a nice cocktail suggestion which I have found works very well with cinnamon whiskies, the Buzz Saw Highball.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Flavoured Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Buzz Saw Highball, Canadian Whisky, Cinnamon Whisky, Cocktails, Mondia Alliance, Review, Spicebox, Whisky | Comments Off on Review: Spicebox Cinnamon Canadian Spiced Whisky
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 20, 2015
The resurgence of interest in Canadian Whisky continues unabated as it seems that every time I venture into a local liquor store I see new brands that I have never tried before. One of these new brands, Legacy Small Batch caught my eye and I decided to request a bottle for review. The new brand is owned by Sazerac, and to produce this new Canadian spirit they import mature whisky from Canada and bottle it at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky.
There is not much information about this particular whisky on the Sazerac website except for a statement that, Master Blender Drew Mayville (Buffalo Trace), oversees the distillation of this particular whisky. Unfortunately I find this claim hard to reconcile based upon his own statements in a 2013 interview in The Spirits Business (see interview here) regarding the anonymity of Canadian Whisky distillers and his happiness at being a blender and not a distiller. (Note that Canadian Whisky by law must be at least 3 years old and therefore would have been distilled prior to those statements.) Perhaps the marketing people at Sazerac meant that Drew Mayville oversees the blending of the Legacy Small Batch, which of course would be right up his alley.
Here is a link to my full Review:
“… I taste a very nice melding of rye-like spices with butterscotch toffee. There is a corn-like smoothness which permeates the whisky along with just enough peppery heat to pucker and dry the palate making it receptive to the next sip. There are also light bits of cinnamon, some gentle vanillans, and a touch of milk chocolate in the flavour profile and all of these flavours seem to be pulling in the same pleasant direction …”
Please enjoy my review which includes a nice recipe I created called the Canadian Caribou.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisky Liqueur, Whisky Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Legacy Small BatchSazerac, Review, Whisky | Comments Off on Review: Legacy Small Batch Canadian Whisky
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 12, 2015
Crown Royal®Canadian Whisky is currently produced in Gimli, Manitoba, at the Crown Royal Distillery. The distillery and the brand are owned by the global spirits conglomerate Diageo, and I think it is fair to say that Crown Royal is Diageo’s flagship Canadian whisky. The brand was introduced in 1939 (by Samuel Bronfman of Seagrams) as a special whisky bottling to commemorate the Royal Tour of Canada by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth who traveled across the Country by train that year. (Apparently, the train carrying the Royal Couple was stocked with 10 cases of the new Crown Royal Blend.) Until 1964, the whisky was only available in Canada; however, today it is available world-wide, and is in fact the number one Canadian whisky brand sold in Canada and the USA by value. (I believe Canadian Club is still the number one brand in Canada by volume.)
Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel is the first production Canadian Whisky ever to sold in the single barrel format. It drawn from a single oak cask and bottled a full 51.5 % alcohol by volume bottling proof.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… That intense butterscotch I noticed on the nose manifests itself as a sweet yummy honeyed butterscotch flavour when the spirit crosses the palate. Along with the sweet butterscotch are equally intense spicy rye wood spices which along with the 103 proof alcohol heat the mouth. I realize I have to be careful with this whisky, the flavour is so good I want a mouthful, but the heat the spirit possesses must be treated with respect …”
Please enjoy my review!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Crown Royal, Hand Selected Barrel, Whisky Review | Comments Off on Review: Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 5, 2015
Canadian Club Whisky (owned by BeamSuntory) is the oldest (and probably the most influential) Canadian Whisky brand in the world. 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. Today Canadian Club Premium is the flagship brand for the company. In Canada, it is aged for a minimum of 6 years in white oak barrels and bottled at 40 per cent alcohol by volume.
Recently Canadian Club added to their flavoured and spiced portfolio by releasing a new maple flavoured whisky , Canadian Club Chairman’s Select Maple. According to the Canadian Club website:
Our master distillers have brought together the world’s finest Canadian whisky with the perfect hint of maple flavour.
Chairman’s Maple Mammy
Here is a link to my full review:
“… When I steal a sip from the glass, again it is the flavour of maple which one notices immediately (as we should). However, I was pleased to taste a firm whisky presence within the spirit as well. Despite the obvious maple taint, the flavoured whisky still retains its character as a whisky …”
Included in my review is a nice cocktail suggestion which combine the Canadian Club Chairman’s Select Maple with lime juice and ginger-ale, the Chairman’s Maple Mammy.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Club, Canadian Whisky, Chairman's Maple Mammy, Chairman's Select, Cocktail, Flavoured Whisky, Maple Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off on Review: Canadian Club Chairman’s Select Maple
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 12, 2015
Centennial Limited Edition Canadian Whisky is produced by Alberta’s own Highwood Distillers. It has quietly replaced Highwood’s former Centennial 10 Year Old Canadian Whisky (see review here) as the flagship brand of their Centennial Lineup. The Centennial brand is unique in Canada as rather than using corn as the base grain for this whisky, Centennial uses soft Canadian winter wheat and rye This gives the Centennial brand a smooth and soft flavour profile which I have found is unlike any other Canadian whisky. In fact, using grains grown exclusively on the Canadian prairies, distilling the grain in their home Province of Alberta, and aging the spirit in the severe Western Canadian climate makes Centennial is a Whisky unlike any other in the world.
Centennial Limited Edition features no age statement which makes it different from the Centennial 10 Year Old Whisky which used to carry the flag for the brand. When I asked the folks at the distillery I was told that the Centennial brand had reached a point of popularity such that Highwood could no longer meet the demand for their 10 Year Old whisky across the country. This meant that the distiller was faced with two choices. They could either raise the price to temper demand (and annoy their loyal customers), or they could create a new flagship Centennial Whisky (the Limited Edition) which they could produce in sufficient quantity to meet the new demand across Canada. They chose the second course, although they are hoping this new blend is met with the same enthusiasm as the previous blend.
Here is a link to the full review:
“… I let the glass sit for a while, and noticed that the rye grain was joined by wood spices and these spicy accents seem to grow in the breezes. I also notice a light almost bitter astringency in the air which seems to be related to the building rye spice. As the glass continues to decant, some dry grassy tobacco comes to the fore and a light fruitiness is evolving from the rye which is also filling the air with light scents of ginger …”
Please enjoy the review which concludes with a nice recipe suggestion, the Canadian Whisky Splash!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Centennial, Highwood Distillers, Limited Edition, Review, Whisky, Whisky Splash | Comments Off on Review: Centennial Limited Edition Canadian Whisky (NAS)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 6, 2015
Yesterday, I received my first bottle of the brand new Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel Whisky. What makes the bottle I received even more special is that this particular bottle has been drawn from a very particular barrel. The barrel that my good friend Davin De Kergommeax selected right out the Crown Royal whisky warehouse in Gimli, Manitoba.
If you do not know Davin, although I suspect many of you do, he is (like myself), is a true devotee of our great Canadian Spirit, whisky! He has created his own website (Canadian Whisky) where he publishes various articles about our mutual passion and of course his fantastic reviews. He has also been instrumental in launching the first ever fully independent Canadian Whisky Awards! These awards have highlighted not only the best tasting whiskies made in Canada, but they also award special achievements by Canadian Whisky Distillers in areas of innovation, brand extension, and media/advertising. And as if that was not enough, he is also the award-winning author of “Canadian Whisky: the portable expert” which is probably the best guide ever published about the great Canadian Spirit.
If you haven’t heard of Crown Royal Hands Selected Barrel, it is the first production Canadian whisky ever to sold in the single barrel format, drawn from a single oak cask and brought to a full 51.5 % alcohol by volume bottling proof. Now the folks at Crown Royal didn’t just go into their warehouse and start checking random casks of whisky for this expression. They chose a very particular whisky to showcase as their first Single Barrel Whisky. A whisky from a rye heavy mashbill (64% corn, 31.5% rye, and 4.5% malted barley) which was distilled upon their one of a kind Coffey Rye still which is located in their Gimli facility.
Davin de Kergommeaux
Now, I was curious, and so I asked Davin how the selection process worked for him. He told me that he went down to the facility in Gimli in May of 2014 to taste some of the barrels. Then he went back in December (of the same year) to make his final selection. According to Davin:
“It was freezing cold so we tasted the whisky from four “finalist” barrels in the office. They were remarkably different from each other. I brought a sample home with me to sip on until the final product arrived a couple of weeks ago. It really was a lot of fun from start to finish.”
And now I have one of the bottles drawn from the barrel that Davin himself chose. I find this so remarkable, that I have decided to share my first tasting of this remarkable spirit with anyone who cares to join me tomorrow at 1:30 PM (Mountain Standard) on Twitter (https://twitter.com/RumHowler). I will have my camera ready and my glencairn glass full, and if all goes according to plan publish my first thoughts and tasting notes live online on my twitter account using the hashtag ‘Rum Howler Tastes Crown Hand Selected Barrel’. I hope some of you join me, and if any of you happen to also have a bottle or sample of Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel, please post your thoughts online as well.
(And if any of you have ideas as how to make this easier for everyone to follow and participate, please post your ideas, I am pretty much a rookie at Twitter Tastings, having never done one before.)
Chimo, and see you tomorrow at 1:30 PM (MST)!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Crown Royal, Davin de Kergommeaux, Single Barrel, Twitter Tasting | 5 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 4, 2015
This is one of my favourite times of the year, as every year in early June, Forty Creek Whisky announces their annual special limited release whisky. This years release has been named Forty Creek Three Grain Harmony, and the distillery is once again inviting the public to participate in the release by offering to let you choose your own numbered bottle.
Reservations for choosing your bottles open at noon on Monday, June 8th and continue until 5:00 p.m. on June 26th, 2015. Of course numbers are available on a first come basis and no two bottle numbers will be the same. (Only 9000 bottles will be produced.)
According to the folks at Forty Creek:
Forty Creek Three Grain Harmony is the 9th Limited Release from Forty Creek Whisky. This year, we decided to create a bit of music by carefully blending and harmonizing three single grains: rye, barley and corn. We began by fermenting and distilling each individual grain separately. Both the rye and the barley stocks date back to when we first began our Forty Creek Distillery. This Limited Release marks the first time these stocks have been introduced into one of our whiskies. As with many of our Signature Editions, the separate, single grain whiskies were patiently aged in toasted white oak barrels. At their peak flavour potential, they were then artfully blended to create the subtle yet complex whisky we named Three Grain Harmony.
The new special release whisky will be bottled at 43% alcohol by volume, and you can find more information here:
(Barley and Rye stocks that date back to the beginnings of the distillery sounds pretty special to me. I usually reserve a few bottles for myself, and this year will be no different.)
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Forty Creek, Special Release, Three Grain Harmony, Whisky | 4 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 11, 2015
Highwood Distillers is a Canadian spirits manufacturer in the town of High River, Alberta, which is situated 40 minutes south of Calgary, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. When I visited their facilities a few years ago I could not help but notice how they make their spirits one batch at a time in a friendly, family style atmosphere. I was impressed and I have been a fan of Highwood ever since.
Recently I received a sample of their Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky (Dark Chocolate). The spirit represents a melding of their Centennial Rye Whisky with the a small dollop of Dark Chocolate flavour. The flavoured whisky is bottled at 35 % alcohol by volume.
Orange Chocolate Martini
Here is a link to my full review:
“… The Dark Chocolate Whisky has a pale mahogany colour which seems at odds with the rich dark chocolate scents which seem to ooze out of the rye and wood spices drifting in the breezes above the glass. The impact of the chocolate seems to be softened by an impression of fresh dairy cream within the make-up of its aroma …”
This spirit plays well with caramel, cola, coffee, and even (if you check out my recipe below) orange liqueurs. Those are some of my favourite flavours, so I think you can safely assume that my recommendation for the Centennial Dark Chocolate is quite enthusiastic.
Please enjoy my review which includes a nice dessert martini recipe which have I dubbed the Orange Chocolate Martini.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Flavoured Whisky, Liqueur, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review, Whisky Liqueur | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Centennial Rye Whisky, Cocktail, Dark Chocolate, Flavoured Whisky, Highwood Distillers, Orange Chocolate Martini, Review | Comments Off on Review: Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky Dark Chocolate