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Posts Tagged ‘Cocktails’

2015 Margarita Challenge #6 – Casamigos Blanco

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 14, 2015

Casamigos SAM_1527

Casamigos Margarita

I have reached the halfway point in my Rum Howler countdown of the top 10 blanco agave spirits to serve this summer in my Margarita Cocktails. The number 6 spirit is a new Tequila brand promoted by George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman called Casamigos. According to the website information this is an ultra premium tequila made in a small batch process from ‘hand-selected 100% Blue Weber agaves, grown in the rich red clay and cool climate of the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico‘. The website goes on to tell us that the piñas of the hand selected agave are roasted in traditional brick ovens for 72 hours prior a long 80 hour fermentation. The Casamigos Blanco tequila is rested in American Oak for 2 months before bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Carra Carra Margarita

Cara Cara Margarita

You may read my full review of the Number 6 Agave Spirit in the 2015 Rum Howler Margarita Challenge by clicking the link here:

Review: Casamigos Blanco Tequila

“… I noticed a light punky agave scent within the breezes with the sharp spicy/peppery note which is typical of highland tequila somewhat muted. I noticed both grapefruit and lime zest weaving in and out the air with the mild white pepper spice, and I also notice a subtle smokey tone wrapped up within the fruity agave aroma …”

Please enjoy the review which includes a nice margarita style recipe which utilizes the unique flavour of Cara Cara Oranges. It is called of course, the Cara Cara Margarita.

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Note: If you wish to follow my 2015 Rum Howler Margarita Countdown, I have created a summary page which will list all of the results as they are published. That page is available here:

2015 Rum Howler Margarita Countdown

Posted in Awards, Blanco Tequila, Tequila, Tequila Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 2015 Margarita Challenge #6 – Casamigos Blanco

2015 Margarita Challenge #7 – Jose Cuervo Especial Plata

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 12, 2015

Cuervo Margarita

Cuervo Margarita

The next entry in my 2015 Margarita Challenge is a spirit which caused more dissension amongst my judges than any other. Amongst the four Rum Chums who acted on my jury panel they was no agreement whatsoever regarding the Jose Cuervo Especial Plata. Two members of the panel had the spirit ranked near the top. One judge had the spirit ranked somewhere in the middle and one judge had it ranked well down her list. (In the case of every other agave spirit, my judges were very consistent in their rankings.)

When all the scores were tabulated and adjusted, the Jose Cuervo Especial Plata (a Mixto rather than a 100 % agave spirit) settled into the top 10 as the 7th best blanco tequila for Margarita Cocktails.

You can read my newly revised review here:

Review: Jose Cuervo Especial Plata

“… The entry into the mouth is smooth and unobtrusive with an obvious sweetness which again reminds me of cane syrup. The fruity agave is not aggressive; and there is only a mild white pepper spice heating the palate. Some lemon and lime accents are present …”

The Jose Cuervo Especial Plata lacks the “in your face” earthy herbaceousness and the spicy heat of a typical Blanco Tequila. It is instead, smooth and easy to drink; and carries a cane-like sweetness forward which will appeal to many people. Although the spirit lacks the character of a true 100 % Agave tequila; it nevertheless performs very well as a cocktail spirit.

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Note: If you wish to follow my 2015 Rum Howler Margarita Countdown, I have created a summary page which will list all of the results as they are published. That page is available here:

2015 Rum Howler Margarita Countdown

Posted in Awards, Mixto Tequila, Tequila, Tequila Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 2015 Margarita Challenge #7 – Jose Cuervo Especial Plata

2015 Margarita Challenge #8 – Avion Silver Tequila

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 9, 2015

Avion SAM_1535

Avion Margarita

Avion Silver Tequila is a 100% Weber Blue Agave tequila made from the hand-picked fruit grown in the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. As a highland tequila, we can expect the Avion Tequila to exhibit strong fruity citrus notes and to have a little hot pepper in the delivery and in the finish. (This is as opposed to lowland tequila which has stronger earthier flavours of agave and less hot pepper.)

According to the information provided to me, to produce Avion Tequila, the harvested agave from the highlands is first slow roasted in brick ovens to bring out its natural flavors and aromas. After distillation, but before the tequila is bottled it is run through a proprietary “Ultra Slow Filtration” process which apparently lasts ten times longer than the filtration process for other tequilas. Something good must be happening because according to the Judges at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, this tequila is pretty darn good. They awarded Avion Silver Tequila as the Best Unaged White Spirit, and then gave it a Double Gold Medal for two years in a row.

It turns out that my judging panel for the 2015 Rum Howler Margarita Challenge also believe that something good is happening with Avion Tequila as My Rum Chums and I have determined their Silver Tequila is the 8th best blanco tequila for mixing Margaritas this summer.

Here is a link to my newly revised review:

Review Avion Silver Tequila

“…  I noticed a light effervescent almost spicy aroma of grapefruit zest is reminiscent of the smells of my back garden after a light rain shower. I find  the aroma light and clean almost refreshing. I also noticed a moderately punky/fruity agave aroma with a mild white pepper scent rising from the glass with a light fruity sweetness carried by the agave …”

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Note: If you wish to follow my 2015 Rum Howler Margarita Countdown, I have created a summary page which will list all of the results as they are published. That page is available here:

2015 Rum Howler Margarita Countdown

Posted in Awards, Blanco Tequila, Tequila, Tequila Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 2015 Margarita Challenge #8 – Avion Silver Tequila

2015 Margarita Challenge #9 – Cruz del Sol (Silver)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 7, 2015

CRUZ SAM_1521

Cruz Margarita

The Number 9 spirit in my 2015 Rum Howler Margarita Challenge (according to the Cruz Tequila website information) contains no chemicals, additives or flavorings, and is produced entirely from Blue Weber agave plants grown in the highlands of the Los Altos region of Jalisco, Mexico.

The harvested agave is slow cooked in traditional brick ovens for two days, then cooled before the juice is extracted and naturally fermented. The fermented juice is double distilled in small batches and all Cruz Tequila is packaged and bottled using recycled materials. This includes the blown glass bottles and the aluminum caps as well as the aluminum cross on the front label.

During the deliberations for the 2015 Rum Howler Margarita Challenge, my judging panel found Cruz del Sol Silver was a lightly earthy spirit with a building spiciness, and those features of flavour worked well in the Margarita Cocktail I served in the competition. Well enough to rank this tequila as the number 9 spirit in my challenge.

Here is a link to my newly revised review which incorporates the information learned during my most recent tasting sessions as well as the information gleaned during the competition tasting:

Review: Cruz del Sol Silver

“… There is an almost tender quality to the agave which is very pleasant with some interesting earthy flavours of fresh garden squash and cucumber laying underneath the agave fruit. As I continue to sip I taste tiny bits of cinnamon, hints of black licorice, and sweet impressions of sugar cane and mint. Building alongside these subtle flavours is a spicy white pepper and a citric zest which heats the palate a little more with each sip …”

The Cruz Del Sol Silver is a good spirit to serve when introducing persons to the highland tequila taste profile. The soft lightly sweet notes in the flavour profile are more approachable than one finds in a typical blanco tequila from the highlands.

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Note: If you wish to follow my 2015 Rum Howler Margarita Countdown, I have created a summary page which will list all of the results as they are published. That page is available here:

2015 Rum Howler Margarita Countdown

Posted in Awards, Blanco Tequila, Tequila, Tequila Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 2015 Margarita Challenge #9 – Cruz del Sol (Silver)

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: 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!

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

Review: POLIAKOV Lemon Flavoured Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 26, 2015

Easy Lemon MartiniIn late November, I received an email from the Export Marketing Assistant for the independent French spirits group, La Martiniquaise. He was writing to me from Farnace to see if I would be interested in sampling some of the revamped new flavoured range of POLIAKOV Vodka. As it was explained to me in his email, the company is attempting to bypass the prevailing “flavour fatigue”  which they feel reigns within the flavoured vodka category, and rather than conjuring up new exotic flavours which are probably unfamiliar to their customers, the revamped Poliakov range focuses on ‘within-reach flavours’ which are familiar to their customers.

I agreed to taste some of the POLIAKOV flavoured range, and William arranged for me to receive three flavours, POLIAKOV Vanilla, Peach and Lemon Flavoured Vodkas.

This is the last of the three postings, my review for POLIAKOV Lemon Flavoured Vodka:

Review: POLIAKOV Lemon Flavoured Vodka

“… As with the other POLIAKOV flavours I have reviewed, (the Vanilla and Peach Flavoured Vodkas), the initial aroma from the glass seems to represent a relatively clean aroma of the highlighted flavour rising into the breezes with a light hint of sugar cane and perhaps a few hints of grain spice. The aroma is akin to the smell of lemon drop candies, but less intense and certainly less sweet …”

I have included two nice recipes with the review one from POLIAKOV, which is called Yellow Delight, and one of my construction which I call, the Easy lemon Martini.

Please enjoy this review and of course the included recipes!

 

Posted in Flavoured Vodka, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: POLIAKOV Lemon Flavoured Vodka

 
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