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Posts Tagged ‘Highwood Distillers’

#33 Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 22, 2015

For over 100 years now the Calgary Stampede has brought people from all over the world together to experience the region’s unique western heritage and values. In the summer of 2012, Highwood Distillers (Alberta’s only privately owned distillery) joined in and celebrated the Centennial of the Calgary Stampede by producing an exclusive Limited Edition Ultra-Premium 25 Year Old Commemorative Canadian Rye Whisky.

Stampede WhiskyThe Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) Whisky is a single bond offering produced entirely from corn distillate and aged for 25 years in charred American white oak. It is blended entirely with naturally sourced Rocky Mountain spring water, and was limited to a production of only 6000 bottles. In order to maintain good contact with the oak during the lengthy aging process, this bond was re-gauged or re-barreled twice during its aging life. New barrels were not introduced when Highwood distiller’s made the liquid consolidation. Instead they chose to maintain the aging process in the original barrels into which the spirit began its maturation.

Here is a link to the review of the #33 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#33 – Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky

“… The initial nose is rich with smells of oak and cedar. Butterscotch notes rise into the air accompanied by strong scents of honeycomb and cereal. As the glass sits, the oak spices continue to grow above the glass. I also receive impressions of melted vanilla ice cream, some appealing notes of marmalade and marzipan, and some strong notes of corn whisky rising into the merry little breezes. This is very appealing …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Extras | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

#57 Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 29, 2015

In November of 2005, Highwood Distillers finalized the purchase of Potters Distilleries (founded by Ernie Potter in 1958). Part of this acquisition, was the purchase of all of the remaining barrel aged stocks of whisky in the Potters facility. These barrels of whisky were transferred from the Potters warehouse facilities in Kelowna, B.C. to the newly constructed warehouse facility in High River, Alberta, where they were allowed to continue to age at the foot of the Rocky Mountains on the western edge of the Canadian Prairies. The whisky brands which Potters Distilleries had established (Century and Potters) were added to Highwood’s portfolio of spirits where they have not only been maintained but also expanded upon. Part of that expansion was the 2013 addition of the ‘Ninety’ branded whiskies to the Century Distillers line-up. Like the other whiskies in the Century portfolio, the Ninety branded spirits are corn-based rather than wheat-based blends. (Highwood Distillers uses the Highwood brand for all of its wheat based whiskies.)

Ninety 20 Year Old SAM_1400Highwood chose the brand name ‘Ninety’ because these new whiskies are bottled at 90 proof (or 45 % alcohol by volume) rather than the usual 80 proof (40 % alcohol by volume). The higher bottling strength means that the final whisky will retain a character closer to the original cask strength whiskies from which they were blended. In the case of the Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky, the bulk of blend almost certainly has been drawn from Highwood’s treasured reserves of remaining Potters whisky stocks.

Here is a link to the review of the #57 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#57 – Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Whisky

“… The different aspects of the aroma (the wood and rye spiciness and the corn and butterscotch sweetness) are melded together beautifully creating a very enticing aroma in the air above the glass. As I enjoy those breezes, I also notice impressions of creamy vanilla pudding, hints of almond turning to sweeter marzipan, zesty orange peel turning to sticky marmalade, and lightly sweetened cereal grain …”

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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, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on #57 Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Whisky

#84 Pristina Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 2, 2015

Pristina Vodka is a quadruple distilled wheat Vodka produced in High River, Alberta in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains just south of Calgary. I have been a fan of Highwood Distillers for a while now; but I was not prepared for what greeted me when I opened a sample bottle Highwood’s Pristina Vodka. Maybe it was the uninspiring bottle and label, or maybe it is just a case of us Canadians being a little too self-conscious to believe we can be as good as everyone else in the world. Whatever the reason, when I put the Pristina in a flight of Vodka samples at a tasting where it was up against an Authentic Russian Vodka called Black Stallion, an Authentic Polish Vodka called Alchemia Czysta, and a popular super premium Vodka made in France called Grey Goose, I was not expecting what happened.

Pristina Vodka TonicWhat happened was that every person at my tasting chose the same Vodka as their favourite, and every person at that same tasting said it wasn’t even close. That favourite, the clear head and shoulders winner without reservation in everybody’s opinion, was of course the Pristina Vodka from Highwood Distillers. Pristina is a gem of a Vodka which deserves far more attention from Vodka lovers than what it receives.

Here is a link to my review of the #84 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#84 – Pristina Vodka

“… I was happy to taste no vegetal tones and to feel no burn at all in my throat. The swallow was clean and completely smooth. The back of my mouth received a mildly spicy warmth; but my throat felt no heat, even with a substantial swallow of the Pristina Vodka. This reaction was consistent amongst those who tasted the Vodka with me. There is a warming of the throat that occurs; but it is a sort of spreading warmth that feels good, not a burn that climbs down the throat. As well, there was not any sort of cloying metallic aftertaste …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Extras, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on #84 Pristina Vodka

Review: Centennial Limited Edition Canadian Whisky (NAS)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 12, 2015

Whisky Splash SAM_1629Centennial 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:

Review: Centennial Limited Edition Canadian Whisky

“… 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: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Centennial Limited Edition Canadian Whisky (NAS)

Review: Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky Dark Chocolate

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 11, 2015

Centennial_Dark_Chocolate_-_shadowHighwood 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

Orange Chocolate Martini

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky Dark Chocolate

“… 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: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky Dark Chocolate

Review: Potter’s Premium Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 10, 2015

Emmissary SAM_1460

The Emissary Cocktail

In November of 2005, Highwood Distilleries Ltd. finalized the purchase of Potters Distilleries which had been founded founded by Ernie Potter in 1958. The corn-based brands which Potter’s had established (Century and Potter’s) were added to the Highwood portfolio. Today Potter’s Premium Vodka is produced at the Highwood Distillery in High River, Alberta. This distillery is situated near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains just 40 minutes south of downtown Calgary.

According to the company website:

The careful repeated distillation of quality grains creates the base of Highwood’s Vodka brands. The pure, clear spirits are filtered and blended with fresh Rocky Mountain spring water to create our clean, crisp Vodkas.

When I tasted the Potter’s Premium Vodka for the first time it was as part of a flight of four vodkas my friends (the Rum Chums) and I were sampling at my first Vodka Tasting of 2015. We chilled all of the Vodkas in my deep freeze such that there were all at about 2 degrees Celsius when we sampled them.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Potter’s Premium Vodka

“… As I sipped upon the cold spirit, my impression was that this is a relatively smooth vodka especially considering its price point. I taste a light but firm flavour of lemon balsam and some hints of lime zest spice within the soft corn sweetness. There is also a whisper of briny salt and some fine white pepper spice which tastes quite nice …”

Please enjoy my review which conclude with a nice elegant cocktail of mine which I call the Emissary.

 

Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Potter’s Premium Vodka

Review: 1830 Sahara Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 1, 2015

Sahara and Tonic SAM_1258Highwood Distillers is a Canadian distillery situated in the town of High River, Alberta, which lies just about 40 minutes due south of Calgary, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. The distillery was originally established as the Sunnyvale Distillery in 1974, however it was renamed ‘Highwood Distillers’ in 1984 linking the Distillery geographically to the nearby Highwood River and the scenic foothills in which the Town of High River is situated. Several years ago I visited the distillery and watched first hand as (using a batch still) they turned the local wheat into whisky, vodka, and gin.

1830 Sahara Dry Gin is a step up from Highwood’s very dry Sahara Dry Gin (click on the link to read the previous review) and features a slightly sweeter, somewhat more citrus forward flavour profile. It is produced from Canadian wheat and naturally sourced Rocky Mountain water. The botanicals mentioned on the Highwood website are juniper, citrus of orange, lemon, and lime. There are of course a few other secret botanicals not mentioned  which are all added just prior to the final distillation.

Here is a link to my review of the spirit which won last summer’s Rum Howler Gin and Tonic Challenge, the 1830 Sahara Dry Gin.

Review: 1830 Sahara Dry Gin

“… The nose has indications of juniper with lighter accents of lemon, orange and mild scents of black licorice. There is also impressions of a mint-like scent mingling within the breezes and additional scents of spruce boughs, and white flowers. The impression is of a mellow spirit which promises to be laid back and enjoyable …”

Cheers Everyone!

Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Rum Howler 2014 #5 Canadian Whisky – Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 20, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014In November of 2005, Highwood Distilleries Ltd. finalized the purchase of Potters Distilleries (founded by Ernie Potter in 1958). Part of this acquisition, was the purchase of all of the remaining barrel aged stocks of whisky in the Potters facility. These barrels of whisky were transferred from the Potters warehouse facilities in Kelowna, B.C. to the newly constructed warehouse facility in High River, Alberta, where they were allowed to continue to age at the foot of the Rocky Mountains on the western edge of the Canadian Prairies. The whisky brands which Potters Distilleries had established (Century and Potters) were added to Highwood’s portfolio of spirits where they have not only been maintained but also expanded upon. Part of that expansion was the recent addition of the ‘Ninety’ branded whiskies to the Century Distillers line-up. Like the other whiskies in the Century portfolio, the Ninety branded spirits are corn-based rather than wheat-based blends. (The Distillery uses the Highwood banner for all of its wheat based whiskies.)

Ninety 20 Year Old SAM_1400Highwood chose the brand name ‘Ninety’ because these new whiskies are bottled at 90 proof (or 45 % alcohol by volume) rather than the usual 80 proof (40 % alcohol by volume). The higher bottling strength means that the final whisky will retain a character closer to the original cask strength whiskies from which they were blended. In the case of the Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky, the bulk of blend almost certainly has been drawn from Highwood’s treasured reserves of remaining Potters whisky stocks which are rumoured to contain barrels of whisky as old as 33 years.

Here is a link to my recent review of the Number 5 spirit in my Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#5 Canadian Whisky – Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old

“… As I enjoy the breezes above the glass, I notice impressions of creamy vanilla pudding, hints of almond, some sticky marmalade, and a light sweetened grain-like component which actually reminds me of Post Honeycomb cereal. The longer you let the glass sit, the more firm and unified the aroma becomes, until after fifteen minutes or so it resembles a luscious butterscotch-oak-syrup that begs to be sipped …”

The Ninety “Decades of Richness” Canadian Rye Whisky has quickly become one of my very favourite whiskies, and for my palate, it is on par with the best Bourbons, and the best Single Malt Scotches I have tasted to this point in my whisky explorations.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Howler 2014 #5 Canadian Whisky – Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old

Rum Howler 2014 #7 Canadian Whisky – Century Reserve (Lot 1525)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 18, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014I have been inside the Highwood Distillery’s aging warehouse, and have seen up close the barrels of whisky stacked four levels high, row upon row. The wonderful aroma of the ‘angels share’ permeates the facility, and it offered me a gentle intoxication if only I were to stay a little longer. Perhaps, one day I will return and stay just a little longer; but, for now I am content to carry the memory of that heady aroma in my mind.

Somewhere in that barrel aging warehouse is a darkened corner where all of the oak barrels are all stamped “Lot 1525“. This  corner contains the oldest whisky in the entire facility, with the age of the whisky inside the barrels ranging  from 15 to 25 or more years. (It has been hinted to me that some of these barrels contain whisky that is up to 33 years old!) These whisky barrels were originally part of the consignment of whisky acquired when Highwood purchased the Potters Distillery in 2005. As such, these are barrels of whisky produced from the corn-based distillate in Kelowna, British Colombia.

Century Reserve 1525 SAM_1403These barrels made the journey to the Highwood facility in 2005 (from the Potter’s facility in Kelowna BC), and have been sitting in that darkened corner waiting to be tapped and bottled. When the time is right, Highwood’s Master Blender carefully chooses the right barrels, and then carefully blends the wonderful elixir within to create Lot 1525 Century Reserve Custom Blend Canadian Rye Whisky.

The spirit represents a gem of a whisky from those folks in High River, and this whisky is ranked Number 7 in my Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown.

Here is a link to the review I posted on August 28, 2010:

#7 Canadian Whisky – Century Reserve (Lot 1525)

“… A beautiful amber hue seems to accent a lovely honey and caramel aroma rising from the glass. Wonderful mellow rye notes accompany the honey and the caramel and a light bourbon vanilla seems to drift above the glass in the breezes.  The impact of nosing the glass is a well received feeling of luxury, and elegance which is divine …”

My review for the Century Reserve (Lot 1525) has remained unchanged for over four years despite several tasting session over this time when I chose to revisit the brand. Whereas I seem to notice subtle changes in other spirits over time, this particular whisky seems to maintain consistency from batch to batch and from year to year. In 2010 it was a great whisky, and now in 2014 it remains so.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Howler 2014 #7 Canadian Whisky – Century Reserve (Lot 1525)

Rum Howler 2014 #11 Canadian Whisky – Century Reserve 21 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 14, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014In November of 2005, Highwood Distilleries Ltd. finalized the purchase of Potters Distilleries (founded by Ernie Potter in 1958). Part of this acquisition, was the purchase of all of the remaining barrel aged stocks of whisky in the Potters facility. These barrels of whisky were transferred from the Potters warehouse facilities in Kelowna, B.C. to the newly constructed warehouse facility in High River, Alberta, where they were allowed to continue to age at the foot of the Rocky Mountains on the western edge of the Canadian Prairies. The whisky brands which Potters had established (Century and Potters) were added to the Highwood portfolio.

Century_Reserve_21_Yr_-_shadowCentury Reserve 21 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky, is a premium a 21-year-old single grain corn whisky. Those old Potter’s stocks from which this whisky is drawn (produced, I believe from a single bond) have been slowly aging with the result that the age of this whisky has been increasing each year even though the label still says 21 Year Old.

I am a big fan of Highwood Distillers and their great whiskies, their Century Reserve 21 Year Old checks in as the 11th best Canadian Whisky of 2014!

#11 Canadian Whisky – Century Reserve 21 Year Old

“… The breezes above the glass are luscious. Indications of roasted corn-0n-the-cob, rich oak spices, toffee, butterscotch, and tobacco all rise up to greet my nose. As the whisky breathes, those scents and smells above the glass become even richer with oak sap, stronger tobacco accents, marmalade and hints of vanilla pudding marrying themselves into the overall aroma …”

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Howler 2014 #11 Canadian Whisky – Century Reserve 21 Year Old

 
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