Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 3, 2014
Today I am wrapping up my short series of Single Malt reviews based upon the small tasting my friend Dennis and I conducted a week ago last Sunday. Although we had a minor disagreement regarding the previously reviewed Sheep Dip Malt and Old Pulteney 12 Year Old as to which was the more enjoyable dram; their was no such argument as to which Whisky we each felt was the most satisfying that day, the Bowmore Tempest (Batch No. 3).
For your information, the Bowmore Distillery is the oldest of the Islay Distilleries in Scotland, (and it is one of the oldest distilleries in all of Scotland). It has sat at the edge of the sea on the craggy coastline of the Hebridean Island since 1779. This location close to the sea and of course close to the rich Islay peat has been linked to the distinctive floral and smoky character of the Bowmore Whisky. This character is a result of rich peat flavours being absorbed by the barley as it dries under the peated fire of the malt drying kiln, and of the whisky aging in the famous Bowmore seaside vaults (which are below sea-level) as the briny seaside air is allowed to mingle with the oak aging casks.
What Rough Beast
The Bowmore Tempest is a relatively new 10-year-old peated whisky aged in first-fill bourbon casks. (A first-fill cask is one which has only been used once before usually for either bourbon or sherry). This whisky has seen five separate releases to this point. Small Batch Release No. 3 which is the subject of this review is non-chill filtered and bottled at a full 55.6% alcohol by volume.
Here is a link to my updated review:
” … The nose is full of phenolic peat smoke with plenty of rubbery smells rising into the breezes above the glass. Within this menagerie of peat smoke are some welcome scents of orange peel, lemon grass, and hints of floral woodland (heather, lavender and wood spices). A mild effervescence exists which borders on the edge of astringency, no doubt a reminder that the spirit is a full 56 % abv. …”
Islay whisky presents a challenge to the cocktail buff. The peat, the smoke, and the iodine is a peculiar mixture more usually reserved for the single malt aficionado than the cocktail connoisseur. I have I found though, that a quality gin may often provide the basis to bring balance to the Islay cocktail, and working from that basis I constructed one of my favourite cold weather cocktails, What Rough Beast which is included (for your enjoyment at the conclusion of my review.
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: Bowmore, Cocktails, Peated Whisky, Single Malt, Tempest, What Rough Beast, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off on Review: Bowmore Tempest Batch No. 3
Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 31, 2014
As I indicated a few days ago, my friend Dennis and I had a small whisky tasting this past Sunday featuring 3 malt whiskies from Scotland. The second spirit in the line-up was Old Pulteney 12 Year Old Single Malt. According to the Old Pulteney website, this whisky is produced at the northernmost distillery on the Scottish mainland, in Wick. The distillery lies in the heart of ‘Pulteneytown’, which was created for the fishermen in the area, and the distillery is an integral part of the history of this coastal town.
A couple of years ago, Old Pulteney shocked more than a few people when their 21-year-old expression (click to read my review) won the big award in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible as his choice as the world’s best whisky in 2012. Last year they made a few more waves with the release of the distillery’s oldest production release, a 40-year-old single malt whisky. (The Old Pulteney 40 Year Old (click for more information) is extremely limited; but it has apparently been seen in a few stores here in Alberta.)
Here is a link to my review of the Old Pulteney 12 year Old Single Malt Whisky:
“… The initial breezes above the glass set into my mind a vision of a lowland meadow as the scents carry light aromas of almond, vanilla, honey, meadowland grasses, and wood spice. As the glass sits, I catch some scents of sea brine and it makes me think there must be an ocean nearby. The wood spices build in the glass bringing me images of orange peel, willow, and fresh tobacco …”
For your added enjoyment I have included a nice recipe which mixes Old Pulteney with Drambuie, lime juice and Q-Ginger. The most refreshing, Black Donald cocktail.
Note: My most recent 700 ml sample bottle of Old Pulteney 12 Year Old Single Malt was provided by Woodman Wines and Spirits Inc. who are the importers/distributors of this brand in the Province of Ontario. I am told that this whisky is currently in about 90 locations (Whisky Shop Sections) of LCBO stores across that Province. It is also quite readily available in Alberta.
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Black Donald, Cocktails, Old Pulteney, Scotch, Single Malt, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off on Review: Old Pulteney 12 Year Old
Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 23, 2014
Last April, J & G Grant launched the release of their new 60 Year Old Glenfarclas Single Malt Whisky with only 360 bottles available world-wide. According to George Grant, Glenfarclas’ Sales Director and 6th generation of the Grant family:
“At a time when more and more distilleries are going down the no age statement route for their super premium products, we are delighted to be able to release this magnificent 60-year-old Glenfarclas. My grandfather started laying down stocks for the future way back in the 50s, so it is thanks to his incredible foresight that we are able to bottle this today.I’m sure he would have been as impressed by it as I am.”
In describing his 60 Year Old whisky, George Grant tells us that the spirit was matured in a first fill sherry butt and has a very dark rich mahogany colour. George goes on to say:
“It is surprisingly vibrant with lots of dried fruits, demerara sugar and spice coming through on the nose as well as the rich, oaky tannins that one would expect from a whisky of this venerable age. The sherry influence really comes through on the palate, with rich treacle, bitter coffee and espresso notes all making an appearance. The finish is the longest I have ever experienced – 20 minutes later you will still be able to taste the subtle nuances of this incredible dram.”
Fortunately for those of us who live in Alberta, a few of these special bottles have made it into our marketplace and George Grant has arranged a very special tasting featuring not only the Glenfarclas 60 Year Old Whisky, but also 3 special Family Cask Whiskies each paired with decadent appetizers on the evening of November 3rd at 8:00PM.
Tickets are available for the November 3, 2014 Glenfarclas Rare Dram Masterclass via telephone or email from:
Willow Park Wine and Spirits
10801 Bonaventure Dr SE Calgary
Cost: $500.00 per ticket
I have been invited to the event, and if I can clear my schedule for that day, I will certainly do my best to attend!
Note: The Glenfarclas Distillery is located on the Recherlich Farm at Ballindalloch in the heart of Speyside. The Distillery was purchased by the Grant Family in 1865, and has remained in the control of the Grant Family for six generations up to the present day. In fact, Glenfarclas is one of only a few distilleries remaining in Scotland which is independently family owned and managed.
Posted in Howls, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky | Tagged: 60 Year Old, George Grant, Glenfarclas, Rare Dram, Single Malt, Whisky, Willow Park | Comments Off on Rare Dram Masterclass Features Glenfarclas 60 Year Old
Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 10, 2014
The Balvenie Distillery is located at Dufftown which is of course, pretty much situated in the heart of the Speyside region of Scotland. This is a Single Malt Distillery; but one which holds the distinction of being the only such distillery where every part of the process of making whisky takes place right at the distillery. The distillery grows and malts its own barley (about 10 % of its total requirement); it has its own cooperage; and it has its own copper-smith. Owned by William Grant and Sons, the distillery is one of the top 10 producers (by volume) of Scottish Single Malt Whisky.
The Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel is one of the company’s most recent offerings to arrive in Canada, and it replaces The Balvenie 15 Year Old Single Barrel whose stocks have been dwindling such that this expression is now quite hard to find (at least where I live). The 12 Year Old (like the 15 Year Old before it) is a true Single Barrel Whisky as each bottle is drawn from a single first-fill Bourbon cask selected by The Balvenie Malt Master, David Stewart. These casks were chosen to represent a consistent Balvenie character; however, each barrel will have its own unique character, and therefore each bottling from each unique barrel will be slightly different from each other. (And yes, this whisky spent its entire 12 year aging life in one single first-fill barrel.)
You may read my full review here:
“… The breezes above the glass indicate that the whisky has a firm oak character as those breezes are filled with a firm presence of clean oak spice. This woody spiciness is accented (quite nicely) with vanilla, sawgrass and almond scents. As the glass breathes, the whisky breezes become more complex bringing forward additional hints of butterscotch, honey and some sweet beer-like malt …”
Note: Only 300 cases of this limited edition single malt are available for purchase at LCBO stores across Ontario starting February 2014. There were previously 300 cases released for purchase in Alberta in December 2013.
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Balvenie, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt, Whisky, Whisky Review, William Grant & Sons | 1 Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 10, 2013
The newest expression of the 15 Year Old Glenfiddich is a Single Malt Scotch Whisky aged in European (Spanish Sherry), American (American Bourbon) and New American (virgin) oak. The resulting whisky is then mellowed in a Solera Vat (which when introduced by Glenfiddich for the 15-year-old Single Malt, had no counterpart in the world of Scotch whisky). The final blend is married in Portuguese Oak Tuns. The resulting whisky is (according to the Glenfiddich website) the first 15-year-old expression to become one of the top 10 best-selling Single Malt whiskies in the world.
On June, 2013 Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch announced that $2.00 from every bottle sold of Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera Whisky in Canada would be donated to benefit Canadian Forces Members as part of their continued support for Wounded Warriors Canada. In honour of the ongoing partnership, Glenfiddich has changed its regular packaging throughout 2013 and beyond in recognition of the donation program to help raise awareness and funds for Wounded Warriors Canada.
Founded in 2006, Wounded Warriors Canada is a non-profit organization that helps Canadian Forces Members (be they full-time members or reservists) who have been wounded or injured in their service to Canada.
I arranged to receive a new sample of this expression of Glenfiddich such that through my published review, I could help bring awareness to Wounded Warriors Canada.
You may click on the following excerpt to read my full review of the 2013 bottling:
“… The initial nose reveals nice oaky scents of honey and butterscotch with some hints of dark fruit (raisin and dates) and mild notes of black licorice and cocoa. Some additional impressions of spruce and pine touch my nose with touches of heather and willow …”
Please enjoy my review, and remember every bottle purchased in Canada helps to support our Canadian Forces Members (be they full-time members or reservists) who have been wounded or injured in their service to Canada.
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Glenfiddich Whisky, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt, Solera Vat, Whsiky Review, Wounded Warriors Canada | Comments Off on Review: Glenfiddich 15 Year Old – The Solera Vat (2013)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 30, 2013
Words like “hand crafted” and “‘Small Batch” seem to be words thrown about by liquor producers in the same manner that rice and confetti are thrown about at a TV wedding. I guess the theory is that if you throw out enough rhetoric, some of it is bound to stick. So it is refreshing to write about a distillery where the words “hand crafted” and “‘Small Batch” really mean exactly what they imply.
Barry Bernstein and Barry Stein own and run the Still Water Distillery, and as far as small batch distilling goes, they are the real deal. They founded Ontario’s first micro-distillery in 2009, and pride themselves in not only being the Distillers and the Blenders of their craft spirits; but also in being the distillery’s Chief Bottle washers and Bottle Fillers. In fact, there is not a single aspect of the business that they do not either personally oversee or do themselves. Barry and Barry bring their spirits from grain to bottle in small batches, first sourcing locally grown grain, then mashing, fermenting, distilling, maturing, and bottling the spirits right at the distillery. And yes, they bottle and package every spirit they produce by hand!
Still Waters Single Malt Vodka is one of their hand-made spirits. It is not your typical Vodka. It is made from 100 % malted barley on their own German-made pot still.
Here is a link to my full review of this new Single Malt Vodka:
“… I received indications of a very light butterscotch sweetening the spirit just a little. I also sensed some indistinct floral notes with maybe a hint of licorice …”
At the end of the review I suggest a couple of nice cocktails, the Vodka Mojito, and Civility.
Please enjoy the review, and of course my cocktail suggestions!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Canadian Vodka, Cocktails, Hand Crafted, Micro Distillery, Single Malt, Small Batch, Still Waters Distillery, Vodka, Vodka Review | Comments Off on Review: Still Waters Single Malt Vodka
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 20, 2013
The core range of Glenmorangie Distillery includes three unique extra matured whiskies, the La Santa which is a Sherry finished whisky, the Nector D’or which has a Sauternes wine finish, and the whisky which I am reviewing in this article, the Quinta Ruban, which has a Ruby Port Finish. I note that there has been a recent change in the labeling of the Quinta Ruban whisky. It now carries a 12 year age statement. Previously (when I had reviewed the whisky four years ago) the whisky carried no age statement, and the only information I could find on the website was that the whisky had matured in ex-bourbon barrels for 10 years before being finished in Port pipes. I am unsure whether the whisky is now aged longer than before in the Port pipes which brings the total aging time to 12 years, or whether the age has always been 12 years, but the current clarity of the age statement is appreciated.
You may click on the following excerpt to read my full review:
“… The initial aroma in the breezes is fruity, oak filled, and stained with chocolate. I notice zesty citrus notes in the air as well as impressions of maraschino cherry and dry fruit. Oak spices seem to lift from the glass giving me indications of orange peel, and spicy pepper. As the glass sits walnuts and pecans and light scent of baking spices (vanilla, nutmeg, with hints of cinnamon) are added to the breezes …”
Please enjoy the review which includes a nice suggested cocktail, the Scottish Tiger!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Cocktails, Glenmorangie Whisky, Quinta Ruban, Scotch Whisky, Scottish Tiger, Single Malt, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off on Review: Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban (12 Year Old)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 9, 2013
According to the Old Pulteney website, this whisky is produced at the northernmost distillery on the Scottish mainland, in Wick. (It was founded in 1826 by James Henderson during the time of Wick’s herring boom.) The distillery lies in the heart of ‘Pulteneytown’, which was created for the fishermen in the area, and the distillery is an integral part of the history of this coastal town. Last year Old Pulteney shocked more than a few people when their 21-year-old expression won the big award in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible as the world’s best whisky in 2012. This year they are making more waves with the recent release of the distillery’s oldest production release, a 40-year-old single malt whisky. (The Old Pulteney 40 Year Old is extremely limited; but it has apparently been seen in a few stores here in Alberta.)
My 375 ml sample bottle of the Old Pulteney 12 Year Old Single Malt was provided by Woodman Wines and Spirits Inc. who are the importers/distributors of this brand in the Province of Ontario. I am told that this whisky will once again be available again in Ontario as the LCBO is about to launch it’s “spring” Whisky Shop selections across the Province.
You may click on the excerpt to read my full review:
” … The initial breezes above the glass set into my mind a vision of a lowland meadow as the scents carry light aromas of almond, vanilla, honey, meadowland grasses, and wood spice. As the glass sits, I catch some scents of sea brine and it makes me think there must be an ocean nearby. The wood spices build in the glass bringing me images of orange peel, willow, and fresh tobacco …”
Cheers Everybody, and enjoy the review!
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Old Pulteney, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off on Review: Old Pulteney 12 Year Old Single Malt
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 19, 2012
I am not sure how many of you remember my previous posting Revealing Some Magic: The Oldest Bowmore Ever; however, I am pleased to pass on the following press release:
Bowmore® Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky Announces
The No. 1 Bottle of BOWMORE 1957 – 54 YEARS OLD
Has Sold For £100,000
Islay, Scotland (December 19, 2012) – Bowmore®, the first Islay Single Malt whisky, is delighted to announce that the No. 1 bottle of its oldest ever expression, the exceptionally rare Bowmore 1957, 54 Years Old has been sold for £100,000 (approximately $160,000) at the Bowmore Distillery on Islay. This bottle is not only the oldest whisky the distillery has ever released, it is also the oldest Islay Single Malt ever released. As promised by Morrison Bowmore Distillers, owners of Bowmore, all the net proceeds will be donated to five Scottish charities. The owner, a resident of the United States, would like to remain anonymous.
Distilled in 1957 and bottled in 2011, this 54-year-old marvel has been maturing in the finest oak in Bowmore’s legendary No. 1 Vaults, the oldest maturation warehouse in Scotland. Only 12 bottles exist in the world, two of which are kept in the Morrison Bowmore archives and nine now remain for sale at the Bowmore Distillery.
Bottle No. 1’s profit will be donated to five Scottish charities that encompass a variety of worthy causes: Alzheimer Scotland (care for people with dementia, their caregivers and families); The Beatson Oncology Centre (care for cancer patients receiving treatment in the west of Scotland); Chas (children’s hospice services); Erskine (medical care for Armed Forces); and Marie Curie Cancer Care (cancer care and research).
Says Mike Keiller, Morrison Bowmore Distillers Chief Executive Officer,
“We are delighted to have sold bottle No. 1 of our Bowmore 1957 just before Christmas allowing us to keep our promise to donate all the net proceeds to charity as our gift to those in need in Scotland.”
A collection of 1957 casks were bottled in 1995 but one in particular was held back because it was more exceptional than the rest. Since 1995, the whisky in that cask has been examined every six months to check the quality, the taste, the developments and changes the spirit was taking on its aging voyage. In 2011 it was determined that the liquid had reached its potential and was bottled.
According to information sent to me the five Charities will each receive £11,000 for Christmas from this sale!
Now that’s a nice Merry Christmas Story!
Posted in Fund Raisers, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: Bowmore 1957, Charity Fundraiser, Morrison Bowmore, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt | Comments Off on Bowmore 1957: Bottle No.1 sells for £100,000
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 3, 2011
The Bowmore Distillery is the oldest of the Islay Distilleries in Scotland, (and it is one of the oldest distilleries in all of Scotland). It sits at the edge of the sea on the craggy coastline of the Hebridean Island, and has sat there since 1779. This location close to the sea and of course close to the rich Islay peat has been linked to the distinctive floral and smoky character of the Bowmore Whisky. This character is a result of rich peat flavours being absorbed by the barley as it dries under the peated fire of the malt drying kiln, and of the whisky aging in the famous Bowmore seaside vaults (which are below sea-level) as the briny seaside air is allowed to mingle with the oak aging casks.
The Bowmore Darkest 15 Year Old Single Malt Whisky is part of the core range of Bowmore Single Malts. This whisky is matured in American Bourbon Casks and then ‘finished’ for 3 more years in Spanish Sherry casks. I was given a small set of 3 200 ml sample bottles of the Bowmore 12, the Bowmore 15 (Darkest) and the Bowmore 18 year Old Single Malt Whiskies for review here on my website. My review of the Bowmore Darkest 15 Year Old is the second review in the series.
Here is an excerpt from the review:
“…As the glass breathes, scents of charred caramel build as do the individual aromas of oak and peat. I sense a bit of boggy willow thicket and a little bit of muddy creek bottom in the glass as well. The dried fruit and chocolate from the sherry cask continue to pour out of the nose enveloping the other scents, and the overall effect is quite nice…”
You may read the full review here:
Please enjoy the Review!
Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Bowmore Whisky, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off on Review: Bowmore 15 Year Old (Darkest)