Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 17, 2015
In 1988 John Teeling bought the Cooley Distillery (formerly a potato schnapps distillery) from the Irish Government essentially as a purchase of a facility meant for the scrap heap. The distillery however, was never scrapped. Instead John Teeling and his Master Distiller, Noel Sweeny, turned their perceptions of the facility around, rolled up their sleeves, and ten years later started making some of the most unique Irish whiskey in the Country. (Not that it was easy, Dr. Teeling tried unsuccessfully to sell the distillery five years into the process to rid himself of the bad investment. But… innovation and desire played their part, and the remarkable turn around of the Cooley Distillery is now the stuff of legend.)
Four major four major brands (Kilbeggan, Connemara, Greenore, and Tyrconnell) were produced by Cooley all of which were all acquired by Beam Global (now BeamSuntory) in January 2012. Jack Teeling, who was the managing director of Cooley, decided at this point to go on his own again and created the Teeling Whiskey Company. At this time the flagship whiskey of the Teeling brand is their small batch Teeling Irish Whiskey.
The Teeling Whiskey Company website has this to say about Teeling (Small Batch) Irish Whisky:
“Our Flagship Irish whiskey and our attempt to create the most interesting Blended Irish whiskey. This small batch bottling consists of hand selected casks which are given further maturation in ex-rum barrels imparting extra character and smooth flavour unique to Irish whiskey. By bottling at 46% with no chill filtration completes an Irish whiskey of true character.”
Here is a link to the full review:
“… The initial aroma from the glass brings forward a light candied sweetness which reminds me of malt scotch, butterscotch and a few wisps of cotton candy. As the glass breathes I also notice some dry lemongrass, bits of sandalwood and few dusty dry wood spices in the breezes along with impressions of almond, dusty grain and a light wafting of vanilla which tags along for the ride …”
Please enjoy the review which includes a nice Irish Whiskey cocktail, the Emerald Crusta.
Happy St. Patrick’s everyone!
Posted in Irish Whskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Cocktails, Crusta, Emerald Crusta, Irish Whiskey, Review, Small Batch, Teeling Whiskey, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | Comments Off on Review: Teeling Irish Whiskey (Small Batch)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 25, 2015
Recently there have been some changes in the Canadian Club family. One of the brands which has undergone a revamping is the Canadian Club Sherry Cask which has been replaced by the Canadian Club Small Batch Sherry Cask. The newer version of the whisky has a new bottle and the two words, “Small Batch” have been added to the label. My understanding is the whisky is made from the familiar Canadian Club “blended at birth“ recipe of corn, rye, rye malt and barley spirits. The spirits from these grains are blended before entering the white oak barrel, and then set down for six to eight years to age. The matured whisky is then recasked for an additional finishing period in Sherry Casks from Jerez Spain.
The second maturation allows the whisky to acquire some of the characteristics of the sherry (similar to sherry cask matured scotches); but this second maturation is of a much shorter time period which ensures that the core Canadian Club spirit remains the centerpiece of the whisky. When the Canadian Club Sherry Cask is bottled, it is done so at 41.3% alcohol by volume, just a hair over the regular 40 % strength of the rest of their line-up.
You may click on the following link to read my full review:
“… The initial aroma brings dark fruit (raisins and dates) and red licorice (Turkish delight) with fine wood spices running alongside which feature a smattering of ginger, white pepper and cardamom. As the glass sits, some rich tobacco builds up as does hints of orange marmalade, and rich baking spices (vanilla, dark brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and a hint of cloves) …”
Please enjoy the review and if you happen to have your own bottle already, do try my cocktail suggestion, the Sherry Cask Port Manhattan.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Manhattan, Port Manhattan, Sherry Cask, Small Batch, Spiced Whisky Review, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off on Review: Canadian Club Small Batch Sherry Cask
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 10, 2014
Wiser’s Small Batch Canadian Whisky was brought to the market in the fall of 2008 replacing the Wiser’s Reserve. When this whisky was released,there were a few important differences in its make-up which made it important as far Canadian Whisky was concerned.
In the first place, it is apparently produced in small batches using more traditional distilling methods, hence the name Wiser’s Small Batch, and in the second place, its bottling strength is 43.4 % alcohol by volume, rather than the traditional 40 %. Canadian Whiskies at the ultra premium end of the scale had of course in the past been produced at a higher bottling strength, and in small production runs. However, Wiser’s Small Batch appears to be the first of the lower priced (I hate calling them economy) whiskies to walk this path (at least as far as I can determine).
This year we noticed that at least one of Wiser’s competitors (Century Distillers) have followed along that path of producing a higher bottling proof – low priced Canadian whisky as well (Ninety 5 Year Old). Let us hope that a few others join in, and this trends continues to grow.
Wiser’s Small Batch checks into my countdown as the 15th Best Canadian Whisky, I have tasted this year.
Here is a link to my most recent review:
“… Wiser’s Small Batch is soft and supple on the tongue with hot oak spices which carry a bevy of flavour along for the ride across the palate. I taste some fresh oak and cedar; some sweet caramel, butterscotch and maple; soft corn and spicy rye; some light impressions of honeycomb and tobacco, and some delicious canned fruit …”
The Wiser’s Small Batch is a great example of how good, inexpensive Canadian Whisky can be. It has a wonderful richness and depth of flavour, and I like the higher bottling strength which helps to concentrate these flavours, making them more assertive. In spite of the higher alcohol percentage, the whisky is smooth like Canadian whisky should be and a real pleasure to sip neat or to mix in cocktails.
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: Canadian Whisky, Small Batch, Top 25 Canadian Whisky, Whisky, Wiser's Whisky | Comments Off on Rum Howler 2014 #15 Canadian Whisky – Wiser’s Small Batch
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 2, 2014
Canadian Club Whisky is the oldest (and arguably also the most influential) Canadian Whisky brand in the world. It is sold in over 150 countries world-wide, and sales in Canada are unmatched by any other whisky brand. 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.
Recently there have been some changes in the Canadian Club family. One of the brands which has undergone a revamping is the Canadian Club Classic (12 Years Old) which has been replaced by the Canadian Club Small Batch Classic (also 12 Years Old). The newer version of the whisky has a new bottle (shown below) and the two words, “Small Batch” have been added to the label. My understanding is the whisky is now constructed from a smaller selection of aged whisky (oak barrels) in an effort to bring a fuller flavour and more smoothness to the blend.
In my opinion the new approach has been very successful as this Canadian Whisky is ranked number 23 on my list of the Best Canadian Whiskies of 2014.
You may read my latest review by clicking the link below:
“… The initial breezes above the glass bring forward scents of caramel and oak which are melded nicely with dabs of light tobacco and spicy orange peel. As the glass breathes, I notice some rye spices and some sweet corn pushing though … “
The Canadian Club Small Batch Classic (12-year-old) seems to me to be a different whisky than it was before. I taste more oak and cedar in the taste profile, and the result is a richer-fuller taste experience than what I remember from the previous Classic 12 Year Old.
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: Canadian Club, Canadian Whisky, Canadian Whisky Re, Classic 12, Rum howler, Small Batch, Top 25 Canadian Whisky, Whisky | Comments Off on # 23 Canadian Whisky – Canadian Club Small Batch Classic
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 8, 2014
Four Roses is a Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey owned by the Japanese firm, Kirin Brewery Company. The brand traces its history back to 1884 when Paul Jones Jr. opened an office in Louisville, Kentucky on a section of Main Street called, “Whiskey Row.” In 1888 Jones acquired his trademark for the name ‘Four Roses’, and in 1922 he purchased the Frankfort Distilling Company. The Four Roses brand became well established, and in 1943 it caught the eye of Seagram, who purchased the Frankfort Distilling Co., and with it, the Four Roses Kentucky Straight Bourbon trademark.
The brand underwent a few changes in the 1950s as the whiskey was converted into a blend by Seagram for the US market, but remained a Straight bourbon overseas in Asian and European Markets. As a blended whiskey the brand lost some of its importance was eventually sold to Vivendi and subsequently to Diageo. Diageo sold the Four Roses trademark to Kirin in 2002, and Kirin made a decision to discontinue the sale of blended whiskey and returned the focus of the brand back to Bourbon Whiskey.
1878 Bourbon Smash
Four Roses is now produced at the Four Roses Distillery under the guidance of Master Blender, Jim Rutledge. The Distillery uses 5 proprietary yeast strains in combination with two different mashbills to produce 10 different Bourbons recipes. To produce Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, Jim Rutledge chooses select bourbon barrels from four of these recipe Bourbons.
You may read my full review of Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon by clicking on the following excerpt link:
“… The aroma from the glass reveals spicy oak sap and woody cedar aromas surrounded by additional scents of vanilla and sweet butterscotch. There is a bit of spicy orange peel as well us some nice dollops of maple and honeycomb. I allowed the glass to breath and began to notice some spicy cinnamon and clove as well as some tobacco and hay-like grassiness …”
Please enjoy the review which includes a tweaked version of Leo Engels, 1878 Bourbon Smash as the feature recipe!
Have a great Sunday!
Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: 1878, Bourbon, Bourbon Smash, Cocktails, Four Roses, Small Batch, Whiskey, Whsikey Review | Comments Off on Review: Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 7, 2013
Wiser’s Small Batch Canadian Whisky was released in the fall of 2008 replacing the Wiser’s Reserve. There were a few important differences in Wiser’s Small Batch which made it something of a market leader as far Canadian Whisky was concerned. First, because this whisky is made in small batches using traditional distilling methods, the moniker ‘Small Batch’ was attached to the name. Secondly, although this whisky does not sit in the ‘super premium’ tier, its bottling strength was increased to 43.4 % from the traditional 40 %. On both these counts the industry seems to be catching up with Wiser’s as small batch production whiskies and higher bottling strength whiskies are both becoming more and more common.
This year a new bottle was unveiled for the Wiser’s Small Batch. Although the bottle changed, the quality inside seems to have remained intact as Wiser’s Small Batch is the Number 19 whisky in my Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown:
Here is a link to my recently written 2013 review:
“… Wiser’s Small Batch is soft and supple on the tongue with hot oak spices which carry a bevy of flavour along for the ride across the palate. I taste some fresh oak and cedar; some sweet caramel, butterscotch and maple; soft corn and spicy rye; some light impressions of honeycomb and tobacco, and some delicious canned fruit (marmalade, apricots and pears) …”
The Wiser’s Small Batch is a great example of how tasty our inexpensive Canadian Whisky can be. It has a wonderful richness and depth of flavour, and I like the higher bottling strength which helps to concentrate these flavours, making them more assertive. In spite of the higher alcohol percentage, the whisky is smooth like Canadian whisky should be and a real pleasure to sip.
Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here: The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies
Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Rum Howler Awards, Small Batch, Top 25 Canadian Whisky, Whisky Review, Wiser's Whisky | Comments Off on #19 Canadian Whisky – Wiser’s Small Batch
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 March 4, 2013
Founder, John Philip (J.P.) Wiser, purchased a distillery in Prescott, Ontario in 1857, and began to produce Wiser’s Whisky. In fact the J.P. Wiser Distillery may have been the first to use the term “Canadian Whiskey’ on their labels, as this is how the whisky was proudly introduced at the 1893 Chicago’s Wold’s Fair. From the beginning, J.P. Wiser established his brand as a quality whisky with high standards of production. As a result the distillery grew, as did the popularity of his style of whisky. By the early 1900′s Wiser’s was the third largest distiller of whisky in Canada.
The company merged with the H. Corby Distillery Company sometime after the death of J.P. Wiser in 1917. Shortly after in 1932, production of the Wiser’s brands moved to the Corby Distillery. A controlling interest in the Corby Distillery was acquired by Hiram Walker several years later, and by 1989, the Corby Distillery was closed, and all production was moved to the Hiram Walker Distillery where all Wiser’s brands are currently produced. Through all of these changes the Wiser’s Brand has been recognized as a vital component of the company’s portfolio of brands, and now, 150 years later after it all started, Wiser’s remains one of Canada’s leading whisky brands. In fact, Wiser’s is one of the top-selling brands of Canadian Whisky worldwide.
I have been on a bit of a mission these days re-sampling the spirits from older reviews, and seeing if my views have changed over the course of the last three to four years. Recently I sampled a new bottle of Wiser’s Small Batch. Although my impressions were very similar to my original review, I nevertheless revised the review slightly to account for the small changes in my perspective.
You may click on the excerpt to read my review:
“… Oak and brown sugar rise from the glass which has a nice rum-like accent. As the glass breathes, rye spice, caramel, oak and cedar, corn, tobacco, marmalade and baking spices round out the nose which is remarkably deep and complex. I found nosing the glass to be thoroughly enjoyable …”
Please enjoy my recent revisit to the Wiser’s Small Batch!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Cocktails and Recipes, Small Batch, Whisky, Whisky Review, Wiser's Whisky | Comments Off on Review: Wiser’s Small Batch