Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 21, 2012
The practice of making whisky at the Old Bushmills Distillery can be traced back to 1608 when King James I granted Sir Thomas Phillips a royal licence to distill ‘uisce beatha’, the gaelic for ‘water of life’. This grant serves as the first documented evidence of the distillation of whiskey at the site although at that time it was not yet called Bushmills. The first known reference to the Old Bushmills Distillery was in 1743 when, according to Victorian whiskey journalist Alfred Barnard, the site was “in the hands of smugglers”‘. Now over 400 years later, the Bushmills brand is owned by Diageo, however all of the whiskey produced under the Bushmills name is still produced at the Old Bushmills Distillery in Bushmills, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
The Bushmills 16 Yr Old Single Malt is composed of whiskey distilled three times. A portion of the whiskey is aged in American oak (bourbon) casks and a portion is aged in Spanish oak (Oloroso sherry) casks. All of this whiskey is aged for 16 or more years. The final whiskey is blended prior to finishing in old oak Port wine pipes. With such a variety of oak used in the aging and finishing in there is the potential for great complexity.
I revisited the Bushmills 16 year Old Single Malt recently, and when I looked over my original review, I was quite pleased that my impressions were very consistent over two years later. I decided to take a little time to fix some typos and to clarify some points in the review. As well I added a new introduction. Here is a link to my revised review of this Bushmills whiskey which was originally published in November of 2009:
Please enjoy the review!
Posted in Irish Whskey, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Bushmills Whiskey, Irish Whiskey, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y Review | Comments Off on Revisiting: Bushmills 16yr Old Single Malt
Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 9, 2011
(rī)1™ (pronounced rye one) Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey is a rye whiskey produced by Beam Global Spirits. It is a blend of several different straight rye whiskeys of differing ages (minimum 4 years). It is bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume bringing a little more zip to the palate than a lower proof spirit.
I was gifted a bottle recently when my oldest son traveled to Boston and decided to pick me up something that I wouldn’t find here in Alberta. I decided that a review of this spirit here on my website would be a fun exercise.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“…The nose from the glass is full of wood and rye spice. The woody notes are manifesting themselves as banana peel which has a certain astringent spiciness similar to the sharpness of Appleton Reserve Rum. Dry grain notes are evident, in particular rye grain which adds to that spicy flair, although I also sense some honeycomb in the breezes as well. Fresh sap filled pine planks are being cut somewhere in the background and green grassy tobacco smells well up as well…”
Here is a link to my full review:
Please enjoy the review and the two cocktails which follow, the Buckeroo, and the Horses Neck.
Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Beam Spirits, Cocktails and Recipes, Rye Whiskey, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | Comments Off on Review: (rī)1 Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 29, 2011
The Buffalo Trace Distillery is located in Frankfort, Kentucky and is the oldest (although unfortunately, not continuously running) distillery in the Unites States. The Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon was introduced by the distillery in 1999. The Bourbon is made from a mash-bill of Indian Corn, selected rye grains, and malted barley. The resulting spirit is placed in selected white oak “center ring” barrels from selected trees which are aged from 70 to 80 years old. Finally, according to the Buffalo Trace website, meticulous inspection of the various locations in the Buffalo Trace warehouses had concluded that the very best whiskey was being produced on the fourth floor of warehouse C and the fourth through sixth floors of Warehouses I and K on the distillery site. For this reason all of the Buffalo Trace Bourbon is aged only in these locations.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“…The initial aroma from the glass is layer upon layer of fresh cedar and oak planks with the sap still dripping from the fresh wood. The scent has a touch of astringency, and it is hard to get at the sweeter underlying aroma of honeycomb, vanilla and corn. But, as I let the glass decant, I began to notice them, first the honeycomb came wafting up mixed with sweet toffee, and then the vanillans and corn pushed through the breezes….”
You may read the full review here:
As well I have designed two great cocktails which suit this particular bourbon perfectly, the Kentucky Crocodile, and The Crocogator. Please enjoy the review and the cocktails provided!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Bourbon, Buffalo Trace, Cocktails and Recipes, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | 2 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 17, 2011
Today is the day of St. Patrick, and in many places throughout the world, this is a day to revel in the Irish heritage which we either share by birth, or (on St. Patrick’s Day at least) we share by spirit. We wear green; we attend parades; and some of us even drink green beer in what has become more of a secular holiday which celebrates Irish culture, than a religious holiday which celebrates the Patron Saint after which the day was first named.
And celebrating Irish culture is not a bad thing; it was after all the Irish who first distilled “uisce beatha“, which translates from Irish into English as “the water of life“. I could go into a long and detailed etymology, but suffice it to say that “uisce beatha” is probably very close to the original form of the word which would later become “whiskey”. My blog is full of reviews of this wonderful spirit, but I must admit it is sorely lacking in content dedicated to the Irish variety.
Today, I will go a small way towards correcting this imbalance by reviewing a whiskey from the Emerald Isle which embodies the character and the class of spirits we call Irish Whiskey. And, one which bears a rather obscure link to St. Patrick’s Day.
Like St. Patrick, who was born (in 385 A.D.) of Scottish parentage, but found his calling (and fame) in Ireland, so to John Jameson was also born a Scotsman (in 1740 A.D.), and he also found his calling (and established his fame) in Ireland with the company that bears his name, Jameson Irish Whiskey.
And so in honour of the celebration of the Day of St. Patrick, I chose to review one of the most premium Irish Whiskeys which is available in my locale, the Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey.
Here is a link to my Review:
And in the interests of celebrating Irish culture, here are two additional links to my other Irish Whiskey reviews which were previously published on my blog:
Posted in Irish Whskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Irish Whiskey, Jameson, Whisk(e)y Review | Comments Off on Review: Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 23, 2011
For the past two weeks I have been reviewing some bourbon whiskey which I received in a collection of sample jars from the personal collection of J. Leslie Wheelock, (a member of the Alberta Beam Global team), which spanned an impressive range of unique whiskies from Canada, Scotland, and the USA. This week I dipped into the samples and chose Sample Jar # 14, Red Stag Black Cherry Flavoured Bourbon.
Red Stag Flavoured Bourbon is a black cherry flavoured, 4-year-old, Jim Beam Bourbon. It appears to be intended primarily for the mixing of cocktails and bar drinks although it has been suggested that it can be enjoyed as a sipper as well.
For the purposes of the review I broke the process into two parts. The first part of the review process involved five independent taste sessions (about one ounce each) consumed neat and with ice, and I drew my tasting notes from that part of the review process. I then constructed a few cocktails including two which I found on the Red Stag Website (The Brass Buck and Red Stag and Cola). I used these cocktails to round out the review with ancillary information regarding the suitability of the flavoured Whiskey for bar style cocktail drinks.
You may read the results of my research here:
And please remember that the intention of my blog is to help you drink better spirits, not more spirits!
Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Flavoured Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Beam Spirits, Cocktails and Recipes, Flavoured Whisky, Whisk(e)y Review | Comments Off on Review: Red Stag by Jim Beam
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 15, 2011
Two weeks ago I began a series of reviews based upon a collection of whisk(e)y samples provided from the personal collection of J.L. Wheelock, a member of the Beam Global team here in Alberta. Part of the sample set of whiskies were a selection of Bourbon Whiskeys from the Jim Beam Distillery. I was not given a sample of Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon as part of this sample group; however, I happened to have a small 375 ml flask of Jim Beam on hand so I thought that I would provide a review of the flagship whiskey of the Jim Beam brand as part of this series of reviews.
The Jim Beam distillery was founded in 1795, and it has been operated as a family run business for seven generations. Currently Jim Beam Straight Kentucky Bourbon is produced at the Clermont Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, and (according to the Jim Beam Website) is the best-selling bourbon in the world. The spirit is aged for 4 years in white American oak barrels and bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
The bottle I am reviewing is the 375 ml flask style bottle pictured to the left.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“…The aroma from the glass is one of rough timbers freshly cut. A waft of vanilla rises with the timbers, and deeper down we have some dank corn and oodles of raw honeycomb. Waiting for a minute or so I also catch some toffee aroma building in the glass as well…”
You may read the full review here:
As well I have included my version of a nice cocktail called The Kentucky Margarita. Please enjoy the review.
Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Beam Spirits, Bourbon, Cocktails and Recipes, Whisk(e)y Review | Comments Off on Whiskey Review: Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 11, 2011
I mentioned a week ago that I had received a collection of sample jars from the personal collection of J. Leslie Wheelock, (a member of the Alberta Beam Global team), which spanned an impressive range of unique whiskies from Canada, Scotland, and the USA. This week I dipped into the samples and chose Sample Jar # 13, Maker’s 46 Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey.
Maker’s 46 Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey begins where Maker’s Mark Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey ends. Bill Samuels, Sr. is credited with creating the first version of Maker’s Mark in 1954. After a few years of practice the folks at the Maker’s Mark Distillery have been producing this whiskey the same way since 1958. The process begins with pure limestone fed spring-water; follows with yellow corn, red winter wheat, and natural malted barley; continues with a unique milling, cooking, and fermentation process; and ends in a small batch distillation and moving (eg; rotating) barrel aging process. Of course the final result is tested and tasted to make sure it is just right.
In a recent display of innovation, Master Distiller Kevin Smith, began a sort of ‘trial and error’ series of experiments to come up with a new twist on the Maker’s Mark. In December 2009, Maker’s 46 was born. (click on the link to get the full story right from the Maker’s Mark Website.)
In a nutshell, fully aged Maker’s Mark is removed from its barrel, ten seared wooden staves are then placed inside of that barrel. (The staves are seared to caramelize the sugars in the wood.) These wooden staves are basically flat panels of wood each about 4 inches wide and 12 to 18 inches long. The aged Maker’s Mark is then put back into the barrel and aged several more months. When the proper taste profile is achieved, Maker’s 46 is removed from the barrel, bottled, corked and dipped.
I admit that after reading a little bit about Maker’s 46, I was eager to give my small sample a few tasting sessions and write down my impressions. Here is an excerpt from my review;
“….Maker’s 46 is surprisingly soft as it enters the palate, and I want to call this creamy in spite of the rush of wooden timbers and heavy toffee that quickly builds. Things are not as sweet as the nose would have implied however, and impressions of drier fruit, tobacco and cocoa seem to take hold at mid palate with the oak spiciness expressing itself as cloves and cinnamon….”
You may read my full review here:
Please enjoy the review and remember that the aim of my blog is to help you drink better spirits, not to help you drink more spirits!
Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Beam Spirits, Bourbon, Maker's 46, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | Comments Off on Review: Maker’s 46 Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 5, 2011
Just before Christmas I was greeted by J. Leslie Wheelock, who is part of the Beam Global team here in Alberta, who had brought with him a with a veritable treasure trove of small whisk(e)y samples from his personal collection for me to inspect and enjoy in the hopes that I might write about a few of them here on my blog. No strings were attached, and I was left free to try them on my own time-table and to share whichever opinions I had which were fair and honest here on my blog.
The samples are a tour de force of some of the best whiskies which Beam Global has produced and includes Bourbon Whiskey samples from Jim Beam, Scotch Whisky samples from The Macallan and Highland Park, and Canadian Whisky samples from Canadian Club.
The samples all came in little sealed and numbered jars with a master-list letting me know what was in each jar. Originally, I was to receive 19 samples but since I have already received a full sample bottle of The Macallan Cask Strength, sample # 3 was omitted.
I decided that I wanted to experience a little bourbon first, which is why, when I chose to begin this series of mini reviews for the sample bottles, I decided to begin with Sample # 19, Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“…. this is a gentle bourbon that caresses the mouth with honeycomb cereal, vanilla and mild toffee on the entry. Spicier tannins from the oak build and gather strength in the mouth but they never reach a point where they overwhelm the other flavours….”
You may read the full review by following this link:
Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Beam Spirits, Bourbon, Whisk(e)y Review | Comments Off on Basil Hayden’s Small Batch Bourbon
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 25, 2010
In 1988 JohnTeeling bought the Cooley 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 were 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 the stuff of legend.
One of the innovative products made at the Cooley Distillery is the Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey. It is the only single grain Irish Whiskey that I know of which uses a double distillation of a single grain (corn) in a continuous column still. The final product is aged in used bourbon barrels for either 8 years or 15, and bottled at 43% alcohol by volume.
I am reviewing the 15-year-old version which quite frankly is one of the most surprising whiskeys I have come across recently. Here is a small snippet from my review:
“…The delivery of the whiskey leads out with rich oak spice and honey. A sweet vanilla bourbon flavour swamps the taste-buds, and I am fully aware that this whisky is unlike any Irish whisky I have tasted. As the flavour settles toasty corn-on-the-cob with mouth-watering butter comes to mind. ..”
You may read the rest of the review here:
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Irish Whskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Cocktails and Recipes, Cooley, Irish Whiskey, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | Comments Off on Whiskey Review: Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey (15YR)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 10, 2010
DownSlope Distilling is the creation of three enterprising individuals, Mitch Abate, Matt Causey and Andy Causey. They began their experimentation and passion for alcoholic spirits as home brewers. Andy dedicated himself to researching advanced wort production and home brewing techniques; Mitch traveled the country learning as much as he could about how whiskey was made: and Matt perfecting the art of grain mashing and fermentation. Two years ago they decided to combine their talents and produce their brand of hand crafted spirits. Then they spent a year researching how this could be done, selecting the right facility, and acquiring the right equipment. Finally, they set out to establish Centennial Colorado’s first craft distillery.
Using their custom designed still and artisan wash production, Mitch Abate, Andy Causey, and Matt Causey are close to realizing their goal of producing spirits of high quality.
Double Diamond Whisky
Pictured to the right is the Double Diamond Pot Still which is used to produce Downslope Distilling’s whiskey. The still was made by Copper Moonshine Stills in Arkansas, by Colonel Vaughn Wilson. The whiskey is produced in the Irish tradition, being made primarily with malted barley. One taste of it however, and you will realize as well that a significant portion must be rye. The whiskey is aged in very small experienced medium toast casks and then blended.
Here is an Excerpt from my review:
“…A light vegetal quality minces with the rye flavour in the mouth, and there is a gentle underlying sweetness which must stem from the malted barley. Although the rye flavour carries forward that typical ‘Canadian Whisky’ impression, we begin to taste an assertion of the ‘Irish Whiskey’ style as well….”
You may read the full review here:
Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Cocktails and Recipes, Downslope Distilling, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | Comments Off on Whiskey Review: DownSlope Distilling Double Diamond Whiskey