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Posts Tagged ‘Whisky’

#69 Century Reserve (Lot 1525) Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 17, 2015

Somewhere in the Highwood Distillery 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 years. (It has been hinted to me that some of these barrels contain whisky that is perhaps even older!) These whisky barrels were originally part of a consignment of whisky acquired when Highwood purchased the Potter’s Distillery in 2005.  As such, these are barrels of whisky produced from a corn-based distillation at the old Potters Distillery, in Kelowna British Colombia.

Lot 15 25 SAM_1731The barrels made the journey to the Highwood facility in 2005 and have been sitting in the darkened corner waiting for the right moment to be tapped and bottled. From this darkened corner, the Master Blender has carefully chosen just the right barrels, and then just as carefully blended the wonderful elixir within to create a blend of whisky which contains the distillery’s most prized aged whisky, the Lot1525 Century Reserve Custom Blend Canadian Rye Whisky.

Here is a link to the review of the #69 spirit in my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#69 – Century Reserve (Lot 1525) Canadian Whisky

“… 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. …”

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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 #69 Century Reserve (Lot 1525) Canadian Whisky

#74 Old Parr Superior Scotch

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 12, 2015

When whisky writer Jim Murray published his fourth Whisky Bible for the year 2007, he pretty much shocked the whisky world with his selection for 2007 World Whisky of the Year. His choice, Old Parr Superior 18 Year Old Whisky.  This choice rocked the whisky paradigm of connoisseurs and aficionados worldwide. You see Old Parr Superior Whisky, is not a much heralded single malt; in fact it isn’t even a single malt. Old Parr Whisky is a blend!

Old Parr Superior SAM_1889I credit Jim Murray for not only recognizing that blends by their very nature have a capacity to be the superior whisky product, but actually saying it in 2007. The reason blends have the capacity to be superior is simple;  the Master Blender and distillers have so many more choices to work with. Give any craftsmen more choices and they will have the capacity to do better. With Old Parr Superior Whiskey we have the result of just such blending and distilling freedom. A truly great whisky, one of the very best blended Scotch Whiskies I have tasted.

Here is a link to my review of the #74 entry in my 2015 Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#74 – Old Parr Superior Scotch

“… The wave hits all at once, and I had to let the glencairn glass sit for a moment before I could begin to decipher individuality amongst the myriad of  sensations striking my nostrils.  Trails of smokey peat rising from the glass seem to carry sawgrass, lavender, and marshland willow to my nose.  Sweeter vanilla, and unripened fruit lie in between the smokey trails and the entire process of smelling the glass is heavenly …”

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

(Happy Thanksgiving Canada!)

Posted in Awards, Extras, Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on #74 Old Parr Superior Scotch

#78 Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 8, 2015

Alberta Springs is produced by Alberta Distillers Limited (ADL) (owned by Beam Suntory) right in the heart of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. According to Rick Murphy, the Production Superintendent at ADL, Alberta Springs was originally (in the 1970s) a pure 100 % rye whisky; however, the spirit moved towards a rye and corn blend in the 1990s due to economic factors. In our discussion, Rick steadfastly maintained the whisky is still very much a rye based whisky with a consistent taste profile from year to year. Apparently the distilleries quality assurance tasting panel ensure that the flavour remains consistent as the mash bill may change slightly over time due to the dictates of economics.

Alberta SpringsI have tasted Alberta Springs many times over the past six years, and in fact it is one of the more decorated whiskies upon my website regularly winning Rum Howler Awards as one of the great whisky bargains in the world. I (like the distillery’s tasting panel) have not noticed any changes in the whisky’s flavour profile over the past six years; and more importantly, I have found that Alberta Springs is a great whisky!

Here is a link to my review of the #78 entry in my 2015 Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#78 – Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky

“… The initial nose from the glass is of a spicy rye which carries scents of tobacco along for the ride. There is a nice presence of oak and a touch of vanilla but the spicy rye is dominant. As the whisky decants the tobacco gains a little steam and a ripe sweet and sour fruitiness is evolving from the rye which is also filling the air with scents of ginger and cardamom. A few baking spices evolve as does a gentle touch of corn which rounds out the nose and makes this whisky a treat to sniff …”

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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, Whisky Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on #78 Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky

#80 The Macallan Fine Oak 17 Year Old Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 6, 2015

The Macallan Fine Oak Series was a range of single malt Scotch whiskies, produced at The Macallan Distillery at Craigellachie in the Speyside region of Scotland. These whiskies were matured in seasoned American oak casks, (sherry as well as bourbon), as well as seasoned sherry casks from Spain. Recently The Macallan Fine Oak Series was discontinued in Canada and replaced by a new line of Single Malt Whisky which they call, The Macallan 1824 Series.

The Macallum 17However, according to Canadian Brand Ambassador, Dan Volway, the 1824 Series does not (at this time anyway) signal the end of age statements on The Macallan Single Malt Whiskies. The Fine Oak Cask and Sherry Oak Cask Single Malt series will each continue to carry age statements in the selected markets where they remain available (the USA and certain overseas markets).

Here is a link to my review of the #80 entry in my 2015 Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#80 – The Macallan Fine Oak 17 Year Old Whisky

“… I taste light butterscotch leading out in front; but, it is quickly smothered by sharper oak spices. As the mouth becomes heated with oak tannin, that penetrating sweetness which was present on the nose begins to assert itself beside the sharper oak acting to temper the heat and give the whisky a pleasant marshmallow and citrus appeal. (I cannot help but think of marshmallows as I sip on the whisky, as the flavour I encounter seems to have that similar intensity of sweetness.) …”

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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, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on #80 The Macallan Fine Oak 17 Year Old Whisky

#82 Glenglassaugh 26 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 4, 2015

Glenglassaugh Distillery is located just outside of the Speyside Whisky Region in Northeast Scotland. It is near the town of Portsoy, Banffshire about 50 miles from Aberdeen. The distillery was established in 1875 by Col. James Moir who managed the business  (with his two nephews) until 1892, when Highland Distillers stepped in and acquired the facility. The distillery remained in production until 1986 when, due to industry consolidation, it was mothballed.

In 2008, the distillery and the Glenglassaugh brand was purchased by the Scaent Group with the intention of rebooting the facility to take advantage of the surge in interest in whisky word-wide. Part of the marketing strategy was to release some existing warehouse stocks as vintage whisky bottlings, as within the facility were barrels of whisky which had sat in limbo quietly aging since 1986. Five years later, in 2013, due in no small part to the success of the vintage bottlings, (as well as the new whisky being produced) the BenRiach Distillery Company took over the Distillery bringing in new investment capital and corporate management to ensure the growth of the rebooted Glenglassaugh brand.

Glenglassaugh 26 SAM_1599Glenglassaugh 26 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is one of the iconic vintage bottlings which was produced from spirit which had been distilled in 1984, and then had sat silently in a mixture of various oak barrels including both American Oak and ex sherry barrels. This whisky was bottled at 46% alcohol by volume (abv) sometime in 2010 and limited to a small production of 1002 bottles.

Here is a link to my review of the #82 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#82 – Glenglassaugh 26 Year Old

“… The initial aroma is full of oaky smells along with candied toffee and fruity sherry-like aromas. As I let the glass sit there continued to be a lot of oak and cedar in the breezes; however these wood spice and woody sap-like smells seemed to be well melded into the sweet toffee and the dark fruit which gave the nose good balance. There are hints of willow and heather in the breezes and perhaps just a touch of spearmint and orange zest as well …”

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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, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on #82 Glenglassaugh 26 Year Old

# 85 anCnoc 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 1, 2015

Inver House Distillers own five Scottish distilleries, Pulteney, Balblair, Knockdhu, Speyburn, and Balmenach. The company produces a diverse portfolio of brands which includes not only Scotch Whisky (Single Malt, Blended Malt, and Blended), but also Vodka, Gin, liqueurs, and premixes. The subject of this review, the anCnoc 12 Year is a Single Malt Whisky produced at the Knockdhu Distillery (which is located under the dark ‘Knock Hill’, known to the local villagers by its Gaelic name of ‘Cnoc Dubh’). Production of anCnoc began at the Distillery in 1894 following the discovery of several springs of clear water on the southern slopes of the aforementioned Knock Hill.

anCnoc 12 YearanCnoc whisky is produced on the distillery’s original style copper pot stills, and it has been produced that way for over 100 years. The resulting whisky is aged in American oak and Spanish oak barrels (which were previously used to age either bourbon or sherry). These casks are stored in dunnage warehouses where the thick granite walls ensure a stable ambient temperature which results in a consistent (or predictable) aging regimen.

Here is a link to my review of the #85 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#85 – anCnoc 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

“… Smells of sweet lowland grasses, willow thicket, and almost ripe barley are I guess, as good of a place to begin as any other. Wondering in and out of the breezes above the glass are scents of fresh honey, tart green apples, and lemongrass as well. Finally, the glass has a bit of an herbal flair with heather, wetland ferns and a touches of lowland peat residing in those breezes too. Rounding things off are dabbles of butterscotch and vanilla, and the overall effect is very nice …”

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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, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

# 87 Glenmorangie Original 10 Year Old Single Malt

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 29, 2015

I mentioned earlier in this Top 100 Spirits countdown that Glenmorangie was amongst the first major Scottish distillers (1960s) to use ex bourbon barrels rather than Spanish oak (sherry casks) to age their whisky. This helped to change the taste profile of Scottish Whisky in a significant manner, and today ex bourbon barrels are use extensively alongside ex sherry casks in many Scottish distilleries. Later, in 1996, Glenmorangie introduced their wood finish range which began the distillery’s experimentation with a range of new wood finishes like port wood casks and wine barriques. Again, the industry followed suit, and now wine finishes are used by many distilleries. Glenmorangie can claim credit for helping to extend the range of the Scottish whisky taste profile.

Glen Morangie Orginal SAM_1711The Glenmorangie Original 10 Year Old Single Malt is the original bourbon finished Glenmorangie Single Malt which serves as the cornerstone of the entire Glenmorangie line-up. The previously highlighted Glenmorangie, The Quinta Ruban would first have been distilled and aged in the same manner as this Original, before receiving its exotic wood finish. Interestingly enough, for my palate, the ‘unfinished’ 10 Year Old Single Malt is in fact superior not only to the Quinta Ruban, but also to the other ‘finished’ Glenmorangie expressions I have tasted. Sometimes, less is more.

Here is a link to my review of the #87 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#87 – Glenmorangie, The Original 10 Year Old

“… The nose is strikingly delicate with light herbal tinges that seem to dance in the breezes. My imagination is stirred by thoughts of waving barley fields below a floral alpine meadow. Rising into the air is a gentle vanilla and fading tones of bourbon which seem to give the whisky a mouth-watering appeal …”

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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, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

# 88 The Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 28, 2015

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.

Balvenie 12 SAM_1113The 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.)

Here is a link to my review of the #88 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#88 – The Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel

“… 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 …”

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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, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on # 88 The Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel

# 89 Century Reserve 21 Year Old Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 27, 2015

In 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_-_shadowAccording to the information provided me when I reviewed this spirit the first time, Century Reserve 21 Year Old, is a premium a 21-year-old single grain corn whisky blended entirely from those original Potter’s stocks. This makes Century Reserve something of a rarity upon the landscape of Canadian Whisky as one of the only single grain corn whiskies available in production.

Here is a link to my review of the #89 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#89 – Century Reserve 21 Year Old Canadian Whisky

“… 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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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: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

# 92 Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 24, 2015

The Glenmorangie Distillery was officially licensed to produce whisky in 1843 (how long the distillery was unofficial is unknown to me). Glenmorangie, from the beginning, established a tradition of innovation beginning with the construction of tall gin styled stills which would be used to distill their whisky rather than the traditional shorter onion shaped stills in use at the time. They were also amongst the first distilleries to use American oak for maturing their whisky, and in the early 1990’s they were at the forefront of the new style of ‘extra matured’ whiskies which are finished (or perhaps we can say flavoured) by spending time in used wine barrels.

Quinta RubanThe Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban is a mature whisky (12 years old) that is first aged in ex bourbon casks for at least 10 years, and then finished or ‘extra matured’ in Ruby Port pipes from the Quintas of Portugal. The use of ruby Port pipes gives the Quinta Ruban a sweeter, fruitier flavour and finish.

Here is a link to my review of the #92 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#92 – Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban

“… 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, pecans and the light scent of baking spices (vanilla, nutmeg, with hints of cinnamon) are added to the breezes …”

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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, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on # 92 Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban

 
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