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Review: Johnnie Walker Red Label

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 21, 2017

red-labelJohnnie Walker is one of the most iconic whisky brands in the world. With its unique square bottle, and the labels tilted off-center, the company has created a strong brand image and its spirit is considered by many to be the quintessential Scottish whisky. The company has been operating since 1820, and has grown steadily to become one of the most important Scottish whisky brands in the world today.

Johnnie Walker Red Label, the flagship brand, was created in 1909 and it is now is the best-selling Scotch Whisky in the world. It is a blended Scotch Whisky composed of up to 35 grain and malt whiskies.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Johnnie Walker Red Label

“… I gave the glass some time to breathe and discovered that the smells of malted barley and grain seemed to have grown in strength when I returned after a few minutes. These aromas have began to meld into the oak spice giving the dram a more robust character than I had anticipated …”

Please enjoy my review which concludes with my mixed drink suggestion, the Red Label Splash.

Chimo!

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Posted in Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Reyka Small Batch Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 18, 2017

Reyka Small Batch Vodka is produced at Iceland’s first distillery (the Reyka Distillery) located 74km outside of Reykjavik in Borgarnes, Iceland. At the Reyka distillery they collect water from a spring that runs through a lava field. The water is naturally filtered by the lava rock and with that clean water they distill their spirit in one of the few Carter-Head Stills in the world. Each distillation takes about 6 hours and yields 255 preciously small cases. The final vodka contains only natural flavors and extracts. The final spirit is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

I sampled Reyka Small Batch Vodka for the first time when I chose to compare four Vodkas in a small tasting competition (Smirnoff No. 21 Red, Reyka, Skyy and Last Mountain Distillery Hand Crafted Vodkas) earlier this year. My review of Reyka Vodka is based upon the tasting notes from that Tasting Competition.

Here is a link to the full review:

Review: Reyka Small Batch Vodka

“… As the spirit warmed the flavours came more into focus reminding me of lightly sweet lemon and lime balsam and white fruit pith. Grain spice and a few hints of mint completed the flavour profile …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a wonderful gimlet style cocktail, the Vodka Darby.

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Review: Mount Gay 1703 Master Select

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 14, 2017

mt-gay_1703-bottle-no-box1703 is a significant year in the world of rum. That is because this was the year that Mount Gay Rum was first produced on the Isle of Barbados which makes Mount Gay Rum one of the oldest, if not the oldest brand of rum in the world. Because Barbados is situated as a gateway from the Atlantic to the Caribbean, sailors from the Old World often used the island as the  first resting point on the way to the New World.  This meant Barbados was ideally suited for trade between the two worlds in the eighteenth and nineteenth century.  Part of that trade was rum which is why the island is considered the birthplace of the rum trade.

The Mount Gay 1703 Master Select Rum is a premium rum blend which features aged pot and column still rum stocks from well aged barrels within the Mount Gay treasured reserve. These barrels have an age range of 10 to 30 years and feature the some of the oldest rums that Mount Gay has to offer in the areas of Craftsmanship and Quality. Apparently Mount Gay Master Distiller, Allen Smith personally selected the 55 barrels used within the Master Select blend.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Mount Gay 1703 Master Select

“… The initial nose is full of treacle and molasses tainted with tar and nicotine. Oak spice and orange peel begin to make their presence felt and soon dark brown sugar and rich baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon and cloves) begin to well up into the breezes. Wisps of dry fruit (raisins and dates) and bits of licorice stain the molasses while hints of spicy sap appear within the oak spice …”

Please enjoy my review of this outstanding Mount Gay Rum, Chimo!

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Whisky in Progress: Rig Hand White Dog Barley Distillate

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 11, 2017

The Rig Hand Craft Distillery (formerly Big Rig Distillery) opened their doors on October 17, 2015 and they already have an impressive line-up of spirits for sale at their boutique store within the facility. These spirits include their Premium Vodka and Wildrose Gin; their selections of White Dog Distillate (not whisky for three years yet); and as well as their intriguing Sugar Beet Brum. Additionally, they have been experimenting with an array of flavoured Vodkas some of which are bottled and ready for sale, and others which are in development. (I took a tour of the craft distillery last year and have slowly been working through the samples they gave me.)

The distillery’s White Dog Malted Barley Distillate is produced from 100 % Alberta grown Malted Barley distilled upon the company’s main still (Mighty Morley). The malted barley distillate is distilled twice through the through short 4-plate column to produce a more flavourful spirit than if the 16 plate column had been used. After distillation the spirit is either filtered and reduced to bottling proof (51.4 % alcohol by volume for my sample) to be sold as White Dog Malted Barley Distillate, or it is placed in re-used oak casks to become whisky in three years. When sold as White Dog, the spirit arrives with a stick of oak which the consumer can place in the bottle to ‘flavour’ the spirit so as to glean at least a small understanding of how the spirit’s flavour profile will change do to the oak flavours permeating the whisky.

With my sample I decided to go a step further by placing my bottle of White Dog into a brand new charred 1 litre oak cask. I allowed it to sit for 6 weeks in an aging simulation. I thought it would be cool to share the results with my readers as a ‘Whisky in Progress Review’.

Here is a link to that full review:

Whisky in Progress: Rig Hand White Dog Malted Barley Distillate

“… I can taste the influence of the oak as light butterscotch and chocolate flavours now reside alongside oak and grain spice. The spirit is still developing yet I can already sip my glass and find enjoyment. Orange peel and banana and a light almond-like flavour have also joined in the parade …”

Please enjoy the review!

Posted in Moonshine and New-make | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Bulleit Bourbon 10 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 7, 2017

old-fashioned-bulleit-sam_3058Bulleit Bourbon is produced at the Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. The brand traces its heritage back to 1830 when tavern keeper Augustus Bulleit (after a few experimental trials) created the brand and began to market it locally and eventually to areas outside of Kentucky.

My sample bottle of Bulleit Bourbon 10 Year Old Frontier Whiskey was bottled at 45.6% alcohol by volume and is the standard bottle sold in North America. According to the Bulleit Bourbon website, the spirit is produced from a rye heavy mash with of course corn as well as malted barley (68% corn, 28% rye, 4% malted barley). The whiskey was blended from selected stocks which were aged for a minimum of 10 years in new white American oak barrels.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Bulleit Bourbon 10 Year Old

“… I taste rough burlap and leather, dry alfalfa hay, tobacco, and woody cedar and oak. There is light menthol-like coolness which helps the palate deal with the whiskey’s dryness but only a very light impression of caramel sweetness …”

Please enjoy my review. Chimo!

Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Opihr Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 3, 2017

ophir-ginOpihr Gin was created (for Quintessential Brands) by Joanne Moore, who also was the creative force behind my recently reviewed Bloom Gin (see review here). Opihr is a unique style of London Dry Gin created  from hand-picked exotic botanicals which were collected along the original trade routes which brought Oriental spices to the Western World. These spices include cubeb peppers from Malaysia (isle of Malacca)cardamom and Tellicherry black peppers from India’s south-east coast in Malabar, spicy cumin seeds from Turkeyjuniper from Venice, coriander from Morocco, and oranges from Spain.

The spices are bought to England’s oldest continuously operating gin distillery ( G & J Greenall), where within a copper pot still, Opihr Gin is produced using the same London Dry method that has been used at that distillery since 1761.

Here is a link to my latest Gin review:

Review: Opihr Gin

“… Opihr Gin has a lightly oily texture which feels nice in the mouth. This is combined with a very aggressive flavour profile which seems to take me on a frantic ride. Peppery spices and bursts of citrus compete for my attention, and both of those flavour impressions are impacted by a light herbal (almost perfumed) character …”

Please enjoy my review which concludes with a spicy brunch cocktail, the Red Snapper, Chimo!

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Review: Provincial Spiced Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 2, 2017

recliner-sam_2933Radouga Distilleries is a small distillery which began operations in Blaine Lake Saskatchewan (near Saskatoon) on November 20th 2014. Recently I met one of their sales reps (D’arcy Nemanishin) at the November Edmonton Food and Wine Show. We chatted briefly and I sampled the distillery’s 7-time distilled Provincial Vodka (review here). After the show D’arcy arranged for me to receive a few samples of their line-up of Paul’s Pies Liqueurs (Paul Riben is the Owner/CEO of the distillery), as well as the Provincial Spiced and Provincial Vodkas.

Paul Riben distills all of Radouga Distilleries products using grain that Paul grows himself. The operation is a true field to glass operation. I sampled all four spirits over the holidays, and I have decided to share my thoughts here on my website.

Here is a link to the review for Provincial Spiced Vodka.

Review: Provincial Spiced Vodka

“… The main flavours are a mixture of darkened caramel and some lightly bitter wood spice. I add an ice-cube and quickly decide that this was also a mistake as the light sweetness of the spirit is quelled allowing the bitterness within the wood spices free rein. There are perhaps a few toasted coconut flavours and some light almond-like flavours developing in my consciousness …”

 

Posted in Flavoured Vodka, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Spytail Black Ginger Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 31, 2017

last-saks-pirate-sam_3003Spytail Black Ginger Rum is produced by Biggar and Leith, who are based in the New York area with distribution across North America and in 16 Countries worldwide (and growing). Biggar & Leith own a small portfolio of spirits which are produced by established, family owned distilleries.

Spytail Black Ginger Rum pays homage to the submarine, SPYTAIL, as apparently plans for the legendary underwater ship were discovered by Biggar and Leith’s distillers in Cognac, France. While that may seem unlikely, this actually makes sense as the first mechanical submarines were not only invented in France, they were tested within the Charente River which flows near their distillery. The production of Spytail Rum is based on a 19th Century recipe which calls for the aging of fresh ginger root and spices in barrels of Rum. The spirit is produced from a blend of Caribbean rums which are both blended and bottled at the Cognac, France facility.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Spytail Black Ginger Rum

“… The rum brings a tasty combination of rum-like brown sugar and spicy oriental ginger across the palate. The spirit is not as sweet as the nose implied; however there is enough sweetness to help balance the overt spiciness of the ginger root. Bits of orange marmalade meander into the rum’s flavour along with hints of cinnamon and some more obvious vanilla …”

Please enjoy my review which concludes with a very nice cocktail, The Last Saskatchewan Pirate.

Chimo!

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Review: Invergordon 1984 – 28 Year Old (SKU W&M 228)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 29, 2017

inverInvergordon Distillers (currently owned by Whyte & Mackay) was founded in 1959 in the Highlands region of Scotland and the newly built distillery began to operate in 1959.  The distillery has three working Coffey stills which produce grain whisky (primarily from wheat and corn) for various Whyte and Mackay blended whiskies as well as other Scottish producers.

The Wilson and Morgan 1984 Invergordon 28 Year Old Single Grain Whisky (SKU W&M 228) was distilled in 1987 and bottled in 2016. This whisky is part of Wilson and Morgan’s Special Release Series which is comprised of Scotch whiskies, all of which are 25 years of age or older, and many of which have received an unusual or special maturation regime. This particular whisky was matured for its entire life in a 2nd fill Sherry butt and bottled at cask strength (56.5% alcohol by volume).

Here is a link to my full review of this special whisky:

Review: W&M Invergordon 1984 – 28 Year Old

“… This is a complex whisky full of charred oak and cereal grain, but tempered with rich vanillans and butterscotch toffee. There is a firm herbal quality within the grain which reminds me of fresh-cut green hay with just a smidgen of heather and menthol …”

Please enjoy my review of this outstanding grain whisky, Chimo!

Posted in Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Malfy Gin (Con Limone)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 27, 2017

The Lady From Sicily

The Lady From Sicily

Malfy Gin is a brand owned by Biggar and Leith, who are based in the New York area with distribution across North America and in 16 Countries worldwide (and growing). Biggar & Leith own a small portfolio of spirits which are produced by established, family owned distilleries.

Malfy G.Q.D.I. (Gin di Qualità Distillato in Italia) is distilled by the Vergnano family in Moncalieri, Italy. (G.Q.D.I. stands for ‘Gin di qualità distillato in Italia’. It is a stamp and guarantee of quality and origin.) The family uses a traditional stainless steel vacuum still and produces their gin from a distillation of lemons (coastal grown Italian lemons – some from Amalfi and some from Sicily) and juniper (of course) as well as 5 other botanicals (including coriander, angelica and cassia bark).

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Malfy Gin (Con Limone)

“… the gin revels in the lemon. At first , that is all I taste. However, as I let my palate adjust I begin to notice other flavours playing within the lemon construct. Lightly bitter juniper, hints of dark licorice, and a spiciness which at first I took for lemon zest, but which certainly has the imprint of coriander upon it as well …”

Please enjoy my review, and my cocktail suggestion which follows, the Lady From Sicily, Chimo!

Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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