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Review: Norvegia Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 23, 2016


Norvegia is a Norwegian Vodka produced from organic potatoes (the Trondelag varietal if you are interested). The spirit is five times distilled and brought to bottling proof with water sourced from the Folgefonna Glacier which was formed about 6000 years ago. The water from this glacier was bound to ice before airborne industrial pollutants were prevalent in the atmosphere, and as such the water from this glacier is so pure that it does not require chemical purification.

This new potato spirit was recently introduced into Ontario (through the LCBO) and is available in the slender blue bottle shown to the left, bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my review:

Review: Norvegia Vodka

“… Novegia Vodka is very clean. I could smell a light potato starch aroma, mild hints of lemon balm and wisps of white pepper when I brought the shot glass I was using to my nose. The texture was creamy, and when I took a sip the flavour matched up well with the breezes above the glass …”

Please enjoy my review of this outstanding Potato Vodka.


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Cocktail Hour: The Emissary

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 22, 2016

emissary-sam_2845I make my cocktails at home, and as a result I must be content with whichever ingredients happen to be in my cupboards and/or refrigerator. The Emissary is a tasty cocktail which came about when I was experimenting with different combinations of lemon, lime and grapefruit juice. I chose to accent the serving with just a hint of orange zest.

Although this particular cocktail is more complex to construct than a common sour cocktail, the results are well worth the effort.

The Emissary

1 1/2 oz Norvegia Vodka
3/8 oz fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
3/8 oz fresh squeezed Lime Juice
1/4 oz fresh squeezed Grapefruit Juice
3/8 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
Orange Peel (pith removed)

Add the Vodka, the fruit juice, and sugar syrup into a metal cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Tie a long strip of fresh orange peel into a bow and drop it in for garnish

Note: If  you are interested in more of my cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

Norvegia is a five-time distilled potato vodka from Norway. You may read my full review of this wonderful new potato spirit when it publishes tomorrow.


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Review: Seven Fathoms Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 20, 2016


Rum Old fashioned with Seven Fathoms

Cayman Spirits Co. began distilling spirits in 2008 at the George Town Harbour Distillery on Grand Cayman island. With a small single column still, the company uses local ingredients (including fresh cane juice from locally grown cane harvested on Grand Cayman’s East End) to produce their rum distillate in a batch style. The Seven Fathoms Rum distillate is then matured in American White oak bourbon barrels in a process that involves aging the rum seven fathoms deep under water in a secret location off the coast of the Grand Cayman island where the rolling waves rock the rum barrels in much the same way that they would be rocked in the cargo hold of a ship that was transporting the rum across the sea.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Seven Fathoms Rum

“… I notice a lovely butterscotch scent rising into the air above the glass accented by some nice dusty wood spices. I like how the two scents merge together as the glass sits which is an indication to me that the rum may be a little older than I first suspected. Vanilla and cinnamon baking spices appear as well as a nice almond scent which moves to marzipan as I am examining the glass …”

Please enjoy my review of this unique rum which includes a nice cocktail suggestion, the Rum Old Fashioned.



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Review: Hennessy Paradis Rare Cognac

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 18, 2016

bottle-paradisJas Hennessy & Co., is the largest Cognac producer in the world today with sales that exceed 45 million bottles per year. The company was founded in 1765 by Richard Hennessy who was an Irish Officer in the army of Louis XV.  Fifty two years later, in 1817, Hennessy Cognac was so highly regarded that the Prince of Wales, (who later would become King George IV of Great Britain) asked the Hennessy House to produce what was termed a “very superior old pale cognac“. This was apparently the genesis for the initials V.S.O.P (Very Superior Old Pale), and these initials have become a labeling standard used throughout the industry to this day.

Hennessy’s eaux di vie spirit is produced from the fruity Ugni Blanc grapes which have been harvested from the four great crus of the Cognac region (Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies and Fins Bois). The grape wine produced is (of course) double distilled upon copper pot stills and then set down to age.

Hennessy’s Paradis was the creation of Maurice Fillioux, the sixth generation of his family to act as chief blender for Hennessy Cognac (succeeded by his nephew Yann Fillioux) who in 1979 chose to blend eaux de vie which had been selected by his grandfather specifically because they displayed the temperament and structure which would lend themselves  a long period of maturity. The result of his efforts was Hennessy Paradis Rare Cognac which is composed of up to 100 blended eauz de vie aged for between 25 to 100 years.

Here is my review:

Review: Hennessy Paradis Rare Cognac

” … The breezes above the glass are oak stained with strong woody aromas accented by light baking spices (vanilla, nutmeg, cardamon and cinnamon) and hints of dark Demerara sugar. There is a firm underlying floral element with impressions of lilac, menthol and subtle reflections of blue iris. As the glass breathes, pipe tobacco seems to form from the aromatic constituents in the air …”

Please enjoy my review of this extra aged cognac.


Posted in Brandy and Cognac Reviews, Cognac Review | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Cocktail Hour: Cognac Servings

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 17, 2016

If you delve into the history of Cognac, you will find that the spirit was drank in a very different manner in the 18th and 19th centuries. In fact, if you happen to enter an old bar in France you might still see blue glass bottles with handles which used to be filled with seltzer water to be used with Cognac. The grape spirit may have remained a mixing spirit had not phylloxera arrived and ravaged the European vineyards.

Because of phylloxera, Cognac all but disappeared in the 1870’s, and it remained a relatively rare spirit until the end of the 19th century. During this time, it was gradually replaced in bars and restaurants by whisk(e)y in both the United Kingdom and North America. When the vineyards recovered and Cognac became more readily available near the beginning of the 20thcentury, it had to find a new market niche to occupy. For this reason, the grape spirit came to be promoted as an after dinner sipping drink rather than as a spirit meant mixed drinks and cocktails.

Brandy Crusta (1878) SAM_1069_1

Brandy Crusta

However, if we go back to the roots of Cognac and how people originally preferred to enjoy the spirit, we find that as a cocktail spirit it has tremendous appeal. Cognac displays intense taste and aromas, great complexity, and a wonderful finish. The original bartenders knew this, and with cognac they created many classic bar drinks for their patrons. In fact, some of our favourite whisky cocktails, the Mint Julep, the Old Fashioned and the Sazerac were originally mixed with Brandy and Cognac.

The recipes I have selected below (click on the mixed drink servings to go to each recipe page) may seem heretical to today’s Cognac enthusiast; but they are all rooted in the true history of the grape spirit which was the original spirit of choice for bartenders who created mixed drinks and cocktails.

Please enjoy these cocktail servings and if you are interested in other libations, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


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Review: Mt. Logan 5 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 15, 2016

mt-logan-splashThe Mt. Logan whisky brand has been turning up in the local Liquor Depot chain of stores in my locale. It is in fact a ‘destination’ brand, and is exclusive to Liquor Depot and Wine & Beyond stores in Western Canada.

The whisky itself is distilled and blended by Highwood Distillers who are located in High River, Alberta (about 40 Kilometers south of Calgary). According to the label on the back of the bottle, Mt. Logan 5 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky is produced from prairie rye and wheat grain in a batch style distillation with each grains distilled and aged separately. The whiskies are aged for at least five years in charred American white oak barrels (without the addition of additives) and when they are mature, they are blended to produce that distinctive Canadian ‘rye’ flavour profile consistent with our Canadian Whisky.

Here is a link to my newest Canadian Whisky review:

Review: Mt. Logan 5 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

“… Fine oak spices and rye grain drift upwards with a light aroma of butterscotch and vanilla. The breezes above the glass also carry hints of baking spice (ginger and cinnamon), some light tobacco smells and aromas of dusty grain fields ripe and ready to be swathed …”

Please enjoy my review of this new Canadian Whisky.


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Review: Hine Antique Cognac XO

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 13, 2016

hine-antique-xoThe production of cognac is governed by strict rules designed to guarantee consistency of quality and character in the final spirit. All cognac must be produced from a specific region of France whose appellation was first set out by decree on May 1, 1909. Since 1938, this appellation has been composed of six crus: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bon Bois, and Bois a Terroir. (You can think of each of these crus as specific grape growing regions within the overall appellation.) The grape juice from which cognac is distilled must be produced solely from white grapes which have been grown within the Cognac appellation.

Hine Antique XO Cognac is produced from a blend 40 Cognac spirits in the heart of France’s Cognac appellation on the banks of the River Charente. Every drop of this XO blend is distilled from grapes grown in the Grande Champagne cru. The Grand Champagne regions is the most recognizable Cognac region of France known for consistently producing high quality grape harvests. In addition, all of the eau de vie for this cognac blend have been aged a minimum of 10 years, 4 years longer than required by French law.

Here is a link to my review:

Review: Hine Antique Cognac XO

“… The initial nose is perhaps a tad restrained as scents of  oak spice and vanilla mingle within a fruited caramel aroma. As the glass breathes, I begin to notice a growing herbaceous quality with camphor, menthol and cinnamon weaving themselves into the lightly sweet caramel. Fresh fruit, (apples, pears and apricots) as well as a bits of raisin unravel into the breezes above the glass as well …”

Please enjoy my review, Chimo!


Note: Hine Antique XO Premier Cru has just released in Ontario as a Specialty Listing on the LCBO for the Christmas Season.




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Cocktail Hour: The Hummingbird

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 12, 2016

It is quite common when mixing tiki drinks to mix two disparate rums with different flavour profiles in order to bring the best of both to the final cocktail. I like to do the same when making cocktails with brandy and cognac. Specifically, I like to mix a young vibrant spirit with a well aged brandy or XO Cognac in sour cocktails. A ribbon of strong overt oak spice (from the well aged spirit) seems to take these cocktails to a whole new level.

hummingbird-sam_2779That is the theme for the following cocktail. (My wife insisted that I call the serving, The Hummingbird, as it is named for the avian visitor which has been dropping by the hanging flowers by our back window this fall.)


1 oz H by Hine Fine Champagne VSOP (click here for review)
1/2 oz Hine Antique XO Premier Cru
3/4 oz Orange Juice
3/8 oz Lemon Juice
3/8 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup
dash Angostura Bitters
Twist of Orange Peel

Add the first seven ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a Twist of Orange Peel

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

Note: My Review for Hine Antique XO Premier Cru Cognac will publish tomorrow, Chimo!

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Review: Captain Morgan Jack-O’ Blast Limited Edition Spiced Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 10, 2016

jack-oblast-sam_2843Captain Morgan Jack-O’ Blast has began to appear on store shelves throughout North America. The new spirit from Captain Morgan (apparently produced from Caribbean Rum, fresh pumpkin, cinnamon and autumnal spices) promises to deliver an insanely delicious shot. This is because the new limited edition spiced rum is (based upon the media information provided) designed to be ideal for the shot glass.

Coinciding with the release of this new pumpkin spiced rum, the Captain Morgan media team began to send samples and product information to media outlets (like The Rum Howler Blog) to write about their new spirit. Of course, I had to put it through the paces of my review system to see if it was all that Captain Morgan promised.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Captain Morgan Jack-O’ Blast

“… The aroma from the glass is very nice. I let my wife have a nice sniff, not letting her know what was inside. She immediately smiled and said my rum reminded her of her pumpkin spiced chai tea that she loves. I guess you could say that Captain Morgan nailed it! Pumpkin, caramel, and vanilla rise into the breezes accented lightly by cinnamon and cloves. The combination is wonderful and promises to be delicious prompting me to quickly steal a sip …”

Please enjoy my review of this new spiced rum from Captain Morgan.


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Cocktail Hour: The Cane Mutiny

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 9, 2016

The Captain Morgan Media Team sent me a recipe for their Jack-O’Blast Rum which mixed the pumpkin spiced spirit with Ginger Beer and Lime. It was basically a Moscow Mule made with their spiced rum instead of with Vodka, and paying homage to the cocktail which inspired the serving, they called their suggested libation a Mutiny Mule.

Mutiny Mule

1.5 oz. Captain Morgan Jack-O’Blast
3 oz. Ginger Beer
0.5 oz. Lime Juice

Combine all ingredients in a glass filled with ice, stir and garnish with a lime wedge.


The Cane Mutiny

I quite enjoyed the serving, but decided to make a few small changes which I felt more firmly highlighted the Pumpkin Spiced flavour of their new rum. The first change was to alter the proportions such that the Jack-O’Blast Rum was the dominant ingredient within the cocktail. Then I replaced the Ginger Beer with Ginger Ale which is not nearly so spicy and therefore allowed the Pumpkin Spiced Rum to be the star of the serving.

I decided to call my recipe, The Cane Mutiny.

The Cane Mutiny

2 oz Captain Morgan Jack-O’Blast Spiced Rum
3/8 oz fresh Lime Juice
dash Sugar Syrup (to taste)
1 1/2 oz Ginger-ale
Lime Slice for garnish

Add all of the ingredients into a Mixing glass
Stir Gently
Pour into a rocks glass filled with ice
Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more mixed drink recipes!


Note: My Review of the Captain Morgan Jack-O’Blast Spiced Rum will publish tomorrow, Chimo!

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