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Review: Appleton Reserve Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 25, 2017

Today I am concluding my trip through the Appleton Estate Rum line-up which was triggered by special tasting event in Edmonton hosted by Joy Spence, Master Blender for Appleton Estate Rum. At the event, the guests were not only walked though the main range of Appleton Rums (the Signature VX Blend, the Appleton Reserve, and the Rare 12 Year Old)  we were also allowed to sample Joy’s stunning new Appleton Estate Joy Anniversary Blend which commemorates her 20th Anniversary as Master Blender of Appleton Estate Rum (see review here).

Appleton Estate Reserve Rum is the only rum in Appleton’s main range which has not undergone a re-branding. I am not sure why not, although perhaps it has something to do with Joy’s revelation to me that the Appleton Reserve Rum is her preferred rum for personal enjoyment. She loves all the Appleton Rums; but if she were to be stranded on a desert island with just one, the Reserve would be her rum of choice. Based upon this it is a reasonable conjecture that Appleton Estate sees no reason to tweak this particular rum blend, not even for the sake of a re-branding.

Although the Appleton Reserve Rum has apparently not changed in any material fashion since my first review seven years ago, I nevertheless took this opportunity to revisit the brand. Here is a link to my newly written review:

Review: Appleton Estate Reserve Rum

“… oak carries some obvious sweetness with vanilla and light baking spices (cinnamon and nutmeg) accenting the honeyed wood spices. Spicy orange peel and light aromas of the Jamaican pot still (camphor and resin, bits of menthol, and vague hints of tar) begin to arrive as well as a light grassy quality which has wound its way into the air …”

Please enjoy the review which concludes with Joy Spence’s favourite cocktail which she revealed to me in an interview in 2012. Although Joy’s Bio now calls the serving, “The Joy” (I suspect the Campari Marketing Team at work), I prefer the original name I gave the mixed drink when I first published it five years ago, The Spence Cocktail.

 

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Review: Red Cup Distillery Wheat Shine

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 23, 2017

This past winter (on January 31, 2017), I took a little tour east of Edmonton along the Yellowhead Highway to the Town of Vegreville. This small town, which lies about 100 km east of Edmonton, is in the heart of what I call Alberta’s rural Ukrainian Country, and it is home to the world’s largest Easter Egg or Pysanka.

I was visiting Rob and Barb de Groot at the new Red Cup Distillery to learn about the Distillery and to sample some of their locally made prairie moonshine.

When I arrived, I found that Rob and Barb had developed a spirit which hearkened back to a time before prohibition. This is a spirit which was first produced when a small rural population (who had immigrated from Europe) carried on a centuries old tradition of small pot distillation. Before prohibition, (with very few police to patrol the vast prairie) the tradition prospered. However first prohibition, and then government taxation, drove the spirit underground where it almost vanished. Fortunately for us today, distillers, Rob and his wife Barb have (through their steadfast research and commitment) brought back a spirit steeped in the agricultural heritage of Alberta.

Rob gave me a tour of the entire facility as I was stepped through the entire process from grain to glass. I was even allowed to take a few pictures (like the one of the small copper pot still) but, because much of what I was shown was proprietary, Rob asked me to be discrete in the manner in which I shared what I learned.

Fortunately I was given a bottle of Red Cup Distillery’s Wheat Shine, and I have decided to share my thoughts on that spirit, here on the website.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Red Cup Distillery Wheat Shine

“… The breezes above the glass are rich and complex. Wheat shines the brightest as a distinct porridge-like scent is immediately noticeable. There is more as mushy banana and plantain combined with a light grassiness rise up alongside the firm wheat aroma. Grilled zucchini and pumpkin, cooked pineapple, and citrus zest is hinted at as well …”

Please enjoy my review which includes my cocktail suggestion, The Mad Trapper.

Chimo!

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

Cocktail Hour: The Reserved Gentleman

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 21, 2017

It is hard to believe that it was eight years ago when I began to write spirit reviews. And if I am honest, my first attempts were rather crude affairs, the popularity of which had more to do with my quirky honest style, than with the quality of the writing. One of those quirks has been the inclusion of a cocktail or mixed drink with almost every review. And just like my initial writings, many of my early cocktails were crude affairs which lacked finesse and polish.

I have been revisiting some of those early cocktails with the idea that perhaps some of them should be polished up, and perhaps some should be dropped from my cocktail section entirely. However, after reviewing these early servings, I realized that every once in a while in those early days of my blog, I got it right. And that is the definitely the case with the recipe I am sharing today.

The Reserved Gentleman was designed with a specific rum in mind, Appleton Estate Reserve Rum. The serving is a simple mixture of Appleton Rum, Fresh Lime Juice and Triple Sec with just a touch of added simple syrup. Keeping everything simple allows the rich, complex Appleton Reserve Rum to be the star of the libation. The only tweaking I had to do was to snap a new picture.

The Reserved Gentleman
a cocktail by Chip Dykstra (Aka The Rum Howler)

1 1/2 oz  Appleton Reserve Rum
1/2 oz   Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1/4 oz  Triple Sec
dash  Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
Ice
Citrus Peel for garnish

Combine ingredients into a metal shaker with ice.
Shake until the metal shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with lime slice, or a flamed grapefruit peel

Enjoy Responsibly!

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Review: Appleton Estate 12 Year Old Rare Blend

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 19, 2017

On March 23rd, 2017 I attended to a very special tasting event hosted by Joy Spence, Master Blender for Appleton Estate Rum. Although the focus of the event was to introduce everyone to the new Appleton Estate Joy Anniversary Blend (see review here),  I was also giving the opportunity to sample the entire family of Appleton Rums as part of the event. I acquired samples of each of the rums and today I am going to share my thoughts on one of my favourites.

The Appleton Estate 12 Year Old Rare Blend is crafted in small batches. This is a true 12 Year Old spirit as the Appleton Estate website informs us that it all of the rums which make up this blend are each aged at least 12 years.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Appleton Estate 12 Year Old Rare Blend

“… Dark brown sugar and toffee meld with oak spice, orange peel and marmalade. Baking spices in the form of vanilla, cinnamon, a touch of allspice and hints of nutmeg weave in and out of the oak spice with some nutty almond and crushed walnuts lurking just underneath …”

Please enjoy my review of what has become one of my favourite rums.

Chimo!

 

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Review: Wisniak na Rumie (Cherry Flavoured Liqueur)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 16, 2017

Wisniak na Rumie is a Cherry flavoured liqueur produced by Polmos Bielsko-Biala SA. This is the same Polish company responsible for the production of Extra Zytnia Vodka. Wisniak (cherry-flavoured) spirits are popular in Poland (as well as in Russia and The Ukraine).

Interestingly this particular cherry flavoured liqueur is, in addition to being flavoured with the natural juice of ripe cherries, also flavoured with Jamaican Rum. I must admit my interest was piqued at the mention of Jamaican Rum (I am the Rum Howler after all), and when I was offered a sample bottle to review, I jumped at the chance.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Wisniak na Rumie (Cherry Flavoured Liqueur)

“… The breezes above the glass are filled with lightly sweet scents of freshly sliced cherries with a touch of wine-like fermentation accenting the aroma. The underlying rum is hinted at with a light blush of herbal Jamaican funk (camphor, resin and menthol) seemingly entwined into the fresh cheery scent …”

Please enjoy the review which includes the recipe suggestion, Blood and Sand.

Chimo!

Note: Wisniak na Rumie is available in Ontario, and I am hoping that it will be received well enough such that it makes its way across Canada to the Alberta market as well.

Posted in Flavouerd Rums, Liqueur | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Cocktail Hour: Rum Février

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 14, 2017

Several years ago I designed a cocktail which combined a well aged Brandy with a younger, more vibrant VSOP Cognac mixed in the style of the classic Sidecar. The idea was to construct a mixed drink which combined the best of both worlds, the youthful brashness of a young Cognac, and the aged character of a well-oaked brandy.

The results were spectacular, and I chose the name Brandy Février to reinforce the notion that I felt this particular libation would serve well as a ‘Winter cocktail’. (I always seem to enjoy well aged spirits much more in the cold months than in the warm months.)

This year, as Winter seemed to linger well into the Spring, I turned the idea towards one of my favourite rum families, Appleton Estate Rum. My new mixed drink, Rum Février mixes Appleton’s Brash Signature VX Blended Rum with their newly re-branded Appleton Estate Rare 12 Year Old Rum again, in the style of the classic Sidecar. Although we are trending well away from Winter, my new rum cocktail also seems to suit the latter half of this cool Spring.

Rum Février
a cocktail by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)

1 oz  Appleton Signature Blend VX
1/2 oz Appleton Estate Rare 12 Year Old Blend
3/4 oz fresh squeezed Orange Juice
1/2 oz fresh squeezed Lime Juice
1/8 oz Campari
1/4 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
Ice
Orange Peel

Add the six ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with 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 the newly re-branded Appleton Estate Rare 12 Year Old Blend with publish this coming Friday.

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Review: Appleton Estate Signature Blend VX Jamaican Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 12, 2017

The Appleton Estate is located in Nassau Valley in St. Elizabeth which is part of Jamaica’s Cockpit Country. The Cockpit Country is a karst formation which was formed over millions of years as the underlying limestone was eroded by the chemical action of rain.  Within a cockpit karst formation are valleys known as Poljes. They are formed where a river floods, then recedes and forms a flat valley over millions of years. In 1749, within the polje known as the Nassau Valley, the Appleton Estate Sugar Factory was founded. The Nassau Valley has a special mild micro-climate which is ideally suited to the growth of sugarcane. As well, a water source wells from the limestone formation and provides an exceptionally soft pure water which used for the production of Appleton Estate Rums.

This Appleton Estate Rum is crafted from pot stills in small batches. After blending and aging the rums are ready for bottling. The flagship of the brand, Appleton Estate VX Rum was recently re-branded as Appleton Estate Signature Blend VX rum. This is still a non-age stated rum however, the The Appleton Estate website tells us that the Signature Blend VX Rum is currently a blend of 15 aged rums with an average of 4 years.

Here is a link to my full review of the newly re-branded flagship Appleton Rum:

Review: Appleton Estate Signature Blend VX Jamaican  Rum

“… Orange peel and oak spice dominate the palate giving the rum a lively mouth feel and the tonsils a little whack on the way down. Spicy wood sap is softened just a little by some vanilla and brown sugar allowing us to notice a ripple of apricot brandy, and a light winding almond flavour …”

Please enjoy my latest review which includes my latest cocktail creation, the Time Traveller.

Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Skyy Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 9, 2017

Skyy Vodka was created by Maurice Kanbar who formed Skyy Spirits LLC. in 1992 to market the spirit. The Vodka is quadruple distilled from American grain, and is also apparently filtered three times though California limestone prior to bottling. In 1999, the Compari Group (headquartered in Milan, Italy) purchased the brand, and Skyy is now a product of the Campari America Division.

I sampled Skyy Vodka for the first time two years ago and decided to revisit the brand this year 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). I tasted the spirits in pairs, and when I determined which vodka from each pair was my preferred spirit, then I tasted the winners of each of the previous tasting sessions went head to head in a final taste-off.

Here is a link to my revised review of Skyy Vodka:

Review: Skyy Vodka

“… the spirit was very lightly sweet with a nice clean spiciness and a hint of menthol that seemed refreshing. There was also a hint of a very lightly bitter pithy (that white stuff on the back side of a citrus peel) flavour which carried into the aftertaste. Fortunately as the spirit warmed, that lightly bitter flavour did not increase …”

Please enjoy this revised review which indicates substantial improvement in the brand over the past two years. Chimo!

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Cocktail Hour: The Time Traveller

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 7, 2017

The Appleton Estate Signature Blend VX Rum can be a polarizing spirit. Persons new to the Appleton Rum flavour profile (which combines the funk of the Jamaican Pot Still with firm oak spice and orange peel flavours) often find the cane spirit a little daunting. However, it is equally true that once these same persons have grown accustomed to the robust flavour profile of Appleton Estate Rum, they just might be hooked for life. (Count myself in that category.)

Here is a mixed drink which attempts to bridge that gap for the cocktail enthusiast who is experimenting with the robust Appleton flagship rum for the first time. The libation is based upon the concept of the Vesper Cocktail and uses Skyy Vodka to temper the firm spicy Appleton flavour.

I decided to call my creation, the Time Traveller, as I feel that as you travel forward through time your desire for a stronger portion of Appleton Signature Blend VX Rum will grow. It would not be a quantum leap to suggest that the time will come the vodka portion will be eliminated replaced entirely by the Appleton Rum.

Time Traveller
a cocktail by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)

1 1/4 oz Appleton Signature Blend VX
3/4 oz Skyy Vodka
1/2 oz Bols Triple Sec
2/3 oz Lime Juice
1/3 oz Lemon Juice
1/3 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
Lime Slice

Add the ingredients into a metal cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a lime slice

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!

Please note my reviews for Skyy Vodka and the the newly re-branded Appleton Signature Blend VX Rum will publish on Tuesday and Friday.

Chimo!

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Review: Last Mountain Private Reserve Wheat Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 5, 2017

The Last Mountain Distillery is Saskatchewan’s first micro distillery. It is owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Colin and Meredith Schmidt. After Colin left his hockey career with the Edmonton Oilers behind, he and his wife, Meredith began to look for business opportunities in Saskatchewan, and the idea of starting up their own micro-distillery still appealed strongly to both of them. To make a long story short, in August of 2010, the ambitions and hard work of Colin and Meredith paid off when they opened Saskatchewan’s first micro-distillery, in Lumsden, Saskatchewan, called the Last Mountain Distillery.

According to the distillery website,  Last Mountain’s Private Reserve Whisky is a blend of 4 to 5-year-old wheat whisky which has been aged in a combination of used bourbon barrels and then finished in new 10 gallon oak barrels.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Last Mountain Private Reserve Wheat Whisky

“… The rich nose does not disappoint in terms of flavour across the palate. I taste yummy butterscotch and maple melding with oakspice, leather and tobacco. There is a very appealing rye-like flavour and bitterness as well as a dusty dry spiciness which features both grain and wood spice combining with orange pith and touches of cinnamon …”

Please enjoy my review of this wonderful Canadian Whisky from Saskatchewan’s First Micro Distillery.

Chimo!

 

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

 
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