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El Ron Prohibido 15 Gran Reserva

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 23, 2018

El Ron Prohibido is an interesting rum produced in Mexico by the same company which produces Tequila Corralejo. There are three rums in the El Ron Prohibito line-up, a Silver Rum, El Ron Prohibito 12, and El Ron Prohibito 15 Gran Reserva.

Although one might assume that the number 15 represents the age of the El Ron Prohibido Rum, this is not the case. The number 15 represents the number of American Oak barrels in the solera aging system used to mature the rum. Giving this rum a different twist is the fact that these 15 American oak barrels were previously used for maturing Raisin Wine. The Raisin Wine Cask leaves its imprint firmly upon the rum giving us a new flavour profile quite different from a typical Caribbean Rum.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: El Ron Prohibido 15 Gran Reserva

“… As I let the spirit breathe I notice the oak spices evolving with dark tobacco and even more raisins in the air. There is a rich decadence implied. This is not your typical rum, the raisin wine cask has left a firm imprint of it sweet flavour and aroma upon the spirit …”

Please enjoy my review of this unique Mexican Rum.

Chimo!

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Review: Last Straw Distillery Blackstrap

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 21, 2018

The Last Straw Distillery Blackstrap is one the few white spirits in the world actually made from blackstrap molasses rather than sweet molasses. One of the reasons there are so few is because blackstrap is much harder to work with than sweet molasses as the sugar content is lower, and the sugars are harder for the yeast to access. The trade-off is that blackstrap molasses gives a richer, more robust flavour when it is distilled. It took the Distillery about 6 months (of experimentation) to discover a method to obtain reasonable yields out of blackstrap molasses without sacrificing flavour.

You will note that I did not call this spirit rum. This is because Last Straw’s Blackstrap is a new make spirit which has not been aged. Interestingly, if the product were to be produced for the US market, it could legitimately be called a rum; but in Canada where we have stricter rules pertaining to the aging of spirits. To be sold in Canada, rum must be aged for one year in oak barrels. (This means that most white rums are aged in oak and then filtered clear before they are sold in Canada.)

Here is a link to my review of this unique spirit from Canada’s Last Straw Distillery:

Review: Last Straw Distillery Blackstrap

“… The initial aroma is what I call punky with light smells of resin and camphor. Very soon firm aromas of dark licorice, treacle and banana come forward as well as a bonanza of tropical fruit …”

Please enjoy my review as well as my cocktail suggestion, the Brooklynite.

 

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Review: Corralejo Añejo Tequila

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 19, 2018

Hacienda Corralejo was established in 1775 by Don Pedro Sanchez de Tagle in the Mexican State of Guanajuato. The distillery (Nom 1368 CRT) uses traditional methods of fermentation and distillation with clay ovens used to cook the agave and copper pot stills for the distillation.

According to the Corralejo website their Anejo Tequila is a 100% agave spirit aged for 12 months in American oak barrels. The website indicates the Corralejo Añejo is bottled at 38 % alcohol by volume which is probably true for the domestic market; however, my sample bottle ( available in Canada) is labelled, 40 % alcohol by volume which is also the bottling proof of the spirit in the USA.

Here is a link to my latest review:

Review: Corralejo Añejo Tequila 

“… The breezes above the glass carried scents of fruity agave with fine wood spices, soft pepper, and light indications of ginger coming forward. Citrus zest with hints of lime followed along with soft vanilla and butterscotch. There is a light indication of almond and coffee with a smattering of cocoa as well. I am quite impressed. The aroma is balanced and inviting …”

Please enjoy my review which include my recipe for a Winter Margarita.

Chimo!

 

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Review: Crystal Head Aurora Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 18, 2018

Crystal Head Vodka is a Vodka Brand created by Dan Aykroyd (Canadian Actor and Comedian) and John Alexander (Artist) in 2007. I first encountered the spirit in 2011 at Edmonton’s Rocky Mountain Food and Wine Festival where a pleasant woman at the Crystal Head Vodka booth went to great lengths explaining how this is a quadruple distilled premium Vodka, filtered with real diamond filters, produced using only the freshest water found in Newfoundland. She gave a great presentation, but I’ll be honest, she already had my full attention with the Crystal Skull decanter.

Crystal Head Aurora Vodka is the newest creation in the Crystal Head line-up. It is produced by Globefill Inc.. at the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation distillery in Newfoundland, Canada. The spirit is five times distilled in a traditional column still using English wheat from North Yorkshire, England.

Cocktail Suggestion: Hawking Radiation

After distillation and filtered using activated charcoal in a filtration which lasts 6 hours to remove any impurities. It is then filtered three more times through layers of Herkimer diamonds. A final micro filtration is performed, and then the is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume. Crystal Head Aurora has won numerous awards recently, including a Gold Medal at the prestigious 2016 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Here is my Review for this new Aurora Vodka:

Review: Crystal Head Aurora Vodka

“… The aroma was clean with a little grain spice and a light scent of wheat flour in the air. When I took my first sip I was surprised at the firm grain-like spiciness which I encountered which was accompanied by an ever so light flavour of starch and a touch of both lemon citrus and mint. There was also a very light sweetness …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a nice cocktail suggestion, the Hawking Radiation.

Chimo!

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Review: Flor De Caña 25 Single Estate Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 16, 2018

Flor de Caña has a history of rum production which is dated to 1890 at the San Antonio Sugar Mill, in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua. The company was founded by Francisco Alfredo Pellas and today, over 120 years later, the company is still headed by the fifth generation of the Pellas family. It has grown to be not only one of Central America’s leading brands of rum, it is also one of the most recognized rum brands in the world. According to the company website all of the Flor de Caña rum is produced with molasses from sugar cane harvested in fields adjacent to the distillery in Chichigalpa. It is distilled in a continuous column still process, and then laid down to age in small American white oak barrels in traditional aging warehouses built without air conditioning in an undisturbed environment.

The Flor De Caña 25 Single Estate Rum was named “2017 Best Rum of the Year” by the International Rum Conference in Madrid, and it sits at the top of the ladder as far as the Flor De Caña family of rums is concerned. This is a super aged rum with the number 25 on the label representative of the average age of the rums in the blend with some variation in the actual age based upon blending to a consistent flavour profile.

Here is a link to my review of this outstanding rum:

Review: Flor De Caña 25 Single Estate Rum

“… the breezes begin to fill with a wonderful menagerie of oak spice, orange peel, and rich caramel. The longer the glass sits the more enticing the scents and smells above the glass become. The oak, and caramel are joined by vanilla and baking spices which all combines to form a mouth-watering toffee. Those baking spices abound with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice …”

Please enjoy my review, Chimo!

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Review: Last Straw Distillery Blackstrap Rum (Cask Two)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 14, 2018

The Last Straw Distillery is Ontario’s smallest production micro-distillery located at 40 Pippin Rd. in Vaughan, Ontario (a wee bit north of Toronto) just off Highway 400 and around the corner from Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre. According to Mike Hook, the team at Last Straw Distillery come to the craft of distilling from a variety of different backgrounds, and surprisingly none have had prior experience in the beverage or alcohol business. They are self-taught, and developed their recipes in house, through research, and trial and error, without the use of outside consultants.

The Last Straw Distillery Blackstrap Rum is one the few rums in the world actually made from blackstrap molasses rather than sweet molasses. One of the reasons there are so few is because blackstrap is much harder to work with than sweet molasses as the sugar content is lower, and the sugars are harder for the yeast to access. The tradeoff is that blackstrap molasses gives a richer, more robust flavour when it is distilled. It took the Distillery about 6 months (of experimentation) to discover a method to obtain reasonable yields out of blackstrap molasses without sacrificing flavour.

Last Straw’s Blackstrap Rum is double distilled and aged for a year in a toasted new European oak cask. The rum contains no additives, flavours or colouring and is, of course, made directly from molasses in-house. Last Year I reviewed the Blackstrap Rum from Cask #1, this time I am having a crack at the Blackstrap Rum from Cask #2.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Last Straw Distillery Blackstrap Rum (Cask Two)

” … I sampled the rum from Cask #2 side by side with my previously reviewed sample from Cask #1. Although the scents and smells are obviously similar, scents of mushy banana and ripe plantain alongside some resin-like esters which remind me of camphor. And of course the telltale aroma of blackstrap molasses with hints of dark licorice and treacle …”

Please enjoy my latest review and my recommended cocktail, the Winter Daiquiri.

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Review: Alamo Anejo Tequila

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 12, 2018

Alamo is a tequila brand sold by Minhas Distilleries in Western Canada. I reviewed part of the portfolio a few years ago, but recently I noticed that a change had occurred concerning the distillery of origin for the tequila brand. In my previous review I had noted that the NOM on my sample bottles was 1529, which indicated that the spirit was produced by Agaveros y Tequileros Unidos de Los Altos, a tequila producer which typically distills agave grown in Los Altos, the highlands of Mexico’s tequila producing region. However, the new spirit sold by Minhas now carries a different NOM (1438) indicating the distillery of origin for the current spirit is Destiladora del Valle de Tequila, S.A. de C.V., a producer which typically uses both highland and lowland agave in its production of Tequila.

According to the Minhas Distillery website, Alamo Anejo is a 100 % Agave Tequila aged for at least one year in white American Oak barrels. As noted earlier, the distillery of origin, Agaveros y Tequileros Unidos de Los Altos typically uses both highland and lowland grown agave when producing their tequila. (In the production of tequila, highland agave tends to bring stronger fruity citrus notes and more spicy pepper into both the delivery and in the finish. Lowland tequila tends to bring firmer earthy flavours of the agave fruit into the flavour profile.)

Here is a link to my updated review for the Alamo Anejo Tequila:

Review: Alamo Anejo Tequila

” … When I brought the glass to my nose I discovered a lightly sweet, mildly punky agave aroma lifting from the glass. There is also a mild peppery aroma rising which has a light citrus aspect to it. I receive a few whispers of vanilla and perhaps some tea and cocoa scents as well. In all I quite like the aroma which I would describe as ‘relaxed and inviting’ …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a nice cocktail suggestion, A Deadly Shade of Gold.

Chimo!

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Review: Dunville’s VR Old Irish Whiskey PX Cask Finish

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 11, 2018

Dunville’s is a whiskey brand first established in Belfast during the 19th Century. Originally a whiskey blender, Dunville & Co. built the Royal Irish Distilleries, on the edge of Belfast in 1869. Unfortunately, Prohibition had a severe impact on the Company as they lost access to US markets during the first quarter of the 20th Century. Although the company weathered that storm, it continued to decline after Prohibition until the firm was wound up (still in a profitable state) in 1936.

The Dunville’s brand was reinstated through the Echlinville Distillery which became Northern Ireland’s first licensed distillery in over 125 years and began distilling its first spirit in 2013. Dunville’s Old Irish Whiskey PX Cask Finish is a 10-year-old Single Malt finished in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. (It was recently crowned Best Irish Single Malt Under 12 Years at the 2015 World Whiskies Awards.)

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Dunville’s VR Old Irish Whiskey PX Cask Finish

“… The breezes above the glass carry aromas of malted barley combined with oak spice, vanilla, honey, meadow grass, and bits of almond. There is also a firm fruitiness present in the air with both dry fruit (raisins in particular), pears, and impressions of orange peel. Herbal impressions wander into my consciousness (heather, sawgrass and bits of menthol), which combined with the oak spice reminds me of dry tobacco …”

Please enjoy my review as well as my cocktail suggestion, an Irish Whisky Old Fashioned with Aztec Chocolate Bitters.

Posted in Irish Whskey, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Flor de Caña Centenario 18

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 9, 2018

I am continuing my weekly step through the Flor de Caña line-up. Last week I reviewed Flor de Caña 12 Centenario which is part of their Ultra Premium Collection. This week I continue to move through the Ultra Premium family as I revisit Flor de Caña 18 Centenario.

Flor de Caña 18 is a well aged rum with the number 18 on the label representative of the average age of the rums in the blend with some variation in the actual age based upon blending to a consistent flavour profile. According to the folks at Flor de Caña this aged spirit is a sipping spirit however as you will see in my review, I find it is also excellent for high-end cocktails!

Here is a link to my Review:

Review: Flor de Caña Centenario 18

“… This is a clean dry rum displaying a strong fine oak spice personality. This spicy personality is tempered slightly with mild indications of butterscotch accenting the oak spice. There is a lightly bitter flavour of poplar sap and tobacco keeping the mouth dry and heated. As I let the rum breathe the butterscotch sweetness grows slightly in intensity providing a nice foil for the dry spicy bitterness …”

Please enjoy my review!

Posted in Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Granny’s Gin (Last Mountain Distillery)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 7, 2018

Colin Schmidt was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 1992. After being drafted, he spent four years playing College Hockey and then signed his first pro contract in 1996. Colin’s pro experience was brief, cut off by a few shoulder injuries after a short spell of what Colin referred to as “playing left bench.” Fortunately, as far as we are concerned, Colin’s story did not end there.

A few years later, Colin, who was working in the mortgage industry, and his wife, Meredith, whose background was in banking, began to look for their own business opportunities in Saskatchewan. Colin had a friend who had started up a micro-distillery in Colorado, and the idea to begin a similar operation in Saskatchewan was very appealing to them. In August of 2010, Colin and Meredith’s hard work and perseverance paid off when they opened Saskatchewan’s first micro-distillery, in Lumsden, Saskatchewan, called the Last Mountain Distillery.

Granny’s Gin pays homage to Colin’s grandmother, Muriel who came to Canada back in 1946 as a war bride from England and has been known to enjoy a Gin and Soda. Since Colin began to distill spirits at Last Mountain Distillery, his Granny has been asking for a nice dry gin to enjoy, one that is ‘not too florally’ which is how his Granny like to enjoy it.

Here is a link to my first Gin Review of 2018:

Review: Granny’s Gin (Last Mountain Distillery)

“… The initial aroma from the glass is very nice, representing a traditional juniper forward dry gin. Along with the juniper is a mild but firm presence of licorice and citrus zest (in particular orange and grapefruit). Light lemony scents rises up alongside impressions of spicy coriander and cardamom. Perhaps there is a hint of mint in the breezes,as well as a light ribbon of orange Curacao …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a nice cocktail recommendation, the Sentimental Lady.

Chimo!

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