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Archive for the ‘Extras’ Category

Canadian Club 43 Year Old is Named Canada’s 2021 Best Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 27, 2021

The news was released this past Thursday, Canadian Club 43 Year Old (The Speakeasy) was named the Best Canadian Whisky of 2021 by nine independent whisky experts at the eleventh annual Canadian Whisky Awards. The majestic spirit was also named Canada’s Connoisseur Whisky of the Year.

As a bit of a history refresher about this grand spirit, for each of the past three years Canadian Club has been releasing Canada’s oldest age stated Whisky. And each year that release has been getting one year older. It started in 2017 with the Canadian Club 40 Year Old .

Canadian Club 40 Year Old was produced from a selection of American Oak barrels which contained 100% corn whisky. The whisky was released in part to commemorate Canada’s 150 Anniversary, and was available with full distribution across Canada in the fall of 2017. In 2018 we learned that Canadian Club hadn’t emptied all of those 100 % Corn Whisky Barrels, those that hadn’t been used were now one year older. In the fall of 2018, Canadian Club released what they called Canadian Club Chronicles – 41 Year Old Whisky (The Water of Windsor), again using some of those same barrels; but this time adding a small amount of cognac, rye and sherry to the final blend. Then in 2019 the cycle was repeated as Canadian Club released Canadian Club Chronicles Issue 2 – 42 Year Old Whisky (The Dock Man). This time to offer some distinction in the blend, the whisky was blended with a 16 Year Old Rye Whisky, a 12 Year Old Pot Distilled Rye and a small amount of Brandy.

Which brings us to 2020 and the release of Canadian Club Chronicles Issue 3 – 43 Year Old Whisky (The Speakeasy) which has apparently been freshened with a dash of 11 Year Old Rye whisky. I recently tasted the new 43 Year Old and thought I would share my thoughts.

Here is a link to my full review which was published prior to the review announcement:

Review: Canadian Club Chronicles Issue 3

“… The nose grows and grows as you let the glass breathe becoming almost breathtaking as the richness unfolds. Rum-like scents of molasses, Cognac-like aromas of raisins and dry fruit, Bourbon-like notes of corn and honeycomb seem to be all combined together with sticky marmalade and yummy nougat thrown in for good measure. And yes, that dash of rye seems to be playing a roll brightening the breezes without taking the shine from the sumptuous aroma …”

Enjoy the review!

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

About the Canadian Whisky Awards

The annual Canadian Whisky Awards, broadcast online in 2021, are normally held in conjunction with the Victoria Whisky Festival. The awards recognize the very best Canadian whiskies, and are intended to encourage distillers to maintain the highest quality standards. To qualify, each whisky must be distilled and matured in Canada. 

An independent panel of whisky experts selects the winners after tasting each whisky blind. In keeping with current trends in whisky connoisseurship, the jury includes both women and men tasters, who have made significant contributions to understanding Canadian whisky.

Here is a link to the full awards listing:  Canadian Whisky Awards 2021

Chimo!

 

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Ampersand Nocino! Named Canadian Artisan Spirit Of The Year

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 9, 2021

Today Artisan Distillers Canada (ADC) proudly announced the 2021 results for the Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition (CASC). A nationwide spirits competition which I participated in as one of the nationwide panel of CASC Judges. (CASC is Canada’s only national spirit competition reserved exclusively for artisan distilleries.)

The 2021 edition of CASC included an expanded set of categories, reflecting the growing size and diversity of spirits produced by artisan distillers across the country. Best in Class, Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals were awarded in 19 spirit categories. The competition also includes Terroir honours, recognizing distilleries whose use of local ingredients is reflected in the character of their spirits.

Alex Hamer (ADC’s founder) made the following statement:

“This year I am pleased to see spirits from across the country represented in our Best in Class awards, with distilleries in Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia all taking Best in Class prizes.  It’s also great to see that even in the face of considerable pandemic-related business interruptions, our distillers continue to produce high quality spirits of every kind.”

Image courtesy of Artisan Distillers Canada

And this years top honour for  CANADIAN ARTISAN SPIRIT OF THE YEAR was awarded to Ampersand Distilling Company (located in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island) for their Italian-style green walnut liqueur, Nochino! made with walnuts handpicked in the Cowichan Valley and sweetened with local honey.

It was apparent the Judges (including myself) loved this spirit, with the following notes cited in the judging results:

“pronounced aromas of walnut, and medium notes of orange peel, nutmeg, coffee, and burnt sugar … very complex and exceptionally balanced … with a deeply roasted flavour and a pleasing note of bitterness … [a] carefully crafted liqueur.”

In addition, the following spirits earned the top scores in their respective categories:

BEST IN CLASS – SPIRITS

  1. Absinthe: Distillerie Fils du Roy (QC) – Courailleuse
  2. Akvavit: Confluence Distilling (AB) – Vinland Aquavit (Best in Class, 2020)
  3. Amaro or Vermouth: The Woods Spirit Co (BC) – Pacific North-West Amaro
  4. Brandy or Eau de Vie: Wynndel Craft Distilleries (BC) – Apple Brandy
  5. Flavoured or Infused Vodka: Arbutus Distillery (BC) – Espresso Vodka
  6. Aged Gin: The Liberty Distillery (BC) – Endeavour Old Tom Gin
  7. Classic Gin: Patent 5 Distillery (MB) – Navy Strength Gin
  8. Contemporary Gin: (tie) Compass Distillers (NS) – Gin Royal; The Dubh Glas Distillery (BC) – Noteworthy Gin – Navy Strength
  9. Flavoured Gin: Raging Crow Distillery (NS) – Spruce Tip Gin
  10. Liqueur: Ampersand Distilling Company (BC) – Nocino!
  11. Fruit Liqueur: La Vallée Bleue (QC) – Cassimix
  12. Alternative Rum: Merridale Cidery & Distillery (BC) – Cowichan Spiced Rhumb
  13. Traditional Rum: Last Straw Distillery (ON) – Blackstrap Rum – Double Barrelled
  14. Classic Vodka: Bandits Distilling Inc. (SK) – Northern Lights Vodka
  15. Contemporary Vodka: Ironworks Distillery (NS) – Ironworks Vodka
  16. Single Grain Whisky: Shelter Point Distillery (BC) – Double Barrel Batch 5
  17. Single Malt Whisky: Odd Society Spirits (BC) – Commodore Single Malt Whisky
  18. Young Whisky: DEVINE Distillery (BC) – Ancient Grains (Best in Class, 2019, 2020)
  19. White Spirit: Silver Fox Distillery (ON) – 4 Peppercorns

An additional category of Bitters was also included with the Best in Class – Bitters award presented to Distillerie Fils du Roy (QC) – Fils du Roy Bitter.

Medals were awarded to distillers and bitters-makers from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

If you are interested in a complete listing of all the results, they can be found on the Artisan Distillers Canada (ADC) website:

https://artisandistillers.ca/2021-results

ABOUT THE CANADIAN ARTISAN SPIRIT COMPETITION and ARTISAN DISTILLERS CANADA

Artisan Distillers Canada is a national organization focused on celebrating and highlighting artisan distilleries and spirits across Canada. The annual Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition was founded in 2017 to recognize the best of Canadian artisan distilling. Distilleries must meet our qualifications (https://artisandistillers.ca/artisan-distillery) to participate in the competition.

The first annual Artisan Distillers Canada Conference & Trade Show will be held October 19 – 20, 2021, at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

For more information, visit https://artisandistillers.ca/.

CASC is grateful to their sponsors: South Peace Grain, nwPURE, & Specific Mechanical Systems

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The 2020 Canadian Whisky Awards – Pike Creek 21 Year Old Canada’s Best

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 20, 2020

Pike Creek Oloroso-finished 21 Year Old Named Canada’s Best Whisky

A jury of ten independent whisky experts has named Pike Creek Oloroso-finished 21 Year Old Canada’s best whisky at the Tenth Annual Canadian Whisky Awards gala, held on Thursday, January 16, 2020 at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Victoria, BC. Chair of the Judging Panel, Davin de Kergommeaux, described Pike Creek 21 Year Old as:

“Toasted cereal tones bursting from a complex, spicy bushel of red fruits.”

Distilled at Hiram Walker Distillery in Windsor, Ontario, the whisky is named for the nearby community of Pike Creek where it matured for twenty-one years. Each year for a special limited-edition Pike Creek release, master blender, Dr. Don Livermore pours mature whisky in exotic barrels for a short time to develop new flavours. The Oloroso sherry barrels he used this year imparted fruity flavours and a pinkish hue to the already complex whisky. Dr. Livermore also accepted the Award for Blender of the Year.

Hiram Walker master distiller, Don Livermore (centre) accepts the award for Whisky of the Year from head judge, Davin de Kergommeaux (r), and co-host Heather Leary (l). (Photo Credit: Orlando Carillo)

Accolades for Whisky of the Decade were accorded to Forty Creek Confederation Oak. Forty Creek Distillery, in Grimsby, Ontario, has won Whisky of the Year three times in the past decade. Over that time the Confederation Oak Whisky has consistently scored well in the blind tastings that determine the annual award winners.

Retired whisky maker, John K. Hall was named Whisky Maker of the Decade, having founded the relatively new Forty Creek Distillery, where he created a number of international bestselling whiskies.

Other big winners at the 2020 Awards include Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye, Canadian Club 42-Year-Old and Crown Royal Black.

Honours for Artisanal Distillery of the Year went to North of 7 Distillery in Ottawa, while The Crown Royal Blending Team accepted a lifetime achievement award.

A record number of high-quality whiskies entered by Canada’s distillers, large and small, predicts a very exciting 2020 for fans of Canadian whisky, worldwide.

About the Canadian Whisky Awards:

The Canadian Whisky Awards, held annually in conjunction with the Victoria Whisky Festival, recognize the very best Canadian whiskies and encourage distillers to maintain the highest quality standards. To qualify, the whisky must be distilled and matured in Canada. An independent panel of whisky experts selects the winners after tasting each whisky blind. Operated on a not-for-profit basis, the Canadian Whisky Awards are fully independent of the Canadian whisky industry.

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Smirnoff Launches Launches New “Welcome Home” Campaign, Supporting Inclusivity and Equality for All

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 5, 2019

Today, the world’s No. 1 vodka and longstanding ally to the LGBTQIA+ community, is launching its new “Welcome Home” campaign to roll out the welcome mat for the millions of LGBTQIA+ community members and allies expected to travel to New York for Pride celebrations.

“Smirnoff is enjoyed around the world by the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies. In the spirit of our brand’s international footprint and building off decades of support, we are continuing to push for global equality through our new ‘Welcome Home’ campaign and our continued commitment to HRC,” said Jay Sethi, Vice President, Smirnoff, DIAGEO North America.

“While 85% of LGBTQIA+ consumers want their community represented in brand campaigns, only 12.6% of marketers actually include them in their annual media planning. As the No. 1 vodka brand in the world, we have taken a stance to support this community year-round, as evidenced through our work with Laverne, Jonathan and Alyssa across both Pride and non-Pride campaigns.”

For Smirnoff, inclusivity and pushing for LGBTQIA+ equality is part of their brand’s DNA, and the brand is proud to have been a supporter of the LGBTQIA+ community for nearly half a century. The Smirnoff “Welcome Home” campaign will come to life through a digital video series starring actress and LGBTQIA+ activist Laverne Cox, a “House of Pride,” event where Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness will make a special appearance as the host for one night and popular drag-icon Alyssa Edwards will join the brand for the NYC Pride March on June 30.

To make this year bigger than ever before, the brand is releasing not one – but two – limited-edition Smirnoff No. 21 vodka Pride bottles (see above).

  • The Smirnoff “Love Wins” bottles were launched in June 2017 and feature an iridescent rainbow aesthetic and photographs of real couples and real love. For every bottle made, Smirnoff has pledged to donate $1 to HRC totaling nearly $1.5 million by 2021. These bottles are available for retail purchase nationally.
  • The NEW Smirnoff “Welcome” bottles are launching for Pride 2019 and are meant to support the brand’s “Welcome Home” campaign, welcoming the global LGBTQIA+ community to New York for Pride. There are six versions of this bottle, and on each one the iconic Smirnoff label is replaced with “Welcome” spelled out in a different language – English, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian and Mandarin – to honor the LGBTQIA+ community globally. While these bottles are not available for retail purchase, they are being created in limited quantities to spread messages of inclusivity and diversity and will be available at Smirnoff’s Pride events.

This year, New York is hosting the largest global Pride celebration in the world, spanning all of June and marking the 50-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Smirnoff, which is made in America but enjoyed in over 130 countries globally, will welcome love in all its forms home to New York through its “Welcome Home” campaign. It will strive to honor and celebrate the strides made towards LGBTQIA+ liberation over the last five decades, as well as those still to come.

Here are a few words from Smirnoff partner Jonathan Van Ness,

“What I love most about the gorgeous new Smirnoff ‘Welcome Home’ campaign is that she shines a light in on how Pride is more than just a party; it’s truly a home to our LGBTQIA+ brothers, sisters and non-binary siblings around the world. I cannot wait to celebrate Pride with Smirnoff later this month, and to personally welcome all of these beautiful people to my home of New York.”

and Brand partner and LGBTQIA+ advocate Laverne Cox

“When Smirnoff asked me if I would be a part of their ‘Welcome Home’ campaign, I immediately said yes. Their beautiful message is all about welcoming our community home to New York where the famous Stonewall Uprising took place 50 years ago. I hope our work celebrates not just the LGBTQIA+ community here in New York but also recognizes those across the globe, celebrating in their own way. Hopefully with a delicious vodka cocktail in-hand, of course!”

The Smirnoff “Welcome Home” campaign will come to life in multiple ways:

  • “Welcome Home” Videos with Laverne Cox: Smirnoff is launching a video series starring Laverne Cox, which welcomes the LGBTQIA+ community to New York for the global Pride celebrations. The videos debuted today on the brand’s social channels and will also be broadcast at New York City area airports – LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark International Airport – to greet the millions of people traveling to New York for Pride all in the spirit of “Welcome Home.”
  • House of Pride with Jonathan Van Ness: Smirnoff is creating a unique pop-up experience for media, influencers and consumers 21+ in downtown Manhattan filled with fun, global-themed Pride cocktails. The space will be inspired by a home, featuring six Insta-worthy rooms where Smirnoff will pay homage to – and celebrate – the history of the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as its future. The pop-up will take place Wednesday, June 26 through Friday, June 283, during which time Jonathan Van Ness will make a special appearance as the host.
  • Smirnoff Limited-Edition Pride Bottles: Smirnoff will continue its annual traditional of limited-edition Pride bottles with its latest iteration, the Smirnoff No. 21 “Welcome” bottles. These new bottles feature the award-winning Smirnoff No. 21 vodka on the inside, and on the outside, the brand label is replaced with “Welcome” in six languages4 – English, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian and Mandarin – to welcome the global LGBTQIA+ community to New York for Pride and to remind everyone that Pride is a home where everyone is welcome. While these bottles are not available for retail purchase, they are being created in limited quantities to spread messages of inclusivity and diversity. In addition, Smirnoff will also re-release its Smirnoff No. 21 “Love Wins” bottles, which feature an iridescent rainbow aesthetic and photographs of real couples and real love. These bottles are available for retail purchase, and the brand has pledged to donate $1 for every bottle made to HRC, totaling nearly $1.5 million by 2021.
  • Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Commitment: Smirnoff, and its parent company DIAGEO, are one of HRC’s longest-standing partners and biggest advocates and have been early and active supporters of LGBTQIA+ equal rights. In addition to the commitment of nearly $1.5 million to HRC by 2021 through the Smirnoff “Love Wins” bottles, for the last 11 years Smirnoff and DIAGEO have received a perfect 100% score on HRC Corporate Equality Index (CEI) for LGBTQIA+ workplace equality and in February 2018 were honored with the prestigious HRC Corporate Equality Award.
  • NYC Pride March with Alyssa Edwards: Smirnoff is proud to continue its longstanding tradition of participating in the NYC Pride March on Sunday, June 30. In partnership with popular drag icon Alyssa Edwards, the brand is creating a fabulous New York City themed float in the spirit of the Smirnoff ‘Welcome Home” campaign, with Alyssa as the star, dressed as “Lady Liberty.” The bold and inspiring Smirnoff float will be supported by 300 marchers, both members of the community and allies.

For Pride month, Smirnoff has created six global cocktails inspired by the international LGBTQIA+ community.

Smirnoff LGBTini Signature Cocktail
Celebrate Pride by mixing up a delicious signature cocktail:

  • 1.5 oz. Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka or Smirnoff “Love Wins” Vodka
  • 0.25 oz. Dry Vermouth
  • 5 Green Olives (dipped in rainbow edible glitter)

Combine Smirnoff and vermouth in a cocktail shaker filled with ice
Shake then strain into a chilled martini glass
Garnish with olives that have been dipped in edible rainbow glitter
Sip and enjoy responsibly!

About SMIRNOFF
The SMIRNOFF brand that boasts the world’s number-one selling premium spirit and the top-selling line of flavors in North America, traces its heritage back to 19th century Russia. As the most awarded vodka brand in the world in the last 10 years, SMIRNOFF has always been known for quality and is enjoyed responsibly in 130 countries around the world. For more information, log on to www.smirnoff.com.

 

 

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And the Best 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2019 Were:

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 28, 2019

Much like my Rum Howler Top 50 Rums of 2018 countdown was delayed due to the tribulations surrounding my move to a new residence at the end of last year, my Rum Howler Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown was also put on hold until the New Year. Because of the aforementioned trials with my move, I have shortened this years list to the best 50 Canadian Whiskies down from my huge list last year that included a whopping 100.

This year my list contains a few whiskies which, although I have tasted them and written out brief tasting notes and scores, I have not yet published reviews for. Reviews for these spirits will be published in the coming year (as well as many others). That is (I hope) something for all of you to look forward to.

Here is a link to my Countdown list of the best Canadian Whiskies of 2018:

The Rum Howler Top 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2018

Please everyone, enjoy the list Responsibly!

Chimo!

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