The Rum Howler Blog

(A Website for Spirited Reviews)

  • The Rum Howler Blog

  • Visit My Online Memorabilia Store

  • The Rum Howler Interview (Good Food Revolution)

    Click on the Image to see my interview on Good Food Revolution

  • Industry Interviews

    Interviews

    Click the Image for Great Interviews with the Movers of Industry

  • Cocktails and Recipes

    Click Image for Awesome Recipes

  • Follow Me on Twitter!

Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

2016 Spiced Rum Taste-off: Capatain Morgan Original Spiced Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 15, 2016

Cable Car SAM_2624

Captain Morgan and the Cable car

Admiral Sir Henry Morgan (aka Captain Morgan) was a Welsh ‘privateer’ who attacked and plundered the Caribbean on behalf of, and with the written consent of (in the form of an English Letter of Marque), the Governor of Jamaica, Sir Thomas Modyford. Privateers at that time in history were essentially ‘legal pirates’ who were allowed to attack and loot enemies of the state reaping the rewards from their plunder in lieu of pay. Researching Sir Henry Morgan, I learned he was a skilled naval captain, a ruthless buccaneer, and one of the most successful ‘privateers’ in the history of piracy earning a Knighthood for himself in 1674.

Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum is of course the name of Diageo’s top-selling spiced rum. It is the most successful spiced rum (at least with respect to sales) in the entire category, and has pretty much set the standard for sales and marketing for all other spiced rums to follow.

Here are my latest thoughts on the Original Captain:

#16 Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum

” …  I began to taste light oak spices, a peppery citrus zest, and the faint echo of baking spices. My feeling is that the flavour profile is quite approachable, but it is not really geared towards sipping. This is a mixer and that is where the rum excels …”

Please enjoy the review which includes a fantastic cocktail recipe created by Tony Abou-Ganim, the Cable Car.

_________________________________________

I hope you all find this countdown enjoyable and you can follow the rankings here:

The Rum Howler 2016 Spiced Rum Countdown

Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews, Spiced Rum | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

2016 Spiced Rum Taste-off: Wild Geese Spiced Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 9, 2016

srumThe Flight of the Wild Geese is a reference to a regimental force which traveled from Ireland to France under the command of Patrick Sarsfield, as stipulated in the Treaty of Limerick on October 3, 1691. The western counties of Clare, Limerick, Cork, Kerry and Galway provided most of these recruits as French ships would arrive on the west of Ireland with cargoes of smuggled brandy or wine and would depart with troops for the Irish Brigade.

Those ships which carried the recruits apparently listed the smuggled troops as “Wild Geese,” in the ship’s records which of course is the genesis of the name given to these Irish Soldiers. The tradition of the Wild Geese Soldiers all but ended in 1745 when Irish recruitment for continental armies was made illegal.

The Wild Geese Rum Collection is the companion to the Wild Geese Irish Whisky Collection. While the Wild Geese Irish Whisky collection sought to bring the Story of the Wild Geese and their struggles in European Armies to light, the Wild Geese Rum Collection continues the saga bringing to light the story of some of these Wild Geese who after service in the continental armies of Europe found themselves transported to America and the Caribbean where many worked upon the Rum Plantations in the new world.

Here is a link to my review of The Wild Geese Spiced Rum:

#18  The Wild Geese Caribbean Spiced Rum

“… The initial flavour impressions I receive across my palate are similar to what I experienced as I nosed the glass. I sense a trio of fruitiness which resembles cherry licorice, fresh mango and sliced pineapple. There is also a welcome spiciness which runs through the rum with suggestions of coriander and ginger implied by my taste buds. Rounding out the flavour is an impression of vanilla with hints of butterscotch sweetness …”

_________________________________________

I hope you all find this countdown enjoyable and you can follow the rankings here:

The Rum Howler 2016 Spiced Rum Countdown

Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews, Spiced Rum | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

2016 Spiced Rum Taste-off: Voodoo Spiced Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 3, 2016

Voodoo Spiced RumI continue my spiced rum taste-off with the 19th best spiced rum on my rum shelf. Voodoo Spiced Rum is produced by Three-D Spirits, Inc. ( www.redrum.com). The company was founded in 1996 with the stated goal to create exceptional  handmade rums. Their spiced rum is apparently (according to the website) produced from a blend of aged Virgin Islands Rum. The blended rum is infused with cloves and cinnamon as well as Madagascar vanilla, and bottled at 35 % alcohol by volume.

No information is given regarding the age of the rums in the blend; however, based upon my tasting notes, I would suggest that the spirit was aged for only a limited time period as there is very little evidence of oak or wood spice in the taste profile. This is typical of the spiced rum category.

Here is my review:

#19   Voodoo Spiced Rum

“… When I nose the glass vanilla wafts upward, and it is obviously the dominant spice. I also sense a mild but firm butterscotch sweetness and a light peppery spiciness in the breezes above the glass. Taking a little time and listening to what the merry little breezes above the glass tell me, impressions of cloves become more obvious along with hints of cinnamon …”

_________________________________________

I hope you all find this countdown enjoyable and you can follow the rankings here:

The Rum Howler 2016 Spiced Rum Countdown

Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews, Spiced Rum | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

2016 Rum Howler Spiced Rum Taste-off

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 31, 2016

Several weeks ago I found myself staring at all the spiced rums on my rumshelf in my tasting room. I had a little over 20, and most of them were barely touched. I had done my review for each, made a cocktail or two, and then sealed the bottles and moved on. I even had several full bottles that had were still sealed as often when samples are sent to me, the producer sends two bottles rather than one. While staring at the spirits the thought occurred to me that perhaps I ought to do something constructive with my spiced rum selection. So, I decided that I should re-taste all of these rums, create new tasting notes, and update my reviews especially as I was curious how the older reviews would stand up.

krakenThose who are regular readers know that I like to present the results from these types of exercises in a ‘Countdown’ format, and so during the next two months I shall be present the results, one spiced rum at a time, beginning with the rum which ranked 20th on my newly created list, then work my way down to the spiced rum which I feel is the best in my tasting room. As I publish the new reviews, I will be replacing my older review with the newer ones such that by the time I am done, all of the reviews will be updated with the new tasting notes and scores. (In a few cases when the older review stands up well with my current thoughts (especially of the published review is current) I have left the older review as it is.)

Today I shall begin with the Rum which ranked Number 20, on my Rum Howler 2016 Spiced Rum Countdown, the Kraken Black Spiced Rum, here is the new review:

#20   The Kraken Black Spiced Rum

“… The merry little breezes above the glass tell me a story of peppery spice and licorice. Cinnamon is revealed along with wiffs of cloves, plum preserves, and black cherries. The black spiced rum has an almost medicinal quality as there is also more than a hint of menthol in those breezes which as it combines with the fruity smells of black cherries and plums makes me think of cough medicine and Jagermeister …”

I hope you all find this countdown enjoyable and you can follow the rankings here:

The Rum Howler 2016 Spiced Rum Countdown

Posted in Awards, Extras | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Eight Lame Ducks

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 8, 2016

CanardI try to be positive on my website. Generally speaking, I like to sample and write about spirits which I genuinely enjoy, rather than those which leave an unpleasant taste in my mouth. In fact, the experience of putting something into my mouth that tastes bad is one I tend to avoid. However, despite my efforts to avoid bad experiences, I nevertheless do sometimes accept samples which I wish I had not, and at times well-meaning friends or family members gift me bottles which if I had my druthers, I wish they would have kept to themselves.

In my effort to help you avoid these same mistakes, I have created the Rum Howler Canards of 2015.

A canard, if you are unfamiliar with the term, is the french word for duck. It is also a slang term for something that isn’t quite right. An item which promises to be wonderful, but upon examination turns out to be something less, something which disappoints rather than exhilarates.

And that is precisely what my Canards recognize. These spirits promised me pleasure, but granted me something much less. And my Rum Howler Canards of 2015 are for the 8 Lame Ducks of the previous year.

These Eight Canards are revealed here:

The Rum Howler Canards of 2015

Posted in Awards, Extras | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

The Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 29, 2016

Alberta Premium 25 Year Old SAM_1728I began working on my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits list at the beginning of July last year, and put the final touches on it in early September. Fortunately, most of the spirits I would be including were in my possession as part of my growing collection of fine spirits, and I had an opportunity to re-taste some of them side by side with others of similar quality to ascertain their rankings. However, it was also true that a number of the spirits I was considering for inclusion were no longer in my possession. I (and my friends) had consumed them over time, and I had not (as yet) re-added them to my collection. In those cases I had to make a judgement call, and my rankings for those spirits were based purely upon the memory of my past indulgences (and my review scores).

Persons unfamiliar with my website should be aware that the primary spirits of interest to me are rum and whisky. Therefore my list is perhaps weighted in favour of those spirits which I particularly enjoy. However, I have manged to taste and review many excellent examples of all of the major classes of distilled spirits, and my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits List does indeed include outstanding examples of each class (yes, even a few Vodkas).

Here is a link to my final list, The Best 100 Spirits I have ever tasted:

The Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits

 

Posted in Awards, Extras | Tagged: | Comments Off on The Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits

Top 25 Rums of 2015

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 25, 2016

The 2015 Best Rum in the World

The 2015 Best Rum in the World

I was not sure I would be able to complete my listing of the Top 25 Rums of 2015. Last fall was so hectic. My retail store where I sell sports and movie memorabilia was extremely busy, and the ramp up to Christmas was crazier than ever. As well, upon my website, I had embarked on the ambitious plan to countdown the best 100 spirits I have ever tasted.

Compiling the Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown fortunately afforded me the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. As part of the process of compiling my list of the best 100 spirits ever, I was able to taste almost everything I needed to compile my list of the best rums of 2015.

Unlike my Top 100 Spirits list which was a listing of the best spirits I have ever tasted regardless of whether they were still in production, this list of the Top 25 Rums of 2015 contains only those spirits which are currently available. Every spirit on this list is available somewhere in the world in a local retail shop.

I should point out that when I reached the top 5 spots in this countdown of 2015 rums, I decided to add a wrinkle. Rather than using only my tasting preferences, I asked two friends to join me tasting the final five rums. The top 5 rankings were arrived using an amalgam of our 3 scores. I was quite satisfied with the results.

And so with no further ado, allow me to present my list:

The Rum Howler – Top 25 Rums of 2015

Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum | Comments Off on Top 25 Rums of 2015

The Year In Rum – (The 2015 Rum Howler Awards)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 31, 2015

RH-winner2015I have come at last too what is regularly the most popular posting on my website, my annual Year in Rum – Rum Howler Awards which recognize those brands  which have achieved excellence in the production of rum. For the second year in a row, sadly, I have eliminated the Regional Rum Awards as once again time simply has gotten the best of me, and tomorrow I must forge on into the year 2016 and leave 2015 behind.

This year, to determine my Rum Howler Award Winners I first checked my review scores in all of the categories of each rum I had sampled in the last two years and chose for each category the 5 top spirits based upon those review scores. Then I asked two friends of mine to rank each of the rums I had chosen within each of the categories. The only category in which cocktails were constructed to help assist in the rankings was for the white rums, and the cocktail constructed was a simple daiquiri. All other rum categories were judged neat.

I compared the rankings assigned by my two jurors for each spirit within each category with my review rankings and determined the Winner as well as the Runners-up and the Honourable Mentions for each category. The results turned out to be very consistent with my review scores although there are a few exceptions. No system is perfect, but I believe my friends and I did a thorough job with good results.

It is time for me to bring forward my 2015 Rum Howler Awards Winners. These are the spirits which have risen to the top and provided us with our greatest enjoyment.

Here is a link to my Year in Rum Awards Page:

The 2015 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Rum

Please remember, that the aim of my website is not to help you drink more spirits, it is to help you drink better spirits! (Wishing everyone a safe and enjoyable New Years.)

 

Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on The Year In Rum – (The 2015 Rum Howler Awards)

The Year In Whisky – (The 2015 Rum Howler Awards)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 30, 2015

RH-winner2015The major story (at least as near as I can determine) with respect to whisky in 2015 is the continued resurgence of Canadian Whisky upon the world scene. I can remember a time only a few short years ago when it seemed like only Davin De Kergommeax (CanadianWhisky.Org) and myself were willing to place the Canadian spirit on par with American Bourbon and Single Malt Scotch Whisky. As both Davin and I wrote our reviews and commentaries it often felt as though we were each subject to more than a few strange looks from other whisky critics who panned the Canadian Spirit as merely a cheap blend.

And this might be the year that future whisky historians decide that Canadian Whisky finally became relevant again. And no, it was not because of Davin or myself (although we may have each played a small (very small) part). It was because in 2015 the most recognized and influential whisky critic in the world (Jim Murray) placed one of our nation’s spirits on top of the whisky world. That whisky, Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye, was named by Jim Murray in his 2016 Whisky Bible, the World Whisky of the Year!

That is not to say that the whisky produced elsewhere is not improving as well. Whisky Advocate named a Swedish spirit, Spirit of Hven Sankt Claus, their World Whisky of the Year, and throughout the world the popularity of US Bourbon continues to rise as does the whisky produced in Japan. Of course Scottish Single Malts are as popular as ever; but the pedestal they once enjoyed upon the top of whisky world has turned more into a broad plateau with many other whisky styles from many other countries also sharing the view from on top.

And this brings me to my Whisky Awards. Let’s face it, Jim Murray may well have his opinion, and the Whisky Advocate writer’s may have theirs; but the opinion which counts for the most upon this website … is mine. And that opinion is shared every year when I publish my own Rum Howler Awards.

Here is a link to my Awards Page for the Best Whiskies produced in 2015:

The 2015 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Whisky

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on The Year In Whisky – (The 2015 Rum Howler Awards)

The Year In Vodka – (The 2015 Rum Howler Awards)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 29, 2015

RH-winner2015There seems to be a divide among vodka producers. While most producers, particularly in North America and Western Europe continue to value purity above all else, a small but growing movement (which started in Eastern Europe) of allowing the vodka spirit to express a certain level of flavour is gaining momentum. I have always maintained that there are subtle aromas and flavours which can be appreciated when Vodka is sipped or when it is consumed as a shot, and it seems that some of the producers within Eastern Europe have adherents to this philosophy as well. Hopefully this movement will continue to grow.

When I review Vodka on my website, I try very hard to convey my appreciation of those subtle nuances of flavour and pleasure which the spirit can provide.

As for those Vodka Reviews, they continue to be among the most popular upon my website. And I must admit that reviewing vodka the way I do is certainly fun. The process and methodology I utilize where my friends are invited to participate as we sample and share both cocktails and food pairings with the Vodka spirit allows me to incorporate not only my views of taste and quality, but also my friends observations.

As is the case each year, all of my Rum Howler Awards are based upon side by side tastings within each category of spirit. I taste the spirit neat, and I may also mix a few cocktails with each spirit. All spirit samples which I receive to review on my website are automatically considered for my awards. I do my review, and then I set aside the remainder of the spirit for the end of the year judging. I also include those samples which were provided in the previous year so as to have a larger field to judge, and I may receive additional industry samples specifically for these awards.

Here is a link to my Vodka Awards Page:

The 2015 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Vodka

Posted in Awards, Extras, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on The Year In Vodka – (The 2015 Rum Howler Awards)

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,795 other followers

%d bloggers like this: