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Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #11: Forty Creek Founder’s Reserve

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 14, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016,Forty Creek Whisky has for the last number of years produced a special limited release whisky and allowed the public to participate in the release by offering to let you choose your own numbered bottle. As well you can have your bottle signed by their own Master Distiller and Whisky Maker, John Hall, when you arrive to pick up your pre-ordered bottles. These special release whiskies are built upon the foundation of the company’s flagship whisky, Forty Creek Barrel Select, and are basically versions of this whisky which have spent additional time finishing in selected oak barrels.

sam_2878-founders-reserveWhat makes this year’s Limited Edition whisky unique is that it is the first of the Forty Creek expressions to be dominated by barley.

According to the folks at Forty Creek:

As the 10th Annual Limited Edition, Forty Creek is excited to introduce Founder’s Reserve – a special, rare whisky and a tribute to our founder, John K. Hall. John was a pioneer in the Canadian Whisky industry and after 10 years of special editions, it is only fitting we pay tribute to his legacy.

This whisky is an artful blend of rye, corn and barley whisky stocks. Barley is the dominant whisky with rye and corn whiskies added for further complexity. The whisky stocks have been aged from four to nine years in a mixture of both lightly toasted and heavily charred American White oak barrels.

Here is a link to the Number 11 Whisky in my 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown

#11: Forty Creek Founder’s Reserve

“… the dusty grain note increases in strength as the sweet maple and butterscotch notes begin to merge with the oak spice bringing me impressions of marzipan and marmalade. I decided to allow the glass to breath for a full ten minutes and the oak and dusty grain continued to increase joined now by some leathery notes of burlap and deep tobacco scents. At this point I am extremely impressed …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 10 Canadian Whisky.

Chimo!

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* You may follow my 2016 Canadian Whisky Countdown by bookmarking this link:

The Rum Howler – Top 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2016

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Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #11: Forty Creek Founder’s Reserve

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown #12: Monymusk Classic Gold Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 13, 2016

2016rum_howler_badgeMonymusk Classic Gold Rum is produced in Jamaica by a partnership called the National Rums of Jamaica. The spirit is produced at the Claredon Distillery (also called the Monymusk Distillery), near Lionel Town in the heart of Jamaica’s sugar cane producing region. The Claredon Distillery contains a modern column still plant and a second older plant with two  double-retort pot stills.

brooklynitesam_2847While the vast majority of the rum distillate produced at the distillery is destined for bulk sales (much of it to Diageo), about 10 % of the rum distilled is set down to rest in American Oak barrels and aged at the NJR facility at Innswood, an older distillery which now serves as an aging and blending facility for Claredon.

Monymusk Classic Gold Rum was produced from aged rum from both the modern column plant and the double-retort pot stills.

Here is a link to the Number 12 Mixing Rum in my Top 50 Countdown:

#12: Monymusk Classic Gold Rum

“… The Jamaican pot still is in evidence as I notice camphor, some black licorice, a light menthol coolness, and a touch of brine-like saltiness. The flavours across the palate are true to what the nose had promised. Perhaps there is a touch more sweetness and perhaps a little stronger oak presence than I expected; however the Jamaican pot still remains the centerpiece of the rum’s flavour. With an ice-cube the rum is very easy to sip and enjoy. With a light dollop of cola, it becomes a great bar-drink especially as the pot still flavours push through …”

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Stay tuned for more mixing rum revelations as I will be adding to this list each day until Christmas Eve.

And you can follow the rankings by bookmarking this page:

The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown

 

Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown #12: Monymusk Classic Gold Rum

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #12: Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 13, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye Whisky is a new blend from the folks who run the Crown Royal Distillery in Gimli, Manitoba. It is a bit of a throwback in style as the whisky features a heavy dose whisky produced from Canadian Winter Rye grain in the blend (almost 90% of the spirit is produced from Canadian Winter Rye grain). Winter rye imparts a robust spiciness throughout the spirit when distilled which (in my opinion) provides a much stronger ‘Canadian Whisky’ feel for this particular Crown Royal Whisky than we find with the flagship blend Crown Royal Deluxe which is produced predominantly from corn rather than rye.

Northern Harvest RyeThis movement towards a more rye forward flavour profile seems to be a common theme within the Crown Royal family as two other recently released blends (Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel, and the Limited Edition Crown Royal Monarch 75th Anniversary Blend) have recently followed that common path.

Here is a link to the Number 12 Whisky in my 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#12: Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye Whisky

“… The initial smells from the glass are enticing as I notice some obvious notes of golden delicious yellow apples and some green grapes rising into the air alongside sourdough rye notes which hint at milk chocolate. As the glass breathes, I sense a stronger underlying oakiness within the spirit as fine wood spices rise into the air. The merry little breezes above the glass are tinged with crisp spicy rye notes as well …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 11 Canadian Whisky.

Chimo!

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* You may follow my 2016 Canadian Whisky Countdown by bookmarking this link:

The Rum Howler – Top 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2016

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #12: Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown #13: Myer’s Planters’ Punch

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 12, 2016

2016rum_howler_badgeI was given a bottle of Myer’s Planter’s Punch by a good friend who had purchased it as a curiosity, and then subsequently decided the style was not to his liking. (Molasses-rich dark rums are not for everyone so we won’t hold this against him.) This particular dark rum is being distributed in Alberta by Diageo. It has been produced since 1879, and is apparently a blend of continuous and pot still Jamaican rums which have been matured in previously used bourbon barrels for a minimum of four years.

Myer's Planter's PunchThat is not the whole story, as my bottle clearly states (at the bottom of the label) that the particular bottle which I was given has been blended with Canadian rum as well. For those who do not know, it used to be fairly common for rums imported into Canada to be blended with a small amount (about 1.5 %) of Canadian Rum (usually produced at the Hiram Walker Distillery) in order to obtain a more favourable tax rate from the Canadian Government. I have been told that this small amount of Canadian Rum does not change the flavour profile, although the skeptic inside me forces me to mention the Canadian content just in case the Myer’s Planters’ Punch does taste slightly different in other markets.

Here is a link to the Number 13 Mixing Rum in my countdown of the 50 best:

#13: Myer’s Planters’ Punch

“… the pervading presence of oak and wood spices which give the rum a depth of character I was not expecting. As noted earlier, the spirit is full of licorice stained molasses and rich baking spices (vanilla, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon); however, the real character of the rum stems from combined effects of the musty, oily, tar-filled flavours created by the Jamaican Pot Still and the four years of oak aging. The rum mixes with cola easily and if you want a funky rum and cola bar drink, I suggest mixing at a ratio of 1:1, and adding a few drops of Angostura Bitters serving over ice …”

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Stay tuned for more mixing rum revelations as I will be adding to this list each day until Christmas Eve.

And you can follow the rankings by bookmarking this page:

The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown

Posted in Awards, Dark Rums, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown #13: Myer’s Planters’ Punch

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #13 – Crown Royal Reserve

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 12, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Crown Royal Canadian Whisky is currently produced in Gimli, Manitoba, at the Crown Royal Distillery. The distillery and the brand are owned by Diageo, and I think it is fair to say that Crown Royal is Diageo’s flagship Canadian whisky brand. In 1992, a premium version of Crown Royal was introduced as Crown Royal Special Reserve. This whisky was produced from specially selected casks which were tasted and monitored closely by the Crown Royal Master Blender. These ‘premium casks’ represented whiskies with special character, and they were allowed to age longer with the aim of producing a more premium whisky. In the fall of 2008, this more premium Crown Royal Special Reserve was relaunched as Crown Royal Reserve Canadian Whisky.

sam_2663I have to admit that I seem to have mixed reactions whenever I taste this particular whisky. When I originally scored it in 2010, I was underwhelmed; but, when I re-scored the spirit in January of 2013, my impression of the whisky had improved considerably. As well, I have noticed that in blind tastings (when serving as juror for the Canadian Whisky Awards) I seem to have different reaction each time I sample a different bottle.

This year the Crown Royal Reserve captured the Number 13 spot in my 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#13 – Crown Royal Reserve

“… I am further impressed by the complex structure of the whisky which is all at once tart and spicy, sweet and creamy, and rich with flavour. The whisky is lightly oaky with wood spices leading out as orange peel and pepper. Some clear rye spices (ginger in particular) jump in, and this spicy montage of flavour is accented by sweet flavours of caramel and maple …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 12 Canadian Whisky.

Chimo!

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* You may follow my 2016 Canadian Whisky Countdown by bookmarking this link:

The Rum Howler – Top 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2016

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #13 – Crown Royal Reserve

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown #14 – Flor de Caña 4 Extra Seco

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 11, 2016

2016rum_howler_badgeTwo years ago, the entire Flor de Caña line-up received a make-over with splashy new bottle designs. Part of this redesign was the elimination of definitive age statements upon the new bottles and labels. Last year, when I corresponded with the company, they indicated that they wanted to modernize the bottle presentation; but it was maintained that no changes to the overall flavour profile of their rums has occurred.

extra_secoIn the case of the Flor de Caña 4 Extra Seco, this brand now replaced the Flor de Caña Extra Dry 4 Year Old Rum in their line-up. The new Extra Seco brand is now longer an age stated 4-year-old rum, rather I have been told that the number 4 on the label is 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.

#14: Flor de Caña 4 Extra Seco

“… The aroma rising up from the glass has a very gentle imprint of butterscotch with just a hint of menthol alongside. As I let the glass breathe I also begin to notice a few mushy banana-like scents, hints of grassy tobacco and the light spiciness of orange and banana peel. There is also a light astringency in the breezes which hints at oak spice and more orange peel. The rum appears to be just what it purports to be, a delicately aged mixing rum which is already begging me to mix a daiquiri …”      

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Stay tuned for more mixing rum revelations as I will be adding to this list each day until Christmas Eve.

And you can follow the rankings by bookmarking this page:

The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown

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Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews, White Rums | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown #14 – Flor de Caña 4 Extra Seco

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #14 – Ethan Koll Rare 8 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 11, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Ethan Koll Rare 8 Year Old Canadian Whisky is a whisky brand developed by Distiller Sales Company of Princeton, Minnesota and is part of a portfolio of brands owned by Phillips Products Company (PPC). The Brand was registered in 2010, and is distributed in the Northwestern States of the US and Western Canada.

Ethan Koll SAM_2622When I tasted this brand earlier this year I was very surprised with the quality I encountered. The Ethan Koll Canadian Whisky was an unexpected treat. The spirit takes a little time to gather itself together in the glass, but if you are patient with the glass you will be surprised by the rich whisky flavour and the mild maple sweetness which developes.

Here is a link to the Number 14 whisky in my Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#14: Ethan Koll Rare 8 Year Old Canadian Whisky

“… The mouthfeel was soft and approachable, and I tasted a combination of maple and butterscotch sweetness melded into the oak spice, cedar and rye grain. This gave the spirit a mild rum-like quality which I quite enjoyed. There was however also a strong underlying impression of rye grain and damp tobacco which certain left no mistake that this was a whisky, and a very good one at that …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 13 Canadian Whisky.

Chimo!

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* You may follow my 2016 Canadian Whisky Countdown by bookmarking this link:

The Rum Howler – Top 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2016

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #14 – Ethan Koll Rare 8 Year Old

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown #15 – Pusser’s Blue Label Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 10, 2016

2016rum_howler_badgePusser’s Rum is advertised as the original rum of the British Royal Navy. And it is a fact that for over 300 years it was a tradition of the British Navy that each member of the crew was issued a daily ‘tot’ of rum. This tradition began in 1655, and by 1731, the tradition of the daily ‘tot’ was in general use throughout the British Navy. As it was the ship’s purser who was responsible for issuing the rum. The Rum became known as Pusser’s Rum in a sort of slang derivation of the term ‘Purser’s Rum’.

Pusser's and a PainkillerAlthough the naval tradition of the daily tot had ended, in 1979  Charles Tobias obtained the rights and the blending information for the British Naval Rum, and formed Pusser’s Ltd. on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. His company produces their Pusser’s Rum following the blending information and the traditions of the Admiralty, including producing the rum from wooden pot stills just as the had been the tradition for over 200 years.

Here is a link to the 15th best Mixing Rum on my 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rum Countdown:

#15: Pusser’s Blue Label Rum

“… The Pusser’s website encourages you to add cola to the rum, making the assertion that the rum flavour will push through the cola creating a delightful cocktail. When I follow the website lead, I find that they are correct, the rum really does have the strength of character to push through the cola. This leads me to believe that this Pusser’s Blue Label Rum is going to be an excellent cocktail rum …”

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Stay tuned for more mixing rum revelations as I will be adding to this list each day until Christmas Eve.

And you can follow the rankings by bookmarking this page:

The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown

Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown #15 – Pusser’s Blue Label Rum

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #15 – Forty Creek Copper Pot

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 10, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016The Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve, (like all Forty Creek Whiskies), is built upon Whisky Maker, John Hall’s, foundation of three separately distilled grains: barley, corn and rye. Each grain is distilled and aged in oak separately. When each whisky is ready, the three finished whiskies are blended together and ‘married’ in oak once more allowing the three to become one.

copper-pot-on-ice-sam_2897Indeed, John Hall’s flagship whisky, the Forty Creek Barrel Select is a perfect example of that concept of marrying three separately distilled and aged grain whiskies into one. The Copper Pot Reserve is a more ‘premium’ version of the Barrel Select. Mr. Hall chose his best grain whiskies as the base for the Copper Pot. He aged these best whiskies a little longer to bring in more flavour from the oak, and then he chose the best of these whiskies to marry together in oak once more to complete the final blend. The Copper Pot Whisky is bottled at 43 % abv (rather than the traditional 40 %) allowing this premium whisky to showcase its robust flavour.

And it is a flavour which I appreciate enough to have selected the Copper Pot Whisky from Forty Creek as the #15 Whisky in my 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown!

#15: Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve

“… The initial nose of the whisky brings oak and rye spices into the breezes above the glass with an effervescent orange peel zest riding the coattails of the spice. As the glass sits, green tobacco and orange marmalade jump in with a soft punky caramel tainting their scent. I detect some cinnamon and ginger rising up from the glass and my sense is that the Copper Pot is going to be a very interesting and complex whisky …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 14 Canadian Whisky.

Chimo!

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* You may follow my 2016 Canadian Whisky Countdown by bookmarking this link:

The Rum Howler – Top 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2016

 

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #15 – Forty Creek Copper Pot

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown #16 – George Street Spiced Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 9, 2016

2016rum_howler_badgeThe capital of Newfoundland and Labrador is a city called  St. John’s, and there they have a place where the rum consumption reaches its apex. That place is George Street! A street full of music and revelry, lined from top to bottom with Pubs and Restaurants, where almost everyone’s drink of choice seems to be rum! And it is for that place that the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Commission (NLC) have named their spiced rum, George Street Spiced Rum.

George Street Spiced SAM_2721This isn’t an ordinary spiced rum. The rum itself is from Guyana, the home of the world-famous Demerara Rum, and that rum has been well aged blended from marques which are two, five , and seven years old. This blended aged rum is then spiced using both extractions and distillations of real spices. The product is bottled at 35 % alcohol by volume and is sold across Canada.

Here is a link to the Number 16 spirit in my Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown:

#19 – George Street Spiced Rum

“… There is a light bitterness winding throughout the spirit which reminds me of walnut and pecan. Additional impressions of tobacco, cola and bittersweet chocolate can all be found if one takes the time to look for them.

As indicated in my first review for the George Street Spiced Rum, spiced rum and coke cocktail is a natural combination for this spirit as the sweetness of the cola works beautifully with the dryer, more bittersweet elements of the rum. However, I also made a splendid short cocktail mixing the spiced rum with lemon and grapefruit juice …”

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Stay tuned for more mixing rum revelations as I will be adding to this list each day until Christmas Eve.

And you can follow the rankings by bookmarking this page:

The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown

Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews, Spiced Rum | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Mixing Rums Countdown #16 – George Street Spiced Rum

 
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