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Archive for the ‘Howls’ Category

Howls are my main method of posting on the front page. They are my way of communicating to you the general information of the site.

2018 Ends on a Bitter(s) Note

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 3, 2019

The calendar has turned and more than a few people have been wondering what happened to the Rum Howler at the end of the year that was 2018. He was nearing the end of his Fall and Christmas Cocktail Bazaar and was about to publish his annual lists of top Rums and Canadian Whiskies, when suddenly The Rum Howler Blog went silent on December 12, 2018.

What happened?

The best explanation I can give you is that a perfect storm of circumstance caused the year to end on a Bitter note. (And strangely enough, that is not all bad.)

The beginnings of the 2018 disaster had its roots in a decision made 18 months previous when my Wife and I, decided it was time to build a new house which featured wheelchair accessibility for my youngest son as we were finding it increasingly difficult to meet his needs in what was then our current home (a two-story with no bath or bedrooms on the main level).  So we hired a builder, I helped to design the house, and we built it over the 18 months with a move in date scheduled for December 1 (ish) 2018.

Six weeks prior to the scheduled move, we contacted our telephone/television/internet provider (Telus) asking them to have the services moved over by December 11th.  At the end of November, I was nervous as Telus hadn’t contacted us or given any indication as to when the services were to be moved. So I called them, several times, and each time was given a promise that an Escalation Manager would contact me promptly to let me know the status of the install.

Making a long story somewhat shorter, I was finally contacted in mid December and told that services could not be moved until Springtime when the ground was thawed. It had something to do with the new area I had moved to being a fibre optic only neighbourhood. You would have thought Telus could have told me that in October, not after our move-in date.

The Rum Howler during happier times in Guyana

I think you figured it out. On December 11th, which was when my wife and I moved to our new house we were without that vital link to the blogosphere, the internet. I was able to post one more recipe in my Cocktail Bazaar which had been previous uploaded, but all of my remaining work was on my home computer, and with the Christmas Season in full swing at my retail store, I was not able to post from work either. The Rum Howler Blog unfortunately was silenced.

Enjoying Rum at my previous digs

However, all was not lost. I contacted Shaw Cable on December 12th, and they were able to schedule a hook-up for December 24th. Issues with the cable line caused the install to be delayed until December 31st and even today (January 3rd), our phones are still not working right. But I do finally have internet. So the reviews and cocktail recipes can finally be reignited.

There was a silver lining to all of this. My wonderful wife, Maureen, made a troubling Christmas Season better by presenting me with a Bitter Advent Calendar on December 1st. Each day from the 1st to the 24th I was given a small gift to unwrap and inside was a small bottle of bitters.

So during the coming year, I plan to review each of those small bottles giving you my thoughts and recommendations for each of the bitter flavours. With bitters becoming increasingly popular, the bitter reviews should be a welcome addition to my website.

So Happy New Year Everyone!

Sorry for the rather bitter ending to 2018, hopefully those bitter feelings will converted into something more positive this year.

 

 

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Review: Gordon and MacPhail Caol Ila Distillery 2003

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 15, 2018

Caol Ila Distillery is an Islay Scotch whisky distillery near Port Askaig on the isle of Islay, Scotland. Built in 1846, the distillery is famous for its classic Islay style. Their whisky is made with a large percentage of peated malt and because of this the resulting spirit is full of aromatic phenols.

Gordon and MacPhail Caol Ila Distillery 2003 (Connoisseurs Choice) is a Single Malt Whisky which was distilled in 2003 and bottled in 2016. The Spirit was bottled at 46 % abv.

Note: I was invited to a private Scotch Whisky Tasting where I sampled several expressions in the Gordon and Macphail Connoisseur’s Choice line-up including Inchgower 2005, Tomatin 2002, and Caol Isla 2003. As a guest at the tasting, I was given small 50 ml samples of some of the spirit to take home. At the tasting, I took brief tasting notes for some of the spirits and compiled this review based upon those tasting notes as well as from tasting sessions with my small sample of Caol Isla 2003.

Here is a link to my review:

Review: Gordon and MacPhail Caol Ila Distillery 2003

“… The Whisky overtakes the peat which I find delightful. Too many times Peat is the central theme of an Islay whisky. I always say that peat should support the whisky, rather than it being the other way around. Heather and mint can be found, poplar and willow thicket, malt barley and light butterscotch …”

Please enjoy my review which includes my serving suggestion, an Old Fashioned Cocktail with Chocolate Bitters.

Chimo!

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FIRE AT LONG POND DISTILLERY IN JAMAICA

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 17, 2018

FIRE AT LONG POND DISTILLERY IN JAMAICA – BUT HISTORIC DISTILLERY IS STILL STANDING.

The entire team of Long Pond and National Rums of Jamaica is relieved to announce that nobody was harmed in the fire at Long Pond Distillery in Jamaica and that damages only occurred to production materials and buildings.

As of this morning, July 17, the fire is contained, except for the Bagasse dump at the Sugar Factory which is still under fire at this point. Firefighters are working to bring it under control.

The distillery itself including the stills have not been affected. The fire started in cane fields near the Long Pond distillery, midday on July 16. It quickly spread touching some part of the fermentation room and the fresh rum stocks (approximately 65,000 liters have been destroyed). As we don’t store or age rum at Long Pond Distillery, the aged rum stock was not affected. We are currently assessing the full extent of the damages.

The entire team of Long Pond and National Rums of Jamaica are working actively toward getting our stills back to normal production schedule.

 “In the middle of this difficulty, I know I can count on my team as well as our owners, the Jamaican Government, Maison Ferrand and Demerara Distillers Ltd. We are all committed for Long Pond to distill again this one of a kind rum as soon as possible” says Winston Harrison, CEO of National Rums of Jamaica.

(LONG POND DISTILLERY July 17th, 2018)

 

 

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The Rum Howler Introduces Mezcal

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 24, 2018

Some of you may have noticed recent changes to the labels on your favourite bottles of Mezcal.. These changes are a result of the new Mexican regulations which are part of the new labeling standards for the spirit (NOM 070-SCIFI-2016) which were put into effect last year (April 2017). These regulations are an effort of the Mexican Government to regulate and categorize Mezcal in a similar manner to the way that Tequila is regulated. They are meant to bring consistency to the production of Mezcal, but more importantly to establish a region of origin such that the spirit remains a true Mexican Spirit.

From the appearance of the liquor store retail shelves in Edmonton, this attempt by the Mexican Government (and Mezcal producers) has been very successful to date, as the number of Mezcal Spirits available in my retail market has jumped significantly. As a result, I have decided that it is time to introduce the spirit to my website.

Thus far I have secured a few sample bottles, and am working hard to secure more such that I can begin a review series in early June.

Mezcal is a much more varied product than is Tequila as the number of varieties of Maguey (agave) which may be used is much higher. As well the new classification system for Mezcal is somewhat more complicated (some might say more thorough). As my first posting with respect to the newly regulated Mexican spirit, I thought I might attempt to unravel some of the mystery regarding is labeling and classification.

This is my attempt to explain some of the changes and the new classifications for Mezcal.

100% Maguey

Going forward, all commercial bottles of Mexcal must be labeled with the phrase ‘100% Maguey‘ or ‘100% Agave‘. Maguey and Agave may be considered synonymous, and the intent of this criteria is to inform the consumer that Mescal is a 100% agave product. There is no ‘Mixto’ classification.

Denomination of Origin Protected

Going forward, Mescal brand owners are required to place upon the front label of their Mescal spirit either a “Made in Mexico” statement or use the “Eagle’s Head” to indicate to the consumer that the spirit was produced in Mexico. This exact phrase must be listed on the front label, in a font that is not to be any smaller than 3 mm in height. This phrase is to identify that what is in the bottle was made within the demarcated region for mezcal and according to all laws and regulations dictating its production.

Categories of Mezcal

In addition, according to the new regulations, Commercial Mezcal must now be categorized based upon how the maguey is cooked, fermented, crushed, and distilled. Each bottle must display on the front label, which of the three catagories, Mezcal, Artesanal, or Ancestral, the spirit belongs to. The specifications for each category are as follows:

Mezcal

Cooking: Cooking of agave piñas or juice in underground pits, above ground masonry ovens or autoclaves.

Milling: Tahona, Chilean or Egyptian mill, cane press, chipper, or roller mills.

Fermentation: Fermentation can take place in wood, concrete, or stainless steel vats

Distillation: Alembic still, continuous or column still made from copper or stainless steel.

Mezcal Artesanal

Cooking: Agave piñas must be cooked in underground pits or above ground masonry ovens.

Milling: Wooden mallet, tahona, Chilean/Egyptian mill, cane press, or chipper.

Fermentation: Fermentation can be performed in rock pits, in-ground pits, tree trunks, clay urns, wooden vats, or animal hide. The fermentation may include agave fibers.

Distillation: Distillation must be fueled by direct fire beneath a boiler of either copper or clay. The head or “hat” of the still may be made of clay, wood, copper, or stainless steel.

Mezcal Ancestral

Cooking: Agave piñas must be roasted in underground, earthen pits.

Milling: Roasted agave can only be crushed using wooden mallets, tahona, or a Chilean/Egyptian mill.

Fermentation: Fermentation can only take place in rock pits, in-ground pits, tree trunks, masonry tanks, clay urns, or wooden vats, or animal hide. Process may include fibers.

Distillation: Stills must be fueled by direct fire with boilers constructed of clay, with the head or “hat” of the still constructed of clay or wood.

Classifications within each Category:

All Mescal must be further classified based upon its maturation. These Classes are as follows:

Blanco or Joven: Mezcal which has not been altered in any way after distillation. (No aging)

Madurado en Vidrio: Mezcal that has been rested in glass vessels larger than 5 liters for over 12 months either buried underground or in a specialized area that minimizes variations in light, temperature, and humidity.

Reposado: Mezcal that has rested in wooden barrels for two months but not longer than 12 months in a specialized area that minimizes variations in light, temperature, and humidity. There are no specifications or limits regarding the shape or size of the barrels.

Añejo: Mezcal that has rested in wooden barrels for over twelve months in barrels that are no larger than 1,000 liters. They must be rested in in a specialized area that minimizes variations in light, temperature, and humidity.

Abocado con/Infused with: Mezcal that has had ingredients or extracts added to the mezcal post-distillation to contribute flavor. These ingredients can include, but are not limited to: Agave worm, damiana, orange, lime, mango, honey, or others, provided they are authorized by Ministry of Health.

Destilado con/Distilled with: Mezcal that is distilled with ingredients to influence flavor. Ingredients used can include, but are not limited to: Turkey or chicken breast, rabbit, mole, and plums, among others.

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IWSC Names Flor de Caña the #1 Rum Producer in the World

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 28, 2017

Here a Press Release I thought I should share today:

Flor de Caña, the premium rum brand from Nicaragua, was named Global Rum Producer of the Year by the prestigious International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) in London. The IWSC is the most respected organization focused on awarding excellence to spirits worldwide, with over 400 global experts judging products from more than 90 countries.

This distinction, the highest within the global spirits industry, is the most powerful endorsement of Flor de Caña’s quality and excellence. Flor de Caña, a 5th generation single family estate rum, is naturally aged without sugar, additives or artificial ingredients, enriched by an active volcano and distilled with 100% renewable energy.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO!

About Flor de Caña Rum

Flor de Caña, Nicaragua’s #1 exported brand, is present in over 40 countries worldwide and is one of the fastest growing premium rum brands in the United States. With more than 125 years and 5 generations of family tradition, Flor de Caña has been recognized as the world’s best rum in prestigious international competitions in London, Madrid, San Francisco and Chicago. Flor de Caña, the leading premium rum in Central America, is manufactured and distributed by Compañía Licorera de Nicaragua, S.A. (CLNSA).

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My Hearty Congratulations!

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