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Archive for the ‘Canadian Whisky’ Category

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown #5: Wiser’s Legacy

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 20, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Wiser’s Legacy Canadian Whisky (a Corby Brand) was released in early 2010 as a new entry into the fledgling “Super Premium” category of Canadian Whisky. At the time, a few other Super Premium Whiskies already existed in the market-place (Wiser’s own Red Letter, and Crown Royal’s, Cask No. 16 and Crown Royal XR); but the category hadn’t really caught the buying public’s imagination. In fact the Super Premium category had seen more failures than successes to that point (at least as far as Canadian Whisky was concerned).

wisers-legacy-sam_2656However the tipping point for the category seems to have been the year 2010, and the brand which (in my opinion) which helped the most to bring about a this change was Wiser’s Legacy.

According to David Doyle, who was at the time, Master Blender for Wiser’s“:

“I have selected only the finest new, white oak casks, which are essential to the aging process and help mellow the perfect distillate under tightly controlled conditions. It is this careful and deliberate craftsmanship that makes Wiser’s Legacy the ultimate achievement in traditional Canadian whisky distilling.”

Here is a link to the Number 5 Canadian Whisky  of 2016:

#5: Wiser’s Legacy

“… The aroma from the glass is rich in rye spice and caramel toffee, with a subtle corn and bourbon influence. The oak is very apparent as well, bring sappy notes of oak and cedar forward as well as rich damp tobacco. There are some nice indications of baking spices (vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon) as well as vague impressions of baked muffins full of banana, walnuts and chocolate chips …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the Number 4 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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2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #6 Century Reserve Lot 1525 & 21 Year Old Whiskies

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 19, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016In November of 2005, Highwood Distilleries Ltd. finalized the purchase of Potters Distilleries (founded by Ernie Potter in 1958). Part of this acquisition, was the purchase of all of the remaining barrel aged stocks of whisky in the Potters facility. These barrels of whisky were transferred from the Potters warehouse facilities in Kelowna, B.C. to the newly constructed warehouse facility in High River, Alberta, where they were allowed to continue to age at the foot of the Rocky Mountains on the western edge of the Canadian Prairies. The whisky brands which Potters had established (Century and Potters) were added to the Highwood portfolio.

sam_2647Highwood produces two well aged whiskies under their Century Distillers label, Century Reserve 21 Year Old & Lot 1525 ( blend of 15 to 25-year-old corn whiskies). I have noticed that the flavour profile of these two blends has began to merge in recent years to the point that this year when I did some blind tastings, I could no longer tell which whisky was which. (It could be that after tasting 70 Canadian Whiskies for this countdown, my palate was beginning to shows signs of fatigue.)  

This means that the Number 6 Whisky in my Rum Howler Top 50 Canadian Whisky countdown is actually two whiskies, both the Century Reserve 21 Year Old and Century Reserve Lot 1525 Rye whiskies.

Here is the link to the review for the Lot 1525:

#6 Century Reserve Lot 1525 Canadian Rye Whisky

“… Oak spices and marzipan weave in and out of the corn, the rye, and the honey, but in spite of the ages of the whisky in the blend, this never turns awkward or woody nor does the oak  swamp the mouth with bitter tannins. I find the balance to be superb!  The entire presentation is suave elegance and luxurious smoothness …”

Note: My Review for Century Reserve 21 Year Old can be found here.

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the Number 5 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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Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #7 Mt. Logan 15 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 18, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016The Mt. Logan whisky brand is produced by Highwood Distillers who are located in High River, Alberta (about 40 Kilometers south of Calgary). According to the label on the back of the bottle, Mt. Logan 15 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky is produced from prairie grain in a batch style distillation with each grains distilled and aged separately. When I discussed the brand with Ryan Engen, Director of Spirits, Liquor Stores N.A. Inc., he clarified for me. According to Ryan, the information from the distillery regarding the brand is that the 15 and the 20 Year Old Mt. Logan Whiskies are both 100% corn distillate aged in charred American white oak.

mt-logan-15-sam_2806This is a finely nuanced whisky which delighted me as a sipper.It just oozes elegance and class and as a result, it has found itself all the way up to the Number 7 spot in my Countdown of the 50 Best Canadian Whiskies of 2016.

Here is a link to my recent review:

#7 Mt. Logan 15 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

“… The label may read rye whisky; but it is tender corn that is the star within the breezes above the glass. Mild indications of butterscotch and vanilla join in with dusty dry oak spices building as the glass breathes. A kiss of rye spice meanders into the air and light touches of almond round out the nose which has an almost fragile quality. The whisky may not be a centerpiece of complexity; but this is outweighed by the purity of the nose which displays uncommon polish and sophistication …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the Number 6 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: #7 Mt. Logan 15 Year Old

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #8 Caribou Crossing

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 17, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Although Canadian whisky by volume is the best-selling whisky in the USA, the perception of this class of whisky (amongst spirits writers and whisky critics) is that the Canadian spirit is perhaps thin and uninteresting, (fortunately the millions of people who buy whisky appear to be much more impressed than the critics and writers). The landscape however, appear to be changing, especially at the premium end of the whisky market, where the Canadian spirit has seen strong growth in market share. Recognizing this trend, the Sazerac Company has recently made a push towards the premium end of the Canadian Whisky market with two new releases, Caribou Crossing and Royal Canadian Small Batch Canadian Whiskies.

sam_2657Caribou Crossing is what is known as a Single Barrel Whisky. From the company’s inventory of over 200,000 barrels of Canadian whisky, Sazerac’s whisky making team selects what they deem to be some of the very finest barrels. Each of these chosen barrels is bottled individually capturing its unique flavour. This means that each individual barrel offers a unique taste experience for the Canadian whisky connoisseur.

Here is a link to the newly scored review for the 8th Best Canadian Whisky of 2016:

#8 Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Whisky

“… This is a whisky which grows a little in the glass as you let it breathe. The oak and the rye grain seem to gain strength as sawdust and rye husks fill the breezes above the glass with very nice accents of vanilla and baking spice. Fresh corn on the cob rises into those breezes; and impressions of butterscotch pudding and vanilla ice cream tempt me into taking my first sip …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the Number 7 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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Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #9 Lot No. 40 Rye Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 16, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Lot No. 40 has received a bit of a makeover recently as the spirit which was previously branded, Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whisky has received a new label, and the whisky is now known simply as Lot No. 40 Rye Whisky.

Lot No. 40 is of course the Corby branded whisky which was first released in the 1990’s as an upscale connoisseur’s whisky for the North American market. According to the Corby Website:

lot-no-40-rye-sam_2885Lot No. 40 is expertly distilled in small batches using only the finest locally sourced ingredients. By distilling in a single copper pot still, the result is a whisky that starts off earthy and woody tasting and then becomes full bodied and complex with a velvety vanilla oak finish.

Those locally sourced ingredients must include rye grain as the new label tells us:

Lot. No. 40 is crafted in small batches using rye grain in a single copper pot still aged in virgin oak barrels.

Here is a link to the 9th best Canadian Whisky of 2016:

#9 Lot No. 40 Rye Whisky

“… The initial nose is filled with the scents and smells of milk chocolate and bread crust alongside fresh rye grain and strong oak and cedar scents. Caramel toffee, baking spices (vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon) and more fresh rye pour out of the glass into the breezes. As the glass breathes, the smells of oak and cedar strengthen with firm undertones of leather and burlap revealing themselves. After about 10 minutes, some dusty grain notes begin to climb out of the glass as well …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the Number 8 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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Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #10 Canadian Club Chairman’s Select

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 15, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Canadian Club Whisky is now the oldest (and probably the most influential) Canadian Whisky brand in the world.  It is found in over 150 countries, with sales in Canada that are unmatched by any other premium whisky brand. In 2014, Canadian Club (owned by Beam Suntory) launched a new 100% rye grain whisky, Canadian Club Chairman’s Select – 100% Rye. 

sam_2659It is of course produced exclusively from rye grain, distilled (and almost certainly aged) in Calgary by Alberta Distillers Ltd (who are also owned by Beam Suntory). The Chairman’s Select is aged in American Oak (bourbon barrels), cut to bottling strength (40 % abv) and then bottled in Walkerville Ontario, the home of Canadian Club.

Here is a link to the 10th best Canadian Whisky of 2016:

#10 Canadian Club Chairman’s Select – 100% Rye

“… I am delighted by the impressions I receive in the air above the glass. As it should be, the Chairman’s Select 100 % Rye whisky is very rye forward with lots of fine peppery wood spice dancing with that rye in the breezes. Melded into the spicy rye is a lovely light sweetness of butterscotch with a gentle sweep of vanilla and a few bits of almond. I also receive strong impressions of freshly harvested grain fields with dusty chaff blowing in the wind and lots of fresh straw lying in the windrows …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the Number 9 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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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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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

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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

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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

 
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