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Archive for the ‘Canadian Whisky’ Category

The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (#45 – #41)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 22, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown continues today with five more tasty Canadian spirits, two of which (Forty Creek Harmony, and Gibson’s Finest Bold) were released within the past two years, two of the spirits, Crown Royal De Luxe, and J.P Wiser’s De Luxe are considered flagships for their brands, and Pike Creek 10 Year Old is an experimental whisky which saw part of its maturation take place in vintage Port barrels.

I should point out the re-branding of the entire Wiser’s family of whiskies which now pay homage to the company’s founder by adding his initials J.P. to the brand name. The flagship whisky of the J.P. Wiser’s brand, J.P. Wiser’s De Luxe Canadian Rye Whisky makes a respectable showing in my countdown locking down the number 41 spot.

Here are the next five spirits in my 2016 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

forty-creek-harmony-sam_2633#45  Forty Creek Three Grain Harmony

“… The initial nose is rich with butterscotch and toffee and moderately spicy oak and tree sap.  As the glass sits two notes capture my attention, one which appeals to me strongly, a rich spicy rye note full of ginger and fresh grain, and one note which seems discordant, a sour dank fruit-filled note of fermented apricot and sour mash. I decided to allow the glass to breath for a full ten minutes to see if the two notes could come together, but in the end I remained unconvinced of the harmony. Although the triumvirate of  toffee, rye and oak spice is very appealing …”

crown-royal-sam_2753#44  Crown Royal Whisky

“… In the past this blend was very corn forward, it seems that this year (2016) more rye is apparent as breezes above the glass reveal a mixture of both corn and obvious rye grain. There is a nice mixture of lightly sweet caramel and oak sap melding into those corn and rye scents with some dusty dry wood and grain spices following …”

Gibson Bold SAM_2610#43  Gibson’s Finest Bold

“… When I bring my nose to the glass, a caramel note is quite obvious and sits out in front of the oak spice and whisky grain. I allowed the glass to breathe and soon noticed a building fruitiness of canned pears and baked apples. As time passes vanilla with a touch of cinnamon emerges and melds into the caramel note which now resembles the smell of baking cinnamon buns …”

pike-creek-sam_2805#42   Pike Creek 10 Year Old Canadian Whisky

“… When I tasted this whisky in a blind format a few years ago, I remarked upon the fruitiness of the spirit with all those sherry-like flavours of ripe cherries, black berries and dry fruit. Knowing as I do now that the whisky was finished in Vintage Port barrels my formerly blind observations make sense to me. It is the fruitiness of the Port barrels leaving their mark upon the whisky. These lovely berry flavours are offset by oak spice, ginger and some scattered white pepper …”

J.P. Wiser's deluxe SAM_2268#41   J.P. Wiser’s Deluxe Canadian Rye Whisky

“… The breezes above the glass now are tainted with maple and butterscotch scents however the dry wood and rye spices continue to pour out. There is a bit of orange peel mixed into that spiciness as well as impressions of fresh grain and light impressions of baking spice (mostly speckles of vanilla and cinnamon). As one who loves Canadian Whisky, I am pleased by the aroma although I must be fair and note that a light touch of astringency accompanies the rye and wood spice …”

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Please enjoy my Countdown of the Best Canadian Whiskies of 2016. Stay Tuned for numbers 40 through 35, Chimo!

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

The Rum Howler – Top 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2016

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The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (#50 – #46)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 20, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016

In compiling my list this year, I gathered as many of the newly bottled Canadian Whiskies as I could. This included both new brands as well as many of the whiskies which I had tasted and reviewed previously. I included all sample bottles I had received in 2015 and 2016 as well as many purchases from my private collection; however, I did not include any samples from brands which had been discontinued. I also re-scored and revised the tasting notes (and introductions when I felt the old information was no longer valid) for many of my published reviews.

This means that this year’s Top Canadian Whiskies of 2016 list and the reviews of each spirit accurately reflect how each of the various brands taste now, not how they may have scored and tasted several years ago. The list is also the most comprehensive year-end list I have ever completed for the Canadian Whisky category.

As always, I present my year-end list in reverse order. The first 25 Whiskies (#50 thru to #26) will be revealed five at a time, and then #25 thru to #1 will be revealed individually throughout the month of December. Let the Countdown of the Best Canadian Whiskies begin:

canadian-mist-sam_2810#50  Canadian Mist    

” …. the corn appears to have melded into the wood spice with ripe grain, orange peel and butterscotch providing a nice accent. There also a light mustiness weaving through the air which reminds me of the smell of dry con husks. As the glass breathes some more I also notice some light bourbon notes building along with a nice accent of vanilla and almond …”

canadian-club-premium-sam_2653#49  Canadian Club Premium Canadian Whisky   

“… Canadian Club as a brand, has one the most aggressive flavour profiles in the Canadian Whisky Category. There is a dank, organic, sour mash flavour which runs through the whisky. As well, the whisky is full of damp tobacco and fermenting fruit flavours. The spirit is spicy too, with oak tannins disguised as orange peel zest and rye spices heating up the mouth. Caramel flavours seep in and out as does an impression of vanilla …”

sterling-sam_2684# 48   Gibson’s Finest Sterling Whisky   

“… The whisky leads out with rye spices and ginger but underneath those spices is that same light butterscotch I noticed in the aroma. If I let the glass decant, I begin to taste a light whisper of corn and a few baking spices working their way into the flavour profile. The spices are more firm across the palate than they were on the nose especially orange peel, ginger and cardamom …”

J.P. Wiser's Double Still Rye SAM_2618#47   J.P Wiser’s Double Still Rye  

“… The scents above the glass bring me a nice menagerie of different whisky smells. Butterscotch is melded into oak spice with a light but firm impression of pot distilled rye lurking in the breezes as well. Bits of cocoa reveal themselves as do some baking spices in the form of vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. There is also a light but firm astringency rising into the air warning me that the whisky may have a bit of youthful exuberance …”

Revelstoke SAM_2621#46   Revel Stoke Deluxe Canadian Whisky  

“… The flavour of the whisky leads out with a lightly sweet impression of toffee alongside both bitter and spicy rye grain. The mouthfeel is soft, however the whisky has plenty of wood spice to both heat and pucker the palate between sips.  This is a dusty dry whisky, and as I sip, impressions of ripened grain fields and dry grassy hay lands both find their way into my consciousness. There is a touch of vanilla and a hint of cinnamon in the flavour profile as well and perhaps also just a light indication of menthol …”

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Please enjoy my Countdown of the Best Canadian Whiskies of 2016. Stay Tuned for numbers 45 through 41, Chimo!

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

The Rum Howler – Top 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2016

 

 

 

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Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (2016)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 14, 2016

It is that time of year again, and I have finished my private deliberations for my annual Canadian Whisky Countdown. This is an exercise I thoroughly enjoy every year. For the year that is 2016, my list is bigger than ever as I will have tasted close to 70 Canadian Whiskies during my deliberations.

can-whiskey-sam_2797

If you are wondering how I manage to rank all those whiskies, I will take this opportunity to walk you through the process.

royal-reserve-sam_2648Almost every whisky I considered for this year’s countdown was already tasted and reviewed upon my website. I began with my review scores and placed all of the whisky samples into groupings based upon those scores. Then I tasted the newest bottling of every spirit within my groupings to ascertain whether any deserved to be moved up or down into higher or lower groups. I did not rank anything yet, I just want to recognize whether any spirit (in my opinion) had changed since my most recent review. Those spirits which seemed to have changed were moved up or down as required.

Then I tasted each spirit again. This time I assigned scores to each spirit and compared my new tasting notes and my new scores to my written reviews. All samples which seemed to show quantifiable deviation from my review scores and/or tasting notes were flagged as candidates for revised reviews. (This year, I noticed that an unusual number of samples were flagged.)

Then I did my final deliberations. Each spirit that had been flagged for re-scoring was tasted one more time and new tasting notes were written and new scores assigned. Then I tasted my final groupings one last time and assigned my rankings. The entire process kept me busy for almost ten weeks.

The Rum Howler 2016 Top Canadian Whisky Countdown is the largest ranking of Canadian Spirits I have ever completed. The reveal will begin on November 20th, starting with numbers 50 through to 46; however, I couldn’t help but reveal today, the spirit which would have been added if the list were extended by one:

#51  Royal Reserve Canadian Rye Whisky

“… I taste a nice old-fashioned rye profile with a light dryness that goes for the tonsils. The whisky is crisp on the tongue and the dryness has the ability to pucker the palate making it receptive to another sip. A good dose of caramel arrives with the rye, and the oak spices carry flavours of fresh fruit and citrus peel …”

Stay tuned for the 2016 Rum Howler Top Fifty Canadian Whisky Countdown; the reveal begins on November 20th.

Chimo!

 

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Review: Mt. Logan 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 2, 2016

mt-logan-20-sam_2802The Mt. Logan whisky brand has been turning up in the local Liquor Depot chain of stores in my locale. It is in fact a ‘destination’ brand exclusive to Liquor Depot and Wine & Beyond (Liquor Stores N.A. Inc.) stores in Western Canada.

Three expressions of Mt. Logan Whisky are available, a 5 Year Old spirit produced from prairie grain (wheat and rye) and a 15 Year Old and a 20 Year Old Spirit each produced from 100% corn grain. These whiskies are 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 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky is produced in a batch style distillation. The spirit was matured in charred American white oak.

Here is a link to my full review of this new Canadian Whisky:

Review: Mt. Logan 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

“… The initial breezes above that glass are rich with vanilla, dusty dry oak spice, butterscotch and canned creamed corn. The strength and purity of the corn scent surprises and delights me. As the whisky breathes, the fine oak spices gain momentum. Orange peel begins to turn to marmalade as the butterscotch melds into the spice; dark tobacco wells up; and a firm sense of marzipan begins to unravel into the breezes …”

Please enjoy the review which includes a nice recipe for an Old Fashioned Cocktail, Chimo!

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Review: Mt. Logan 15 Year Old Canadian Rye

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 25, 2016

mt-logan-15-sam_2806

The Mt. Logan whisky brand has been turning up in the local Liquor Depot chain of stores in my locale. It is in fact a ‘destination’ brand exclusive to Liquor Depot and Wine & Beyond (Liquor Stores N.A. Inc.) stores in Western Canada.

The whisky itself 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.

Here is a link to my review of this new Canadian Whisky

Review: Mt. Logan 15 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

“… 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 …”

Please enjoy my review of this new Canadian Sipping Whisky.

Chimo!

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Review: Mt. Logan 5 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 15, 2016

mt-logan-splashThe Mt. Logan whisky brand has been turning up in the local Liquor Depot chain of stores in my locale. It is in fact a ‘destination’ brand, and is exclusive to Liquor Depot and Wine & Beyond stores in Western Canada.

The whisky itself is distilled and blended 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 5 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky is produced from prairie rye and wheat grain in a batch style distillation with each grains distilled and aged separately. The whiskies are aged for at least five years in charred American white oak barrels (without the addition of additives) and when they are mature, they are blended to produce that distinctive Canadian ‘rye’ flavour profile consistent with our Canadian Whisky.

Here is a link to my newest Canadian Whisky review:

Review: Mt. Logan 5 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

“… Fine oak spices and rye grain drift upwards with a light aroma of butterscotch and vanilla. The breezes above the glass also carry hints of baking spice (ginger and cinnamon), some light tobacco smells and aromas of dusty grain fields ripe and ready to be swathed …”

Please enjoy my review of this new Canadian Whisky.

Chimo!

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Review: J.P. Wiser’s Deluxe Canadian Rye Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 26, 2016

Rye Splash SAM_2616Wiser’s De Luxe Canadian Whisky has undergone a bit of a face-lift recently as a new bottle and label have been rolled out. In fact the entire Wiser’s family of whiskies has undergone a bit of a re-branding as the company now refers to itself as J.P. Wiser’s rather than simply Wiser’s. This ties the whisky more directly to the founder, J.P. Wiser and perhaps signals that the whisky company is beginning to see the ties to its historical past as something to be embraced rather than ignored.

Additionally the whisky now carries the name ‘Rye’ upon the label. Thus we now refer to this particular brand as J.P. Wiser’s Deluxe Canadian Rye Whisky. This could signal a stronger rye presence in the whisky, or just be an acknowledgement that all Canadian Whiskies which carry a rye forward flavour profile may be labeled as ‘Rye”.

J.P. Wiser’s Deluxe Rye Whisky is the flagship of the J.P. Wiser’s Brand. The whisky carries no age statement and is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my new review:

Review: J.P. Wiser’s Deluxe Canadian Rye Whisky

“… My initial impression when I take the first sip is that the whisky is very rye-forward with accents of lightly sweet butterscotch and fine wood spices. There is an appealing dry rye-like bitterness which presents itself alongside flavours of wood sap, almond and tobacco. Dry fruit, orange peel, bits of vanilla and hints of cinnamon round out the flavour profile …”

Please enjoy my review, Chimo!

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Review: Alberta Premium 100 % Rye Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 8, 2016

Alberta PremiumAlberta Distillers Limited (ADL) own the oldest distillery in Western Canada. It is situated in Calgary Alberta and has been producing spirits in the same location for well over 60 years. The distillery is part of the Beam/Suntory portfolio.Alberta Premium is the flagship whisky of Alberta Distillers Limited (ADL), and according to the Beam/Suntory Brands website:

This whiskey is made by Alberta Distillers in the heart of Canada’s rye-growing country where cold barren winters give way to an abundant crop of the finest rye. Made by blending two aged whiskies, one of which is aged for flavor in used bourbon casks. Then, after blending, it is aged some more. Alberta Premium is aged for 5 years. The slow aging in cold temperatures preserves the natural rye spice.

I was recently given a bottle of Alberta Premium by a guest at one of my tasting events and I thought I would revisit my review of this 100 % Canadian Rye Whisky.

Here is a link to my new review:

Review: Alberta Premium 100 % Rye Whisky

 ” … The breezes above the glass bring me the scents and smells of a fruit-filled rye with additional notes of vanilla. Fine oak spices and a touch of citrus zest mingle within the fruity rye smells. As I allow the whisky to breathe, some nice smells of butterscotch and maple come forward and the overt fruitiness gains momentum. I receive impressions of canned apricots and pears from the glass, and  I also sense a light touch of almond in the breeze …”

Please enjoy my review of this fine 100 % rye whisky which tastes better now than it did 6 years ago when I first reviewed it.

Chimo!

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Review: Forty Creek Confederation Oak (Lot 1867F)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 2, 2016

SAM_2635In 2010 Forty Creek Whisky introduced Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve Whisky. What made this whisky unique was that it had been finished in Canadian Oak Barrels. These oak barrels were made from oak trees (growing only 40 miles from the distillery) which began their growth in Canadian soil approximately 150 years ago at the time of Confederation (The birth of Canada as a nation), hence the name Confederation Oak.

It has been 6 years since Confederation Oak Reserve Whisky was first released over that time the spirit has become one of the staple whiskies in the Forty Creek Whisky family. Each year a new batch is produced, and when I recently received a bottle from the newest batch (Batch Number 1867F), I decided to revisit the spirit to see how it has changed over time.

Here is a link to my latest Canadian Whisky review:

Review: Forty Creek Confederation Oak (Lot 1867F)

“… Lot 1867F however seems more subdued with less oak spice and woody vanillans at the forefront of the whisky. This time the breezes bring me more obvious scents butterscotch and maple syrup. Rye notes (and the tempered wood spices) are melded within this light sweetness. As the glass breathes, I notice a bit of a bourbon flair with indications of corn whisky, vanilla, almond, honeycomb and damp tobacco all apparent as well in the air above the glass …”

Please enjoy the review, Chimo!

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Review: Ethan Koll Rare 8 Year Old Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 19, 2016

Ethan Koll SAM_2622Ethan 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.

Some of the other PPC brands which are available in my home market include: Broken Bell Bourbon, Cross Keys 5 Yr Old Barbados Rum, Monkey Paw Rum, Luxus Vodka, Capatina French Vodka and Veil Premium Vodka.

Although the whisky is apparently bottled (at 40 % abv.) in the USA, the whisky inside the bottle was both distilled and aged in Canada.

Here is a link to my new review:

Review: Ethan Koll Rare 8 Year Old Canadian Whisky

” … By the time I began to taste the whisky (after about 10 minutes of nosing) the whisky flavour had progressed along that same avenue of built-up richness which the nose had slowly revealed. 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 …”

Please enjoy my latest Canadian Whisky Review.

Chimo!

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