Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 11, 2016
J.P. Wiser’s Double Still Rye was recently released across Canada. The Brand appears be replacing Wiser’s Special Blend which is the economy mixer of the Wiser’s family (Wiser’s Special Blend is still available across Alberta).
According to the J.P. Wiser’s website:
The newest edition to Canada’s best-selling whisky family, J.P. Wiser’s Double Still Rye is a complex blend of corn and rye whiskies with a full and robust flavour profile. Perfectly aged, it creates a bold, yet smooth whisky that is perfect on its own or as part of your favourite whisky cocktail.
Here is a link to my review:
“… 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 …”
Please enjoy my review of this new Canadian Whisky, Chimo!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Double Still Rye, J.P. Wiser's, Review | Comments Off on Review: J.P Wiser’s Double Still Rye
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 2, 2016
Revel Stoke Whisky is a product of the Phillips Distilling Company and is named for the town of Revelstoke, located in the mountains of British Columbia. The whisky itself is however not produced in British Columbia but instead it is distilled on the other side of those mountains at an undisclosed Canadian Distillery.
According to the producer’s website, the whisky is produced by blending a young 3-year-old whisky (the youngest allowed by Canadian Law) with a more mature 8-year-old whisky. The final blend is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
Here is a link to my review of this new 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 …”
Please enjoy this new Canadian Whisky review!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Phillips Distilling Company, Revel Stoke, Review | Comments Off on Review: Revel Stoke Deluxe Canadian Whisky
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 6, 2016
Gibson’s Finest recently released a brand new 8-year-old expression in Alberta, Gibson’s Finest Bold Canadian Whisky. What makes it ‘Bold’ is the bottling proof which is a full 46 % alcohol by volume which is a full 6 % more than the 40 % alcohol by volume bottlings which are standard for the Canadian Whisky category. The whisky also features what the media notes call a ‘bold deep colour’. The dark colour or the whisky combined with the higher bottling proof apparently are part of the reason why the producer claims the whisky is ‘specially crafted to deliver Canada’s Finest Rye and Cola’.
Here is a link to my latest Canadian Whisky review:
“… 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 …”
Please enjoy my review of this brand new Canadian Whisky!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: 8 Year Old, Bold, Canadian Whisky, Gibson's Finest, Review, Whisky | Comments Off on Review: Gibson’s Finest Bold Canadian Whisky
Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 12, 2016
It’s that time of year again, each year in May or June, Forty Creek Whisky announces their annual special limited release whisky. This years release has been named Forty Creek Founder’s Reserve, and the distillery is once again inviting the public to participate in the release by offering to let you choose your own numbered bottle.
Reservations for choosing your bottles open at noon on Monday, June 2nd and continue until 5:00 p.m. on June 16th, 2016. Of course numbers are available on a first come basis and no two bottle numbers will be the same. (Only 12000 bottles will be produced.)
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.
The new special release whisky will be bottled at 45% alcohol by volume, and you can find more information here:
(I find it interesting that barley whiskies will dominate the Founder’s reserve blend. I usually reserve a few specially numbered bottles of these Limited Special Release Whiskies for myself, and this year will be no different.)
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Forty Creek, Founder's Reserve, Whisky | Comments Off on Forty Creek Founder’s Reserve
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 17, 2016
Canada’s Best of 2015
Canadian Whisky continues to go through a resurgence as whisky aficionados all over the world are becoming re-acquainted with the great Canadian Spirit. We saw the beginnings about 10 years ago when the two largest Canadian Distillers, Wiser’s and Crown Royal released new Ultra Premium Whiskies (Wiser’s Red Letter & Crown Royal XR Waterloo). These new whiskies which were each priced above $125.00 and established a new high water mark for Canadian Whisky at least as far as price was concerned. Admittedly, the market was rather tepid towards these new offerings as the local Canadian consumer was much more comfortable with their Canadian whisky priced in the low twenties, and even the flag bearer of premium whisky at the time (Wiser’s 18 Year Old) was still to be found in the mid forties and low fifties.
As time went one other super premium Canadian whiskies began to appear. Alberta Premium’s ridiculously low-priced 25 Year Old Whisky was introduced in 2007 (only $30 a bottle) followed by a more moderately priced 30-year-old offering five years later ($60.00 per bottle). Canadian Club joined the parade bringing forward their own Ultra Premium 30 Year Old offering and then making their 20-year-old whisky a permanent part of their whisky family. During all of this Highwood Distillers was quietly producing a premium 21-year-old 100 % corn whisky as well as their LOT 1525 which was a blending of premium whiskies aged 15 to 25 years.
As well as beginning to produce premium aged whiskies, Canadian distillers also started to innovate. Forty Creek was leading this innovation as John Hall began distilling and aging whisky from three separate grains blending them and then using unique casks to finish the job. In the US, more experimentation with our national spirit was underway as companies like 35 Maple Street in Sonoma California began to play with our straight Canadian Rye. Not to be outdone, Wiser’s and Crown Royal joined in each experimenting with new styles of oak barrels and new rye forward whiskies bringing more diversity to the spirit we call Canadian. In the midst of all of this, a distilling revolution began as micro distillers began popping up across the country each of them bringing a new twist to Canadian Whisky.
This all brings us to the present, 2015. Canadian Whisky is in demand in Canada (and all over the world) like never before. The spirit is now a more varied and diverse than it ever was. Speaking in ‘whisky terms’, it is a great time to be a Canadian!
Just follow this link to see the full list:
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: 2015 Top 25 Canadian Whiskies, Canadian Whisky, Whisky | Comments Off on Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2015
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 13, 2016
Forty Creek Spike Honey Spiced Whisky is produced by the Forty Creek Distillery (now owned by Campari). Former owner of the distillery and brand, John Hall is the Whisky Maker (as he likes to refer to himself) at Forty Creek, and this spirit was produced under his direction.
According to the label on the bottle the ingredients are, Canadian Whisky (presumable John Hall’s flagship whisky Forty Creek Barrel Select), sugar, and natural flavors (presumable honey and spices). It is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… The spirit caries a deep golden colour with reddish hues visible in the glass. The breezes are mild, and along with the notes of honey are additional notes of butterscotch, vanilla, banana, ginger and cinnamon …”
Please enjoy my review which concludes with a nice tall back deck drink, the Spiced Mammy.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Flavoured Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Flavoured Whisky, Forty Creek, Review, Spike, Spike Honey Spiced | Comments Off on Review: Forty Creek Spike Honey Spiced Whisky
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 3, 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 undergone some special aging or finishing technique which would bring a new character to the Forty creek Whisky.
Forty Creek Three Grain Harmony was the 2015 release made available last fall in Ontario and in other select Canadian Markets.
Here is a link to my review:
“… The initial nose is rich with rich 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 …”
Please enjoy my first review of 2016.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Forty Creek, Review, Three Grain Harmony, Whisky | Comments Off on Review: Forty Creek Three Grain Harmony
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 30, 2015
The 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:
Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: 2015 Rum Howler Awards, Review, Whisky, Whisky Awards | Comments Off on The Year In Whisky – (The 2015 Rum Howler Awards)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 24, 2015
Three years ago, I encountered Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old Whisky as a random sample in the group of 45 such samples which I was assessing as part of my duties when I served on the jury for the 2012 Canadian Whisky Awards. Whenever I participate as a spirits judge I always make note of any of the samples which strike me as being particularly good, and the small sample bottle which contained the Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old Whisky was one which I had earmarked as a superior whisky. So, when the Awards Competition was complete, it was to my dismay that I learned this particular whisky (Random Sample number 7 by the way) was a brand destined not for Canada; but instead for Taiwan.
When I wrote a brief review for this whisky in 2013 (see here), I lamented that this great whisky was available only in Asia, and I hoped that the brand owner (and the folks at Highwood Distillery) might read the review, and figure out that maybe Canada deserved this Whisky too. Perhaps my idea was not so far-fetched, as earlier this fall I was contacted by the Fountana Group, and asked to review the Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old Batch 001, a new version of their whisky brand destined for Canadian retail shelves this Christmas Season.
I placed the sample bottle in with the others my friends and I were analyzing as part of the Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Canadian Whiskies. And it was fortunate that I did as the Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old was the unanimous choice among all judges as the Best Canadian Whisky of 2015! In addition it has also been placed on the short list of the Whiskies I am considering for The Rum Howler 2015 Whisky of the Year.
Here is a link to the Number 1 Canadian Whisky in my Rum Howler Countdown of the Best Whiskies of 2015:
“… I used the term ‘luscious’ when describing the nose, and that term deserves repeating here again when describing the flavour. I taste a perfect melding of firm butterscotch, oak spice and corn flavours. My palate is heated with little explosions of oak spice and orange peel, but then it is soothingly caressed by corn and butterscotch. Vanilla and baking spices romp through the garden of lush flavours with marzipan and marmalade chasing merrily behind. Underlying all of this are rich tobacco and leather flavours which serve to add even more depth and character to the glass …”
You may read about the Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown here:
The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Canadian Whiskies
Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: 2015 Top 25 Canadian Whiskies, 21 Year Old, Batch 001, Canadian Rockies Whisky, Canadian Whisky, Review, Rum howler, Whisky | 2 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 24, 2015
Alberta Premium 25 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky was produced by Alberta Distillers Limited (ADL) (currently owned by Beam/Suntory). in 2006. The whisky went relatively unnoticed by everyone until Jim Murray (who publishes his famous yearly Whisky Bible) proclaimed that it was pretty darn good. (He named it Canada’s Best whisky in 2008) Despite the accolades the spirit received from whisky pundits (after Jim noticed it), in my home Province of Alberta consumers kept disregarding the whisky, and it never really brought the distillery (ADL) the notoriety it deserved locally (that came later with the release of the Alberta Premium 30 Year Old) five years later.
And I suppose that I have been a major beneficiary of the Alberta Premium 25 Year Old Whisky’s low profile. You see, when I travel through small towns in rural Alberta, I still occasionally find a few bottles here and there. (For a modest $29.95 no less.) When I find a dusty bottle hiding out in a bottom shelf of a rural retail store I feel it is my duty to pick it up so that I can give it a more deserving pedestal upon my whisky shelf.
To the right is my most recent acquisition, and when I re-tasted it alongside all of my favourites this past summer I found that this modestly priced spirit sat alone on top of my rankings. The Alberta Premium 25 Year Old is a spirit which brings all the goodness of Canadian Rye to the fore, yet despite its bold and spicy flavour, it is also deeply complex spirit which carries layer after layer of nuanced subtlety for the whisky connoisseur to enjoy.
The Alberta Premium 25 Year Old Whisky is the best spirit I have tasted to this point in my spirits journey.
” … I love a paradox, and here we have a beauty. Rye is spicy, and grabs your taste-buds and won’t let go. Here we all that rye flavour; but, instead of burning your mouth with spice, this sits gently and smoothly on the palate. In fact this is one of the smoothest whiskies I have ever tasted. Earthy, spicy rye flavour first, second and third, and only the lightest hint of toffee sits in the mouth. This is rye whisky as it is meant to be …”
Note: I chose not to re-score my original review written six years ago, although if I had, I may very well have awarded my first 98.
You may find my complete Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits
Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: 25 Year Old, Alberta Premium, Canadian Whisky, Review, Rum howler, Rye, Top 100 Spirits, Whisky | Comments Off on #1 Alberta Premium 25 Year Old Canadian Rye (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)