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Archive for the ‘Canadian Whisky’ Category

#57 Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 29, 2015

In November of 2005, Highwood Distillers 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 Distilleries had established (Century and Potters) were added to Highwood’s portfolio of spirits where they have not only been maintained but also expanded upon. Part of that expansion was the 2013 addition of the ‘Ninety’ branded whiskies to the Century Distillers line-up. Like the other whiskies in the Century portfolio, the Ninety branded spirits are corn-based rather than wheat-based blends. (Highwood Distillers uses the Highwood brand for all of its wheat based whiskies.)

Ninety 20 Year Old SAM_1400Highwood chose the brand name ‘Ninety’ because these new whiskies are bottled at 90 proof (or 45 % alcohol by volume) rather than the usual 80 proof (40 % alcohol by volume). The higher bottling strength means that the final whisky will retain a character closer to the original cask strength whiskies from which they were blended. In the case of the Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky, the bulk of blend almost certainly has been drawn from Highwood’s treasured reserves of remaining Potters whisky stocks.

Here is a link to the review of the #57 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#57 – Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Whisky

“… The different aspects of the aroma (the wood and rye spiciness and the corn and butterscotch sweetness) are melded together beautifully creating a very enticing aroma in the air above the glass. As I enjoy those breezes, I also notice impressions of creamy vanilla pudding, hints of almond turning to sweeter marzipan, zesty orange peel turning to sticky marmalade, and lightly sweetened cereal grain …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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#60 Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whisky (2012 Edition)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 26, 2015

Late in October, of 2012, I was able to have a one on one meeting with Hiram Walker Distillery Master Blender, Dr. Don Livermore. It was supposed to be an interview, but instead, it morphed into an information session where Dr. Livermore began to teach me about all things pertaining to Canadian Whisky with a particular emphasis on how they do things at the Hiram Walker Distillery.

Lot No. 40 SAM_1398One of the many things we talked about was the re-release of Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whisky (2012 Edition). Dr. Livermore, told me the whisky was first released in the 1990’s as an upscale connoisseur’s whisky for the North American market. Alas, timing is everything, and according to Don, the whisky never really caught on as the market wasn’t quite ready for such a new style of Canadian Whisky. With the new upsurge of interest in Canadian Whisky across North America (and in particular at the premium end of the market), Corby (the owner of the Wiser’s Brand), was optimistic that the time for this whisky has finally arrived.

And I guess you could say that I agree, as it is the #60 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#60 – Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whisky (2012 Edition)

“… The initial nose is filled with the scents and smells of honeycomb, freshly harvested rye, and freshly cut oak and cedar planks which are still seeping bits of sap from the wood grain. Caramel toffee and green tobacco, and even more fresh rye climb up out of the glass into the breezes. As the glass breathes, smells of oak and wood sap gain more expression …”

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You may follow my 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: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on #60 Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whisky (2012 Edition)

#65 Collingwood 21 Year Old Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 21, 2015

Collingwood Handcrafted Canadian Whisky is produced at the Canadian Mist Distillery in Collingwood Ontario.This is of course the Distillery which produces its namesake brand, Canadian Mist, which is one of the best-selling Canadian Whiskies in North America. The Collingwood brand is a more premium spirit which is positioned a little higher on the rungs of the whisky ladder so to speak than Canadian Mist. However, it would be wrong to think of Collingwood as a more mature or refined Canadian Mist. It is produced from its own recipe and finished in a manner which gives the spirit a unique twist. Once the whisky is mature and has been blended, it is left in stainless marrying vats where its flavour is enhanced with staves of maple which have also been added to those vats.

Collingwood 21The Collingwood 21 Year Old is a 100% malted rye whisky. It was aged in both new oak and refill oak barrels and after 21 years of aging the whisky was set down in a stainless steel marrying vat with staves of maple wood just like its younger sibling.

Here is a link to my newly published review of the #65 spirit in my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#65 – Collingwood 21 Year Old Canadian Whisky

“… The breezes above the glass bring me rich notes of oak and cedar with bits of sweet honeycomb and maple. There is evidence in the air of the new oak barrels which were used to age at least some of the whisky as the breezes have an oaky freshness which I have come to associate with spirits aged in new oak …”

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You may follow my 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: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on #65 Collingwood 21 Year Old Canadian Whisky

#69 Century Reserve (Lot 1525) Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 17, 2015

Somewhere in the Highwood Distillery barrel aging warehouse is a darkened corner where all of the oak barrels are all stamped “Lot 1525“.  This  corner contains the oldest whisky in the entire facility, with the age of the whisky inside the barrels ranging  from 15 to 25 years. (It has been hinted to me that some of these barrels contain whisky that is perhaps even older!) These whisky barrels were originally part of a consignment of whisky acquired when Highwood purchased the Potter’s Distillery in 2005.  As such, these are barrels of whisky produced from a corn-based distillation at the old Potters Distillery, in Kelowna British Colombia.

Lot 15 25 SAM_1731The barrels made the journey to the Highwood facility in 2005 and have been sitting in the darkened corner waiting for the right moment to be tapped and bottled. From this darkened corner, the Master Blender has carefully chosen just the right barrels, and then just as carefully blended the wonderful elixir within to create a blend of whisky which contains the distillery’s most prized aged whisky, the Lot1525 Century Reserve Custom Blend Canadian Rye Whisky.

Here is a link to the review of the #69 spirit in my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#69 – Century Reserve (Lot 1525) Canadian Whisky

“… A beautiful amber hue seems to accent a lovely honey and caramel aroma rising from the glass. Wonderful mellow rye notes accompany the honey and the caramel and a light bourbon vanilla seems to drift above the glass in the breezes.  The impact of nosing the glass is a well received feeling of luxury, and elegance which is divine. …”

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You may follow my 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: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on #69 Century Reserve (Lot 1525) Canadian Whisky

#78 Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 8, 2015

Alberta Springs is produced by Alberta Distillers Limited (ADL) (owned by Beam Suntory) right in the heart of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. According to Rick Murphy, the Production Superintendent at ADL, Alberta Springs was originally (in the 1970s) a pure 100 % rye whisky; however, the spirit moved towards a rye and corn blend in the 1990s due to economic factors. In our discussion, Rick steadfastly maintained the whisky is still very much a rye based whisky with a consistent taste profile from year to year. Apparently the distilleries quality assurance tasting panel ensure that the flavour remains consistent as the mash bill may change slightly over time due to the dictates of economics.

Alberta SpringsI have tasted Alberta Springs many times over the past six years, and in fact it is one of the more decorated whiskies upon my website regularly winning Rum Howler Awards as one of the great whisky bargains in the world. I (like the distillery’s tasting panel) have not noticed any changes in the whisky’s flavour profile over the past six years; and more importantly, I have found that Alberta Springs is a great whisky!

Here is a link to my review of the #78 entry in my 2015 Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#78 – Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky

“… The initial nose from the glass is of a spicy rye which carries scents of tobacco along for the ride. There is a nice presence of oak and a touch of vanilla but the spicy rye is dominant. As the whisky decants the tobacco gains a little steam and a ripe sweet and sour fruitiness is evolving from the rye which is also filling the air with scents of ginger and cardamom. A few baking spices evolve as does a gentle touch of corn which rounds out the nose and makes this whisky a treat to sniff …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisky Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on #78 Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky

# 89 Century Reserve 21 Year Old Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 27, 2015

In 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.

Century_Reserve_21_Yr_-_shadowAccording to the information provided me when I reviewed this spirit the first time, Century Reserve 21 Year Old, is a premium a 21-year-old single grain corn whisky blended entirely from those original Potter’s stocks. This makes Century Reserve something of a rarity upon the landscape of Canadian Whisky as one of the only single grain corn whiskies available in production.

Here is a link to my review of the #89 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#89 – Century Reserve 21 Year Old Canadian Whisky

“… The breezes above the glass are luscious. Indications of roasted corn-0n-the-cob, rich oak spices, toffee, butterscotch, and tobacco all rise up to greet my nose. As the whisky breathes, those scents and smells above the glass become even richer with oak sap, stronger tobacco accents, marmalade and hints of vanilla pudding marrying themselves into the overall aroma …”

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You may follow my 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: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Review: Forty Creek Spike Honey Spiced Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 18, 2015

FC SpikeForty 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:

Review: Forty Creek Spike Honey Spiced Whisky

“… 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 summertime back deck drink, the Spiced Mammy.

Chimo!

 

 

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Spiced Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Forty Creek Spike Honey Spiced Whisky

Review: Spicebox Cinnamon Canadian Spiced Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 8, 2015

Spicebox WhiskySpicebox Cinnamon is based in Montreal, Quebec where they blend and bottle their Spicebox Cinnamon Canadian Spiced Whisky. The product is currently bottled at 66 proof or 33 % alcohol by volume and has been brought into the Alberta Marketplace by Mondia Alliance Wine and Spirits who are also based out of Montreal.

Buzz Saw Highball

Buzz Saw Highball

According to the information which Mondia supplied to Vancouver’s Hopscotch Festival, their cinnamon blended whisky “combines the tastes of smooth, rich rye whisky with a kick to the kisser of cinnamon heat” which to me sounds rather intriguing.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Spicebox Cinnamon Canadian Spiced Whisky

“… The aroma which jumps out of the glass is of course laced with cinnamon although I also detect a strong sweetness running alongside, with hints of woodspice. The overall effect reminds me both of cinnamon heart candies, and those cinnamon toothpicks I used to buy at the candy store as a kid. If you love cinnamon this will delight you, if cinnamon heat is not your thing, the aroma will warn you away …”

Please enjoy my latest review which includes a nice cocktail suggestion which I have found works very well with cinnamon whiskies, the Buzz Saw Highball.

Chimo!

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Flavoured Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Spicebox Cinnamon Canadian Spiced Whisky

Review: Legacy Small Batch Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 20, 2015

Legacy Small Batch SAM_1656The resurgence of interest in Canadian Whisky continues unabated as it seems that every time I venture into a local liquor store I see new brands that I have never tried before. One of these new brands, Legacy Small Batch caught my eye and I decided to request a bottle for review. The new brand is owned by Sazerac, and to produce this new Canadian spirit they import mature whisky from Canada and bottle it at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky.

There is not much information about this particular whisky on the Sazerac website except for a statement that, Master Blender Drew Mayville (Buffalo Trace), oversees the distillation of this particular whisky. Unfortunately I find this claim hard to reconcile based upon his own statements in a 2013 interview in The Spirits Business (see interview here) regarding the anonymity of Canadian Whisky distillers and his happiness at being a blender and not a distiller. (Note that Canadian Whisky by law must be at least 3 years old and therefore would have been distilled prior to those statements.) Perhaps the marketing people at Sazerac meant that Drew Mayville oversees the blending of the Legacy Small Batch, which of course would be right up his alley.

Canadian Caribou

Canadian Caribou

Here is a link to my full Review:

Review: Legacy Small Batch Canadian Whisky

“… I taste a very nice melding of rye-like spices with butterscotch toffee. There is a corn-like smoothness which permeates the whisky along with just enough peppery heat to pucker and dry the palate making it receptive to the next sip. There are also light bits of cinnamon, some gentle vanillans, and a touch of milk chocolate in the flavour profile and all of these flavours seem to be pulling in the same pleasant direction …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a nice recipe I created called the Canadian Caribou.

Chimo

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisky Liqueur, Whisky Review | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Review: Legacy Small Batch Canadian Whisky

Review: Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 12, 2015

Crown RoyalCrown Royal Single Barrel (Davin) SAM_1633®Canadian Whisky is currently produced in Gimli, Manitoba, at the Crown Royal Distillery. The distillery and the brand are owned by the global spirits conglomerate Diageo, and I think it is fair to say that Crown Royal is Diageo’s flagship Canadian whisky. The brand was introduced in 1939 (by Samuel Bronfman of Seagrams) as a special whisky bottling to commemorate the Royal Tour of Canada by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth who traveled across the Country by train that year. (Apparently, the train carrying the Royal Couple was stocked with 10 cases of the new Crown Royal Blend.) Until 1964, the whisky was only available in Canada; however, today it is available world-wide, and is in fact the number one Canadian whisky brand sold in Canada and the USA by value. (I believe Canadian Club is still the number one brand in Canada by volume.)

Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel is the first production Canadian Whisky ever to sold in the single barrel format. It drawn from a single oak cask and bottled a full 51.5 % alcohol by volume bottling proof.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel

“… That intense butterscotch I noticed on the nose manifests itself as a sweet yummy honeyed butterscotch flavour when the spirit crosses the palate. Along with the sweet butterscotch are equally intense spicy rye wood spices which along with the 103 proof alcohol heat the mouth. I realize I have to be careful with this whisky, the flavour is so good I want a mouthful, but the heat the spirit possesses must be treated with respect …”

Please enjoy my review!

Chimo!

 

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Review: Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel

 
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