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Archive for the ‘Whisk(e)y’ Category

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #16 – Coyote Ugly

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 9, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016On January 27, 1993, Wall Street intern, Liliana Lovell opened the first Coyote Ugly Saloon in New York City. If you watched the Jerry Bruckheimer movie Coyote Ugly (released in 2000), then you know all about this place where the waitresses, called ‘Coyote Girls’, serve the drinks, dance and sing, and even (apparently) down shots of whisky with the customers.

It was a flick that was panned by critics, but loved by the public becoming a box office hit during the late summer and early fall of 2000. The movie must have been good for business because in 2001, another Coyote Ugly Saloon opened up in Las Vegas followed by other locations across the USA, and even as far away as Russia.

coyote-ugly-sam_2765With all this success, it was apparent that the Coyote Ugly brand had reached what I will call, ‘celebrity status’. The term ‘Coyote Ugly’ has in fact become firmly entrenched into the public consciousness. When that happens, the resulting cache of the brand is well worth capitalizing on. Which is why Celebrity Cellars International founder, Jeff Harder, teamed up with the founder of the Coyote Ugly Saloon, Liliana Lovell. They have decided that it is time to get Ugly (Coyote Ugly that is) with the launch of Coyote Ugly Canadian Whisky!

I received a sample bottle of this whisky from PURE Global Imports who asked me to provide a review here on my website to serve as a preview for the world-wide launch of the new Coyote Ugly Canadian Whisky on March 12, 2012. Four years later, I am revisiting this review as part of my 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown, with an aim to see if the whisky has changed, and to re-score it if it has.

My re-tasting has launched the Coyote Ugly Whisky all the way to the number 17 slot in my yearly countdown. Here is my newly re-scored review:

#16: Coyote Ugly Canadian Whisky

“… The whisky smells of rich butterscotch and caramel. Light rye scents waft into the breezes with dabs of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. A light footprint of vanilla and almond compliment the delicate baking spices leaving impressions of marzipan in the air above the glass …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 15 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: #17 – Canadian Club Small Batch

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 8, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016A few years ago there were some changes in the Canadian Club family. One of the brands which underwent a revamping was the Canadian Club Classic (12 Years Old) which was replaced by the Canadian Club Classic Small Batch (also 12 Years Old). The newer version of the whisky has a new bottle (shown below) and the two words, “Small Batch” have been added to the label. My understanding is the whisky is now constructed from a smaller selection of aged whisky (oak barrels) in an effort to bring a fuller flavour and more smoothness to the blend.

canadian-club-classic-sam_2655The new Canadian Club Classic Small Batch 12 Year Old is now one of my favourite expressions of the Canadian Club brand, and it arrives on my Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown at the #18 spot:

#17: Canadian Club Classic Small Batch 12 Year Old

“… I notice some rye spices and some sweet corn pushing though. The oak and tobacco scents have deepened bringing me impressions of fresh-cut cedar and honeycomb. The caramel and wood spice come together as toffee, and the orange peel has softened into marmalade. After my glass has been emptied I notice a few light baking spices which I had missed earlier …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 16 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: #18 – Alberta Springs

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 7, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016When I began to write about whisky, one of the perks I received was a private tour of the ADL Distillery where I met Rick Murphy, the Production Superintendent. He explained the heritage of Alberta Springs to me, how it started as a pure rye whisky, and how economics dictated a move to rye and corn in the 90s. He then explained how his computerized dials and gauges in the distillery, and his quality assurance tasting panel, ensure that the flavour does not change as the mash bill may change slightly over time. He even made it clear to me that the Alberta Springs is one of his most favourite whiskies.

Alberta Springs SAM_2641This year, I noticed that the flavour seems to moving towards a stronger corn profile. It’s hard to be sure, but when I tasted a new bottle earlier this year, it seemed to have just a touch more sweetness than before. I decided that I should perhaps take the time to revisit the Alberta Springs once again and pen an entirely new review.

Here is a link to the review for the #20 Whisky in my Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#18: Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky

“… As the glass breathes the rye becomes more apparent. It is a fruity sweet and sour rye which also carries that familiar tell-tale undercurrent of bitter citrus pith. As more time goes by the rye continues to build drowning out my earlier impression of corn. When I return to the empty glass after my sampling session the breezes bring me ripe grain and chaff with just a hint of sweetness …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 17 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: #19 – Gibson’s Finest 18 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 6, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016In 1856, John Gibson purchased 40 acres and built a distillery along the shore of the Monongahela River in Pennsylvania. By the turn of the century, the Gibson’s Distilling Company was the largest producer of rye whisky in North America. Unfortunately, early in the new century, fate dealt the company a tragic blow, in the name of Prohibition. Consumption of legal whisky all but dried up, and Gibson’s Distilling Company went bankrupt. In 1923, the entire contents of the distillery including the stills, the aging barrels, all of the remaining spirit, (and even the grain which was on site) was sold via Sherriff’s auction to Schenley Industries of New York.

Fifty years later this whisky brand, which was born on the US side of the border in Pennsylvania, was resurrected by the brand owner at the Schenley Distillery in Valleyfield, Quebec. Now, of course, it has become one of the iconic brands of Canadian Whisky.

The eighteen year old expression of Gibson’s Finest is now known as Gibson’s Finest Venerable 18 Years Old Whisky. All of the whisky in the blend, is of course 18 years old or more, and it is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Here is my link to my newly published review:

#19: Gibson’s Finest Venerable 18 Year Old Whisky

“… Oak spice is certainly the centerpiece of the whisky. It is hot with rye spice and white pepper; but the spiciness brings along light flavours of caramel, butterscotch, maple, and canned fruit (apricot and pear) as well. Their is a sense of rye which brings me impressions of ginger and cardamom. I sense waving fields of ripened rye and barley in the foreground, and more distant fields of ripened corn in the background …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 18 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: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #20 – Wiser’s Small Batch

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 5, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Wiser’s Small Batch Canadian Whisky was released in the fall of 2008 replacing the Wiser’s Reserve. There were a few important differences in Wiser’s Small Batch which made it somewhat unique as far Canadian Whisky is concerned. First, it is made in small batches using traditional distilling methods, hence the name Wiser’s Small Batch, and secondly, the bottling strength is 43.4 % rather than the traditional 40 %. This slightly higher strength should allow the whisky to display more texture in the mouth and a more concentrated flavour and aroma.

small-batch-sam_2815Wiser’s Small Batch Canadian Whisky has not yet been re-branded into the new J.P. Wiser’s family of whiskies. Hopefully this is not a signal from the brand owner that the whisky is soon to be replaced as the Small Batch is a regular attendant in my annual top Canadian Whisky Countdowns. This year it is number 21.

Here is a link to my newly revised review:

20: Wiser’s Small Batch Canadian Whisky

“… Wiser’s Small Batch is soft and supple on the tongue with hot oak spices which carry a bevy of flavour along for the ride across the palate. I taste some fresh oak and cedar; some sweet caramel, butterscotch and maple; soft corn and spicy rye; some light impressions of honeycomb and tobacco, and some delicious canned fruit (marmalade, apricots and pears). As I let the whisky sit in my mouth a Demerara sweetness forms with brown sugar and spice combining with honey to present a richly flavoured toffee …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 19 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: #21 – Gooderham and Worts Four Grain

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 4, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Corby Spirit and Wine Limited has added yet another premium brand to its whisky line-up, Gooderham and Worts 4 Grain Canadian Whisky. The whisky pays homage to the former whisky giant, Gooderham and Worts which in the latter half of the 19th century was the largest spirits producer in Canada. (The company was founded in the early to mid-nineteenth century by James Worts and his brother-in-law William Gooderham.)

gooderhan-and-wortssam_2900Gooderham and Worts was merged in 1926 with Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd. (producers of Canadian Club Whisky) by Harry Hatch who at the time owned both companies. Over time, distilling declined at the Gooderham and Worts distillery until 1987 when it was sold to Allied Lyons who chose to close the facility in 1990. The Hiram Walker & Sons Distillery remains in operation, although it now owned by Pernod Ricard. Pernod Ricard incidentally own a major share (about 46 %) of Corby Spirit and Wine Limited who market and distribute Pernod Ricard’s products in Canada.

Gooderham and Worts Four Grain is produced from corn, barley, wheat and rye grains and bottled at 44.4% alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to the review for the Number 16 Whisky in my 2016 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#21: Gooderham and Worts Four Grain

” … When I bring the glass to my nose, I receive firm indications of oak and grain spice. Honeyed toffee rises up as well as dank corn smells and a lightly sour fruitiness. If I was to nose this in a blind format, I might be tempted to believe I was nosing an Old Canadian Club whisky from the 70s and early 80s when the brand had a stronger overt sour fruit aroma and taste profile …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 20 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: #22 – Ninety 5 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 3, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016

Just before the massive disruption caused by flooding during the summer of 2013 in Southern Alberta, Highwood Distillers released a limited quantity of their new “Ninety” branded whiskies under their Century Distillers banner. The news of these whisky releases was unfortunately drowned out (quite literally) by the waters that engulfed Southern Alberta. If you followed the news regarding the aftermath of the flood (see story here) you will know that it took more than a few weeks for the company to bring itself back onto its feet. In fact, all of the bottled inventory in Highwood’s warehouse had to be destroyed due to potential contamination from the water that penetrated the distillery.

ninety-5-sam_0928An unfortunate victim of all this disruption was those “Ninety” branded whiskies which temporarily disappeared from liquor store shelves as Highwood had to suspend production of this new brand in order to focus on re-establishing their other major brands across Canada. Fortunately for everyone, the brand was re-established a 5 and a 20 Year Old version.

Here is a link to my review of the number 22 spirit on my Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#22: Ninety 5 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

“… As the glass breathes, the wood spice and corn each seem to build with equal intensity. Although the mouth becomes heated with impressions of citrus zest, ginger and spice; the whisky remains soft and sippable with the underlying sweetness of corn and butterscotch providing a perfect complement to the spice …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues on tomorrow with the number 21 Canadian Whisky. 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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Run Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #23 – Crown Royal XO

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 2, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Crown Royal® recently made an addition to its portfolio of Canadian Whiskies (January 16, 2014)) with the introduction of Crown Royal XO, which they have promoted as an “ultra-premium blended Canadian whisky”.  The whisky was crafted by Crown Royal Master Blender, Andrew MacKay and according to the fact sheet I was sent, it is a blend of more than 50 of Crown Royal’s finest whiskies which are finished in cognac casks from the French Limousin Forest.

According to Mr. MacKay:

sam_2662“The ultra-premium nature of Crown Royal XO and the smoothness of the liquid can be attributed to the handcrafted approach we took while creating the unique blend. We’re looking forward to sharing this special blend with adults across the country and encourage them to incorporate it into their celebrations of extraordinary moments and events.”

Here is a link to my review of the number 23 spirit on my Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#23: Crown Royal XO

“… As the glass sat I began to sense some of that typically punky Crown Royal sweet corn aroma along with a few slightly musty ripe corn cobs alongside some spicy grain. I searched for an indication of the Cognac Cask enhancement and found a few apple scents wandering in the air and some very light indications of dry raisins …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues  tomorrow with the number 22 Canadian Whisky. 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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2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #24 – Forty Creek Confederation Oak (Lot 1867 F)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 1, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016In 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.

SAM_2635It 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 (Lot 1867F), I decided to revisit the spirit to see how it has changed.

Here is a link to my review with the new scoring for this whisky:

#24 – Forty Creek Confederation Oak (Lot 1867 F)

“… 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 …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 23 Canadian Whisky. 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

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #24 – Forty Creek Confederation Oak (Lot 1867 F)

The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (#30 – #26)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 28, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Today I feature the last of the 5 whisky groupings in my 2016 countdown. Beginning on November 30th, I slow the pace and reveal each Canadian Whisky individually one per day until Christmas Even when the best Canadian Whisky of 2016 will be revealed. If you are interested in how the Countdown has progressed so far, here is a link to the growing list:

The Rum Howler – Top 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2016

The five whiskies revealed today feature none which are priced over $40.00, and in fact two of these spirits, Windsor Canadian, and Alberta Premium, can be found for under $25.00 here in Alberta while the Mt. Logan 5 Year Old (a new whisky brand) and the Centennial brands each check in just under the $30.00 mark. All of  this reinforces one of the major reasons why I love Canadian Whisky so much; the spirit offers outstanding quality at prices which are much more affordable than other whisky styles. Perhaps this is why the spirit is seeing such a resurgence in sales across Canada and indeed throughout North America.

Here are the next five spirits in my Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (#30 – #26):

Windsor Canadian#30  Windsor Canadian

“… The initial nose is very typically ‘Canadian’ with firm butterscotch scents lying alongside a fruit-filled spicy rye. As I let the glass sit, some dusty ripened grain notes develop along with accompanying scents of straw and the chaff. There is a bit of dry grassiness reminiscent of timothy and foxtail and some zesty notes of orange and lemon peel. Rounding out the nose are a few bits of cinnamon and dark brown sugar …”

Albeta Premium SAM_2482#29  Alberta Premium 100 % Rye Canadian 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 breezes …”

mt-logan-5-sam_2807#28  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. Perhaps there is a touch of corn in the breezes which could be a remnant from the charred American white oak barrels …”

Centennial LE SAM_1626#27)  Centennial Rye Whisky (NAS)

“… I let the glass sit for a while, and noticed that the rye grain was joined by wood spices and these spicy accents seem to grow in the breezes. I also notice a light almost bitter astringency in the air which seems to be related to the building rye spice. As the glass continues to decant, some dry grassy tobacco comes to the fore and a light fruitiness is evolving from the rye which is also filling the air with light scents of ginger …”

Crown Royal Black sam_2670#26  Crown Royal Black

“… Caramel, butterscotch and maple are melded with flavours of oak spice and cedar. Canned fruit (in particular apricots) is obvious and dark fruit (dates and the skin of black cherries) seems to be hinted at. There is a bit of clove, a touch of cinnamon and dash of spicy wood sap. Finally under everything else is a certain dry tannic bitterness that puckers my mouth, but which seems to be just the right foil …”

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Please enjoy my Countdown of the Best Canadian Whiskies of 2016. Stay tuned as the countdown continues on November 30 with the number 25 Canadian Whisky, Chimo!

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisky Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (#30 – #26)

 
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