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Archive for the ‘Whisk(e)y Review’ Category

Beyond Islay: Part 3 – Highland Park Dark Origins

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 12, 2017

dark-originsThis is the third Single Malt Whisky which I tasted at the Beyond Islay tasting event hosted by Ryan Engen who is the Director of Spirits, for Liquor Stores N.A. Inc. at the Edmonton Wine and Beyond McTagggert Ridge location. At the tasting I enjoyed 7 different Single Malts in what was termed the Beyond Islay Single Malt Whisky Tasting. The Whiskies at the tasting were selected to represent the diversity of Scotland’s Island Whiskies reaching beyond the popular Islay Whiskies to the malts produced on the lesser known Islands. Highland Park Dark Origins showcases the Island of Orkney in the north of Scotland.

Highland Park Dark Origins is the latest addition to the Core Expressions Range of Highland Park Whisky. It features a higher proportion of Sherry cask whisky than the other expressions in the range (twice the amount as is found in the Highland Park 12 Year Old). This give the Dark Origins a richer sherry influence than the other whiskies in the range.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Highland Park Dark Origins

“… I taste an oily peat with both floral heather and willow thicket impacting its flavour. Some sherry-like raisins and prunes are merging into the peat as are some light baking spices honeyed oak and citrus spice. The overall result is a smokier, heavier version of Highland Park …”

Please enjoy my review which includes the cocktail suggestion, the Rusty Nail.

Chimo!

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Posted in Whisk(e)y Review, Whisk(e)y, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Beyond Islay: Part 2 – The Arran 18 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 5, 2017

18yo-arranThe Arran 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky is a Single Malt produced from unpeated barley by Arran Distillers. I tasted the spirit at an event hosted by Ryan Engen who is the Director of Spirits, for Liquor Stores N.A. Inc. at the Edmonton Wine and Beyond McTagggert Ridge location. At the tasting I enjoyed 7 different Single Malts in what was termed the Beyond Islay Single Malt Whisky Tasting. The Whiskies at the tasting were selected to represent the diversity of Scotland’s Island Whiskies reaching beyond the popular Islay Whiskies to the malts produced on the lesser known Islands. The Isle of Arran is of course showcased by this whisky.

Arran Distillers was founded by Harold Currie, former director of Chivas. Located in Lochranza, Scotland, it is the only distillery on the Isle of Arran. Their 18 year Old spirit is a blend of both aged ex-Sherry Cask and ex-Bourbon Cask whiskies.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: The Arran 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

“… As I examined the dram I began to notice an increasing malty sweetness with apple and canned pear aromas developing. Some almond-like marzipan is hinted at in the breezes and as I enjoy myself grassy notes come forward and the fine oak spice builds. This is a whisky which grows in the glass …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a cocktail suggestion at the conclusion, the Old Fashioned Cocktail.

Chimo!

 

Posted in Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Rangeland Rye Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 1, 2017

rangeland-sam_2966Rangeland Rye Whisky is produced from western prairie wheat and grains. It is aged in charred American oak barrels for a minimum of three years (as per Canadian Law) before being blended and bottled at the Highwood facility in High River, Alberta.

Rangeland is what I refer to as an economy whisky. It is inexpensive compared to other whiskies in its category, and is a whisky meant for tall drinks as well as other cocktails in bars and restaurants (or on your back deck).

Highwood Distillers is the only Canadian distillery which uses wheat as its primary distilled grain. I have noticed when tasting the wheat based spirits in their portfolio that this grain seems to lend a soft gentleness to the final spirit. They use Rye is in smaller quantities, and this grain adds a flavourful spiciness. Corn may also be used, and when it is, the corn provides additional sweetness, and body to the spirit. The grains are distilled in a small batch production cycle.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Rangeland Rye Whisky

“… I discovered that this new whisky had a very traditional taste profile with an old-fashioned dry Canadian Whisky flavour complete with that soft bitterness that accompanies the rye grain. It also carries dusty grain and light tobacco flavours alongside a mild butterscotch and vanilla …”

Please enjoy my review of this new Canadian Whisky from the folks at Highwood Distillers. The review includes one of my favourite cocktail creations, the Canadian Caribou.

Chimo Everyone!

 

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Beyond Islay: Part 1 – Tobermory 10 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 29, 2017

tobermory-10The Tobermory 10 Year Old is an unpeated Single Malt which I tasted at an event hosted by Ryan Engen who is the Director of Spirits, for Liquor Stores N.A. Inc. at the Edmonton Wine and Beyond McTagggert Ridge location. At the tasting I enjoyed 7 different Single Malts in what was termed the Beyond Islay Single Malt Whisky Tasting. The Whiskies at the tasting were selected to represent the diversity of Scotland’s Island Whiskies reaching beyond the popular Islay Whiskies to the malts produced on the lesser known Islands. The Tobermory brand is distilled upon the Isle of Mull.

While I normally do not write full reviews based upon my impressions tasting events, in this case I thought the theme of the event (going beyond Islay) was such a good idea that I did indeed write full tasting notes for each whisky as I tasted it. Later I expanded these tasting notes into a full review for each whisky and I plan to publish them in my 7 part Beyond Islay Series.

Here is my link to my full review of the Tobermory 10 Year Old Single Malt Whisky:

Review: Tobermory 10 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

“… The light peatiness I noticed was enveloped in orange and citrus notes. Herbal impressions of heather and menthol come through, and perhaps there is a clump of willow trees setting in the background. Grassy notes of fresh hay compliment the herbal notes and the nose is rounded out with light vanilla and almond impressions …”

Please enjoy my review which includes my cocktail suggestion, the Single Malt Crusta.

Chimo!

 

Posted in Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: McDowell’s No. 1 Reserve Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 25, 2017

indian-summer-2-sam_2796United Spirits Limited (USL) is the owner of the McDowell’s No. 1 spirits brand which (with its sales of Whisky, Rum and Brandy) is one of the largest spirits brands in the world. The company is headquartered in India where the lion’s share of those sales take place. In 2013, the spirits conglomerate, Diageo purchased a controlling share in USL (54.8 %) and it was shortly after this acquisition that I began to see the McDowell’s No. 1 Whisky appearing on the store shelves here in Alberta.

McDowell’s No. 1 Whisky is described on the USL website as the flagship brand of the company. It is their best-selling spirit with sales of over 53 million cases per year, and is produced from a blending of both imported Scotch whiskies and selected Indian malts and grain spirits.

Here is a link to my latest whisky review:

Review: McDowell’s No. 1 Reserve Whisky

“… I would describe the aroma as honeyed with a mixture of sweet grain spice and butterscotch, coupled with fine oak spice and hints of malt. I let the glass sit to see how the nose developed, and noticed that fine wood and dusty grain spices began to dominate the breezes …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a very nice tall cocktail, Indian Summer 2.

Chimo everyone!

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Review: New Holland Beer Barrel Bourbon

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 18, 2017

beer-barrel-bourbonI first encountered Beer Barrel Bourbon (from Michigan’s New Holland Brewing company) when one of my buddies brought a bottle to one of my tastings and left it with me to review. The spirit is rather unique, a bourbon which is first aged in new American Oak for several years, then finished for 90 days in second use Dragon’s Milk Beer barrels. Dragon’s Milk is New Holland Brewing’s own stout beer which was in fact aged in a used Bourbon barrels.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: New Holland Beer Barrel Bourbon

“… The initial breezes throw up light astringent notes of a young corn whisky (fine oak spices, corn, orange peel, almond and vanilla) as well as a few malty beer-like scents. The combination is strange to me, although at this point, it is hard to say whether this is a ‘good’ strange or ‘not so good’ strange …”

Please enjoy my review of this new bourbon from New Holland Brewing.

Chimo Everyone!

Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Review: New Holland Beer Barrel Bourbon

2017 Rum Howler Awards For Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 11, 2017

rh-winner2017I am a little late with this posting as bad luck (and the bad weather we have been having up north) is playing havoc with my publication schedule. My desktop computer (which I do most of my writing on) crashed after a major software update, and because my truck is in the shop (radiator leak) I can’t get my computer fixed. So I have been working with my old laptop trying to finish my Rum Howler Award Postings.

The 2017 Rum Howler Awards for Whisky should be particularly interesting to everyone as they feature a link to a previously unpublished review for Elijah Craig 12 Year Old Bourbon Whisky, and they also highlight the best scoring (and best tasting) whisky I have encountered (a stunning 30 Year Old Grain Whisky) to this point.

Elijah Craig Old Fashioned

Elijah Craig Old Fashioned

The major whisky trend of 2017 will be the continuation of the micro-distilling revolution. Ten years ago I could count all of the whisky distilleries in Canada on the fingers of my two hands. Now, if I use all of my fingers, and all of my toes, I am not even half way through the list, and the numbers of new Distilleries in the USA is much larger (and those numbers are growing as I write this). Time will tell where this is all leading; but at this point the major beneficiary is the whisky consumer who has more brands to choose from than ever before.

This expansion is of course not confined to North America. Many new distilleries are appearing in the United Kingdom, and throughout Europe. And it is probably true that in India, China, Japan, Australia, and in fact, everywhere that grain is grown, new distilleries are appearing. There is going to be an economic reckoning as at some point, the limit of consumption will be reached, and the world will be awash in excess whisky (and other spirits). I suspect that the economic fallout will catch many by surprise; hopefully those who are entering into this high stakes game (and those who are already there) have a solid game plan going forward.

And this brings me to my 2017 Rum Howler Whisky Awards. All of that great selection has brought us new award winners with whisky better than I have ever tasted before.

Here is a link to my 2017 Rum Howler Award Winners for excellence in the production of Whisky:

The 2017 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Whisky

 

Posted in Awards, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on 2017 Rum Howler Awards For Whisky

Rum Howler 2016 Top Canadian Whisky: J.P. Wiser’s Red Letter

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 24, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Wiser’s Red Letter was re-introduced to Canadians in 2007 to pay homage to the 150th anniversary of John Philip Wiser’s distillery in Prescott, Ontario 1857 – 2007), as well as to the original Red Letter Whisky which Wiser’s produced in the late 1800s. In 2009, when I reviewed the inaugural 150th Adversary Edition (see review here), I was told by my contacts within Corby, that the spirit contained various blends of whisky which (although they ranged in age) were all ten years old or more.

j-p-wisers-red-letter-sam_2661In 2013 Corby, once again in a tribute to their founder J.P Wiser, released Wiser’s Red Letter Whisky 2013 Release. The whisky was re-branded J.P. Wiser’s Red Letter Whisky in 2015, and just like the previous editions of the brand, the spirit is comprised of whiskies aged for at least 10 years in American bourbon barrels which are then further mellowed by finishing in virgin white oak casks. Of course it is still bottle at 45 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to what I believe is the Best Whisky currently made in Canada, and incidentally, one of the very best in the World:

#1: J.P. Wiser’s Red Letter

The 2015 version of the Red Letter Whisky seems to hearken back to the original 2007 version as the whisky pushes a bevy of spicy goodness across the palate giving the taste buds a treat and the tonsils a wallop as it goes down. Lush corn and bittersweet rye meld with the oak spices allowing flavours of rich chocolate, maple and vanilla to ride along with the oak spice and alcohol heat. This is lovely stuff.

Thank you all for following my Countdown all the way to the Number 1 Canadian Whisky.

Chimo!

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* You may find my complete 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown list here:

The Rum Howler – Top 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2016

 

 

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown #2: Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 23, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016In 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. 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.

sam_2646Highwood Distillers chose the brand name ‘Ninety’ for their new corn grain whiskies because these 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 which are rumoured to contain barrels of whisky as old as 33 years.

Here is a link to the number 2 ranked whisky in my 2016 Rum Howler Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#2: Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old

“… 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 …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the Number 1 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 #3: Mt. Logan 20 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 22, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016I began hearing about Mt. Logan Whisky just this past summer as a few of my regular readers sent me requests for a review. When I researched the brand, I discovered it was a ‘destination’ brand exclusive to Liquor Depot and Wine & Beyond (Liquor Stores N.A. Inc.) stores in Western Canada. Apparently, Ryan Engen, Director of Spirits, Liquor Stores N.A. Inc., worked closely with Highwood Distillers to produce a new Canadian WHisky range for their family of Liquor Stores.

mt-logan-old-fashioned-sam_2860According to the label on the back of the bottle, Mt. Logan 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky is produced in a batch style distillation with the spirit was matured in charred American white oak. According to Ryan, the spirit is a 100 % corn whisky blend making this a true Single Grain Whisky.

Here is a link to the 3rd Best Canadian Whisky in the World, the Mt. Logan 20 Year Old Whisky.

#3: Mt. Logan 20 Year Old

“… 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 …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the Number 2 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 #3: Mt. Logan 20 Year Old

 
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