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

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #11: Forty Creek Founder’s Reserve

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 14, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016,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 spent additional time finishing in selected oak barrels.

sam_2878-founders-reserveWhat makes this year’s Limited Edition whisky unique is that it is the first of the Forty Creek expressions to be dominated by barley.

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.

Here is a link to the Number 11 Whisky in my 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown

#11: Forty Creek Founder’s Reserve

“… the dusty grain note increases in strength as the sweet maple and butterscotch notes begin to merge with the oak spice bringing me impressions of marzipan and marmalade. I decided to allow the glass to breath for a full ten minutes and the oak and dusty grain continued to increase joined now by some leathery notes of burlap and deep tobacco scents. At this point I am extremely impressed …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 10 Canadian Whisky.

Chimo!

_______________________________________________________

* 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: #12: Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 13, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye Whisky is a new blend from the folks who run the Crown Royal Distillery in Gimli, Manitoba. It is a bit of a throwback in style as the whisky features a heavy dose whisky produced from Canadian Winter Rye grain in the blend (almost 90% of the spirit is produced from Canadian Winter Rye grain). Winter rye imparts a robust spiciness throughout the spirit when distilled which (in my opinion) provides a much stronger ‘Canadian Whisky’ feel for this particular Crown Royal Whisky than we find with the flagship blend Crown Royal Deluxe which is produced predominantly from corn rather than rye.

Northern Harvest RyeThis movement towards a more rye forward flavour profile seems to be a common theme within the Crown Royal family as two other recently released blends (Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel, and the Limited Edition Crown Royal Monarch 75th Anniversary Blend) have recently followed that common path.

Here is a link to the Number 12 Whisky in my 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#12: Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye Whisky

“… The initial smells from the glass are enticing as I notice some obvious notes of golden delicious yellow apples and some green grapes rising into the air alongside sourdough rye notes which hint at milk chocolate. As the glass breathes, I sense a stronger underlying oakiness within the spirit as fine wood spices rise into the air. The merry little breezes above the glass are tinged with crisp spicy rye notes as well …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 11 Canadian Whisky.

Chimo!

_______________________________________________________

* 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: #13 – Crown Royal Reserve

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 12, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Crown Royal Canadian Whisky is currently produced in Gimli, Manitoba, at the Crown Royal Distillery. The distillery and the brand are owned by Diageo, and I think it is fair to say that Crown Royal is Diageo’s flagship Canadian whisky brand. In 1992, a premium version of Crown Royal was introduced as Crown Royal Special Reserve. This whisky was produced from specially selected casks which were tasted and monitored closely by the Crown Royal Master Blender. These ‘premium casks’ represented whiskies with special character, and they were allowed to age longer with the aim of producing a more premium whisky. In the fall of 2008, this more premium Crown Royal Special Reserve was relaunched as Crown Royal Reserve Canadian Whisky.

sam_2663I have to admit that I seem to have mixed reactions whenever I taste this particular whisky. When I originally scored it in 2010, I was underwhelmed; but, when I re-scored the spirit in January of 2013, my impression of the whisky had improved considerably. As well, I have noticed that in blind tastings (when serving as juror for the Canadian Whisky Awards) I seem to have different reaction each time I sample a different bottle.

This year the Crown Royal Reserve captured the Number 13 spot in my 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#13 – Crown Royal Reserve

“… I am further impressed by the complex structure of the whisky which is all at once tart and spicy, sweet and creamy, and rich with flavour. The whisky is lightly oaky with wood spices leading out as orange peel and pepper. Some clear rye spices (ginger in particular) jump in, and this spicy montage of flavour is accented by sweet flavours of caramel and maple …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 12 Canadian Whisky.

Chimo!

_______________________________________________________

* 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: #14 – Ethan Koll Rare 8 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 11, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Ethan 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.

Ethan Koll SAM_2622When I tasted this brand earlier this year I was very surprised with the quality I encountered. The Ethan Koll Canadian Whisky was an unexpected treat. The spirit takes a little time to gather itself together in the glass, but if you are patient with the glass you will be surprised by the rich whisky flavour and the mild maple sweetness which developes.

Here is a link to the Number 14 whisky in my Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#14: Ethan Koll Rare 8 Year Old Canadian Whisky

“… 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. There was however also a strong underlying impression of rye grain and damp tobacco which certain left no mistake that this was a whisky, and a very good one at that …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 13 Canadian Whisky.

Chimo!

_______________________________________________________

* 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: #15 – Forty Creek Copper Pot

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 10, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016The Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve, (like all Forty Creek Whiskies), is built upon Whisky Maker, John Hall’s, foundation of three separately distilled grains: barley, corn and rye. Each grain is distilled and aged in oak separately. When each whisky is ready, the three finished whiskies are blended together and ‘married’ in oak once more allowing the three to become one.

copper-pot-on-ice-sam_2897Indeed, John Hall’s flagship whisky, the Forty Creek Barrel Select is a perfect example of that concept of marrying three separately distilled and aged grain whiskies into one. The Copper Pot Reserve is a more ‘premium’ version of the Barrel Select. Mr. Hall chose his best grain whiskies as the base for the Copper Pot. He aged these best whiskies a little longer to bring in more flavour from the oak, and then he chose the best of these whiskies to marry together in oak once more to complete the final blend. The Copper Pot Whisky is bottled at 43 % abv (rather than the traditional 40 %) allowing this premium whisky to showcase its robust flavour.

And it is a flavour which I appreciate enough to have selected the Copper Pot Whisky from Forty Creek as the #15 Whisky in my 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown!

#15: Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve

“… The initial nose of the whisky brings oak and rye spices into the breezes above the glass with an effervescent orange peel zest riding the coattails of the spice. As the glass sits, green tobacco and orange marmalade jump in with a soft punky caramel tainting their scent. I detect some cinnamon and ginger rising up from the glass and my sense is that the Copper Pot is going to be a very interesting and complex whisky …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 14 Canadian Whisky.

Chimo!

_______________________________________________________

* 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!

_______________________________________________________

* 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!

_______________________________________________________

* 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!

_______________________________________________________

* 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!

_______________________________________________________

* 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: #21 – Gooderham and Worts Four Grain

 
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