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Review: Stone Heart Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 15, 2018

There was a time in the County of Red Deer that the county would use rye grain for erosion control on the Range Road near the farm where Ian Scott grew up (Range Road 13). Ian’s Dad who was born in the dirty thirties grew up learning not let anything go to waste so he harvested the grain that fall. Ian, being a bit of a curious young man was inspired to learn how to put that rye grain to good use and he began to  research distilling with the aim to build his own still. Although the still was never built, an idea had been planted.

Some time later, Ian and his wife, Marnie visited a distillery in B.C. and the idea was rekindled. At about the same time Alberta changed the law which paved the way to allow small micro-distillery start-ups. Ian had already had researched the process, and his work in the Alberta Oil Field gave him the confidence that he could operate the similar distilling equipment and so he and his wife Marnie created the Stone Heart Distillery (located in the town of Innisfail, Alberta). The distillery is a true grains to glass operation, Ian and Marnie mill, mash, ferment and distill their own grain, and they turned to their natural surroundings, adding pure Rocky Mountain valley water to their distillate to bring it to bottling proof. This is truly a true family run operation, from grain to glass.

Ian Scott sent me two bottle of his vodka, one from batch 17, and one from batch 18 made with a different variety of wheat. He asked me to sample each of them and send him back some feedback.

When I tasted the Stone Heart Vodkas for the first time, I conducted a side by side tasting with several other locally produced craft vodkas. From that line-up, I chose the two which I felt were the best spirits and decided to write full reviews for them.

Here is link to the full review for Stone Heart Vodka (from Batch 17)

Review: Stone Heart Vodka

“… I took a nice large swallow. The Stone Heart Vodka went down smoothly. In addition to a light grain spice, I noticed flavours of lemon balsam, and hints of banana. After the swallow the banana flavour seemed to linger although perhaps it would be more correct to label the impression as a residual flavour of slightly vegetal plantain …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a nice recipe to gear us up for summertime, the Vodka Darby.

Chimo!

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Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: La Hechicera Solera 21

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 13, 2018

In the historic port of Barranquilla (Colombia), situated between the Magdalena River and the Caribbean Sea, three generations of the Riascos Family have been producing rums for over two decades. They apparently travel round the Caribbean sourcing their cane spirit which is matured using a solera system in used bourbon barrels.  The rum they create, La Hechicera is distributed in Western Canada by the Phillips Distilling Co.. The brand promotes itself as a naturally ‘unpolished’ rum. What they mean by ‘unpolished’ is that no additives or sugar have been added to create a smoother flavour profile.

La Hechicera Solera 21 is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume and matured using ex-bourbon barrels in a Solera style to create a blend of rums between 12 years and 21 years old.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: La Hechicera Solera 21  

“… The rum carries a firm bite of oak spice and citrus zest forward. There are lightly bitter oak tannins which bring me impressions of coffee beans and bittersweet chocolate. There is also a firm fruity quality reminiscent of black berries and raisins. Adding to the menagerie of impressions are tastes of dark tobacco and licorice stained molasses. Roasted walnuts seem to underpin the main flavours. …”

Please enjoy my review of this unique rum from Colombia,

Chimo!

Posted in Rum Reviews, Rum | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Hennessy Very Special Cognac

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 12, 2018

Jas Hennessy & Co., is reported to be the largest Cognac producer in the world today. The company was founded in 1765 by an Irish Officer in the army of Louis XV, Richard Hennessy. Fifty two years later, in 1817, Hennessy Cognac was so highly regarded that the Prince of Wales, (who later would become King George IV of Great Britain) asked the Hennessy House to produce what would be called a “very superior old pale cognac”. This was apparently the genesis for the initials VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale), and these initials have become a labeling standard used throughout the industry to this day.

In 1865, Maurice Hennessy, the great-grandson of the founder, devised a cognac classification system based upon varying numbers of stars which defined the quality of the bottled spirit. Again the classification devised by Hennessy was later adopted by the entire industry. Today, Hennessy’s Three Star Cognac, is now known as Hennessy Very Special (VS).

Here is a link to my review:

Review: Hennessy Very Special Cognac

“… I allowed the glass to breath for a few minutes and was pleased by the melding of aromas that resulted. The oak, the caramel toffee and the fruit all coexist harmoniously with no particular element outshining any other. I notice some new smells of rich vanilla and honeycomb rising into the air; as well, some nutty smells of almond and walnut are wafting in the breezes as well. There are a few hints of chocolate and coffee and I must say that the aroma of the VS has surprised me with its rich character and balanced aromas …”

Please enjoy my review which concludes with my cocktail recommendation, Blood Orange Bitters.

Chimo!

Posted in Brandy and Cognac Reviews, Cognac Review | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Crown Royal Vanilla Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 11, 2018

Crown Royal Canadian Whisky is produced in Gimli, Manitoba, at the Crown Royal Distillery. The distillery and the brand are owned by the spirits conglomerate, Diageo, and I think it is fair to say that Crown Royal is Diageo’s flagship Canadian Whisky brand. About a year ago Crown Royal Vanilla Whisky was introduced as an addition to the Crown Royal family of whiskies.

According to the Crown Royal website:

To create this extraordinary blend, Crown Royal whiskies are carefully selected by our master whisky blenders and infused with the rich flavor of Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla. The result is a uniquely sophisticated whisky, bursting with the bold flavor of vanilla and the distinctive smoothness of Crown Royal.”

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Crown Royal Vanilla Canadian Whisky

” … The initial aroma brings a combination of butterscotch and vanilla forward with some nice oak and grain spices. It is nice that the underlying Crown Royal Whisky can break through the sweetened vanilla …”

Please enjoy my review, which includes a nice cocktail suggestion, the Railroader.

Chimo!

 

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

Review: Don Julio Añejo Tequila

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 9, 2018

Tequila Añejo Old Fashioned

Don Julio is a 100% Blue Weber Agave Tequila made from agave grown in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. As a highland tequila,we can expect the Don Julio to exhibit strong fruity citrus notes and to have a little hot pepper in the finish. The company was established by Don Julio González, who apparently began to examine the prospect of making his own Tequila in 1942. He established his distillery called, La Primavera, (TEQUILA DON JULIO NOM 1449, DOT 163, LOCATION: Atotonilco, Jalisco) and spent nearly forty years refining his Tequila into the spirit which now bears his name.

Don Julio Añejo is produced in small batches, aged in American white-oak barrels for eighteen months.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Don Julio Añejo Tequila

“… The agave flavour is mellow accented by mild touches of white pepper, and the sweetness of light caramel. I taste a light oak presence and an underlying honey-like sweetness which is very appealing. There are some fruit flavours, in particular lime zest and apricot jam, and these flavours are melded very well into the agave, the light oak, and the caramel …”

Please enjoy my review which concludes with my cocktail suggestion, the Tequila Añejo Old Fashioned.

Posted in Anejo Tequila, Tequila, Tequila Review | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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