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Advance Notice: The 2nd Annual Edmonton Rum Festival

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 16, 2016

159736The folks at Vines Riverbend Wine Merchants (who have produced the very successful Edmonton Whisky Festival for the past 6 years) are teaming up with Lexus Edmonton and Capital FM 96.3 to bring you their 2nd Annual Edmonton Rum Festival!

All proceeds raised at this event are donated to the MS Society of Canada – Alberta Division.

This is a unique chance to taste selected rums produced from around the world and to meet and discuss the noble spirit with industry and distillery representatives, and more importantly, monies raised at the event will help those affected by MS in our community, as well as help to fund research towards a cure.


Where: Edmonton Delta South Hotel – Grand Ballroom
4404 Gateway Boulevard

When: Friday, September 30, 2016
7:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Ticket Price: $90.00 each: Available online beginning August 1rst here
(Tickets are also available in-store at Riverbend Wine Merchants (780 434 9444 ))


What do You get for the price of a regular admission ticket?

You’ll receive a commemorative Glencairn glass, an event program, a gourmet buffet throughout the evening and, of course, over 75 rums to sample, a chance to win a bottle of rum a month for a year and an opportunity to bid on a number of rum themed silent auction items. The price of a ticket includes entrance and rum sampling (you do not have to buy additional sample tickets).

Should you wear perfume/after-shave?

One of the great joys of any spirit tasting event is nosing the glass to identify subtle nuances and delicate aromas. Unfortunately this experience can be compromised by perfume, cologne and after-shave worn on your own person or even by somebody else some distance away. So please refrain from wearing any perfumed scents for the duration of the Festival and advise your guests accordingly.

Are tickets available at the door?

Although tickets will be available at the door, it is strongly advised that you order your tickets in advance to ensure your attendance! Last Year’s event sold out!

Is there parking at the hotel?

The hotel has limited available free parking. However, it is encouraged that you use public transportation and cabs.

Can you get a preferred rate at the Delta as part of the Festival?

Yes! Stay at the Delta Edmonton South for the night at a rate of $165. Call the Delta Edmonton South at 780-434-6415 and ask to book in the Rum Festival open block.

There’s a rum on the list that I want to sample. How can I find it?

The booklet you receive on entering is set out alphabetically by the local agent/importer responsible for each rum company. The tables in the ballroom follow that list in a clockwise direction. Each table is marked with the name of the agent/importer to help you find them easily.

Do you need to purchase drink tickets to be able to taste the rums?

Certainly not! Sampling is included in the admission price. However, you will require a stamp book for your samples which will be available at the door.

Should I keep my ticket stub?

Absolutely! Bring your stub into Vines Wine Merchants by the end of Nov. 2016 to receive a 10% discount or $10 off, whichever is the better deal on a rum purchase.


VinesThe folks at Vines do a fantastic job every year with both the Annual Edmonton Whisky Festival and the Annual Edmonton Rum Festival.

I encourage you to attend and enjoy yourself. It is a relaxed atmosphere with Rum Insiders, Brand Ambassadors, and Rum Enthusiasts from across Canada and around the World. You might even run into the Rum Howler, as I have my two tickets reserved already!

Note: All proceeds raised at this event are donated to the MS Society of Canada – Alberta Division.

For more information please contact:

Vines – Riverbend Wine Merchants (Edmonton)

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Review: Bacardi Anejo Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 15, 2016

Bacardi Anejo SAM_2626The Bacardi Anejo Rum is produced using column still distillation and oak barrel aging. The rum carries no age statement, however based upon its placement in the Bacardi line-up between the Bacardi Gold and the Bacardi Gran Reserva 8 Anos, we can reasonably guess that the rums within the Anejo blend are between 2 and 6 years old. According to the website information, the final rum is further ‘shaped’ by filtering the aged rum through a secret blend of charcoal. This charcoal filtration helps to blunt some of the harsh flavour characteristics of a young rum giving it a smoother taste profile and less astringency.

The anejo rum is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my new review:

Review: Bacardi Anejo Rum

“… Sharp orange and banana peel follow with light notes of baking spice and vanilla. Although the rum has been filtered to remove some of its youthful astringency, there is nevertheless more than a few telltale notes of alcohol sharpness. In fact, based upon my assumed age of the rum, the rum is sharper and rougher than I expected …”

Please enjoy my latest rum review.



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

Cocktail Hour: The Railcar

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 14, 2016

I was given a bottle of Bacardi Anejo Rum to review, and after I had finished my sampling sessions I began to search for a suitable cocktail to recommend for the spirit. I began by doing a web search for ‘Bacardi Anejo Cocktails‘, and I came upon a recipe called the Third Rail on the Drinks Mixer website (here).

Three Degrees SAM_2685The libation is quite simple as it mixes Bacardi Anejo Rum with Orange Curacao and Lime Juice. I tried one, and my thoughts turned to a brandy cocktail I have been working with recently, the Sidecar. I realized the two recipes were very similar. Each is basically a sour cocktail which uses orange Curacao as its sweetener. The Sidecar uses lemon juice as the sour ingredient whereas the Third Rail uses Lime Juice.

So I starting with the Third Rail; however, I added a very light dollop of sugar syrup to give the serving a touch more sweetness. Then, to give my mixed drink an added touch of flavour and complexity, I also added a dash of Campari. When I mixed the serving, I knew I had found a winning combination of flavours.

Paying homage to the mixed drinks which inspired me, I called this new cocktail, the Railcar.

I hope you enjoy it.

The Railcar

2 oz Anejo Rum
3/4 oz Bols Triple Sec
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/8 oz Sugar Syrup
1/8 oz Campari
Orange Peel (optional)

Add the first five ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the outsides of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a coil of Orange Peel (optional)

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


Note: My review of Bacardi Anejo Rum will publish tomorrow, Chimo!

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2016 Spiced Rum Taste-off: El Dorado Spiced Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 13, 2016

el-dorado-spicedThe Diamond Distillery sits on the East Bank of the Demerara River near Georgetown, Guyana (South America). The Distillery, originally attached to the now closed Diamond Sugar Estate, is home to Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL). A few years ago, I was invited by DDL and Woodman Wines and Spirits to travel to Guyana for a very exclusive tour of DDL’s facilities with a small group of Canadian Spirits Writers and Restauranteurs. Some of the ‘Heritage Stills’ I saw in operation at the distillery were over 250 years old, and they were still producing (as closely as possible) the same historic marques of rum which they had produced over two centuries ago. Superimposed upon the scene of ancient Stills and equipment was the dichotomy of a brand new distillation plant which had just begun to produce its own marques of rum side by side with the ancient historic stills.

El Dorado Spiced Rum is produced at the Diamond Distillery, and according to the El Dorado Website the rum is a 100 % Demerara blend which is  produced using natural spices (cinnamon and vanilla) and hints of citrus flavour. According to recent correspondence I have had with the folks at Demerara Distillers, all rums which are branded as El Dorado Rum are blended from stocks of rum which are produced upon DDL’s traditional Heritage Stills. (For more information on the unique Heritage Stills in operation at the Diamond distillery you may read my first hand account here (Diamond Distillery Tour).

Here is a link to my most recent review of the El Dorado Spiced Rum:

#9 El Dorado Spiced Rum

“… The aroma is richer and spicier than I remember from my review of a few years back, although the general profile of vanilla, brown sugar, cloves, and cinnamon is the same as before. Light notes of apricot and peaches reach the breezes above the glass as well alongside some quiet notes of orange peel and citrus …”


I hope you all find this countdown enjoyable and you can follow the rankings here:

The Rum Howler 2016 Spiced Rum Countdown

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Review: J.P Wiser’s Double Still Rye

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 11, 2016

J.P. Wiser's Double Still Rye SAM_2618J.P. Wiser’s Double Still Rye was recently released across Canada. The Brand appears be replacing Wiser’s Special Blend which is the economy mixer of the Wiser’s family (Wiser’s Special Blend is still available across Alberta).

According to the J.P. Wiser’s website:

The newest edition to Canada’s best-selling whisky family, J.P. Wiser’s Double Still Rye is a complex blend of corn and rye whiskies with a full and robust flavour profile. Perfectly aged, it creates a bold, yet smooth whisky that is perfect on its own or as part of your favourite whisky cocktail.

Here is a link to my review:

Review: J.P Wiser’s Double Still Rye

“… The scents above the glass bring me a nice menagerie of different whisky smells. Butterscotch is melded into oak spice with a light but firm impression of pot distilled rye lurking in the breezes as well. Bits of cocoa reveal themselves as do some baking spices in the form of vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon …”

Please enjoy my review of this new Canadian Whisky, Chimo!

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

Cocktail Hour: The Barrel Racer

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 10, 2016

I am constantly looking for new cocktails recipes that are easy for the home bartender to construct. And my favourites are those that are simple enough that the home bartender can make them without the need to buy any fancy ingredients. I do expect that the home mixologist would have some basic ingredients such as a bottle of bitters, and some form of orange liqueur in the liquor cabinet; but any other ingredients beyond those (required in the cocktail I am considering) should be items which are easily available and useful for more than just one cocktail. When I find a new recipe that matches my criteria, I tend to play with it to see if I can massage that recipe for other spirits or tweak it into something I like better.

Barrel Rider SAM_2620One such new recipe I have been playing with lately is a libation put together by Lally Brennan and Ti Adelaide Martin ( In the Land of Cocktails) and Ted Haigh (aka Dr. Cocktail). The  mixed drink they created Whoa Nellie, combines Jamaican rum and American rye whisky with lemon and grapefruit juice with bitters added for extra depth.

In my tweaked recipe, I swapped out the Jamaican rum and the American Whiskey replacing them with J.P. Wiser’s Double Still Rye Canadian Whisky. In keeping with the playful equestrian theme of the cocktail which inspired me, I have chosen to call this tweaked version the Barrel Racer.

Barrel Racer

2 oz Canadian Rye Whiskey (J.P. Wiser’s Double Still Rye)
1/2 oz Orange Liqueur (Bols Triple Sec)
1/3 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/3 oz Lemon Juice
2 dashes of Bitters (Fees Cocktail Bitters)
1/6 oz Sugar Syrup
Orange Peel Twist

Add the ingredients into a metal shaker with plenty of ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a twist of Grapefruit

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

And if  you are interested in more recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for my mixed drink recipes!

Please Note: My review for the J.P. Wiser’s Double Still Rye will publish tomorrow!


Posted in Cocktails & Recipes | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

2016 Spiced Rum Taste-off: Blackheart Spiced Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 9, 2016

blackheart-spiced-bottle-shotBlackheart is a relatively new spiced rum from the Blackheart Rum Co, a whole owned subsidiary of Heaven Hill Distilleries. The spirit is bottled at 46.5 % alcohol by volume, and produced  from imported rum which has been blended with a hint of spice, caramel and natural flavors.

When I investigated the brand I learned the Blackheart Spiced Rum Company has recently introduced a marketing campaign featuring Playboy Playmate, Kayla Collins as the Miss Blackheart 2016. According to the company website:

“Blackheart Rum has teamed up with Playboy and selected the Playmate who has been named Miss Blackheart 2016! Fans voted and chose Kayla Collins, the Playmate who embodies the bold, bawdy, edgy and seductive traits just like Blackheart. We can promise she’s bold and brazen enough to carry the title!”

The spirits company has also teamed with Bellator MMA and is working with the inaugural Bellator MMA Dynamite 1 Light Heavyweight Tournament Champion, Phil Davis in a corporate partnership to bring more viability to the Blackheart Spiced Rum brand.

All that marketing is fine, what we really want to know is how the spiced rums tastes …  

#10 Blackheart Spiced Rum

“… The nose is tainted with hints of black cherry, cinnamon, licorice and indistinguishable peppery spices which accent the caramel rum scent. The combination is quite interesting and reminds me of Dr. Pepper soda (but not nearly so sweet which I hope bodes well for the spiced rum) …”


I hope you all find this countdown enjoyable and you can follow the rankings here:

The Rum Howler 2016 Spiced Rum Countdown

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

Review: Flatboat Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 7, 2016

Flatboat SAM_2612Flatboat (Spirit of the River) is a private label Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey produced by Sazerac Brewery Company  for the Alberta Liquor Depot Chain of liquor stores. Flatboat is produced at the Barton 1792 Distillery which also produces 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Bourbon. As a straight whisky we can deduce the spirit is aged for a minimum of four years, and as a bourbon we can further deduce the spirit was aged in new oak casks for that entire aging period. Unfortunately, because the spirit arrives with very little information either upon its label or upon the Sazerac Website, we can deduce very little else.

Here is a link to my review:

Review: Flatboat Kentucky Straight Bourbon

“… The initial aroma from the glass revealed a dry grassiness augmented with spicy oak and tempered with light butterscotch. At 45 % alcohol by volume, I was expecting more of an alcohol push so I was pleasantly surprised to see very little sign of astringency. When I returned to the glass, fine oak spices have built up aromas and bits of vanilla had revealed themselves. The initial grassy aromas have moved towards green tobacco and intermixed within all of the scents are bits of spicy orange citrus peel and a few almond-like scents …”

Please enjoy my review of this new Kentucky Straight Bourbon.


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

Cocktail Hour: Bourbon Smash

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 6, 2016

Flatboat Smash SAM_2614Here is a recipe based upon the Whiskey Smash as found in Leo Engels 1878 book, American and Other Drinks. Leo adds a dash of Jamaican Rum to the mixed drink which I found rather odd, until I tried it. It turns out that a dab of strongly flavoured dark Jamaican rum adds a very complementary flavour component to the smashing cocktail. Whereas Leo preferred a sugar rimmed glass and an orange peel garnish, I find that a simple embellishment of mint leaf is sufficient to dress the serving.

Please enjoy my cocktail suggestion:

Bourbon Smash

2 oz Flatboat Kentucky Straight Bourbon
dash of Jamaican Rum (Coruba Dark Jamaican Rum)
10 ml Sugar Syrup
4 small mint leaves
1 lime slice
Mint Sprig

Muddle mint leaves, lime slice, dash of Jamaican rum and sugar syrup in the bottom of a mixing glass
Remove the mint leaves and transfer to a metal shaker
Add Bourbon and Ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts
Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

Note: My review of Flatboat Kentucky Straight Bourbon will publish tomorrow!


Posted in Cocktails & Recipes | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

2016 Spiced Rum Taste-off: Siesta Key Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 5, 2016

SAM_0469 Siesta Key Spiced RumDrum Circle Distilling is a small artisan distillery located in Sarasota, Florida. Their distillation system was crafted for the distillery by Christian Carl a German company which has been producing distillation systems for over 150 years. Working directly with Christian Carl, Drum Circle Distilling was able to custom design a small-batch copper still (which can be run as a simple pot still or with a side column) which they believe is perfect for making great tasting rum.

Siesta Key Spiced Rum is an interesting spirit. Founder (and Distiller) of Drum Circle Distilling, Troy Roberts, begins with his Silver Rum. Then he adds a bit of his Siesta Gold Rum (reviewed here) to the mix. Finally, he spices the resulting blend using real spices. Troy literally weighs each of the spices and tosses them into a tank of rum to infuse. He uses no corn syrup or other industrial sweetener, instead Mr. Roberts uses honey to add sweetness (and flavor).

Here is a link to my review:

#11 Siesta Key Spiced Rum

“… Here is a spiced rum that refuses to knock me over with vanilla. The sweetness which normally accompanies spiced rum is diminished as well. Instead it is those pumpkin spices which lead out onto my palate. The flavour is just aggressive enough to let you know that you are drinking a spiced rum, but not so aggressive that anything is uncomfortable …”


I hope you all find this countdown enjoyable and you can follow the rankings here:

The Rum Howler 2016 Spiced Rum Countdown


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


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