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Review: St-Remy XO Authentic French Brandy

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 13, 2017

St-Remy Heretic No. 2

In 1886 Paul-Emile Rémy Martin II established the original St-Rémy Distillery in the tiny village of Machecoul. After 30 years of experimentation (in 1917), St. Remy launched Fine St-Rémy, the French Brandy which came to define the St-Rémy style and character for decades to come. The distillery began to exported their French Brandy to the rest of Europe in the 1920s and then jumped the Atlantic to Canada in 1967. Within another decade, the St-Remy spirit was sold on all five major continents, and today St-Rémy proudly proclaims itself the World’s No. 1 French Brandy.

The production of St-Remy XO Authentic French Brandy begins with the selection of grapes, harvested in France’s most prestigious wine-growing regions, such as Burgundy, Champagne, Rhône Valley, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire Valley, Bordeaux and Beaujolais. Distillation takes place in both column and pot stills where the fermented wine is heated until the contained alcohol evaporates and becomes eaux-de-vie. The heart of the second distillation is carefully selected by the distiller to have the proper characteristics such that the eaux-de-vie will develop into brandy as they are matured in small French oak barrels.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: St-Remy XO Authentic French Brandy

“… When I bring my nose to the glass the breezes bring me aromas rich with oak and caramel toffee. There are firm oaky vanillans imprinted into the oak and toffee as well as hints of maple. The spirit is fruity with scents of orange marmalade, plump raisins, and impressions of Turkish Delight (red licorice) dancing in the background …”

Please enjoy my review which includes my cocktail recommendation, Heretic No. 2.

Chimo!

 

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

Review: El Dorado 3 Year Cask Aged Demerara Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 12, 2017

The El Dorado Mojito

The Diamond Distillery sits on the East Bank of the Demerara River near Georgetown, Guyana. The Distillery, originally attached to the now closed Diamond Sugar Estate, is home to Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL). Several 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 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. The new distillation plant represents a bridge to DDL’s future of new technology and methods of production. However, by continuing to operate the old plant and maintaining the unique marques of rum upon which the company built its original success, the foundations for that bridge to the future have been set firmly in their historic past.

The El Dorado 3 Year Cask Aged Demerara Rum is blended from aged stocks (the youngest being no less than 3 years old) and then filtered twice through charcoal filters to produce a clear rum. All of the Demerara Rum produced by El Dorado is aged exclusively in American oak (45 gallon bourbon barrels).

Here is a link to my new review which includes my suggested recipe, The El Dorado Mojito:

Review: El Dorado 3 Year Cask Aged Demerara Rum

“… The rum has a pleasant soft texture with light oil-like mouth-feel. There is no bitterness, and the soft butterscotch/caramel flavours remain firm through the palate accented with light minty candy-like flavours. There is also a light spiciness which hints at citrus zest and banana peel …”

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I originally reviewed the El Dorado 3 Year Cask Aged Demerara Rum eight years ago as one of my original reviews to open the website. (I revisited it again four years ago when I was doing side by side comparisons of White Rums during the summer of 2013,) Although the scores have been adjusted slightly in this review, it remains one of my very favourite white rums. It is smooth and flavourful enough to be sipped enjoyably, and it also brings outstanding character to the cocktail experience.

Chimo!

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Review: Pure Scot Blended Scotch Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 8, 2017

The Bladnoch Distillery was founded in 1817 which means that this year Bladnoch is celebrating its 200th year. The Distillery was built in the lowlands on the River Bladnoch by two brothers, John and Thomas McClelland. It is in fact, the southernmost whisky distillery in Scotland, and at 200 years of age, one of the oldest Lowland Scotch Whisky producers.

After a recent retrofit, the Distillery has began to resume production and Bladnoch has released two new Blended Scotch Whiskies (Pure Scot and Pure Scot Virgin Oak 43) and three new Single Malt Whiskies (Bladnoch Samsara, Bladnoch Adela, and Bladnoch Talia). These expressions are just beginning to arrive in the Canada.

The subject of this review, Pure Scot Blended Scotch Whisky, is a blending of Bladnoch Single Malt Whisky with aged Speyside, Highland and Islay Malts. The whisky has no age statement, however it is known that the Bladnoch Single Malt Whiskies used in its construction are at least nine years old. The final whisky is chill filtered and bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Pure Scot Blended Scotch Whisky

“… The breezes above the glass reveal a lightly sweet whisky in which butterscotch is playing nicely with wisps of oak and grain spice and malt barley. As I let the glass breathe I noticed some vanilla melding with nutty almond and hazelnuts which reminded me somewhat of marzipan, and some indications of canned fruit (peaches and apricots) …”

Please enjoy the review which includes a new cocktail, Cerise Old Fashioned.

Chimo!

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

Review: Crow’s Nest Spiced Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 5, 2017

Crow’s Nest Spiced Rum is produced by Terrapure Spirits located in North Charleston (South Carolina). The spiced rum is part of the Preferred Selection at the Western Canadian Liquor Depot chain of stores.

According to the information provided on the label, the rum has been aged at least one year and features the bold flavour of vanilla with hints of nutmeg and caramel.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Crow’s Nest Spiced Rum

“… When I brought the rum to my nose the impact of vanilla was immediately apparent. This firm vanilla aroma is accented by light indications of banana, orange peel, and butterscotch/caramel. There is also a light mustiness rising the from the glass, as well as some peppery zest and light sandalwood spices …”

Please enjoy my review which includes my cocktail recommendation, The Flying Machine.

Chimo!

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

Review: Wayne Gretzky No. 99 Red Cask Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 2, 2017

The Wayne Gretzky Distillery had its grand opening this past June (on the weekend of the 9th, 10th and 11th). The new 23,000 square foot facility (a cooperative effort between Andrew Peller (Wines) LTD. and the Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky) was constructed over two years and includes both a winery and a distillery as well as tasting areas and barrel aging cellar.

Prior to the grand opening, the distillery released its first Canadian Whisky, Wayne Gretzky No. 99 Red Cask Canadian Whisky.

According to the Wayne Gretzky Estates website information:

”  Wayne Gretzky No. 99 ‘Red Cask’ Canadian Whisky is made in small batches from grain (rye, malted rye and corn) that has been individually mashed, fermented and distilled. After aging, the whisky is finished with red wine casks from the Wayne Gretzky winery. “

Of course the Wayne Gretzky Distillery has not been operating long enough to have distilled their own Canadian Whisky. This means the new spirit was produced at a third-party Canadian Distillery. However, Joshua Beach (Wayne Gretzky Distillery’s Master Blender) apparently oversaw the production of the Whisky that bears the Distillery’s name.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Wayne Gretzky No. 99 Red Cask Canadian Whisky

“… When I brought the glencairn to my nose to inspect the breezes above the glass, I noticed touches of butterscotch with dusty rye and oodles of clean wood spice. There is a hint of cinnamon in the air as well as just a trace of red cherry licorice and a few wisps of vanilla …”

Please enjoy my review which includes my recommended serving, the High Level Streetcar No. 99.

Chimo!

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

Review: Pemberton Valley Organic Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 29, 2017

The Pemberton Distillery is located in the heart of the Coast Mountains, an area known for its massive ice caps and pure glacial streams. The Master Distiller, Tyler Schramm, studied a Masters of Science in Brewing & Distilling at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. The distillery first broke onto the scene in August of 2009 with their Schramm Organic Vodka (reviewed here), an authentic sipping vodka produced  from whole organic potatoes (grown just 15 km from the distillery in the Pemberton Valley). This special Vodka is produced using an all natural fermentation process that does not use of chemicals, synthetic anti-foaming agents, or additives. In fact, the distillery boasts that they follow the same traditional methods used by single malt scotch distilleries. They distill in small batches using a hand-operated copper pot still, and the entire distillation is performed by Tyler Schramm, who is continuously testing and sampling the distillate for quality.

All that care and attention which the distillery displayed in producing their organic vodka has also been turned towards their production of Single Malt Whisky. According to the Pemberton Distillery website the spirit is:

” A true West Coast style single malt Whisky. Pot distilled in small batches from organic BC malted barley …”

I was sent a bottle from Cask No. 4 which was distilled in September of 2012, and bottled in April of 2017. The Whisky was matured in an ex bourbon cask and bottled at 44 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Pemberton Valley Organic Single Malt Whisky

“… My first impression was of warm buttermilk porridge with firm nutty smells of barley wafting upwards. There is a leather-like impression which reminds me of burlap, and hints of sweetness which seem like graham wafers dipped in cane syrup …”

Please enjoy my review of this outstanding Single Malt Whisky which includes a my recipe recommendation, Provenance.

Chimo!

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

Review: Roca Patrón Reposado Tequila

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 25, 2017

Roca Patrón Tequila is a pure 100% Agave Tequila made from agave grown in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. The agave is 6 to 7 years old when harvested, and the heart of the plant or the piña is all that is used. After harvest the piñas are chopped in half by hand and slowly steamed in masonry brick ovens for about 79 hours to soften them. The softened piñas are then shredded and placed into a traditional stone pit, where they are crushed by a large 2 ton stone milling wheel called a Tahona.

According to many Tequila producers, the manner in which juice is extracted from the piñas has a noticeable impact upon the flavour of the final distilled tequila. This was very evident when I tasted the Roca Patrón Tequila which has a noticeably softer earthy flavour than the regular Patrón Tequila distilled mainly from juice extracted by a roller mill.

Roca Patrón Reposado Tequila is distilled twice in copper pot stills , and then aged for 5 months in used American oak bourbon barrels. It is also one the best tasting Reposado tequila spirits I have encountered.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Roca Patrón Reposado Tequila

“… I discovered a lightly sweet, mildly punky agave aroma lifting from the glass. It has a fruity smell; but it did not carry the typical sharpness of citrus and white pepper which I usually find in highland tequila. Rather the citrus and pepper are blunted as the air above the glass also carried a subtle earthy quality which resembled aromas of baked zucchini and squash …”

Please enjoy my review which includes my recipe recommendation, Arctic Wolf’s Tequila Old Fashioned.

Chimo!

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

Review: Mount Gay Eclipse Silver Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 21, 2017

It was in 1910 that the appearance of Haley’s Comet coincided with a total solar eclipse, and this event is said to have inspired Mount Gay to create their Eclipse branded rums. Mount Gay 1703 Eclipse Silver Rum is composed of rum distillate produced from both pot and column still distillation. Although this rum is clear, it has nevertheless been matured in charred white oak barrels, barrels which previously held American whiskey. The lightly aged rum is filtered clear and bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Today (across ten US states and through parts of the Caribbean) another total eclipse of the sun may be witnessed by those lucky enough to be in its path. It seems an ideal day to revisit and update my previous review for the Mount Gay Eclipse Silver Rum.

Review: Mount Gay Eclipse Silver Rum

“… I found that the white rum displayed an inviting aroma to my nostrils above the glass. The scents and smells of light butterscotch were evident as was a firm presence of banana, a mild citrus zest, and a light minty aroma. As the glass decanted a vague grassy vegetal scent began to waft upwards as well. Allowing the glass to breathe resulted in a strengthening of this ‘grassiness’ which seemed to imply a more complex character than I may have originally anticipated …”

Please enjoy the Eclipse today whether it be the astronomical phenomena or the great rum from Mount Gay!

Chimo!

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

Review: Rig Hand White Dog Corn Distillate (An Aging Simulation)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 19, 2017

Rig Hand White Dog Corn Distillate aged for 14 weeks in a small 1 liter cask.

The Rig Hand Craft Distillery (formerly Big Rig Distillery) opened their doors on October 17, 2015 and they already have an impressive line-up of spirits for sale at their boutique store within the facility. These spirits include their Premium Vodka and their selections of White Dog Distillate (not whisky for three years yet); and as well as their intriguing Sugar Beet Brum.

The distillery’s White Dog Malted Corn Distillate is produced from 100 % Alberta grown corn distilled upon the company’s main still (Mighty Morley). This is a versatile still consisting of a large wash still, two columns, and a condenser. The columns are different sizes, a short 4-plate column is used for stripping the spirit (reducing the water content), and a tall 16-plate column is used for Vodka production. The Corn Distillate is distilled twice through the through short 4-plate column to produce a more flavourful spirit than if the 16 plate column had been used. After distillation the spirit is either filtered and reduced to bottling proof (53.4 % alcohol by volume for my sample) to be sold as White Dog Corn Distillate, or it is placed in re-used oak casks to become whisky in three years.

For this review, I decided to aged the distillate for 14 weeks in a small 1 litre oak barrel in an attempt to simulate the maturation of a premium well-aged whisky. As you can see from the picture I snapped of the final product (placed in a new decanter), the hue of the whisky had reached deep copper .

I thought it would be interesting to share my simulation results as a ‘Whisky in Progress Review’.

You can read the results here:

Review: Rig Hand White Dog Corn Distillate (An Aging Simulation)

” … The harsh astringency of the new make distillate and its firm vegetal notes had been soothed by the time in the barrel, and firm woody notes, hints of chocolate and pungent baking spice were now the dominating aspects of the whisky …”

Please enjoy my review, Chimo!

Please bear in mind that this was only a simulation and all conclusions reached should be interpreted with caution.

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Summer Cocktail #5 – The Daiquiri

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 16, 2017

Simple Daiquiri

Today (in the USA) is National Rum Day, and I cannot think of a better way to toast the cane spirit than with the quintessential rum cocktail, the Daiquiri. Like that other quintessential rum cocktail, (the Cuba Libre’), the mixed drink appears to have originated in Cuba and was given its present name shortly after the Spanish-American War ended in 1898.

Let me share a recipe for the most basic form of the cocktail.

A Simple Daiquiri

1 1/2 oz. Light Rum
1/2 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1 tsp. Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
Ice
Slice of Lime for Garnish

Combine the first three ingredients into a metal shaker with ice.
Shake until the metal shaker chills.
Strain into a chilled  glass.
Garnish with the lime slice

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It is probably true that this classic cocktail was being served in Cuba and perhaps elsewhere in the Caribbean (in one form or another) for many years already; but the libation appears to have been given its popular name when an American mining engineer working in Cuba, named Jennings Cox ran out of gin while entertaining his friends. He switched over to the local rum, mixed it over ice with Lemon Juice and Sugar, and named his new-found drink, the Daiquiri. Incidentally, this was also the name of a beach nearby and an iron mine near Santiago de Cuba. (We don’t know whether it was the beach or the iron mine which served as the inspiration for the cocktail’s name.)

The new name for the drink caught on and was apparently brought over to America by US Navel OfficerRear Admiral Lucius W. Johnson, who enjoyed the libation while serving in Cuba in 1909. When back in America he introduced it to the bar in Army and Navy Club in Washington, D.C.. The Daiquiri (once introduced to American bartenders) slowly spread across the USA and beyond.

Today (as shown in the recipe above) Lime Juice has supplanted Lemon Juice as the main citrus component, although many variations exist with substitutions (or additions) of other citrus and fruit juices and even flavoured liqueurs.

My own 11 A.M. Daiquiri

Last year (while sampling and reviewing Captain Morgan White Rum), I constructed this variation which I call the 11 A.M. Daiquiri.

11 A.M. Daiquiri

2 1/2 oz Captain Morgan White Rum
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Orange Juice
3/8 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1)
Ice
Lemon Slice

Add the ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Pour into a crushed ice-filled hurricane glass
Garnish with orange and cherry.

Enjoy Responsibly!

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

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Note: My Review for Captain Morgan White Rum  Can be found here:

Review: Captain Morgan White Rum

“… The initial nose surprised me too as there was an ever so light mustiness rising the from the glass, as well as very apparent aromas of a mild caramel, green banana, peppery zest and light sandalwood spices …”

Enjoy National Rum Day, Chimo!

 

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Rum, White Rums | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Summer Cocktail #5 – The Daiquiri

 
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