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Posts Tagged ‘2015 Rum Howler Awards’

Eight Lame Ducks

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 8, 2016

CanardI try to be positive on my website. Generally speaking, I like to sample and write about spirits which I genuinely enjoy, rather than those which leave an unpleasant taste in my mouth. In fact, the experience of putting something into my mouth that tastes bad is one I tend to avoid. However, despite my efforts to avoid bad experiences, I nevertheless do sometimes accept samples which I wish I had not, and at times well-meaning friends or family members gift me bottles which if I had my druthers, I wish they would have kept to themselves.

In my effort to help you avoid these same mistakes, I have created the Rum Howler Canards of 2015.

A canard, if you are unfamiliar with the term, is the french word for duck. It is also a slang term for something that isn’t quite right. An item which promises to be wonderful, but upon examination turns out to be something less, something which disappoints rather than exhilarates.

And that is precisely what my Canards recognize. These spirits promised me pleasure, but granted me something much less. And my Rum Howler Canards of 2015 are for the 8 Lame Ducks of the previous year.

These Eight Canards are revealed here:

The Rum Howler Canards of 2015

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Posted in Awards, Extras | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

The Year In Rum – (The 2015 Rum Howler Awards)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 31, 2015

RH-winner2015I have come at last too what is regularly the most popular posting on my website, my annual Year in Rum – Rum Howler Awards which recognize those brands  which have achieved excellence in the production of rum. For the second year in a row, sadly, I have eliminated the Regional Rum Awards as once again time simply has gotten the best of me, and tomorrow I must forge on into the year 2016 and leave 2015 behind.

This year, to determine my Rum Howler Award Winners I first checked my review scores in all of the categories of each rum I had sampled in the last two years and chose for each category the 5 top spirits based upon those review scores. Then I asked two friends of mine to rank each of the rums I had chosen within each of the categories. The only category in which cocktails were constructed to help assist in the rankings was for the white rums, and the cocktail constructed was a simple daiquiri. All other rum categories were judged neat.

I compared the rankings assigned by my two jurors for each spirit within each category with my review rankings and determined the Winner as well as the Runners-up and the Honourable Mentions for each category. The results turned out to be very consistent with my review scores although there are a few exceptions. No system is perfect, but I believe my friends and I did a thorough job with good results.

It is time for me to bring forward my 2015 Rum Howler Awards Winners. These are the spirits which have risen to the top and provided us with our greatest enjoyment.

Here is a link to my Year in Rum Awards Page:

The 2015 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Rum

Please remember, that the aim of my website is not to help you drink more spirits, it is to help you drink better spirits! (Wishing everyone a safe and enjoyable New Years.)

 

Posted in Awards, Extras, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on The Year In Rum – (The 2015 Rum Howler Awards)

The Year In Whisky – (The 2015 Rum Howler Awards)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 30, 2015

RH-winner2015The major story (at least as near as I can determine) with respect to whisky in 2015 is the continued resurgence of Canadian Whisky upon the world scene. I can remember a time only a few short years ago when it seemed like only Davin De Kergommeax (CanadianWhisky.Org) and myself were willing to place the Canadian spirit on par with American Bourbon and Single Malt Scotch Whisky. As both Davin and I wrote our reviews and commentaries it often felt as though we were each subject to more than a few strange looks from other whisky critics who panned the Canadian Spirit as merely a cheap blend.

And this might be the year that future whisky historians decide that Canadian Whisky finally became relevant again. And no, it was not because of Davin or myself (although we may have each played a small (very small) part). It was because in 2015 the most recognized and influential whisky critic in the world (Jim Murray) placed one of our nation’s spirits on top of the whisky world. That whisky, Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye, was named by Jim Murray in his 2016 Whisky Bible, the World Whisky of the Year!

That is not to say that the whisky produced elsewhere is not improving as well. Whisky Advocate named a Swedish spirit, Spirit of Hven Sankt Claus, their World Whisky of the Year, and throughout the world the popularity of US Bourbon continues to rise as does the whisky produced in Japan. Of course Scottish Single Malts are as popular as ever; but the pedestal they once enjoyed upon the top of whisky world has turned more into a broad plateau with many other whisky styles from many other countries also sharing the view from on top.

And this brings me to my Whisky Awards. Let’s face it, Jim Murray may well have his opinion, and the Whisky Advocate writer’s may have theirs; but the opinion which counts for the most upon this website … is mine. And that opinion is shared every year when I publish my own Rum Howler Awards.

Here is a link to my Awards Page for the Best Whiskies produced in 2015:

The 2015 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Whisky

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on The Year In Whisky – (The 2015 Rum Howler Awards)

The Year In Vodka – (The 2015 Rum Howler Awards)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 29, 2015

RH-winner2015There seems to be a divide among vodka producers. While most producers, particularly in North America and Western Europe continue to value purity above all else, a small but growing movement (which started in Eastern Europe) of allowing the vodka spirit to express a certain level of flavour is gaining momentum. I have always maintained that there are subtle aromas and flavours which can be appreciated when Vodka is sipped or when it is consumed as a shot, and it seems that some of the producers within Eastern Europe have adherents to this philosophy as well. Hopefully this movement will continue to grow.

When I review Vodka on my website, I try very hard to convey my appreciation of those subtle nuances of flavour and pleasure which the spirit can provide.

As for those Vodka Reviews, they continue to be among the most popular upon my website. And I must admit that reviewing vodka the way I do is certainly fun. The process and methodology I utilize where my friends are invited to participate as we sample and share both cocktails and food pairings with the Vodka spirit allows me to incorporate not only my views of taste and quality, but also my friends observations.

As is the case each year, all of my Rum Howler Awards are based upon side by side tastings within each category of spirit. I taste the spirit neat, and I may also mix a few cocktails with each spirit. All spirit samples which I receive to review on my website are automatically considered for my awards. I do my review, and then I set aside the remainder of the spirit for the end of the year judging. I also include those samples which were provided in the previous year so as to have a larger field to judge, and I may receive additional industry samples specifically for these awards.

Here is a link to my Vodka Awards Page:

The 2015 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Vodka

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The Year In Gin – (The 2015 Rum Howler Awards)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 28, 2015

RH-winner2015Gin appears to be on the upswing, at least that is the impression I receive when I walk into the local liquor stores. I see dozens of new brands alongside the traditional favourites. One reason for all of these new brands of Gin is closely associated with the upswing another spirit entirely, and that spirit is whisky. Whisky has been increasing in popularity for many years now, and to meet the rising demand for whisky, new distilling capacity is being introduced in the form of new distilleries and micro-distilleries throughout North America (and elsewhere). Whisky (in most countries) must be aged for two to three years before it can be sold which means that start-up distilleries in need of cashflow produce and sell their own brands of gin and vodka (which do not need to age) so that they have at least something to generate income while the whisky ages in the oak barrels.

Coinciding with this phenomena is the ongoing cocktail revolution which shows no sign of abating. While Vodka was the spirit of choice at the beginning of the Cocktail Revolution, things are changing and more and more bartenders and home enthusiasts are discovering Gin. The juniper spirit, with its sharp piny aromatics is perhaps the perfect cocktail spirit to turn to when broadening the horizons of cocktail flavour.

Those who read my blog regularly know that I have joined the revolution and embraced gin as one of my go to cocktail spirits. I have embraced the Gin and Tonic, and recently discovered James Bond’s Vesper Martini.

And so with all that ado, it is time for me to pay tribute to the best Gin spirits I encountered in 2015.

Here is a link to my Gin Awards Page:

The 2015 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Gin

 

Posted in Awards, Extras, Gin, Gin Review, Howls | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on The Year In Gin – (The 2015 Rum Howler Awards)

The Year In Tequila – (The 2015 Rum Howler Awards)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 27, 2015

RH-winner2015In 2013, I lamented that it was a bad year for Tequila as far as my home Province of Alberta was concerned, and in 2014 things were to the point that I decided to omit my Rum Howler Awards for Tequila altogether. In 2015, I decided to do something about this state of affairs and I made a concentrated effort to make Tequila a larger part of my website. I began in May with my Rum Howler 2015 Margarita Challenge. As part of my efforts, I sent a call out to industry and asked for samples of Blanco Tequila with the aim of having a small competition to see which brand made the best Margarita Cocktail. I even designed my version of this quintessential cocktail just for the competition, the Alfred Cointreau Margarita Cocktail

My efforts were rewarded as I managed to garner about a dozen samples and when the dust had settled I determined that a new agave brand from Patron, Roca Patron Silver was in the opinion my cast of jurors the best Blanco tequila for our summer time tequila cocktails. My competition had the ancillary benefit of drawing the attention of more tequila producers to my website,  and I received not only a good selection of blanco tequila samples, but also a nice smattering of Reposado, and Anejo tequila as well as a very delicious Extra Anejo.

All of this means that my Rum Howler Awards for Tequila are back, and quite frankly, I could not be happier about that. Here is a link to my awards page for my 2015 Tequila Awards:

The 2015 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Tequila

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Note: The awards pages contain links to all of the reviews for the awards spirits, two of which have never been reviewed upon my website previously.  Please enjoy the awards and stay tuned for my awards for Gin, Vodka, Whisky and Rum!

Posted in Anejo Tequila, Awards, Blanco Tequila, Extra Anejo Tequila, Extras, Reposado Tequila, Tequila, Tequila Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Year In Tequila – (The 2015 Rum Howler Awards)

 
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