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Posts Tagged ‘Bourbon’

Glenlivet 12 vs Centennial Canadian Rye vs Maker’s Mark

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 2, 2020

Yesterday I shared the results of my New Year’s Eve – Rum Tasting which I hosted for several of my friends on the eve of the new decade. After the Rum Tasting, and just after the turn of the decade I followed up with a whisky tasting. The three spirits I chose to share were The Glenlivet 12 Year Old Single Malt, Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky from Highwood Distillers, and Maker’s Mark, a bourbon from Beam-Suntory.

My second Spirit Tasting on New Year’s Eve featured 3 different whisky styles from 3 different countries.

Just as I had done with my previous rum tasting, the Whisky Tasting was planned to feature three different styles of whisky not with the aim of demonstrating one style was better than the other, but with the purpose of helping my friends discover which style they might appreciate the most.

The Glenlivet Distillery is located near Ballindalloch in Moray, Scotland. The distillery was founded in 1824. It remained open during the first World War as well as and through the Great Depression with its only closure during World War II. The Glenlivet brand is owned by the French conglomerate Pernod Ricard, and has grown to be largest selling single malt whisky in North America and the second largest selling single malt whisky globally. The Glenlivet 12 Year Old is the flagship whisky in the Glenlivet core line-up.

According to the Glenlivet website:

Representing The Glenlivet’s signature style, this classic malt is first matured in traditional oak, before spending time in American oak casks which impart notes of vanilla and gives the whisky it’s distinctive smoothness. The mineral-rich water that comes from Josie’s Well helps form the flavours during mashing and fermentation, whilst the specific height and width of the copper stills add a delicate yet complex character.

All Scottish Single Malt Whiskies are distilled upon traditional Alembic Pot Stills.

The Highwood Distillery is the only large locally (Albertan) owned distillery in Canada. It is also the only privately owned major distillery in Canada. the facility sits in the heart of the High River community, producing more than 300,000 cases of bottled spirits per year. Although the bulk of their production goes towards Vodka, Flavoured Vodka, and Premixes, they also produce a sizable (and growing) amount of Canadian Whisky each year.

Centennial Limited Edition Canadian Whisky is somewhat unique in Canada, as rather than using corn as the base grain for this whisky, Centennial uses soft Canadian winter wheat and rye. This gives the Centennial brand a smooth and soft flavour profile which I have found is unlike any other Canadian whisky. In fact, using grains grown exclusively on the Canadian prairies, distilling the grain in their home Province of Alberta, and aging the spirit in the severe Western Canadian climate makes Centennial is a Whisky unlike any other in the world.

Highwood produces all of their whiskies in a batch style using their unique pot still which if you have a look at my write up (see here) you can see is a sort of Kettle Pot rather than an Alembic Pot which is more typical of the Scottish Distilleries.

Maker’s Mark is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky brand distilled in Loretto, Kentucky, and owned by Beam Global. Bill Samuels Sr. is credited with creating the first version of Maker’s Mark in 1954, and the folks at the Maker’s Mark Distillery have been producing this whiskey since 1958.

The process of producing the bourbon begins with pure limestone fed spring-water, yellow corn, red winter wheat, and natural malted barley (note the absence of rye grain which was replaced by red winter wheat in the mash bill). It continues with a unique milling, cooking, fermentation and small batch distillation process; and it ends with the spirit being aged in new oak barrels.

As you can see each whisky is quite different. One is pot distilled Single Malt (malted barley grain) from Scotland, one is a batch distilled Canadian Whisky distilled on a Kettle Pot from Wheat and Rye, and the last is a bourbon distilled predominantly from corn and bottled in small batches from less than 20 barrels each. The Glenlivet, and Centennial brands are matured in re-used American Oak Barrels and bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume whereas Makers Mark is matured in new Oak Barrels and bottled at 45 % abv.

For this tasting I had only 5 participants (6 including myself), and the results were quite surprising. Four of us preferred the light style of Centennial, 2 preferred the smooth but complex Glenlivet, and although a few persons had the Maker’s Mark ranked 2nd, nobody had it ranked first. The sentiment seemed to be that the Marker’s Mark Whiskey was much harsher and not as easy to sip as the other two choices. Some felt that the ‘new barrel taste’ would take some getting used to as well.

The common refrain around the table was that the Centennial was incredibly smooth, yet carried a very appealing full flavour of Canadian Rye. A few said that it was the first Canadian Whisky that they felt they could sip easily and enjoy. It was the smoothness of The Glenlivet 12 Year Old that won over a few fans as well. Those who preferred the Centennial felt that the Canadian Whisky offered more character. “It’s kind of like the character has been blended away” one of my guests said of The Glenlivet.

An interesting note, is that (in my market anyway) the Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky ($29.95) is about half the price of The Glenlivet ($59.95), and a full 12 dollars a bottle less expensive than the Maker’s Mark ($42.95). Again (as with my New Year’s Eve – Rum Tasting) the sample size of participants was much too small to make any definitive conclusions; but it appears that one does not have to break the bank to taste good whisky in Alberta.

Chimo Everyone!

 

 

 

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

Review: Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 30, 2018

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked is a Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey, distilled and bottled at the Woodford Reserve Distillery in  Versailles Kentucky. The folks at Woodford Reserve pride themselves in the manufacture of what they call ‘craft whiskeys’. The Kentucky distillery is apparently located over top of a deep limestone aquifer which contains mineral rich (iron free) limestone water. The fermentation tanks are constructed from cypress which (according to the folks at Woodford Reserve) helps to eliminate unwanted flavours which could arise in a stainless steel fermentation tank. The wash is distilled three times on copper pots stills to a full 158 proof, and the resulting new make is barreled in freshly charred new oak barrels prepared by the distillers own cooperage. The spirit is set down to mature in a temperature controlled warehouse where it is carefully monitored to be bottled when the right flavour characteristic has been achieved.

In the case of the Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon undergoes a two barreled maturation process. The first portion of the maturation is in what the distillery calls a custom crafted barrel, and the second portion of the maturation is in a deeply toasted (but lightly charred) barrel which imparts a second amount of oak character to their whiskey.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon

“… What began as orange peel and oak spice moves towards marmalade. Almond scents move with the vanilla to marzipan, and rich dark fruits (raisins and cherries) have come forward with obvious impressions of dark tobacco and less obvious impressions of bittersweet chocolate. The scents and smells are so good that it is hard to stop myself from stealing a sip (oops I just did) …”

Please enjoy the review and my cocktail suggestion at the conclusion.

Chimo!

Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon

Review: Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 2, 2018

Wild Turkey produces their bourbon from a mash bill which includes three grains: corn, barley, and rye. This mash bill is said to have a relatively high proportion of rye which gives the whiskey brand its signature spicy kick.

Their Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit is bottled at 50.5 % alcohol by volume (101 proof). It is a single barrel whisky with each barrel was chosen by Wild Turkey Master Distiller Jimmy Russell. Although the spirit carries no age statement, the Wild Turkey Website informs us that all of their Bourbon is blended from whiskeys aged a minimum of five years in what the company refers to as their ‘famous #4 alligator char‘ American Oak barrels.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit 

” … The initial aroma is rich with a combination of corn, butterscotch, oak, and vanilla whetting my appetite. Some maple and cedar notes develop as do some very nice baking spices (more vanilla, some cinnamon accents and a touch of ginger). I begin to notice some rye notes in the glass probably associated with that hint of ginger within the baking spice. Honey comb and tobacco can easily be imagined in the breezes as well as some almond accents and dollops of marmalade and apricot jam …”

Please enjoy my review which includes two serving suggestions, the Old Fashioned Spirit, and the Infinity Cocktail.

Chimo!

Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit

Review: Wild Turkey 101 (Kentucky Straight Bourbon)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 18, 2018

Wild Turkey produces their bourbon from a mash bill which includes three grains: corn, barley, and rye. This mash bill is said to have a relatively high proportion of rye which gives the whiskey brand its signature spicy kick.  Wild Turkey 101, rather than being bottled at the regular 40 % alcohol by volume is instead bottled at a higher proof, 50.5% alcohol by volume or 101 proof.

Although the spirit carries no age statement, the Wild Turkey Website informs us that this Kentucky Straight Bourbon is blended from whiskeys aged from five to eight years (minimum 5 years) in what the company refers to as their ‘famous #4 alligator char‘ American Oak barrels.

Here is a link to my full review of this outstanding bourbon whiskey:

Review: Wild Turkey 101 (Kentucky Straight Bourbon)

“… When I take my first sip, I find an abundance of rye flavour joined by a light rum-like caramel, firm vanilla flavours and spicy oak sap and tannins. Although the whiskey is rye-forward, I also taste a firm presence of corn meandering alongside. Light flavours of maple join with the caramel, and some delicious baking spices (vanilla, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon) accent the oak and the rye …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a recipe suggestion from Campari (the brand owner), the Wild Mustang.

Chimo!

Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Review: Russell’s Reserve (10 Years Old) Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 4, 2018

Wild Turkey Kentucky Straight Bourbon is distilled and bottled at the Wild Turkey Distillery near Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. The company is a division of the Campari Group. Wild Turkey produces their bourbon from a mash bill which includes three grains: corn, barley, and rye. This mash bill is said to have a relatively high proportion of rye which gives the whiskey brand its signature spicy kick. Russell’s Reserve is an age stated bourbon brand produced by Wild Turkey. Like all Wild Turkey Bourbons the whiskey is aged in what the company refers to as their ‘famous #4 alligator char‘ American Oak barrels.

The Russell’s Reserve 10 Year Old is bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume or 90 proof.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Russell’s Reserve (10 Years Old)

“… The delivery brings a peppery bite of oak spice and alcohol along with it. As stated earlier, this is bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume, so a bit of alcohol punch is not out of place. I taste bits of wood sap and oak spice. The initial sharpness is tempered by a light butterscotch as well as a firm flavour of vanilla and almond. Fruit flavours are present in the form of orange peel and canned apricots …”

I hope you enjoy my latest review.

Chimo!

Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Russell’s Reserve (10 Years Old) Kentucky Straight Bourbon

 
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