Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 21, 2015
Today I thought I would give everyone who is scrambling at the last-minute a few suggestions for Father’s Day with the same list of ten spirits which I posted on my refrigerator for my wife and kids. Every item on my list is considered by myself to be a top-notch spirit, however each is available in my local market for less than 100 bucks. That may seem a high watermark for some, but I have three kids and they can chip in together.
Any gift from his list would make any reasonable Dad happy:
1) Dictador XO Insolent Rum
2) Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial Rum
3) El Dorado 21 Year Old Special Reserve Rum
4) Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon
5) Highland Park 12 Year Old Single Malt
6) Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Year Old
7) Wyborowa Exquisite (Wodka)
8) Botanist Islay Dry Gin
9) Corzo Reposado Tequila
10) H by Hine Fine Champagne Cognac (VSOP)
Graham’s Six Grapes
I realize that not everyone can or would want to spend 100 bucks. If you are more budget conscious, then here is a list of ten great budget priced spirits which would still make any Dad happy (including me):
1) Bacardi 8 Yr Old Rum
2) Appleton Estate Extra Old 12 Year
3) Diplomático Añejo
4) Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky
5) Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey
6) Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky
7) Highwood Premium Vodka
8) Broker’s Premium London Dry Gin (40 %ABV)
9) Herencia de Plata (Reposado)
10) W & J Graham’s “Six Grapes” Reserve Port
The two lists are in no particular order, but I have tried to include a good range of spirit types with the emphasis on Rum of course. Hopefully this helps someone, if not for Father’s Day, then maybe for your own personal shopping.
Posted in Extras | Tagged: Bourbon, Cognac, Father's Day, Gin, Port Wine, Rum, Tequila, Vodka, Whisky | 1 Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 17, 2015
Monument Valley Distillers call themselves artisan distillers who craft small batches of bourbon, whiskey and brandy. The genesis for the company was a conversation over dinner between founders Ethan Wayne, (son of the epic movie actor, John Wayne) and Jayson Woodbridge and Chris Radomski (vintners of Hundred Acre Wines) in Calistoga, California. The company they created as a result of that conversation (Monument Valley Distillers) is based in California, and it spawned DUKE Spirits which is now tasked with preserving the legacy of Ethan’s father, John Wayne, by creating authentic products bearing his name.
DUKE* Kentucky Straight Bourbon is distilled in Lawrenceburg Kentucky, and (again according to the website information) is blended from small batches of hand crafted five to ten year old whiskeys which have been aged in new heavily charred American Oak barrels. The resulting bourbon whiskey is bottled at 44 % alcohol by volume.
You may read my full review here:
“… When I returned to the glass, light butterscotch aromas and bits of vanilla had revealed themselves; however, a sort of peppery grassy aroma of green tobacco was still dominating the breezes. There was also some spicy orange citrus peel and a few almond scents …”
Please enjoy the review!
Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Bourbon, Duke, DUKE Spirits, DUKE* Kentucky Straight Bourbon, John Wayne, Monument Valley Distillers, Review, Whiskey | Comments Off on Review: Duke* Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 11, 2014
Marshall’s Bourbon Whiskey is produced in Bardstown, Kentucky for the Beveland Liquor Company. In case you did not know, Beveland is located in northern Spain, near the French border, and they are (as far as I can reasonably tell from their website) a small to medium-sized wine and spirits company which sells a variety of distilled spirits into the European market.
Northern Mint Julep
I am not really sure how I came upon this particular sample bottle. It seems to have appeared unannounced upon my review shelf in my tasting room. I tried to locate its source; however, I could not even locate a local distributor for the brand. I suspect a friend or relative came upon the bottle in their travels, and slipped it upon my review shelf with the other bourbon whiskeys as an unexpected treat for me. This should be a fun review as I have no idea what to expect from a Bourbon which I could find hardly a trace of on the internet.
You may read my full review here:
“… The initial aroma from the glass revealed spicy oak sap and woody cedar scents pushed forward by a rather firm alcohol astringency. Light butterscotch aromas and bits of vanilla pushed through this astringency as did a sort of tobacco-like grassiness. There is some spicy citrus peel in the air as well us some nutty almond …”
I hope you enjoy this review which includes a nice summertime deck drink, the Northern Mint Julep.
Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Bourbon, Bourbon Review, Cocktails, Marshall's, Northern Mint Julep, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | Comments Off on Review: Marshall’s Bourbon Whiskey
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 6, 2014
A Brass Bonanza served with Blanton’s Gold Edition
Blanton’s is a bourbon whiskey brand created by Sazerac and launched in 1984. The brand is named for Albert B. Blanton who worked at the Buffalo Trace Distillery for more than 50 years, and who apparently spent much of his time at the distillery promoting the traditions of handcrafted bourbon. Blanton’s claims to be the first modern whiskey designed and sold as a single barrel bourbon, and indeed the original brand name for the brand was “Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon”.
Blanton’s Gold Edition is produced from a mash bill of corn, rye, and malted barley which is distilled to 140 proof and barreled at 125 proof. Each bottle of Blanton’s Gold Edition is bottled from a single barrel (brought to 103 proof) after the whiskey has been chill filtered. Because even barrels which lie side by side in an aging warehouse (even though they may have exactly the same batch of distillate) will almost certainly age differently, there will be much potential for flavour variation between particular bottles of this Blanton’s bourbon. However, the general character of the whiskey should remain the same between bottlings as the master blender is selecting only those barrels which meet the particular flavour profile he is aiming for.
You may read my full review by clicking the following link excerpt:
“… The nose is very nice with honey, sap and wood spice rising into the breezes alongside subtle notes of Christmas cake (chocolate, raisins, dates and walnuts). There is a bit of an alcohol push along with a few grassy notes and some youthful astringency. As I let the glass sit I notice baking spices building (vanilla, dark brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg) in the air along with some baked apples and canned pears. There are also some nice sweet and spicy notes of pipe tobacco …”
Included in the review is a nice bar drink which mixed the Blanton’s Gold Edition with a few drops of bitters and a splash of ginger-ale. I called the resulting cocktail, the Brass Bonanza.
Please enjoy the review and the provided mixed drink recipe!
Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Blanton's Gold Edition, Bourbon, Brass Bonanza, Cocktails, Review, Sazerac, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | Comments Off on Review: Blanton’s Gold Edition Bourbon
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 8, 2014
Four Roses is a Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey owned by the Japanese firm, Kirin Brewery Company. The brand traces its history back to 1884 when Paul Jones Jr. opened an office in Louisville, Kentucky on a section of Main Street called, “Whiskey Row.” In 1888 Jones acquired his trademark for the name ‘Four Roses’, and in 1922 he purchased the Frankfort Distilling Company. The Four Roses brand became well established, and in 1943 it caught the eye of Seagram, who purchased the Frankfort Distilling Co., and with it, the Four Roses Kentucky Straight Bourbon trademark.
The brand underwent a few changes in the 1950s as the whiskey was converted into a blend by Seagram for the US market, but remained a Straight bourbon overseas in Asian and European Markets. As a blended whiskey the brand lost some of its importance was eventually sold to Vivendi and subsequently to Diageo. Diageo sold the Four Roses trademark to Kirin in 2002, and Kirin made a decision to discontinue the sale of blended whiskey and returned the focus of the brand back to Bourbon Whiskey.
1878 Bourbon Smash
Four Roses is now produced at the Four Roses Distillery under the guidance of Master Blender, Jim Rutledge. The Distillery uses 5 proprietary yeast strains in combination with two different mashbills to produce 10 different Bourbons recipes. To produce Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, Jim Rutledge chooses select bourbon barrels from four of these recipe Bourbons.
You may read my full review of Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon by clicking on the following excerpt link:
“… The aroma from the glass reveals spicy oak sap and woody cedar aromas surrounded by additional scents of vanilla and sweet butterscotch. There is a bit of spicy orange peel as well us some nice dollops of maple and honeycomb. I allowed the glass to breath and began to notice some spicy cinnamon and clove as well as some tobacco and hay-like grassiness …”
Please enjoy the review which includes a tweaked version of Leo Engels, 1878 Bourbon Smash as the feature recipe!
Have a great Sunday!
Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: 1878, Bourbon, Bourbon Smash, Cocktails, Four Roses, Small Batch, Whiskey, Whsikey Review | Comments Off on Review: Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon
Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 20, 2014
Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon is part of Jim Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. This collection is composed of Booker’s, and the previously reviewed Baker’s, Knob Creek,and Basil Hayden’s. The whiskey collection is considered by Jim Beam Distillers to be a selection of ‘ultra-premium’ bourbon whiskeys created to establish a high-end category for bourbon, and thus to appeal to the serious whiskey aficionado. The Booker’s Bourbon was named for Booker Noe, who in 1992 began to produce the Booker’s whiskey bottled “straight-from-the-barrel, uncut and unfiltered”.
Apparently, the Booker’s whiskey was originally produced in extremely limited quantities and reserved as special holiday gifts for his friends and family. This high strength ‘holiday bourbon’ was so popular with those who received it that the Beam company decided to produce it as a special bottling beginning in 1992. Interestingly, Booker’s Bourbon does not carry a consistent age statement from batch to batch as barrels are chosen for character and flavour rather than for being a specific age. For that reason the age of a particular bottle can vary between 6 to 8 years old. Because the whiskey is bottled straight from the barrel the bottling strength can also vary (according to the website) between 59.5 % to 64.55 % per batch.
(The Beam Global team must be aware of my fondness for over-strength whiskey because my sample bottle checks in at the full 64.55%.)
You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt link:
“… As I enjoyed the scents and smells which the whiskey brought forward, I was treated to even more richness as indications of dry fruit revealed themselves above the glass along with hints of treacle and pan roasted walnuts. There were also delightful aromas of leather chairs and rich pipe tobacco meandering into the breezes with undertones of smoky charcoal and dabbles of licorice mixed in. What I sense only a little of, is any undo astringency from the whopping 64.55 % alcohol within the glass. Maybe I have a bottle from a particularly outstanding batch; but air above my glass represents a masterpiece of whiskey goodness …”
My cocktail suggestion at the end of my review, The Beastiary, combines the goodness and savagery of Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon with a whopping dose of bitters in the tradition of the Alabazam Cocktail.
Please enjoy my both review and my cocktail which is not for the meek of heart. Happy Easter!
Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Beam Global, Beastiary, Booker's, Bourbon, Cocktail, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey | 7 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 27, 2014
Baker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is part of Jim Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. This collection is composed of Booker’s, Baker’s and the previously reviewed Knob Creek,and Basil Hayden’s. The whiskey collection is considered by Jim Beam Distillers to be a selection of ‘ultra-premium’ bourbon whiskeys created to establish a high-end category for bourbon, and thus to appeal to the serious whiskey aficionado.
The Baker’s Bourbon was named for Baker Beam, who was the grand-nephew of James Beauregard Beam (Jim Beam). It is bottled at 107 proof (53.5% alcohol by volume) and produced from bourbon whisky which was aged for a minimum of 7 years. Interestingly, the mash for this spirit was apparently fermented utilizing a special strain of ‘jug yeast’ that has been in the Beam family for over 60 years.
Wisconsin Old Fashioned (Whiskey)
Recently I was given a bottle of Baker’s by the Alberta Beam Global Team for the purpose of a review upon my website, and you may read that review by clicking on the following excerpt link:
“… The spiciness is off the charts no doubt aided by the 53.5% alcohol by volume bottling strength of the Baker’s Whisky. Despite the full barrel of spice (and despite the obvious push of alcohol) the spirit is remarkable easy to sip. This is because all that spice is accompanied by an equally forceful explosion of flavour and sweetness …”
A recipe which has become fashionable to write about on the cocktail blogs lately is the Wisconsin Old Fashioned, which mixes a nice oaky brandy with an orange slice, brandied cherries, and Angostura Bitters. It is really quite delicious. When I was tasting the Baker’s Bourbon, I could not help but think to myself how well this particular spirit would work using the Wisconsin method. At the conclusion of my review you will find my recipe for the Wisconsin Old Fashioned modified slightly to accommodate the Baker’s Bourbon rather than a fine Brandy.
Take care everyone, and please enjoy Responsibly!
Posted in American Whiskey, Cocktails & Recipes, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: Baker's Bourbon, Bourbon, Cocktails, Jim Beam Small Batch, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey, Wisconsin Old Fashioned | Comments Off on Review: Baker’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 11, 2014
Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select 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 bourbon’. The Kentucky distillery is apparently located over top of a deep limestone aquifer which contains mineral rich (iron free) limestone water. This is of course the aquifer from which the distillery draws the water required for fermentation of their rye rich grain mash. (This mash is composed of 72 % corn, 10 % barley, and 18 % rye grain.)
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.
Here is a link to my latest review:
“… When I poured my first glass of the Woodford bourbon, the aroma was thick with oak and cedar almost to the point of overwhelming everything else. The effect was one of intimidation, as sappy fresh-cut cedar and oak spices dominated …”
Please enjoy this review which kicks off a series of bourbon whiskey visitations as we head into springtime. As well I hope you enjoy my cocktail suggestion which follows the review, the classic Buckeroo.
Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: American Whiskey, Bourbon, Buckeroo, Cocktails, Whisk(e)y Review, Whiskey, Woodford Reserve Whiskey | Comments Off on Review: Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Whiskey (Batch 3)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 6, 2014
Edmonton Whisky Festival
Bourbon Masterclass with Whiskey Ambassador – Matt Jones
Where: Edmonton Delta South Hotel
When: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 (6:30 PM – 7:30 PM)
Ticket Price: $25.00 each
The 2014 Edmonton Whisky Festival is proud to introduce to Edmonton, classically trained mixologist and performance bartender, Matt Jones. Matt has a wealth of experience in the alcohol beverage industry – over 15 years of experience in various roles including instructor, foodservice and hospitality consultant, public speaker and media spokesperson. The role that is his favourite is that of Whisky Ambassador, tapping into his passion for whisk(e)y.
Since 2010 he has been Beam Inc. Canada’s Whisk(e)y Ambassador for their Bourbon Portfolio (Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, Devil’s Cut, Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s) as well as speaking to whiskies from Cooley (Kilbeggan, Connemara, Tyrconnell), Canadian Club (Reserve, Classic, Sherry Cask) and most recently as the mixologist for Alberta Premium’s Dark Horse Rye. In this role, he has educated and inspired both consumers and bartenders across Canada.
If you are already attending the Edmonoton Whisky Festival, why not join Matt Jones(Aka The Whisky Chef) as his Master Class takes you through a tour of the wonderful the world of Bourbon!
Note: Matt has also appeared as a bartender/mixology expert on shows on the Food Network, SLICE Network, and “W” Network. Other appearances include CityTV Breakfast Television (Toronto), Rogers Daytime, CHCH News, CTV and CBC News. He has also written and provided content for numerous articles on spirits and whisk(e)y.
For more information please contact:
Vines – Riverbend Wine Merchants (Edmonton)
Tickets are now available from Vines or through the new website: (http://edmontonwhiskyfestival.ca/)
Posted in Festivals and Events | Tagged: Bourbon, Edmonton Whisky Festival, Master Class, Matt Jones, Whisky Chef | Comments Off on Edmonton Whisky Festival Bourbon Masterclass with Whiskey Ambassador – Matt Jones
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 22, 2013
I tasted a lot of great whisky this year from all over the world, and I noticed a few trends which deserve noting. Whisky is growing in popularity throughout the world, and this is having consequences in both the variety of whisky available to the consumer, and the quality of the whisky available to the consumer. In terms of variety, things have never been better as I can find whiskies on the store shelves from places I would never have imagined a few years ago. The number of brands available from India and Japan keep growing, and as well brands from places like New Zealand, England, Wales, and Australia are also surfacing in my local liquor stores. A stronger selection of brands available to the consumer can only be good news; and hopefully consumers (and whisky critics) can put their prejudices aside and give these brands the chance they deserve.
However the flip side of this world-wide popularity of whisky is a disturbing reluctance from some of the major players to maintain their age statements. The simple fact is that there is just not enough aged whisky stocks to maintain the present brands due to the growing world-wide popularity of the spirit. Of course the marketing hype proclaims the spirits are as good as ever, but I guess I question the veracity of those statements. Time will tell, and thankfully there are still many brands maintaining their standards and many more great whiskies for me to discover.
It is time for my to make my yearly proclamations regarding the best whiskies which I have personally tasted in the year which is 2013. 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 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 receive additional industry samples specifically for these awards. My side by side tastings are completed, and it is time for me to reveal the recipients of my 2013 Rum Howler Awards for Excellence in the Production of Whisky.
These Awards are for the best Whisky Spirits I encountered in the year 2013!
Posted in Awards, Extras, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: American Whiskey, Bourbon, Canadian Whisky, Rum Howler Awards, Scotch Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Reviews | Comments Off on The Year in Whisky (2013 Rum Howler Awards)