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Posts Tagged ‘Canadian Whisky Countdown’

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #17 – Canadian Club Small Batch

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 8, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016A few years ago there were some changes in the Canadian Club family. One of the brands which underwent a revamping was the Canadian Club Classic (12 Years Old) which was replaced by the Canadian Club Classic Small Batch (also 12 Years Old). The newer version of the whisky has a new bottle (shown below) and the two words, “Small Batch” have been added to the label. My understanding is the whisky is now constructed from a smaller selection of aged whisky (oak barrels) in an effort to bring a fuller flavour and more smoothness to the blend.

canadian-club-classic-sam_2655The new Canadian Club Classic Small Batch 12 Year Old is now one of my favourite expressions of the Canadian Club brand, and it arrives on my Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown at the #18 spot:

#17: Canadian Club Classic Small Batch 12 Year Old

“… I notice some rye spices and some sweet corn pushing though. The oak and tobacco scents have deepened bringing me impressions of fresh-cut cedar and honeycomb. The caramel and wood spice come together as toffee, and the orange peel has softened into marmalade. After my glass has been emptied I notice a few light baking spices which I had missed earlier …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 16 Canadian Whisky.

Chimo!

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* You may follow my 2016 Canadian Whisky Countdown by bookmarking this link:

The Rum Howler – Top 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2016

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Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #19 – Gibson’s Finest 18 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 6, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016In 1856, John Gibson purchased 40 acres and built a distillery along the shore of the Monongahela River in Pennsylvania. By the turn of the century, the Gibson’s Distilling Company was the largest producer of rye whisky in North America. Unfortunately, early in the new century, fate dealt the company a tragic blow, in the name of Prohibition. Consumption of legal whisky all but dried up, and Gibson’s Distilling Company went bankrupt. In 1923, the entire contents of the distillery including the stills, the aging barrels, all of the remaining spirit, (and even the grain which was on site) was sold via Sherriff’s auction to Schenley Industries of New York.

Fifty years later this whisky brand, which was born on the US side of the border in Pennsylvania, was resurrected by the brand owner at the Schenley Distillery in Valleyfield, Quebec. Now, of course, it has become one of the iconic brands of Canadian Whisky.

The eighteen year old expression of Gibson’s Finest is now known as Gibson’s Finest Venerable 18 Years Old Whisky. All of the whisky in the blend, is of course 18 years old or more, and it is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Here is my link to my newly published review:

#19: Gibson’s Finest Venerable 18 Year Old Whisky

“… Oak spice is certainly the centerpiece of the whisky. It is hot with rye spice and white pepper; but the spiciness brings along light flavours of caramel, butterscotch, maple, and canned fruit (apricot and pear) as well. Their is a sense of rye which brings me impressions of ginger and cardamom. I sense waving fields of ripened rye and barley in the foreground, and more distant fields of ripened corn in the background …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 18 Canadian Whisky.

Chimo!

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* You may follow my 2016 Canadian Whisky Countdown by bookmarking this link:

The Rum Howler – Top 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2016

 

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (#40 – #36)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 24, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016When it comes to Canadian Whisky, price is not a good determinant of quality. The next five entrants in the Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown, features two of the lowest priced whiskies in Canada, Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky, and Potter’s Special Old. Both of these whiskies score in the mid eighties, despite their economy price.

Another interesting entrant on my top 50 list is Century Distillers (Highwood) White Owl Whisky, an aged whisky which has been filtered clear to provide a smooth crisp mixing spirit for the cocktail revolution. White Owl’s high standing on the list is a testament to how successful this spirit has been at fulfilling its destiny. Sazerac’s Rich and Rare Reserve, and Collingwood Handcrafted Whisky are not as well-known to Canadian consumers, but each are well deserving of their respective standing on the list.

sam_2654#40  Rich & Rare Reserve Canadian Whisky 

“… I smell corn, butterscotch and a sweet sticky marmalade when I bring my nose to the glass. As that glass breathes, scents of oak and cedar rise as well and some spicy rye and citrus zest. There is a little vanilla and almond in the breezes too, and a nice touch of maple seems to weave in and out. The whisky has a gentle complexity that is pleasant and engaging …”

sam_2640#39  Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky   

“… Butterscotch and honey, rye and wood spices, and a light dab of vanilla all meld together and with a simple ice-cube added the whisky is delicious. There is polish in evidence here, but a little rough and tumble too, as the wood spices liven the mouth-feel and take me back in time to when rye was the King of Canadian Spirits. Touches of almond and orange marmalade complete the flavour profile …”

white-owl-sam_2639#38  White Owl Whisky

“… As I take the first sip, the first impression I have is of a softly sweet vanilla and honey flavour accented by grain spice and light butterscotch. The astringency I noted on the nose has not manifested itself across the palate. I taste similar whispers of oak flavour and rye flavours which beguiled me six years ago. Although the whisky is very vodka-like, it does have a light whisky character.

calling-wood-sam_2809#37  Collingwood Handcrafted Canadian Whisky

“… The spirit begins its traverse through the mouth with initial flavours of butterscotch toffee and sour fermented fruit. There is a nice spicy rye flavour rolling through which is chased across the palate by flavours of corn and dark spicy tobacco. Some fresh oak and cedar (more oak than cedar) appears carried forward with a dabble of sweetish honeycomb ..”

potters-sam_2812#36 Potters Special Old Rye Whisky 

“… A clean spicy rye is out in front carried by light oak and the combination delivers a wonderful mouth-feel full of what I can only term as old-time traditional Canadian Whisky flavour. In fact this might just be the closest that I have come to recapturing the Canadian Whisky flavour that I remember from my younger days. The rye livens the mouth with a light spice, and a nice soft punch of vanilla with a light accent of corn completes this nicely …”

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Please enjoy my Countdown of the Best Canadian Whiskies of 2016. Stay Tuned for numbers 35 through 31, Chimo!

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* You may follow my Canadian Whisky Countdown by bookmarking this link:

The Rum Howler – Top 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2016

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (#40 – #36)

The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (#45 – #41)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 22, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown continues today with five more tasty Canadian spirits, two of which (Forty Creek Harmony, and Gibson’s Finest Bold) were released within the past two years, two of the spirits, Crown Royal De Luxe, and J.P Wiser’s De Luxe are considered flagships for their brands, and Pike Creek 10 Year Old is an experimental whisky which saw part of its maturation take place in vintage Port barrels.

I should point out the re-branding of the entire Wiser’s family of whiskies which now pay homage to the company’s founder by adding his initials J.P. to the brand name. The flagship whisky of the J.P. Wiser’s brand, J.P. Wiser’s De Luxe Canadian Rye Whisky makes a respectable showing in my countdown locking down the number 41 spot.

Here are the next five spirits in my 2016 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

forty-creek-harmony-sam_2633#45  Forty Creek Three Grain Harmony

“… The initial nose is rich with butterscotch and toffee and moderately spicy oak and tree sap.  As the glass sits two notes capture my attention, one which appeals to me strongly, a rich spicy rye note full of ginger and fresh grain, and one note which seems discordant, a sour dank fruit-filled note of fermented apricot and sour mash. I decided to allow the glass to breath for a full ten minutes to see if the two notes could come together, but in the end I remained unconvinced of the harmony. Although the triumvirate of  toffee, rye and oak spice is very appealing …”

crown-royal-sam_2753#44  Crown Royal Whisky

“… In the past this blend was very corn forward, it seems that this year (2016) more rye is apparent as breezes above the glass reveal a mixture of both corn and obvious rye grain. There is a nice mixture of lightly sweet caramel and oak sap melding into those corn and rye scents with some dusty dry wood and grain spices following …”

Gibson Bold SAM_2610#43  Gibson’s Finest Bold

“… When I bring my nose to the glass, a caramel note is quite obvious and sits out in front of the oak spice and whisky grain. I allowed the glass to breathe and soon noticed a building fruitiness of canned pears and baked apples. As time passes vanilla with a touch of cinnamon emerges and melds into the caramel note which now resembles the smell of baking cinnamon buns …”

pike-creek-sam_2805#42   Pike Creek 10 Year Old Canadian Whisky

“… When I tasted this whisky in a blind format a few years ago, I remarked upon the fruitiness of the spirit with all those sherry-like flavours of ripe cherries, black berries and dry fruit. Knowing as I do now that the whisky was finished in Vintage Port barrels my formerly blind observations make sense to me. It is the fruitiness of the Port barrels leaving their mark upon the whisky. These lovely berry flavours are offset by oak spice, ginger and some scattered white pepper …”

J.P. Wiser's deluxe SAM_2268#41   J.P. Wiser’s Deluxe Canadian Rye Whisky

“… The breezes above the glass now are tainted with maple and butterscotch scents however the dry wood and rye spices continue to pour out. There is a bit of orange peel mixed into that spiciness as well as impressions of fresh grain and light impressions of baking spice (mostly speckles of vanilla and cinnamon). As one who loves Canadian Whisky, I am pleased by the aroma although I must be fair and note that a light touch of astringency accompanies the rye and wood spice …”

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Please enjoy my Countdown of the Best Canadian Whiskies of 2016. Stay Tuned for numbers 40 through 35, Chimo!

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* You may follow my Canadian Whisky Countdown by bookmarking this link:

The Rum Howler – Top 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2016

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (#45 – #41)

Rum Howler #20 Canadian Whisky – Crown Royal Reserve

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 5, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Crown Royal Canadian Whisky is currently produced in Gimli, Manitoba, at the Crown Royal Distillery. The distillery and the brand are owned by Diageo, and I think it is fair to say that Crown Royal is Diageo’s flagship Canadian whisky brand. In 1992, a premium version of Crown Royal was introduced as Crown Royal Special Reserve. This whisky was produced from specially selected casks which were tasted and monitored closely by the Crown Royal Master Blender. These ‘premium casks’ represented whiskies with special character, and they were allowed to age longer with the aim of producing a more premium whisky. In the fall of 2008, this more premium Crown Royal Special Reserve was relaunched as Crown Royal Reserve Canadian Whisky.

CRReserveI have to admit that I seem to have mixed reactions whenever I taste this particular whisky. When I originally scored it in 2010, I was underwhelmed; but, when I re-scored the spirit in January of 2013, my impression of the whisky had improved considerably.

As well, I have noticed that in blind tastings (when serving as juror for the Canadian Whisky Awards) I seem to have different reaction each time I sample a different bottle.

This time when doing my tastings for the Rum Howler Top 25 Whiskies of 2014, it seems to have improved just a little from its 2013 score, and the result is that the Crown Royal Reserve is the number 20 Canadian Whisky in this years countdown!

You may read my 2014 review here:

#20 Canadian Whisky – Crown Royal Reserve

“… Things begin with rich notes of oak and cedar mingling with rye grain and butterscotch. The punky corn accent so familiar in all Crown Royal whiskies is very apparent; but it is much more subdued in this expression … “

My Canadian Whisky Countdown has reached the top 20 with the Crown Royal Reserve. In my opinion, this is a whisky appears to vary from batch to batch. Fortunately though, those variations seem to be diminishing over time, and the Crown Royal Reserve seems to be finding out who she wants to be.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rum Howler #20 Canadian Whisky – Crown Royal Reserve

 
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