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Posts Tagged ‘Canadian Whisky’

Review: Pendleton Midnight

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 19, 2020

Pendleton Midnight is a premium Canadian Whisky produced in Oregon by Hood River Distillers brought to bottling proof (45 % alcohol by volume) using the glacial fed waters from Mt. Hood. Pendleton Whiskies are named to honour the Pendleton Round-up, which is a respected rodeo in Pendleton, Oregon. In fact, Pendleton Whisky sponsors numerous rodeos, including the aforementioned  the Pendleton Round-Up, the Cheyenne Frontier Days, and the Walla Walla Frontier Days.

According to the company website a portion of the Midnight whisky is aged for over six years in American brandy barrels.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Pendleton Midnight

“… As the glass rests dusty rye and wood spice continues to pour out with impressions of straw and chaff alongside. There is now a well defined fruitiness apparent as well with orange peel, apricot liqueur and raisin all melding together in the breezes …”

Please enjoy my review, Chimo!

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

Review: Canadian Club Chronicles 41 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 12, 2020

A couple of years ago Canadian Club released what was possibly possibly the oldest bottling of Canadian whisky to date. After 40 years of resting in American oak barrels in Windsor, Ontario, Canadian Club released Canadian Club 40 Year Old

According to my sources, the whisky was produced from a selection of American Oak barrels which contained 100% corn whisky. These barrels had been consolidated many times over the course of 40 years to minimize the oxidation of the spirit during its lengthy maturation period. The whisky has been released in part to commemorate Canada’s 150 Anniversary, and was available with full distribution across Canada as of Mid November in limited quantities.

Fortunately for all of us not all of that wonderful whisky was bottled in 2017. Some of the whisky was allowed to continue to rest. In the fall of 2018, Canadian Club released more of this spirit as Canadian Club Chronicles 41 Year Old and this time it was blended with a small amount of cognac, rye and sherry.

This is the review for the 41 year old whisky which was bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume.

Review: Canadian Club Chronicles 41 Year Old

“… The aroma in the breezes above the glass offers seem to entice me. The whisky brings a waft oak sappy oak into the air followed by a combination of butterscotch toffee, almond syrup, oak and vanilla which were all melded wonderfully together. There are hints of mustiness and scents of fresh corn, light baking spices, and orange peel moving towards marmalade …”

Please enjoy my review and stay tuned for the upcoming review of the 42 Year Old Spirit which I will be sampling over the next few weeks.


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

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 »

2019 Rum Howler Favourite 20 Canadian Whiskies: #1 – Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 22, 2019

I have a particular fondness for the Highwood Distillery. Part of the reason, is that it was the first major Canadian Distillery that visited, and when I was there, I was treated so well that I could not help but have good thoughts towards them. Another part of the reason is that Highwood is 100 % Canadian owned and operated and that means something to me. But the main reason I am fond of the the Highwood Distillery is that they make some of the best whisky in Canada if not the entire world.

Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky is one of their truly great whiskies. Made from 100 % corn it is a single grain whisky aged for a full 20 years and bottled at 45 % alcohol or 90 proof. And … I can usually find a bottle for about $40.00.  This makes the 20 year old whisky from Highwood perhaps the best whisky bargain in the entire country.

All of these factors, make the Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old my favourite whisky to recommend to friends and family. And for that reason, it tops my list as my favourite Canadian Whisky of 2019.

Here is a link to my review:

Review: Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old

“… Tasting notes do not adequately reflect how good this whisky actually is. The words which I wrote down a year ago to describe the flavour are correct: oak, cedar, corn, butterscotch, vanilla, orange peel, marmalade, almond and tobacco, but they do not adequately convey how rich and flavourful this whisky is …”


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

2019 Rum Howler Favourite 20 Canadian Whiskies: #3 – Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 20, 2019

Seven years ago, I encountered Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old Whisky as a random sample which I was assessing as part of my duties when I served on the jury for the 2012 Canadian Whisky Awards. At the time the small sample bottle which contained the Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old Whisky was one which I earmarked as a superior whisky. So, when the Awards Competition was complete, it was to my dismay that I learned this particular whisky (Random Sample number 7 by the way) was a brand destined not for Canada; but instead for Taiwan.

The Fountana Group Canada is the brand owner, and it turns out the whisky was produced by Highwood Distillers right here in my home Province of Alberta. The Fountana Group contracted Highwood to produce a well aged whisky for export to Asia where it has by all accounts been well received. It was, I should add, also well received by the other jurors on that panel for the Canadian Whisky Awards as this brand won the prestigious Connoisseur Whisky of the Year for the Export Market at those same 2012 Canadian Whisky Awards.

When I wrote a brief review for this whisky in 2013, I lamented that this great whisky was available only in Asia, and I hoped that the brand owner (and the folks at Highwood Distillery) might read the review, and decide that maybe Canada deserved this Whisky too. The Fountana Group must have agreed with me as the whisky has for a few years now been available across Canada.

Here is a link to a more recent review written in 2017:

Review: Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old Whisky

“… The initial breezes above the glass brought me impressions of dusty grain fields and firm oak spices. Soon I began to notice orange peel and butterscotch scents moving together over time creating impressions of marmalade and caramel toffee. There were also lovely hints of cinnamon and vanilla weaving within the breezes …”

Please enjoy the review!




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

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