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Posts Tagged ‘Canadian Whisky’

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #12: Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 13, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye Whisky is a new blend from the folks who run the Crown Royal Distillery in Gimli, Manitoba. It is a bit of a throwback in style as the whisky features a heavy dose whisky produced from Canadian Winter Rye grain in the blend (almost 90% of the spirit is produced from Canadian Winter Rye grain). Winter rye imparts a robust spiciness throughout the spirit when distilled which (in my opinion) provides a much stronger ‘Canadian Whisky’ feel for this particular Crown Royal Whisky than we find with the flagship blend Crown Royal Deluxe which is produced predominantly from corn rather than rye.

Northern Harvest RyeThis movement towards a more rye forward flavour profile seems to be a common theme within the Crown Royal family as two other recently released blends (Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel, and the Limited Edition Crown Royal Monarch 75th Anniversary Blend) have recently followed that common path.

Here is a link to the Number 12 Whisky in my 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#12: Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye Whisky

“… The initial smells from the glass are enticing as I notice some obvious notes of golden delicious yellow apples and some green grapes rising into the air alongside sourdough rye notes which hint at milk chocolate. As the glass breathes, I sense a stronger underlying oakiness within the spirit as fine wood spices rise into the air. The merry little breezes above the glass are tinged with crisp spicy rye notes as well …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 11 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: #13 – Crown Royal Reserve

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 12, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Crown 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.

sam_2663I 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 year the Crown Royal Reserve captured the Number 13 spot in my 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#13 – Crown Royal Reserve

“… I am further impressed by the complex structure of the whisky which is all at once tart and spicy, sweet and creamy, and rich with flavour. The whisky is lightly oaky with wood spices leading out as orange peel and pepper. Some clear rye spices (ginger in particular) jump in, and this spicy montage of flavour is accented by sweet flavours of caramel and maple …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 12 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: #14 – Ethan Koll Rare 8 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 11, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Ethan Koll Rare 8 Year Old Canadian Whisky is a whisky brand developed by Distiller Sales Company of Princeton, Minnesota and is part of a portfolio of brands owned by Phillips Products Company (PPC). The Brand was registered in 2010, and is distributed in the Northwestern States of the US and Western Canada.

Ethan Koll SAM_2622When I tasted this brand earlier this year I was very surprised with the quality I encountered. The Ethan Koll Canadian Whisky was an unexpected treat. The spirit takes a little time to gather itself together in the glass, but if you are patient with the glass you will be surprised by the rich whisky flavour and the mild maple sweetness which developes.

Here is a link to the Number 14 whisky in my Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#14: Ethan Koll Rare 8 Year Old Canadian Whisky

“… The mouthfeel was soft and approachable, and I tasted a combination of maple and butterscotch sweetness melded into the oak spice, cedar and rye grain. This gave the spirit a mild rum-like quality which I quite enjoyed. There was however also a strong underlying impression of rye grain and damp tobacco which certain left no mistake that this was a whisky, and a very good one at that …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 13 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: #15 – Forty Creek Copper Pot

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 10, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016The Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve, (like all Forty Creek Whiskies), is built upon Whisky Maker, John Hall’s, foundation of three separately distilled grains: barley, corn and rye. Each grain is distilled and aged in oak separately. When each whisky is ready, the three finished whiskies are blended together and ‘married’ in oak once more allowing the three to become one.

copper-pot-on-ice-sam_2897Indeed, John Hall’s flagship whisky, the Forty Creek Barrel Select is a perfect example of that concept of marrying three separately distilled and aged grain whiskies into one. The Copper Pot Reserve is a more ‘premium’ version of the Barrel Select. Mr. Hall chose his best grain whiskies as the base for the Copper Pot. He aged these best whiskies a little longer to bring in more flavour from the oak, and then he chose the best of these whiskies to marry together in oak once more to complete the final blend. The Copper Pot Whisky is bottled at 43 % abv (rather than the traditional 40 %) allowing this premium whisky to showcase its robust flavour.

And it is a flavour which I appreciate enough to have selected the Copper Pot Whisky from Forty Creek as the #15 Whisky in my 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown!

#15: Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve

“… The initial nose of the whisky brings oak and rye spices into the breezes above the glass with an effervescent orange peel zest riding the coattails of the spice. As the glass sits, green tobacco and orange marmalade jump in with a soft punky caramel tainting their scent. I detect some cinnamon and ginger rising up from the glass and my sense is that the Copper Pot is going to be a very interesting and complex whisky …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 14 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: #16 – Coyote Ugly

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 9, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016On January 27, 1993, Wall Street intern, Liliana Lovell opened the first Coyote Ugly Saloon in New York City. If you watched the Jerry Bruckheimer movie Coyote Ugly (released in 2000), then you know all about this place where the waitresses, called ‘Coyote Girls’, serve the drinks, dance and sing, and even (apparently) down shots of whisky with the customers.

It was a flick that was panned by critics, but loved by the public becoming a box office hit during the late summer and early fall of 2000. The movie must have been good for business because in 2001, another Coyote Ugly Saloon opened up in Las Vegas followed by other locations across the USA, and even as far away as Russia.

coyote-ugly-sam_2765With all this success, it was apparent that the Coyote Ugly brand had reached what I will call, ‘celebrity status’. The term ‘Coyote Ugly’ has in fact become firmly entrenched into the public consciousness. When that happens, the resulting cache of the brand is well worth capitalizing on. Which is why Celebrity Cellars International founder, Jeff Harder, teamed up with the founder of the Coyote Ugly Saloon, Liliana Lovell. They have decided that it is time to get Ugly (Coyote Ugly that is) with the launch of Coyote Ugly Canadian Whisky!

I received a sample bottle of this whisky from PURE Global Imports who asked me to provide a review here on my website to serve as a preview for the world-wide launch of the new Coyote Ugly Canadian Whisky on March 12, 2012. Four years later, I am revisiting this review as part of my 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown, with an aim to see if the whisky has changed, and to re-score it if it has.

My re-tasting has launched the Coyote Ugly Whisky all the way to the number 17 slot in my yearly countdown. Here is my newly re-scored review:

#16: Coyote Ugly Canadian Whisky

“… The whisky smells of rich butterscotch and caramel. Light rye scents waft into the breezes with dabs of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. A light footprint of vanilla and almond compliment the delicate baking spices leaving impressions of marzipan in the air above the glass …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 15 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: #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: #18 – Alberta Springs

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 7, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016When I began to write about whisky, one of the perks I received was a private tour of the ADL Distillery where I met Rick Murphy, the Production Superintendent. He explained the heritage of Alberta Springs to me, how it started as a pure rye whisky, and how economics dictated a move to rye and corn in the 90s. He then explained how his computerized dials and gauges in the distillery, and his quality assurance tasting panel, ensure that the flavour does not change as the mash bill may change slightly over time. He even made it clear to me that the Alberta Springs is one of his most favourite whiskies.

Alberta Springs SAM_2641This year, I noticed that the flavour seems to moving towards a stronger corn profile. It’s hard to be sure, but when I tasted a new bottle earlier this year, it seemed to have just a touch more sweetness than before. I decided that I should perhaps take the time to revisit the Alberta Springs once again and pen an entirely new review.

Here is a link to the review for the #20 Whisky in my Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#18: Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky

“… As the glass breathes the rye becomes more apparent. It is a fruity sweet and sour rye which also carries that familiar tell-tale undercurrent of bitter citrus pith. As more time goes by the rye continues to build drowning out my earlier impression of corn. When I return to the empty glass after my sampling session the breezes bring me ripe grain and chaff with just a hint of sweetness …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 17 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: #20 – Wiser’s Small Batch

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 5, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Wiser’s Small Batch Canadian Whisky was released in the fall of 2008 replacing the Wiser’s Reserve. There were a few important differences in Wiser’s Small Batch which made it somewhat unique as far Canadian Whisky is concerned. First, it is made in small batches using traditional distilling methods, hence the name Wiser’s Small Batch, and secondly, the bottling strength is 43.4 % rather than the traditional 40 %. This slightly higher strength should allow the whisky to display more texture in the mouth and a more concentrated flavour and aroma.

small-batch-sam_2815Wiser’s Small Batch Canadian Whisky has not yet been re-branded into the new J.P. Wiser’s family of whiskies. Hopefully this is not a signal from the brand owner that the whisky is soon to be replaced as the Small Batch is a regular attendant in my annual top Canadian Whisky Countdowns. This year it is number 21.

Here is a link to my newly revised review:

20: Wiser’s Small Batch Canadian Whisky

“… Wiser’s Small Batch is soft and supple on the tongue with hot oak spices which carry a bevy of flavour along for the ride across the palate. I taste some fresh oak and cedar; some sweet caramel, butterscotch and maple; soft corn and spicy rye; some light impressions of honeycomb and tobacco, and some delicious canned fruit (marmalade, apricots and pears). As I let the whisky sit in my mouth a Demerara sweetness forms with brown sugar and spice combining with honey to present a richly flavoured toffee …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 19 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: #22 – Ninety 5 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 3, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016

Just before the massive disruption caused by flooding during the summer of 2013 in Southern Alberta, Highwood Distillers released a limited quantity of their new “Ninety” branded whiskies under their Century Distillers banner. The news of these whisky releases was unfortunately drowned out (quite literally) by the waters that engulfed Southern Alberta. If you followed the news regarding the aftermath of the flood (see story here) you will know that it took more than a few weeks for the company to bring itself back onto its feet. In fact, all of the bottled inventory in Highwood’s warehouse had to be destroyed due to potential contamination from the water that penetrated the distillery.

ninety-5-sam_0928An unfortunate victim of all this disruption was those “Ninety” branded whiskies which temporarily disappeared from liquor store shelves as Highwood had to suspend production of this new brand in order to focus on re-establishing their other major brands across Canada. Fortunately for everyone, the brand was re-established a 5 and a 20 Year Old version.

Here is a link to my review of the number 22 spirit on my Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#22: Ninety 5 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

“… As the glass breathes, the wood spice and corn each seem to build with equal intensity. Although the mouth becomes heated with impressions of citrus zest, ginger and spice; the whisky remains soft and sippable with the underlying sweetness of corn and butterscotch providing a perfect complement to the spice …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues on tomorrow with the number 21 Canadian Whisky. 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

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Run Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #23 – Crown Royal XO

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 2, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Crown Royal® recently made an addition to its portfolio of Canadian Whiskies (January 16, 2014)) with the introduction of Crown Royal XO, which they have promoted as an “ultra-premium blended Canadian whisky”.  The whisky was crafted by Crown Royal Master Blender, Andrew MacKay and according to the fact sheet I was sent, it is a blend of more than 50 of Crown Royal’s finest whiskies which are finished in cognac casks from the French Limousin Forest.

According to Mr. MacKay:

sam_2662“The ultra-premium nature of Crown Royal XO and the smoothness of the liquid can be attributed to the handcrafted approach we took while creating the unique blend. We’re looking forward to sharing this special blend with adults across the country and encourage them to incorporate it into their celebrations of extraordinary moments and events.”

Here is a link to my review of the number 23 spirit on my Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#23: Crown Royal XO

“… As the glass sat I began to sense some of that typically punky Crown Royal sweet corn aroma along with a few slightly musty ripe corn cobs alongside some spicy grain. I searched for an indication of the Cognac Cask enhancement and found a few apple scents wandering in the air and some very light indications of dry raisins …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues  tomorrow with the number 22 Canadian Whisky. 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 Run Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #23 – Crown Royal XO

 
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