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Posts Tagged ‘Canadian Whisky’

#35 Forty Creek John’s Private Cask No. 1 Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 20, 2015

A few years ago, I had lunch with Whisky Maker, John Hall (then Owner of Forty Creek Whisky) when he was in town for the Edmonton Whisky Festival. One of the things we talked about was Mr. Hall’s penchant for saving his best whisky barrels for his own private use. You see, every once in a while when John was testing and tasting his barrels of whisky to see how they were coming along, he would hit upon a barrel that was absolutely exceptional.

Forty Creek Private Stock SAM_1882These barrels would be squirreled away and earmarked for his own private stash. John admitted to me that this had kind of gotten out of hand, and he had accumulated far more of these ‘Private Casks’ than what he would ever need, or be able to consume. It turns out John figured out what to do with these exceptional casks as in the fall of 2011 he released his new special release, John’s Private Cask No. 1 Whisky.

Here is a link to the review of the #35 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#35 – Forty Creek John’s Private Cask No. 1 Canadian Whisky

“… A bevy of oak and rye spices quickly heat things up; but, the mouth feel is eased by the softness of vanilla, maple and caramel. The flavours I taste include fresh-cut cedar planks, and a strong dollop of rye. There is also a bit of orange peel which evolves into marmalade as the glass sits, and just like on the nose,the oak and baking spices build and build in the glass …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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#48 Canadian Club 30 Year (150th Anniversary Whisky)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 7, 2015

Canadian Club is the elder statesman of Canadian Whisky brands being the both the oldest, and the most influential, Canadian Whisky brand in the world. Ironically, the originator of the brand was an American grocer hailing from Michigan. Legend has it, that this American, Hiram Walker, correctly foresaw the changing climate of the American attitude towards alcohol consumption and moved his distilling operations across the Detroit River to (what would become) Walkerville, Ontario. Ironically the whisky which would become the standard-bearer for Canadian Whisky, was originally (and still is) intended for the American palate.

Canadian Club Ann 30 Year SAM_1730The Canadian Club 30 Year Old Whisky was produced in 2008 to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Hiram Walker’s Distillery in Walkerville, Ontario which began operations in 1858. It was produced from 89 barrels of whisky which had been set down in 1988. One of the unique aspects of Canadian Club Whisky is that it is blended before barrel aging. This process allows the whisky to fully ‘marry’ in the barrel before bottling. The Canadian Club 30-Year-Old Whisky has thus been married for thirty years in oak melding the flavours of the blended whisky with the oak barrel for three decades.

Here is a link to the review of the #48 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#48 – Canadian Club 30 Year (150th Anniversary Whisky)

“… The initial nose is one of a rich oak spices tainted with dark brown sugar and that typical dank Canadian Club aroma. As the whisky decants, the nose deepens into a deep dark rich baking spice aroma with Demerara accents of dark brown sugars, rich toffee, vanilla, wisps of cinnamon, and even a hint of maple.  Playing in the merry little breezes is a subtle smokiness with the fleeting aroma of dried fruits and cigar tobacco …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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#50 Crown Royal Cask No. 16

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 5, 2015

Crown Royal® Canadian Whisky was originally introduced in 1939 (by Samuel Bronfman of Seagrams) as a special whisky bottling to commemorate the Royal tour of Canada by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in that year. Until 1964, the whisky was only available in Canada; however, today it is available world-wide and is in fact the number one Canadian whisky brand sold in the USA. Crown Royal is currently produced in Gimli Manitoba, at the Crown Royal Distillery which (since the dissolution of the Seagrams portfolio in 2000) is owned by the spirits conglomerate Diageo.

Cask No. 16 SAM_1402Cask No. 16 is according to the company website,

“handcrafted from more than 50 different aged Canadian whiskies and then finished in Cognac Oak casks from the Limousin forest in France”

Although rumours persist as to the demise of this outstanding blend, I note that as of the end of 2015, it remains listed on the Crown Royal website as part of the Crown Royal Family, and is readily available in my home Province of Alberta.

Here is a link to the review of the #50 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#50 – Crown Royal Cask No. 16

“… A mellow corn whisky is up front on the palate, but rich soft butterscotch, caramel and sweet brown sugar sit under the corn flavour supporting and enhancing the experience. A nice spicy bite which has the hallmarks of pears and grapes grabs at the taste buds. Carrying all of this flavour forward is a wonderful mild oak presence that never dominates. The oak acts as it should, as a garnish which heightens the other flavours with its presence …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on #50 Crown Royal Cask No. 16

# 55 Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Years Old Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 31, 2015

In 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. 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 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.

Gibson's Finest 18 SAM_1743The Gibson’s Finest brand is produced from of two sources: a base grain whisky (which would be a corn-based column still whisky), and a blend of rye based flavouring whisky which contains rye and malted barley (distilled by a single column still and a pot still). Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Years Old Whisky is limited to a production of not more than 12,000 bottles per year.

Here is a link to the review of the #55 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#55 – Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Years Old

“… The initial aroma is spicy with a firm oak presence. The breezes above the glass are filled with tobacco, rye, and (what I am going to term) clean firm oak spices. These dominant scents are accented by caramel, butterscotch and vanilla. Some dusty dry notes of freshly harvested grain, autumn cornstalks, and dry straw rise into those initial breezes as well …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on # 55 Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Years Old Canadian Whisky

#57 Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 29, 2015

In November of 2005, Highwood Distillers finalized the purchase of Potters Distilleries (founded by Ernie Potter in 1958). Part of this acquisition, was the purchase of all of the remaining barrel aged stocks of whisky in the Potters facility. These barrels of whisky were transferred from the Potters warehouse facilities in Kelowna, B.C. to the newly constructed warehouse facility in High River, Alberta, where they were allowed to continue to age at the foot of the Rocky Mountains on the western edge of the Canadian Prairies. The whisky brands which Potters Distilleries had established (Century and Potters) were added to Highwood’s portfolio of spirits where they have not only been maintained but also expanded upon. Part of that expansion was the 2013 addition of the ‘Ninety’ branded whiskies to the Century Distillers line-up. Like the other whiskies in the Century portfolio, the Ninety branded spirits are corn-based rather than wheat-based blends. (Highwood Distillers uses the Highwood brand for all of its wheat based whiskies.)

Ninety 20 Year Old SAM_1400Highwood chose the brand name ‘Ninety’ because these new whiskies are bottled at 90 proof (or 45 % alcohol by volume) rather than the usual 80 proof (40 % alcohol by volume). The higher bottling strength means that the final whisky will retain a character closer to the original cask strength whiskies from which they were blended. In the case of the Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky, the bulk of blend almost certainly has been drawn from Highwood’s treasured reserves of remaining Potters whisky stocks.

Here is a link to the review of the #57 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#57 – Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Whisky

“… The different aspects of the aroma (the wood and rye spiciness and the corn and butterscotch sweetness) are melded together beautifully creating a very enticing aroma in the air above the glass. As I enjoy those breezes, I also notice impressions of creamy vanilla pudding, hints of almond turning to sweeter marzipan, zesty orange peel turning to sticky marmalade, and lightly sweetened cereal grain …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on #57 Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Whisky

#60 Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whisky (2012 Edition)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 26, 2015

Late in October, of 2012, I was able to have a one on one meeting with Hiram Walker Distillery Master Blender, Dr. Don Livermore. It was supposed to be an interview, but instead, it morphed into an information session where Dr. Livermore began to teach me about all things pertaining to Canadian Whisky with a particular emphasis on how they do things at the Hiram Walker Distillery.

Lot No. 40 SAM_1398One of the many things we talked about was the re-release of Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whisky (2012 Edition). Dr. Livermore, told me the whisky was first released in the 1990’s as an upscale connoisseur’s whisky for the North American market. Alas, timing is everything, and according to Don, the whisky never really caught on as the market wasn’t quite ready for such a new style of Canadian Whisky. With the new upsurge of interest in Canadian Whisky across North America (and in particular at the premium end of the market), Corby (the owner of the Wiser’s Brand), was optimistic that the time for this whisky has finally arrived.

And I guess you could say that I agree, as it is the #60 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#60 – Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whisky (2012 Edition)

“… The initial nose is filled with the scents and smells of honeycomb, freshly harvested rye, and freshly cut oak and cedar planks which are still seeping bits of sap from the wood grain. Caramel toffee and green tobacco, and even more fresh rye climb up out of the glass into the breezes. As the glass breathes, smells of oak and wood sap gain more expression …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on #60 Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whisky (2012 Edition)

#65 Collingwood 21 Year Old Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 21, 2015

Collingwood Handcrafted Canadian Whisky is produced at the Canadian Mist Distillery in Collingwood Ontario.This is of course the Distillery which produces its namesake brand, Canadian Mist, which is one of the best-selling Canadian Whiskies in North America. The Collingwood brand is a more premium spirit which is positioned a little higher on the rungs of the whisky ladder so to speak than Canadian Mist. However, it would be wrong to think of Collingwood as a more mature or refined Canadian Mist. It is produced from its own recipe and finished in a manner which gives the spirit a unique twist. Once the whisky is mature and has been blended, it is left in stainless marrying vats where its flavour is enhanced with staves of maple which have also been added to those vats.

Collingwood 21The Collingwood 21 Year Old is a 100% malted rye whisky. It was aged in both new oak and refill oak barrels and after 21 years of aging the whisky was set down in a stainless steel marrying vat with staves of maple wood just like its younger sibling.

Here is a link to my newly published review of the #65 spirit in my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#65 – Collingwood 21 Year Old Canadian Whisky

“… The breezes above the glass bring me rich notes of oak and cedar with bits of sweet honeycomb and maple. There is evidence in the air of the new oak barrels which were used to age at least some of the whisky as the breezes have an oaky freshness which I have come to associate with spirits aged in new oak …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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#69 Century Reserve (Lot 1525) Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 17, 2015

Somewhere in the Highwood Distillery barrel aging warehouse is a darkened corner where all of the oak barrels are all stamped “Lot 1525“.  This  corner contains the oldest whisky in the entire facility, with the age of the whisky inside the barrels ranging  from 15 to 25 years. (It has been hinted to me that some of these barrels contain whisky that is perhaps even older!) These whisky barrels were originally part of a consignment of whisky acquired when Highwood purchased the Potter’s Distillery in 2005.  As such, these are barrels of whisky produced from a corn-based distillation at the old Potters Distillery, in Kelowna British Colombia.

Lot 15 25 SAM_1731The barrels made the journey to the Highwood facility in 2005 and have been sitting in the darkened corner waiting for the right moment to be tapped and bottled. From this darkened corner, the Master Blender has carefully chosen just the right barrels, and then just as carefully blended the wonderful elixir within to create a blend of whisky which contains the distillery’s most prized aged whisky, the Lot1525 Century Reserve Custom Blend Canadian Rye Whisky.

Here is a link to the review of the #69 spirit in my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#69 – Century Reserve (Lot 1525) Canadian Whisky

“… A beautiful amber hue seems to accent a lovely honey and caramel aroma rising from the glass. Wonderful mellow rye notes accompany the honey and the caramel and a light bourbon vanilla seems to drift above the glass in the breezes.  The impact of nosing the glass is a well received feeling of luxury, and elegance which is divine. …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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#78 Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 8, 2015

Alberta Springs is produced by Alberta Distillers Limited (ADL) (owned by Beam Suntory) right in the heart of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. According to Rick Murphy, the Production Superintendent at ADL, Alberta Springs was originally (in the 1970s) a pure 100 % rye whisky; however, the spirit moved towards a rye and corn blend in the 1990s due to economic factors. In our discussion, Rick steadfastly maintained the whisky is still very much a rye based whisky with a consistent taste profile from year to year. Apparently the distilleries quality assurance tasting panel ensure that the flavour remains consistent as the mash bill may change slightly over time due to the dictates of economics.

Alberta SpringsI have tasted Alberta Springs many times over the past six years, and in fact it is one of the more decorated whiskies upon my website regularly winning Rum Howler Awards as one of the great whisky bargains in the world. I (like the distillery’s tasting panel) have not noticed any changes in the whisky’s flavour profile over the past six years; and more importantly, I have found that Alberta Springs is a great whisky!

Here is a link to my review of the #78 entry in my 2015 Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#78 – Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky

“… The initial nose from the glass is of a spicy rye which carries scents of tobacco along for the ride. There is a nice presence of oak and a touch of vanilla but the spicy rye is dominant. As the whisky decants the tobacco gains a little steam and a ripe sweet and sour fruitiness is evolving from the rye which is also filling the air with scents of ginger and cardamom. A few baking spices evolve as does a gentle touch of corn which rounds out the nose and makes this whisky a treat to sniff …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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Review: Forty Creek Spike Honey Spiced Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 18, 2015

FC SpikeForty Creek Spike Honey Spiced Whisky is produced by the Forty Creek Distillery (now owned by Campari). Former owner of the distillery and brand, John Hall is the Whisky Maker (as he likes to refer to himself) at Forty Creek, and this spirit was produced under his direction.

According to the label on the bottle the ingredients are, Canadian Whisky (presumable John Hall’s flagship whisky Forty Creek Barrel Select), sugar, and natural flavors (presumable honey and spices). It is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Forty Creek Spike Honey Spiced Whisky

“… The spirit caries a deep golden colour with reddish hues visible in the glass. The breezes are mild, and along with the notes of honey are additional notes of butterscotch, vanilla, banana, ginger and cinnamon …”

Please enjoy my review which concludes with a nice tall summertime back deck drink, the Spiced Mammy.

Chimo!

 

 

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Spiced Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Forty Creek Spike Honey Spiced Whisky

 
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