Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 20, 2015
The resurgence of interest in Canadian Whisky continues unabated as it seems that every time I venture into a local liquor store I see new brands that I have never tried before. One of these new brands, Legacy Small Batch caught my eye and I decided to request a bottle for review. The new brand is owned by Sazerac, and to produce this new Canadian spirit they import mature whisky from Canada and bottle it at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky.
There is not much information about this particular whisky on the Sazerac website except for a statement that, Master Blender Drew Mayville (Buffalo Trace), oversees the distillation of this particular whisky. Unfortunately I find this claim hard to reconcile based upon his own statements in a 2013 interview in The Spirits Business (see interview here) regarding the anonymity of Canadian Whisky distillers and his happiness at being a blender and not a distiller. (Note that Canadian Whisky by law must be at least 3 years old and therefore would have been distilled prior to those statements.) Perhaps the marketing people at Sazerac meant that Drew Mayville oversees the blending of the Legacy Small Batch, which of course would be right up his alley.
Here is a link to my full Review:
“… I taste a very nice melding of rye-like spices with butterscotch toffee. There is a corn-like smoothness which permeates the whisky along with just enough peppery heat to pucker and dry the palate making it receptive to the next sip. There are also light bits of cinnamon, some gentle vanillans, and a touch of milk chocolate in the flavour profile and all of these flavours seem to be pulling in the same pleasant direction …”
Please enjoy my review which includes a nice recipe I created called the Canadian Caribou.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisky Liqueur, Whisky Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Legacy Small BatchSazerac, Review, Whisky | Comments Off on Review: Legacy Small Batch Canadian Whisky
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 12, 2015
Crown Royal®Canadian Whisky is currently produced in Gimli, Manitoba, at the Crown Royal Distillery. The distillery and the brand are owned by the global spirits conglomerate Diageo, and I think it is fair to say that Crown Royal is Diageo’s flagship Canadian whisky. The brand was 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 who traveled across the Country by train that year. (Apparently, the train carrying the Royal Couple was stocked with 10 cases of the new Crown Royal Blend.) 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 Canada and the USA by value. (I believe Canadian Club is still the number one brand in Canada by volume.)
Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel is the first production Canadian Whisky ever to sold in the single barrel format. It drawn from a single oak cask and bottled a full 51.5 % alcohol by volume bottling proof.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… That intense butterscotch I noticed on the nose manifests itself as a sweet yummy honeyed butterscotch flavour when the spirit crosses the palate. Along with the sweet butterscotch are equally intense spicy rye wood spices which along with the 103 proof alcohol heat the mouth. I realize I have to be careful with this whisky, the flavour is so good I want a mouthful, but the heat the spirit possesses must be treated with respect …”
Please enjoy my review!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Crown Royal, Hand Selected Barrel, Whisky Review | Comments Off on Review: Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 5, 2015
Canadian Club Whisky (owned by BeamSuntory) is the oldest (and probably the most influential) Canadian Whisky brand in the world. The company has been granted numerous Royal Warrants from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II and it has been reported that Canadian Club was the whisky of choice when Al Capone smuggled thousands of Cases of Canadian Whisky into the USA during prohibition. Today Canadian Club Premium is the flagship brand for the company. In Canada, it is aged for a minimum of 6 years in white oak barrels and bottled at 40 per cent alcohol by volume.
Recently Canadian Club added to their flavoured and spiced portfolio by releasing a new maple flavoured whisky , Canadian Club Chairman’s Select Maple. According to the Canadian Club website:
Our master distillers have brought together the world’s finest Canadian whisky with the perfect hint of maple flavour.
Chairman’s Maple Mammy
Here is a link to my full review:
“… When I steal a sip from the glass, again it is the flavour of maple which one notices immediately (as we should). However, I was pleased to taste a firm whisky presence within the spirit as well. Despite the obvious maple taint, the flavoured whisky still retains its character as a whisky …”
Included in my review is a nice cocktail suggestion which combine the Canadian Club Chairman’s Select Maple with lime juice and ginger-ale, the Chairman’s Maple Mammy.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Club, Canadian Whisky, Chairman's Maple Mammy, Chairman's Select, Cocktail, Flavoured Whisky, Maple Whisky, Whisky, Whisky Review | Comments Off on Review: Canadian Club Chairman’s Select Maple
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 12, 2015
Centennial Limited Edition Canadian Whisky is produced by Alberta’s own Highwood Distillers. It has quietly replaced Highwood’s former Centennial 10 Year Old Canadian Whisky (see review here) as the flagship brand of their Centennial Lineup. The Centennial brand is 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.
Centennial Limited Edition features no age statement which makes it different from the Centennial 10 Year Old Whisky which used to carry the flag for the brand. When I asked the folks at the distillery I was told that the Centennial brand had reached a point of popularity such that Highwood could no longer meet the demand for their 10 Year Old whisky across the country. This meant that the distiller was faced with two choices. They could either raise the price to temper demand (and annoy their loyal customers), or they could create a new flagship Centennial Whisky (the Limited Edition) which they could produce in sufficient quantity to meet the new demand across Canada. They chose the second course, although they are hoping this new blend is met with the same enthusiasm as the previous blend.
Here is a link to the full review:
“… I let the glass sit for a while, and noticed that the rye grain was joined by wood spices and these spicy accents seem to grow in the breezes. I also notice a light almost bitter astringency in the air which seems to be related to the building rye spice. As the glass continues to decant, some dry grassy tobacco comes to the fore and a light fruitiness is evolving from the rye which is also filling the air with light scents of ginger …”
Please enjoy the review which concludes with a nice recipe suggestion, the Canadian Whisky Splash!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Centennial, Highwood Distillers, Limited Edition, Review, Whisky, Whisky Splash | Comments Off on Review: Centennial Limited Edition Canadian Whisky (NAS)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 6, 2015
Yesterday, I received my first bottle of the brand new Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel Whisky. What makes the bottle I received even more special is that this particular bottle has been drawn from a very particular barrel. The barrel that my good friend Davin De Kergommeax selected right out the Crown Royal whisky warehouse in Gimli, Manitoba.
If you do not know Davin, although I suspect many of you do, he is (like myself), is a true devotee of our great Canadian Spirit, whisky! He has created his own website (Canadian Whisky) where he publishes various articles about our mutual passion and of course his fantastic reviews. He has also been instrumental in launching the first ever fully independent Canadian Whisky Awards! These awards have highlighted not only the best tasting whiskies made in Canada, but they also award special achievements by Canadian Whisky Distillers in areas of innovation, brand extension, and media/advertising. And as if that was not enough, he is also the award-winning author of “Canadian Whisky: the portable expert” which is probably the best guide ever published about the great Canadian Spirit.
If you haven’t heard of Crown Royal Hands Selected Barrel, it is the first production Canadian whisky ever to sold in the single barrel format, drawn from a single oak cask and brought to a full 51.5 % alcohol by volume bottling proof. Now the folks at Crown Royal didn’t just go into their warehouse and start checking random casks of whisky for this expression. They chose a very particular whisky to showcase as their first Single Barrel Whisky. A whisky from a rye heavy mashbill (64% corn, 31.5% rye, and 4.5% malted barley) which was distilled upon their one of a kind Coffey Rye still which is located in their Gimli facility.
Davin de Kergommeaux
Now, I was curious, and so I asked Davin how the selection process worked for him. He told me that he went down to the facility in Gimli in May of 2014 to taste some of the barrels. Then he went back in December (of the same year) to make his final selection. According to Davin:
“It was freezing cold so we tasted the whisky from four “finalist” barrels in the office. They were remarkably different from each other. I brought a sample home with me to sip on until the final product arrived a couple of weeks ago. It really was a lot of fun from start to finish.”
And now I have one of the bottles drawn from the barrel that Davin himself chose. I find this so remarkable, that I have decided to share my first tasting of this remarkable spirit with anyone who cares to join me tomorrow at 1:30 PM (Mountain Standard) on Twitter (https://twitter.com/RumHowler). I will have my camera ready and my glencairn glass full, and if all goes according to plan publish my first thoughts and tasting notes live online on my twitter account using the hashtag ‘Rum Howler Tastes Crown Hand Selected Barrel’. I hope some of you join me, and if any of you happen to also have a bottle or sample of Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel, please post your thoughts online as well.
(And if any of you have ideas as how to make this easier for everyone to follow and participate, please post your ideas, I am pretty much a rookie at Twitter Tastings, having never done one before.)
Chimo, and see you tomorrow at 1:30 PM (MST)!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Crown Royal, Davin de Kergommeaux, Single Barrel, Twitter Tasting | 5 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 4, 2015
This is one of my favourite times of the year, as every year in early June, Forty Creek Whisky announces their annual special limited release whisky. This years release has been named Forty Creek Three Grain Harmony, and the distillery is once again inviting the public to participate in the release by offering to let you choose your own numbered bottle.
Reservations for choosing your bottles open at noon on Monday, June 8th and continue until 5:00 p.m. on June 26th, 2015. Of course numbers are available on a first come basis and no two bottle numbers will be the same. (Only 9000 bottles will be produced.)
According to the folks at Forty Creek:
Forty Creek Three Grain Harmony is the 9th Limited Release from Forty Creek Whisky. This year, we decided to create a bit of music by carefully blending and harmonizing three single grains: rye, barley and corn. We began by fermenting and distilling each individual grain separately. Both the rye and the barley stocks date back to when we first began our Forty Creek Distillery. This Limited Release marks the first time these stocks have been introduced into one of our whiskies. As with many of our Signature Editions, the separate, single grain whiskies were patiently aged in toasted white oak barrels. At their peak flavour potential, they were then artfully blended to create the subtle yet complex whisky we named Three Grain Harmony.
The new special release whisky will be bottled at 43% alcohol by volume, and you can find more information here:
(Barley and Rye stocks that date back to the beginnings of the distillery sounds pretty special to me. I usually reserve a few bottles for myself, and this year will be no different.)
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Forty Creek, Special Release, Three Grain Harmony, Whisky | 4 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 11, 2015
Highwood Distillers is a Canadian spirits manufacturer in the town of High River, Alberta, which is situated 40 minutes south of Calgary, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. When I visited their facilities a few years ago I could not help but notice how they make their spirits one batch at a time in a friendly, family style atmosphere. I was impressed and I have been a fan of Highwood ever since.
Recently I received a sample of their Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky (Dark Chocolate). The spirit represents a melding of their Centennial Rye Whisky with the a small dollop of Dark Chocolate flavour. The flavoured whisky is bottled at 35 % alcohol by volume.
Orange Chocolate Martini
Here is a link to my full review:
“… The Dark Chocolate Whisky has a pale mahogany colour which seems at odds with the rich dark chocolate scents which seem to ooze out of the rye and wood spices drifting in the breezes above the glass. The impact of the chocolate seems to be softened by an impression of fresh dairy cream within the make-up of its aroma …”
This spirit plays well with caramel, cola, coffee, and even (if you check out my recipe below) orange liqueurs. Those are some of my favourite flavours, so I think you can safely assume that my recommendation for the Centennial Dark Chocolate is quite enthusiastic.
Please enjoy my review which includes a nice dessert martini recipe which have I dubbed the Orange Chocolate Martini.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Flavoured Whisky, Liqueur, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review, Whisky Liqueur | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Centennial Rye Whisky, Cocktail, Dark Chocolate, Flavoured Whisky, Highwood Distillers, Orange Chocolate Martini, Review | Comments Off on Review: Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky Dark Chocolate
Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 17, 2015
Last year, (January 16, 2014) Crown Royal® made an addition to its portfolio of Canadian Whiskies (in the USA) 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:
“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.”
For those of you familiar with the family of Crown Royal whiskies available in Canada, Crown Royal XO, sounds remarkably similar to the Crown Royal Cask No. 16 (click on the link for my previous review) which according to the Crown Royal (Canadian) website, is also a blend of more than 50 different aged Canadian whiskies which are finished in Cognac casks from the Limousin forest in France.
Here is a link to my full review which includes information regarding how these two blends differ as well as how they compare:
“… The initial aroma from the glass revealed sweet butterscotch and maple rising into the air with a combination of light but firm rye accents and fine wood spices. 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 …”
Please enjoy my review which includes a new cocktail suggestion, Crowning Glory.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Crown Royal, Crown Royal XO, Crowning Glory, Diageo, Whisky, Whisky Review | 2 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 10, 2015
Forty Creek Whisky has for the last number of years produced a special limited release whisky and allowed the public to participate in the release by offering to let you choose your own numbered bottle. As well you can have your bottle signed by their own Master Distiller and Whisky Maker, John Hall, when you arrive to pick up your pre-ordered bottles. These special release whiskies are built upon the foundation of the company’s flagship whisky, Forty Creek Barrel Select, and are basically versions of this whisky which have spent additional time finishing in selected oak barrels.
Forty Creek Evolution is the eighth annual special Limited Edition Release from Forty Creek Whisky. Most of the whiskies in this blended Canadian Whisky began their journey 12 years ago. These whiskies were aged in American White Oak for 3 years, then selected barrels were re-distilled in Forty Creek’s copper pot still to further concentrate their flavour. The resulting whisky was then re-barreled in French Oak casks that had previously held Kittling Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, and then aged for an additional 9 years. As a final step John Hall selected some of his personally held barrels to blend into the final product.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… I received a mild indication of sweet caramel and butterscotch which were playing with rye spices and a touch of menthol. When I gave the glass a little time to develop I began to notice some dry scents of freshly baled straw and the chaff reminiscent of the scents and smells of a fresh fall harvest when the newly harvested grain has still left its imprint in the air above the straw windrows …”
Please enjoy my review and enjoy the coming weekend which is shaping up to be a good one!
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Canadian Whisky Re, Evolution, Forty Creek, Whisky | 7 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 24, 2015
In 2014, Crown Royal® Master Blender, Andrew MacKay created a limited edition whisky to commemorate the brand’s 75 year anniversary. According to Mr. MacKay:
“Crown Royal was originally created for royalty, crafted over time and the fact that the whisky is still being enjoyed 75 years later is really special to all of us at Crown Royal. We’re excited to share this special limited edition blend with consumers and look forward to celebrating many more years of unmatched whisky.”
Crown Royal Monarch 75th Anniversary Blend is perhaps a little more rye-forward in its approach than previous Crown Royal whiskies. This is because the Monarch is produced from a blend of whiskies which include rye whisky from the distillery’s Coffey rye still. As you will see from the review, the rye from this historic still makes a real impression upon the flavour profile of the Monarch Whisky.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… The Crown Royal Monarch is an excellent whisky which features a nice melding of sweet maple and butterscotch flavours within a firm oaky character. Although the whisky features more rye than other Crown Royal Whiskies, the influence I taste is of an earthier stye of rye (almost like sourdough rye bread) which combines very well with the traditional punky corn forward flavour profile of Crown Royal …”
The added rye makes this Crown Royal Whisky a perfect candidate for the traditional tall Canadian Whisky cocktail, Rye and Ginger. which is also known by its more obscure name, a Horse’s Neck.
Please enjoy my review and my suggested cocktail recipe.
Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Canadian Whisky, Cocktails, Crown Royal, Diageo, Horse's Neck, Monarch, Whisky, Whisky Review | 2 Comments »