Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 29, 2015
Several weeks ago, my friend Dennis returned from a trip to Ireland (where he had been enjoying a well deserved holiday with his girlfriend), and he brought back a couple of whiskeys for me to try. The first one he showed my was Paddy. I didn’t know too much about it, and so I visited their website, to see what I could find out.
What I learned is that Paddy Whiskey is matured for up to 7 years in oak barrels after being distilled from 100 % barley grain. A proportion of the whisky (an unusually high percentage the website says) is malted barley whisky, as well, some of the Paddy Whiskey blended with what is called Irish Pot Still Whisky. The whiskey is produced in Cork at The Middleton Distillery, and is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… A combination of honeyed butterscotch and soft punky pot-still caramel flavours greet my palate as I take my first sip. There are lively oak spices and some light herbal tones of heather and spearmint. Vanilla and almond flavours settle into the whiskey and bits of orange peel zest nibble at the edges of flavour giving the spirit a bit of a spicy edge …”
Please enjoy the review which concludes with a nice cocktail suggestion, the Emerald Crusta.
Posted in Irish Whskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: Cocktails, Emerald Crusta, Irish Whiskey, Paddy, Review, Whiskey | Comments Off on Review: Paddy Irish Whiskey
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 27, 2015
Polar Ice is an economy vodka sold in Canada by Corby Distilleries Limited. The brand is extremely popular in Canada, and in fact, according to the information on the Corby Brands website, it is the number one Canadian vodka. Corby’s branded products are notoriously hard to research as the websites created for each brand do not got into very much depth regarding each brand’s production. All I could find was a statement on the aforementioned website which stated that Polar Ice is crafted from the purest water and grains, and that it is quadruple distilled to create an exceptionally smooth taste.
Iced Vodka Daiquiri
When I sampled Polar Ice Vodka for the first time, I was also sampling with three other vodka spirits, Opulent, Iceberg and Skyy Vodka. I created a set of tasting notes for each spirit, and from those notes, and from a second set of tasting notes which I prepared in my private tasting room when sampled Polar Ice in isolation from the other spirits afterwards, I prepared my review.
Here is a link to the full write-up:
“… When I took to sip, I allowed a little vodka to sit on my tongue before swallowing. I noticed a lightly bitter taste of citrus pith on my tongue which was coupled with penetrating spiciness. A corn-like sweetness followed …”
I hope you enjoy my review which concludes with a nice cocktail recipe, the Iced Vodka Daiquiri.
Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails, Corby, Iced Vodka Daiquiri, Polar Ice, Vodka, Vodka Review | Comments Off on Review: Polar Ice Vodka
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 24, 2015
A couple of friends of mine went to Hawaii this past Spring and brought me back a bottle of Hawaiian Moonshine. According to the label on the bottle this product is produced by Island Distillers and it is apparently a re-creation of an original Hawaiian spirit called Okolehao. For those interested, Okolehao was originally an old Hawaiian fermented beverage whose main flavour ingredient was the root of the ti plant. It was if you will a ‘ti root’ beer.
When distillation was introduced to the Hawaiian Islands sometime around the end of the 18th century their ti root beverage began to be distilled into a unique alcohol spirit which became known as Okolehao. Over time local recipes for Okolehao included other fermentable sugar products as well such as sugarcane and pineapple, however two elements common to almost all recipes were a high alcohol content and the continued use of ti root.
Island Distillers recreation of the Okolehao spirit is bottled at 100 proof (50 % alcohol by volume) and it labeled as Hawaiian Moonshine 100 Proof Okolehao. At the bottom of the label we are told that this version of Okolehao is a product of “Cane Spirit with Ti Root”.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… The nose indicates a firm cane-like sweetness which I am sure helps to temper the alcohol heat which would normally have a fuller impact in the breezes above the glass. I notice some light mint and licorice scents in the air as well as some mild coconut-like smells. As I take my time with the glass I begin to sense more complexity which includes smells of soft banana and some citrus zest …”
Please enjoy my review which concludes with a delicious Moonshine Mojito Recipe.
Posted in Flavouerd Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Cane Spirit, Cocktails, Hawaiian Moonshine, Island Distillers, Moonshine Mojito, Okolehao, Review, Ti Root | Comments Off on Review: Hawaiian Moonshine (Okolehau)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 22, 2015
The subject of this review, is a bottle of OFFLEY Ruby Port Wine. The brand traces its history back to 1737, which was the year that Englishman William Offley founded the company. In 1831, Joseph James Forrester, who was apparently a nephew of the William Offley, joined the company. According to the company website, Forrester was the first person to map the River Douro and its region, and his contributions to the development of the Port Wine trade, earned him the title of Baron which was bestowed by the King of Portugal. In 1997 OFFLEY was purchased by Sogrape, and they are the current owners of the brand.
Red Owl Cooler
Offley Ruby Porto is a young red wine produced in the traditional Porto method. The crushed grapes (produced in the Douro Region of Portugal) are fermented with the stalks removed, and the resulting wine is fortified and left in the Douro region until the following spring. Then they are taken to Vila Nova de Gaia to be matured in oak wood casks at Offley’s centuries old lodges and aging cellars. To make the Ruby Porto, a blend of wines is selected whose ages vary from about 2 years up to 5 years. The resulting wine is then filtered and cold stabilized prior to bottling.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… The flavours that develop represent a nice combination of ripe cherry and plum flavours accented by a light acidity and some raisiny spiciness. There is also a chalky mineral-like quality underneath and a bit of tannin-like dryness that reminds me of grape skins which pucker the mouth slightly. Over-all the Offley Ruby Porto is easy-going …”
Please enjoy my review which includes a recipe suggestion which mixes White Owl Whisky with OFFLEY Ruby Port, I call it the Red Owl Cooler.
Posted in Ruby Port, Wine Reviews - Port | Tagged: Cocktails, Fortified Wine, OFFLEY, Port, Red Owl Cooler, Review, Ruby Port, Wine | Comments Off on Review: OFFLEY Ruby Port Wine
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 18, 2015
Reverse Vesper with Iceberg Vodka
Iceberg Vodka is produced by the Canadian Iceberg Vodka Corp. (CIVC), which is headquartered St. John’s, Newfoundland. The spirit is produced by blending alcohol distilled from Ontario sweet-corn with water harvested from icebergs off the coast of Newfoundland with the aim of creating a premium vodka which is completely devoid of artificial pollutants. The arctic icebergs which float into what is called ‘iceberg alley’ just off the coat of Newfoundland are formed from glaciers which are over 10,000 years old.
When I opened my bottle of Iceberg Vodka for the first time, I was also sampling with three other vodka spirits, Polar Ice, Opulent and Skyy Vodka. I created a set of tasting notes for each spirit, and from those notes, and from a second set of tasting notes which I prepared in my private tasting room when I tasted each spirit in isolation from the others, I prepared my reviews.
Here is a link to the full review for Iceberg Vodka:
“… When I took to sip, I allowed a little vodka to sit on my tongue before swallowing. I noticed a nice corn-like sweetness came though in front of the grainy spice and the combination of both was quite nice …”
Please enjoy my review which includes a nice recipe suggestion, the Reverse Vesper with Cucumber and Orange Peel.
Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Canadian Iceberg Vodka Corp., Cocktails, Iceberg Vodka, Reverse Vesper, Vodka, Vodka Review | Comments Off on Review: Iceberg Vodka
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 16, 2015
I was able to obtain a sample of Penny Blue XO Single Estate Mauritius Rum, from the Western Canadian distributor Charton Hobbs. This spirit is produced by the Indian Ocean Rum Company which is a partnership between the local Medine Distillery on the Island of Mauritius and the English spirits company, Berry Bros. & Rudd. Penny Blue is a true Mauritian Rum, distilled from the locally produced molasses from the Medine Distillery’s home-grown sugar cane.
According to the information provided to me, only 7000 bottles of Batch #002 were produced from 22 oak casks. Thirty percent of the rum was drawn from ex-Whisky casks, thirty percent from ex-Bourbon Casks, and 30 percent from ex-Cognac casks. The ages of these rums varied between 5 to 11 years. An astute person will note that this accounts for only ninety percent of the rum. The final ten percent of the rum was actually a portion drawn from Batch #001 which was added to the blend for additional flavour and complexity.
After blending the rum is bottled at the Medine Estate. This bottling strength may vary slightly from batch to batch, and Batch #002 was bottled at 43.2% alcohol by volume.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… The butterscotch aroma is accented by hints of tobacco and leather, and the oak spice brings impressions of orange peel and baking spice (in particular cinnamon and bits of nutmeg). There is an underlying impression of almond as well as a few floral notes. The overall impression I have is that the rum promises to be quite pleasant with perhaps just a touch of heat to add to its character …”
Please enjoy my review and the cocktail suggestion which follows, The Rum Club Cocktail!
Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Batch #002, Berry Bros. and Rudd, Cocktails, Indian Ocean Rum Company, Mauritius, Penny Blue, Review, Rum, Rum Club Cocktail | Comments Off on Review: Penny Blue XO Single Estate Mauritius Rum (Batch #002)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 9, 2015
Finlandia describes itself as the Vodka of Finland. When I researched the spirit, I discovered it is distilled in the Finnish village of Koskenkorva, by the Altia Corporation from locally grown six-row barley and what the Finlandia website calls ‘untainted glacier water’. After distillation, the spirit is transported to Rajamäki (also in Finland) where it is brought to bottling strength and bottled. It is imported into Canada by Brown-Forman.
I sampled Finlandia side by side in a flight of vodka spirits which also included the more premium Belvedere Unfiltered Vodka, and AnestasiA Vodka, as well as a locally produced spirit Alberta Pure Vodka which shares a similar price point with Finlandia. I compiled notes for each Vodka, and from those notes (and from my notes in a separate tasting in my private tasting room) I constructed my reviews.
Here is a link to my full review for Finlandia Vodka:
“… only a few wisps of grainy spice were apparent in the breezes before I took my first sip. The vodka has a soft lightly sweet lemon balsam flavour which spreads across the palate as you sip. There is also a mild spiciness that covers the tongue …”
Please enjoy my latest review which includes two nice recipes at its conclusion, a Vodka Martini (with Grapefruit Peel) and the Vodka Daiquiri.
Note: If you are interested, here are the links for the three other Vodka Spirits in the flight which I sampled side by side with the Finlandia:
Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails, Finlandia, Martini, Vodka Daiquiri, Vodka Martini, Vodka Review | Comments Off on Review: Finlandia Vodka
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 1, 2015
Rum Nation is an Italian company created by Fabio Rossi, who began his life in the spirits trade as a Oenologist (one who has studied wine-making). After his studies, Mr. Rossi left the wine business and started up a whisky company in Edinburgh (Wilson and Morgan) acting as an independent bottler of Single Malt Scotch Whisky. His interest turned to rum, and in 1999 Fabio Rossi founded Rum Nation. His company is headquartered in Italy; but Fabio purchases select rums from various distillers in the Caribbean and the Americas. As a result Rum Nation provides a rather unique assortment of limited edition bottlings. One such bottling is Rum Nation Jamaica 8 Year Old Rum (2015 release).
The 8 Year Old Jamaican Pot Still Rum was distilled in 2006 in a traditional Pot Still (distillery located St. Catherine, on the Island of Jamaica) and spent the first 7 years of its maturation on the island in ex-bourbon casks. From Jamaica, the rum was transported to Italy where it was transferred to ex-sherry casks (Oloroso), and then it spent an additional year aging in a cool wine cellar in the Piedmont. The final rum was bottled at a full 50 % alcohol by volume in Italy in 2015.
Jamaican Pot Still Punch
According to Fabio Rossi:
“We decided to bottle at 50% because we wanted it to stay ballsy, and appeal to whisky drinkers!”
You may read my full review of this ‘ballsy’ rum by clicking on the following link:
“… The breezes seem to be filled with baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon, and a touch of cloves), rich brown sugar, and sherry-like aromas of dark fruit (raisins and dates). I also sense a strong presence of orange peel which is typical of Jamaican rums. In the midst of those familiar rummy scents are the punky notes of the Pot Still …”
Please enjoy my review as well as the suggested punch recipe at its conclusion, Jamaican Pot Still Punch.
Happy Canada Day!
Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: 8 Year Old, Cocktails, Jamaica, Pot Still Punch, Pot Still Rum, Rum, Rum Nation, Rum Review | Comments Off on Review: Rum Nation Jamaica Pot Still 8 Year Old Rum
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 29, 2015
Gin appears to be the original Martini spirit. There is some speculation as to how exactly this bar drink evolved, the beginnings of this cocktail form was perhaps initiated as early as 1888 when a recipe for a bar drink which consisted of half a wine glass of Old Tom Gin, and half a wine glass of Vermouth was published (Johnson, Harry (1888), The New and Improved Illustrated Bartenders’ Manual; Or: How to Mix Drinks of the Present Style). Over time this simple bar drink evolved and changed into the present day Martini.
Prohibition did its part to popularize the Martini as its main ingredient, Gin, was very easy for an illicit establishment to produce (illegally), and by the time prohibition ended, the Gin Martin may well have been the most popular bar drink served in North America.
Today, it remains a popular cocktail. Like the Vodka Martini (which arrived later on the scene), the Gin Martini can be served at varying degrees of dryness depending upon the amount of aromatized wine (usually vermouth) is used in its construction. The traditional recipes found in the cocktail guides from the 1920’s usually recommend a ratio of gin to vermouth of 2:1. Modern recipes contain much less vermouth, and in fact my brother-in-law’s favourite recipe calls for his cocktail glass to be rinsed with Vermouth only and the rest of the volume of his cocktail to be gin and garnish.
Traditional Gin Martini (cucumber garnish)
At the recent Belvedere Martini Seminar hosted by Ali Dedianko, Belvedere Vodka Global Ambassador, she made the point that we should perhaps explore also a larger range of garnishes than the typical olive or lemon peel. One of the garnishes she suggested was cucumber, and that is the direction I have chosen to go for this particular construction of my Gin Martini which combines No. 3 London Dry Gin and Stock Vermouth with thin slice of cucumber in an excellent Martini cocktail:
The following link will take you to my recipe page:
Note: I made this point with respect to the traditional Vodka Martini, and it bears repeating again with respect to the Gin Martini. Once you open any bottle of vermouth, it is important that you realize that all aromatized wines have a very short shelf life. This is because the wine will begin to oxidize almost immediately, and after only one short week (even if the bottle is refrigerated) it’s flavour will have undergone a noticeable and undesirable change. I suspect in fact, that it is experiences with bad vermouth that have led many people to decrease its volume in the classic martini cocktail, not understanding that the vinegary component they are tasting is not a normal flavour component of good vermouth.
Please use fresh vermouth whenever you are serving Martini cocktails.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes | Tagged: Cocktails, Gin Martini, No. 3 London Dry Gin, Stock Vermouth, Traditional | 3 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 26, 2015
AnestasiA Vodka was created as a result of founder, Yuliya Mamontova’s desire to create a luxury spirit in the United States. Yuliya’s passion was a result of her upbringing, as she learned the arts of fermentation and distillation as well as the expertise of marketing and packaging firsthand growing up in a family of European Vodka Producers.
Her luxury vodka, AnestasiA, is produced in Bend Oregon from corn which is sourced from Pacific Northwest farms and water which flows from Bend’s Cascade Mountains. According to the company website:
“The waters of this range flow through riverbeds of lava rock, and thereby avoid picking the sediment—metallic salts such as magnesium and calcium—present in most water sources. In fact, our waters contain 90% less of these compounds than your average drinking water. This makes our water remarkably ‘soft’, and results in AnestasiA vodka’s naturally derived purity.”
The AnestasiA spirit is five times distilled, and after the final distillation, the distillate is brought to bottling proof with the soft Northwest water. Then it is filtered a further five times through crushed lava rock, neutral charcoal, and Arkansas-derived quartz crystal. The final Vodka is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume in a stunning decanter type bottle (shown to the left) which is made partially from recycled materials.
Founder, Yuliya Mamontova, reached out to me through my website, and asked me if I would agree to receive a bottle of her luxury Vodka to review.
Here is a link to that full review:
“… At the cold serving temperature I could detect absolutely no aroma above the glass, however, when I sipped the vodka I could taste a firm lemon zest with just a hint of grain spice. It is very pleasant especially with the lingering lightly sweet lightly spicy lemon flavour which coats the palate …”
Included with my review is a very nice cocktail which combines the AnestasiA Vodka with Gilbey’s Gin. I call it, Tactical Equilibrium.
Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: AnestasiA, Cocktails, Tactical Equilibrium, Vodka, Vodka Review | Comments Off on Review: AnestasiA Vodka