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Posts Tagged ‘Highwood’

The Rum Howler’s #4 Canadian Whisky of 2015 – Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 21, 2015

Ninety_20_Year_Old_-_shadow_2013_06In 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.)

Highwood 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 which are rumoured to contain barrels of whisky as old as 33 years.

Here is a link to the Rum Howler #4 Canadian Whisky of 2015:

Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old

“… 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 (which actually reminds me of Post Honeycomb cereal) …”

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You may read about the Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown here:

The Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

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Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

The Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 30, 2014

On My Deck 2Last year I embarked on a mission to determine the very best whiskies that Canada had to offer, by examining over my tasting notes and review scores for over 100 Canadian Whiskies which were available in the market as I compiled my list. This year we have seen the arrival of several new Canadian whiskies, and the disappearance of several of the Limited Edition whiskies which had made last year’s list. Some producers have made changes to their brands and some brands may have (in my opinion) evolved or changed in other ways during the past year. To account for these possible changes I recompiled my list based upon all of the new Canadian whiskies I have sampled during the past year, as well as older brands I re-sampled.

Ninety_5_Year_Old_The list will be presented “Countdown Style” during the month of December with the Best Canadian Whisky of 2014 revealed on December 24, 2014 just in time for you to grab a bottle for Christmas and New Year’s cheer! A new whisky will be revealed each day (beginning today) as I count down to the Rum Howler’s Selection of the World’s Best Canadian Whisky of 2014!

You may follow my Countdown list here:

The Rum Howler 2014 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies!

And with no further ado I announce the number 25 Canadian Whisky produced in 2014:

#25    Ninety (Premium cask Aged) 5 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

Note:

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on The Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014

Come Hell or High River!

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 10, 2013

Highwood DistilleryOn Thursday, June 20th, in the middle of the day (about noon) a massive flash flood hit the town of High River, in Southern Alberta. Initial estimates are that this flood was an unprecedented event with levels of water not seen in the documented history of the town. This was a true tragedy as town residents literally had to flee to the roof tops of their houses to await rescue by boat and helicopter. There were even reports of local farm equipment (tractors and combines) driving in to rescue stranded people from the roofs of their homes.

One particular business in High River that I have a strong connection to is Highwood Distillers. I have visited the distillery and wrote about it numerous times (see The Highwood Distillery Tour). The folks who work for Highwood impressed me with their blue-collar work ethic and the clean honest taste of their brand of Canadian Whisky.

Alas, the distillery lies near the heart of the downtown directly in front of the small creek that on that day instantly became a giant river. The Highwood Distillery was unfortunately directly in the path of the flash flood. The folks working in the distillery that day report that they had only 6 minutes to find safety. The safety they found was upon the roof tops of their cars, and they were amongst those who had to be rescued by boat and helicopter, (and yes I have a report that some of the staff were rescued by combines).

SAM_0405 CS 25

Rum Howler Best Overall Whisky for 2012

Indications are that the distillery was a mess. All of the bottled goods inventory had to be destroyed; much of the distilling and bottling equipment has been damaged; and inventories of barreled whisky have almost certainly been compromised.

But here is the thing, the folks at Highwood are resilient. That small-town blue-collar work ethic which I admired during my visit to the distillery is serving the town well. The process of cleaning up and rebuilding has begun, and according to the Highwood Distillers website they are working hard and hope to be able to recommence business in a short two months!

I for one, am absolutely certain that Highwood Distillers will be back and that they will continue the path that they were upon making great whisky (see review for Century Reserve (Lot 1525) Canadian Rye Whisky) after great whisky (see review for Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky) not to mention their fantastic Vodka (Pristina) and their Rum Howler Award winning gin (Sahara Dry Gin).

Note: I also declared Highwood’s Calgary Stampede (Commemorative) 25 Year Old Whisky the Best in the World when I published my 2012 Rum Howler Awards for Whisky! Trust me, these folks make great whisky!

I urge all of you who have come love Highwood’s clean honest family of spirits to have patience, if your favourite brand becomes unavailable for a time. They will rebuild, and they will continue to impact the landscape of Canadian Whisky in a positive manner when they are back. Highwood has recently become a shooting star of sorts amongst Canadian Distillers, and I am sure that their star will continue to shine, Come Hell or High River!

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(Note: I have a bit of experience with floods (although not nearly on the scale as this). On July 4rth, 2004, a massive storm centered itself above West Edmonton Mall (where my retail business is located) and compromised the drainage system of the second floor parking lot directly above my Sports Memorabilia Store). I was working alone at the time, and I can remember the ceiling tile above me breaking and water pouring in from seemingly everywhere. I rushed to get my stock out to safety, but unfortunately, there was no safety. My store, my stock, indeed my entire business was a 100 % write-off. As horrible as my experience nine years ago was, the experience for the people of High River was and is much worse. Today, a full three weeks after the event, many residents still have not been allowed to go back to their homes as the water is still impacting the area such that some neighbourhoods have been deemed too dangerous to re-enter. My heart goes out to the people of High River, and I wish all of them the best that God can offer in a time such as this. May other Canadians and Albertans be generous in their support of your community, and may your insurance claims all be redeemed at full value.)

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Extras, Howls, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Centennial Honey Canadian Rye Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 29, 2013

Centennial HoneyHighwood 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. A few years ago, I visited this distillery, and watched first hand as they turned the local prairie grains into whisky, vodka. and gin. They make their spirits one batch at a time in a family style atmosphere which could not help but make me a fan. Recently I received a sample of their Centennial Honey Canadian Rye Whisky. The spirit represents a fusion of Highwood’s 10 Year old Centennial Rye Whisky with the decadent sweetness of natural honey. No artificial flavours or additives (except caramel for colour) have been used in the production of this whisky liqueur which is bottled at 35 % alcohol by volume.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“… The theme of light and appealing continues with a flavoured whisky which is both smooth and delicious. I was fearful that the honey flavor (which might have been too intense) would overpower the subtle nuances of the Centennial Rye Whisky. However, I am pleased to report that although the flavour of the natural honey is obvious, the flavour of good old Canadian rye whisky also shines through…”

You may read my full review which contains my new recipe, Cool Honey, here:

Review: Centennial Honey Canadian Rye Whisky

Please Enjoy the review!

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Cocktails & Recipes, Flavoured Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Centennial Honey Canadian Rye Whisky

Review: Northern Lights Eggnog

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 15, 2012

Northern Lights Eggnog is a rum based premix from Highwood Distillers. Highwood produced 500 cases for the Western Canadian market last Christmas, and I was given a sample bottle by the distillery to sample at my leisure (and to provide feedback to the distillery). The test product must have done well as this year Highwood has reintroduced the Northern Lights Eggnog for the festive season.

I have been told by the distillery that Northern Lights Eggnog is produced with real rum from the distillery (their Highwood Brand) and uses (as much as possible) authentic natural ingredients. I admit I was very curious and I thought it would be fun to do an ‘official’ review here on the website.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…I am quite pleased by what I see after I pour myself a little of the premixed eggnog into my glass. This looks rich and creamy in the glass and the ‘eggnog’ aroma has a nice firm imprint of rum and a nice mild spiciness. The vanilla is obvious and I sense hints of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, but, none of the spices seem overpowering or out of balance. This is going to be an easy-going eggnog as far as spiciness is concerned and one in which the rum is allowed to flourish in the mix….”

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Northern Lights Eggnog

Please enjoy the review and the festive season!

Posted in Cream Liqueur, Liqueur, Premix, Rum | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Northern Lights Eggnog

 
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