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Posts Tagged ‘Sazerac’

Sazerac Introduces “Mister Sam” a Tribute to Canadian Spirits Legend Sam Bronfman

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 9, 2019

Today the Sazerac Company is unveiling its new Super Premium Whiskey “Mister Sam” which pays tribute to late Seagram’s Leader Sam Bronfman.

According to the presser forwarded to me, Sam Bronfman, or “Mister Sam,” as he was affectionately known, was the founder of the modern-day distilled spirits industry. Despite his humble origins as an immigrant to Canada from Imperial Russia in the late 1800s, Bronfman would go on to propel Seagram’s into becoming the largest and most successful distilled spirits company in the world at that time. Relentlessly focused on making and blending the finest whiskies possible, maintaining the highest quality standards in the industry, creating cutting edge packaging to appeal to consumers and driving incessant product innovation, “Mister Sam” created some of the world’s most iconic spirit brands while at the helm of the Seagram’s empire until his death in 1971.

Montreal, Canada served as the headquarters of the legendary Seagram Company and its patriarch Sam Bronfman.  The tie between the Seagram and Sazerac Companies was formed in the 1940s, when Sazerac’s owners became one of the first distributors of Seagram brands in the United States, forging a long-lasting relationship between the two companies.  Today, Sazerac owns 15 former Seagram’s brands including the iconic Seagram’s V.O., Seagram’s Five Star, and Seagram’s ’83, along with its own Distillery in Montreal.

As a tribute to “Mister Sam” and the vast contribution he made to the industry, the Sazerac Company has developed a highly limited blended whiskey expression made with some of Sazerac’s finest American and Canadian Whiskeys.  The “Mister Sam” blend was created by Sazerac’s Master Blender Drew Mayville whose career included a 22 year stint at Seagram’s where he was the fourth and last Master Blender under the Seagram dynasty. Mayville had the vast array of Sazerac’s American and Canadian Whiskey stocks at his disposal while developing the final blend.

This project holds a special place in Mayville’s heart, a native Canadian now living in Kentucky.

According to Drew Mayville:

“I was thrilled to be able to work on the blend for this exciting tribute whiskey.  Mister Sam was known to say ‘Distilling is a science; Blending is an art,’ and he’s right.  Creating the elusive perfect blend is every bit about experimentation and precision.  We’re very proud of the whiskey we’ve created.”

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The Press Release I was sent included tasting notes from none other than the esteemed F. Paul Pacult, publisher/editor of F. Paul Pacult’s Spirits Journal, who has reviewed the “Mister Sam” blend (and given it Five Stars).

Pacult’s complete “Mister Sam” tasting notes are as follows:

Nose:

Cigar box, pipe tobacco, Madeira cake, toffee in that order of ascent, but then there’s a rush of oaky vanilla, limestone, flint and sweetened breakfast cereal.  Hearty but elegant, woody but grainy, and floral yet spicy, quite an achievement.

Mouth:

Entry:  Wow, this whiskey is high octane and scintillating, meaning there’s a lot happening here between the spirit fire and the oaky flavor and the lush texture, all pulling the taste profile forward.

Midpalate:  the majestic flavors blanket the palate with lush tastes of raisins, prunes, mince pie, candied walnut, chocolate covered cherry, heather honey, toasted marshmallow, praline, nougat, pecan pie.

Texture: Full bodied; oily; viscous

Finish:

The aftertaste merely underscores all the attributes and virtues identified in the aroma, entry, and midpalate, bringing them into a grand finale that’s hugely satisfying.

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Mister Sam was bottled at Sazerac’s Old Montreal Distillery in Montreal, Quebec, “at a full 133.8 Proof. The 2019 release (the whiskey is slated to be released once per year) features 1,200 bottles (750 ml), and will be sold (only) in the United States and Canada at a suggested Retail Price of $249.99. As seen in my photo, “Mister Sam” is housed in an elegant wooden box which includes a copy of the legendary “From Little Acorns” book, which Sam Bronfman penned in 1970, and which details the history of the Seagram’s company.

Of course it was not just F. Paul Pacult who was sent a preview sample for review, The Rum Howler was also sent a fully displayed sample bottle for review. I was asked to provide my review following the press release introducing the Mister Sam Whiskey. That means my full review will publish tomorrow; but just to whet your petite, here’s a spoiler from that review:

“Mister Sam arrives with the brute force of a sledge-hammer threatening to knock your tonsils down your throat with unabashed whiskey fury. The resulting belt to the mouth leaves you wondering what just happened, but at the same time hoping it will happen again.”

Chimo Everyone!

Note: The Old Montreal Distillery, located adjacent to the Port and Old Montreal, dates back to 1929. Sazerac purchased the Distillery in 2011 and brought distilling back to Old Montreal for the first time in decades when it installed a still and began producing whisky in early 2018. The Distillery employs more than 100 persons and is undergoing renovations to add a visitor center and gift shop. It plans to start offering tours by the end of 2019. Sazerac is one of America’s oldest family owned, privately held distillers with operations in the United States in Louisiana, Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Maryland, California, and global operations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, India, Australia and Canada. 

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Review: Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 23, 2018

According to the Sazerac website, their company is a direct result of the famous cocktail which bears the same name. It began in 1938 when Antoine Peychaud created a special drink for his guests to enjoy in the evenings at his apothecary in the French Quarter’s Royal Street. He would mix brandy, absinthe and a dash of his secret bitters for his guests. This special drink became quite popular and began to appear in the various coffee-house’ establishments in New Orleans. One such establishment, the Sazerac Coffee House became so popular serving their version of the drink (made with Sazerac de Forge et Fils Brandy) that it became known as the Sazerac Cocktail.

In 1869, Thomas H. Handy purchased the Sazerac Coffeehouse, and by the 1890′s the coffee-house and its growing business interests had become chartered as the Sazerac Company. Although, the company is based in New Orleans, its holdings include many of  North America’s most popular distilling companies, the Buffalo Trace Distillery, A. Smith Bowman, the Glenmore Distillery, and more.

Canadian whisky by volume is the best-selling whisky in North America. Despite the spirit’s obvious popularity, the perception of this class of whisky (among many spirits writers and whisky critics) is that the Canadian spirit was in the past thin and uninteresting. The landscape however, appears to be changing rapidly, especially at the premium end of the whisky market, where the Canadian spirit has seen strong growth in market share. Recognizing this trend, the Sazerac Company has recently made a push towards the premium end of the Canadian Whisky market with many new brands put forward over the past several years. Caribou Crossing is one such premium brand.

Caribou Crossing is what is known as a Single Barrel Whisky. From the company’s inventory of over 200,000 barrels of Canadian whisky, Sazerac’s whisky making team selects what they deem to be some of the very finest barrels. Each of these chosen barrels is bottled individually capturing its unique flavour. This means that each individual barrel offers a unique taste experience for the Canadian whisky connoisseur.

Here is a link to my recently revised review of this wonderful Single Barrel Whisky:

Review: Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whisky

“… The lightly buttered mouth-feel gives the Caribou Crossing a little length in the exit featuring flavours of oak, corn and butterscotch which trail down the throat. After the whisky is swallowed, sweet honeycomb lingers on the palate and the glowing embers of disappearing rye spices leave their imprint …”

Please enjoy the review, Chimo!

 

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review, Whisky Review | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whisky

Review: Black Magic Spiced Rum

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 7, 2018

Black Magic Rum is a brand of dark spiced rum owned by Sazerac.

This dark spiced rum has an interesting back story which links the spirit to the magic of an ancient sorceress who lived on an island off the coast of Africa. This island apparently existed ‘before time itself’ and was inhabited by a people ‘full of gaiety and life’. Unfortunately this wonderful island sank; but before it did the sorceress imbued the ‘essence and spirit of her people’ into their native drink. Making a rather long story short, several bottles of the magical liquid have turned up over time giving rise to (among other things), the great Pharaohs of Egypt, the Emperors and Dynasties of China, and even the brilliance of William Shakespeare.

One last bottle of this wonderful elixir was found by a Sea Czar whose ship’s steward promptly stole it. This steward ended up in the Caribbean and is said to have began to add a single drop of his magical liquid into each bottle of a dark and mysterious spiced Caribbean Rum (which of course he began to sell). The Steward is long gone, but the implication is that his magical liquid can be found ‘should you ever find a rum marked with the hidden sign of the ancient sorceress’s protection.

That’s not much to go on; but fortunately I was given a sample bottle so that I could taste the spirit and provide this review.  Here is a link to that review:

Review: Black Magic Spiced Rum

“… Caramel, indications of molasses and licorice, and hints of cinnamon all greeted my palate with a light sweep of vanilla. I mixed a rum and cola next and that rum and cola serving became the basis of a few pleasant evenings on my back deck this past summer (until the wood smoke from the British Columbia forest fires chased me indoors) …”

Please enjoy the full review!

Chimo!

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Review: High River Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 27, 2018

The explosion of new Canadian Whisky brands continues as every time I venture into a local liquor store I see new brands that I have never tried before. And each year when I serve as a Spirits Judge for the Annual Canadian Whisky Awards, I am introduced to new brands which I was otherwise unaware of. One of these new brands, High River Canadian is owned by Sazerac, the producers of Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon.

Master Blender Drew Mayville (Buffalo Trace), oversees the blending of the High River Canadian Whisky. According to the Sazerac website:

The best Canadian whiskies are made from rye grown in the prairies, and the most fertile soils are near local rivers which occasionally overflow during the spring thaw. High River takes its name from this phenomenon, and delivers a smooth finish which leaves a lasting impression.

Here is a link to my complete review:

Review: High River Canadian Whisky

“… There is a light impression of maple and cedar which combine with grain to give me an impression of graham wafers dipped in syrup. Oak builds with vanilla and almond making me think of marzipan. Marmalade and chocolate complete the nose which seems to be rich and full of whisky goodness …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a nice recipe suggestion, the Bitter Chocolate Old Fashioned.

Chimo!

Posted in Canadian Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Review: High River Canadian Whisky

The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (#35 – #31)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 26, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016One of my favourite Canadian Whisky brands seems to have taken a tumble recently as my scores this year as both Gibson’s Finest Sterling and Gibson’s Finest 12 Year Old have seen their rankings fall dramatically. Without their own distillery and aging facilities, the Gibson’s brand is perhaps suffering as the other major Canadian distilleries may be much more interested in maintaining their own brands than in maintaining the quality of a whisky brand they do not own. I am guessing of course; but this guess is based upon my recent tasting notes for both whiskies.

Canadian Club on the other hand has maintained its quality, and across the board, I have seen little change in their products over the past two years. Sazerac, despite not owning a Canadian Whisky distillery has also seen its quality maintained, and for one of its brands in particular (which we will encounter later in the countdown) a huge improvement has been discovered. With this in mind I am revealing the next five spirits in my Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown.

Here are the links to my next five whiskies in my countdown, #s 35 thru 31:

gibsons-12-sam_2683#35  Gibson’s Finest 12 Year Old

“… The initial nose from the glass is of honey and fruit filled rye spices and some light butterscotch alongside firm dusty wood spices. As the glass breathes, ripened fields of prairie grain and corn rise up out of the glass. I sense both musty cornstalks and rows of freshly swathed grain. Sawdust, chaff, and then bits of orange peel add to the dry spiciness …”

Legacy Small Batch SAM_1656#34)  Legacy Small Batch Canadian Whisky (Sazerac)

“… The breezes above the glass were scented with aromas of peppery rye spice and butterscotch. As the glass was allowed to breathe, I noticed some corn-like accents, and some developing baking spices and which turned the butterscotch to toffee. Impressions are fleeting, but perhaps a little milk chocolate has made its way into my consciousness along with a stronger impression of wood spices …”

CC Sherry Cask#33)  Canadian Club Small Batch Sherry Cask

“… The whisky is soft in the mouth carrying impressions of fine wood spice and bits of red licorice, dark fruit (raisins and dates) and red cherry wood. Oak and cedar flavours grow from the wood spice. A flavour of Port wine and impressions of sweet cigar tobacco are hinted at. Caramel toffee, baking spices, and sticky red jelly all seem to find a place in the complex flavour profile of the Sherry Cask whisky …”

sam_2652#32)  Tangle Ridge (Bourbon Casked) Canadian Whisky

“… The whisky carries a strong bourbon flair with corn and honeycomb combining with flavours of brown sugar and butterscotch steeped in peppery wood-spice and cinnamon. Just as it was on the nose, the whisky flavour evolves in the glass if we allow it time to settle. Vanilla melds into the flavours of butterscotch and cinnamon, and a rich fruit-filled rye begins to assert itself …”

 

ccr-9yr#31)  Canadian Club Reserve (9 Year Old)

“… The initial nose is rich with butterscotch, oak, cedar, and a growing impression of maple. As the glass breathes some dank corn notes rise into the breezes along with some spicy tobacco, oak vanillans, sticky orange marmalade, and a dusting of rye spice. If you wait long enough, some nice chocolate notes and dabs of bourbon-like honeycomb begin to reveal themselves as well …”

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Please enjoy my Countdown of the Best Canadian Whiskies of 2016. Stay Tuned for numbers 30 through 26, 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 The Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown (#35 – #31)

 
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