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Posts Tagged ‘Single Malt Whisky’

Review: Highland Park 10 Years Old (Viking Scars)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 5, 2021

Highland Park Distillery is located in the Highlands of Scotland on the Island of Orkney which is famous for its heather rich meadows, and its unique organic Orcadian peat. Their 10 Year Old Highland Park Whisky (Viking Scars) is part of the new core range of the distillery which includes the 12 Year Old Viking Honour and the 18 Year old Viking Pride.

According to the information provided to me, this Single Malt Whisky is aged predominantly in American Oak casks (Oloroso sherry seasoned oak casks). The flavour is of course also driven by the hand cut aromatic peat from the Hobbister Moor which is used (by burning) to dry a portion of the malted barley.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Highland Park 10 Years Old (Viking Scars)

“… The Viking Scars surprised me with its mild approachable nose. The Orcadian peat is in the breezes, but it sits a little further back allowing notes of butterscotch, vanilla, and citrus fruit (orange peel) more prominence. The oak is spicy rather than woody and hints of almond seem to confirm the prevalence of American oak …”

Please enjoy my review which concludes with my serving suggestion, Blood and Sand.


Posted in Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisky Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Macaloney Caledonian Invermallie – Red Wine Barrique

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 15, 2021

Two weeks ago I reviewed the Inveramallie release from the Macaloney Caledonian Distillery which was matured in an Ex-Bourbpon cask.  Today I am looking at another Invermallie release this time one which has been matured in a re-charred red wine barrique imported from Europe. This barrique underwent a shave-toast-rechar preparation which is meant to  give the spirit a complex nose with red berries, dried fruit, demerara sugar, leather, oak and honey.

The Invermallie releases may be regarded as the distillery’s connoisseurs/collector’s edition expressions. This is an ever-changing series of classic single malt expressions based on unique one-off single casks, or other special selections.

The Macaloney Caledonian Distillery began producing spirit which had reached the required maturity to be sold as Canadian Whisky in 2020. Their world-class distillery is built on a foundation of traditional Forsyth’s copper pot stills. Using Canadian barley, with island water the distillery produces a range of produces a small range of Island Whiskies.

Here is a link to my review of their Single Malt Whisky matured in red wine barriques:

Review: Macaloney Caledonian Invermallie – Red Wine Barrique

“… Mild oak and grain spices combine with light vanillans and soft leathery flavours of barley grain with undercurrents of red cherry licorice, gooseberry, butterscotch and almond. The lightly sweet maltiness pairs well with the fruity licorice,  but the nuances are indistinct and thus hard to describe in terms of taste descriptors. The result is a whisky which is light and airy even though it is bottled at 46 % abv …”

Please enjoy my review which continues a series of reviews of the new whiskies from the Macaloney Caledonian Distillery.


Posted in Canadian Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisky Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Cocktail Hour: Alpine Meadows

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 10, 2021

Alpine Meadow in its earliest form (yeah I know … terrible photo)

My Alpine Meadows cocktail had its beginnings back in January 2010 when I introduced the serving as a suggested cocktail for the Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Single Malt Whisky. This was early days for my website, and at that time I was just dipping my toes in the cocktail world.

The genesis of thought for the serving, is that I felt the floral notes within the Glenfiddich whisky and its firm oak character could be paired with the piny flavour of gin. It was just a thought, albeit perhaps a thought that ran contrary to the more common view that one should leave fifteen year old Single Malt whiskies alone as they are just fine the way they are.

I knew that a bridge needed to be built to encourage the coupling of the piny gin and the floral oaky single malt scotch, and so I added an orange liqueur and was pleased enough with the result to publish the serving within the body of that whisky review.

I have returned to that serving several times as a suggested serving for other whisky spirits as I have discovered that it’s construction is suitable for a wide range of Single Malt and Canadian Whiskies.

Today I am going to give everyone an improved construction based on a few tweaks which I believe improves the libation. The first tweak is the addition of bitters, Bittermen’s Boston Bittahs to be exact. These particular bitters have a firm citrus backbone which is paired heavy dose of chamomile. This adds a light floral punch to the cocktail. I am also adding a garnish, specifically orange zest which compliments not only the whisky, but also the gin and the citrus forward bitters in the serving.

This time around I am using a young Canadian Single Malt Whisky, Macaloney Caledonian Invermallie – Portuguese Re-charred Red Wine Barrique (that’s a mouthful isn’t it) paired with Burwood Dry Gin which is made in Calgary.  Hopefully many of you will find the improved version of my cocktail as enjoyable as I do.


Alpine Meadows

1 1/4 oz  Macaloney Caledonian Invermallie (Port Red Wine Barrique)
2/3 oz  Burwood Gin
1/3 oz Bols Triple Sec (sub any quality triple distilled orange liqueur)
dash Bittermen’s Boston Bittahs
Citrus Zest

Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with citrus zest

Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

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Two Brewers Yukon Single Malt – Classic Releases

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 29, 2020

In 2009, the folks at Yukon Brewing decided that it was time to expand their horizons, and so they grabbed a still, formed the Yukon Spirits Company, and began to make whisky. When I first learned about this several years ago I was a little surprised. The Yukon is quite a ways north and it is not a place where you would naturally think of folks making beer, let alone whisky. Then again it just might have been the perfect place for both the start-up beer and spirits companies. You see up in the North, they like to support one another, and it wasn’t long before Yukon Brewing and Yukon Spirits were doing a nice business supplying northern communities.

A few years ago I reviewed  Yukon Brewers Classic Single Malt Release No. 1 (here),  Today I am revisiting their Classic Releases by taking a look at their recent Classic Releases No. 13 and No. 16. I tasted both Single Malts recently and found that my scores were very similar between the two drams. So rather than writing two reviews, I felt one review covering both releases was sufficient. The tasting notes included here are for Release No. 13, but the scores for Release No. 16 would be similar.

Here is my review:

Review: Two Brewers Yukon Single Malt – Classic Releases:

“… The initial nose is honeyed with obvious aromas of vanilla, almond and malt barley. Some oak spices begin to build (I believe both releases of the whisky are about 4 years old) with fine spices and impressions of dusty straw and chaff …”

Please enjoy my review which concludes with a cocktail suggestion for you enjoyment, Norther Aurora.


Posted in Canadian Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisky Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on Two Brewers Yukon Single Malt – Classic Releases

Glenlivet 12 vs Centennial Canadian Rye vs Maker’s Mark

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 2, 2020

Yesterday I shared the results of my New Year’s Eve – Rum Tasting which I hosted for several of my friends on the eve of the new decade. After the Rum Tasting, and just after the turn of the decade I followed up with a whisky tasting. The three spirits I chose to share were The Glenlivet 12 Year Old Single Malt, Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky from Highwood Distillers, and Maker’s Mark, a bourbon from Beam-Suntory.

My second Spirit Tasting on New Year’s Eve featured 3 different whisky styles from 3 different countries.

Just as I had done with my previous rum tasting, the Whisky Tasting was planned to feature three different styles of whisky not with the aim of demonstrating one style was better than the other, but with the purpose of helping my friends discover which style they might appreciate the most.

The Glenlivet Distillery is located near Ballindalloch in Moray, Scotland. The distillery was founded in 1824. It remained open during the first World War as well as and through the Great Depression with its only closure during World War II. The Glenlivet brand is owned by the French conglomerate Pernod Ricard, and has grown to be largest selling single malt whisky in North America and the second largest selling single malt whisky globally. The Glenlivet 12 Year Old is the flagship whisky in the Glenlivet core line-up.

According to the Glenlivet website:

Representing The Glenlivet’s signature style, this classic malt is first matured in traditional oak, before spending time in American oak casks which impart notes of vanilla and gives the whisky it’s distinctive smoothness. The mineral-rich water that comes from Josie’s Well helps form the flavours during mashing and fermentation, whilst the specific height and width of the copper stills add a delicate yet complex character.

All Scottish Single Malt Whiskies are distilled upon traditional Alembic Pot Stills.

The Highwood Distillery is the only large locally (Albertan) owned distillery in Canada. It is also the only privately owned major distillery in Canada. the facility sits in the heart of the High River community, producing more than 300,000 cases of bottled spirits per year. Although the bulk of their production goes towards Vodka, Flavoured Vodka, and Premixes, they also produce a sizable (and growing) amount of Canadian Whisky each year.

Centennial Limited Edition Canadian Whisky is somewhat 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.

Highwood produces all of their whiskies in a batch style using their unique pot still which if you have a look at my write up (see here) you can see is a sort of Kettle Pot rather than an Alembic Pot which is more typical of the Scottish Distilleries.

Maker’s Mark is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky brand distilled in Loretto, Kentucky, and owned by Beam Global. Bill Samuels Sr. is credited with creating the first version of Maker’s Mark in 1954, and the folks at the Maker’s Mark Distillery have been producing this whiskey since 1958.

The process of producing the bourbon begins with pure limestone fed spring-water, yellow corn, red winter wheat, and natural malted barley (note the absence of rye grain which was replaced by red winter wheat in the mash bill). It continues with a unique milling, cooking, fermentation and small batch distillation process; and it ends with the spirit being aged in new oak barrels.

As you can see each whisky is quite different. One is pot distilled Single Malt (malted barley grain) from Scotland, one is a batch distilled Canadian Whisky distilled on a Kettle Pot from Wheat and Rye, and the last is a bourbon distilled predominantly from corn and bottled in small batches from less than 20 barrels each. The Glenlivet, and Centennial brands are matured in re-used American Oak Barrels and bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume whereas Makers Mark is matured in new Oak Barrels and bottled at 45 % abv.

For this tasting I had only 5 participants (6 including myself), and the results were quite surprising. Four of us preferred the light style of Centennial, 2 preferred the smooth but complex Glenlivet, and although a few persons had the Maker’s Mark ranked 2nd, nobody had it ranked first. The sentiment seemed to be that the Marker’s Mark Whiskey was much harsher and not as easy to sip as the other two choices. Some felt that the ‘new barrel taste’ would take some getting used to as well.

The common refrain around the table was that the Centennial was incredibly smooth, yet carried a very appealing full flavour of Canadian Rye. A few said that it was the first Canadian Whisky that they felt they could sip easily and enjoy. It was the smoothness of The Glenlivet 12 Year Old that won over a few fans as well. Those who preferred the Centennial felt that the Canadian Whisky offered more character. “It’s kind of like the character has been blended away” one of my guests said of The Glenlivet.

An interesting note, is that (in my market anyway) the Centennial Canadian Rye Whisky ($29.95) is about half the price of The Glenlivet ($59.95), and a full 12 dollars a bottle less expensive than the Maker’s Mark ($42.95). Again (as with my New Year’s Eve – Rum Tasting) the sample size of participants was much too small to make any definitive conclusions; but it appears that one does not have to break the bank to taste good whisky in Alberta.

Chimo Everyone!




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