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Posts Tagged ‘Small Batch’

Review: Reyka Small Batch Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 18, 2017

Reyka Small Batch Vodka is produced at Iceland’s first distillery (the Reyka Distillery) located 74km outside of Reykjavik in Borgarnes, Iceland. At the Reyka distillery they collect water from a spring that runs through a lava field. The water is naturally filtered by the lava rock and with that clean water they distill their spirit in one of the few Carter-Head Stills in the world. Each distillation takes about 6 hours and yields 255 preciously small cases. The final vodka contains only natural flavors and extracts. The final spirit is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

I sampled Reyka Small Batch Vodka for the first time when I chose to compare four Vodkas in a small tasting competition (Smirnoff No. 21 Red, Reyka, Skyy and Last Mountain Distillery Hand Crafted Vodkas) earlier this year. My review of Reyka Vodka is based upon the tasting notes from that Tasting Competition.

Here is a link to the full review:

Review: Reyka Small Batch Vodka

“… As the spirit warmed the flavours came more into focus reminding me of lightly sweet lemon and lime balsam and white fruit pith. Grain spice and a few hints of mint completed the flavour profile …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a wonderful gimlet style cocktail, the Vodka Darby.

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Review: Jameson Select Reserve Small Batch Irish Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 15, 2017

jameson-select-reserve-sb-sam_3020John Jameson, a Scotsman, established the company that bears his name in the year 1780, in Dublin Ireland. The popularity of Jameson Irish Whiskey grew steadily, and by the early 1800’s it was the most popular whiskey in the world. Social and political events such as the temperance movement in Ireland, and the Irish War of Independence (which caused a trade war with Britain) caused Jameson to lose its position as the world leader in whiskey sales, however in spite of these set backs, Jameson remains the third largest single distillery whiskey brand in the World.

The Jameson Select Reserve Small batch Irish Whiskey is a blended whiskey produced with from both Pot Still Irish Whiskey (said to be 12 years old) and a smaller amount of Irish Grain Whiskey (said to be 5 years old). The grain whiskey within the blend is apparently made only once per year and is exclusive to this particular brand.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Jameson Select Reserve Small Batch Irish Whiskey

” … The whiskey has a medium length finish which features a both spicy oak and lively fruit flavours. With ice added vanilla and milk chocolate become the focus in the exit. Either way with or without ice, this is Yumm …”

Please enjoy the second of my Irish Whiskey reviews to help you get ready for St. Patrick’s Day.

Chimo!

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Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #20 – Wiser’s Small Batch

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 5, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Wiser’s Small Batch Canadian Whisky was released in the fall of 2008 replacing the Wiser’s Reserve. There were a few important differences in Wiser’s Small Batch which made it somewhat unique as far Canadian Whisky is concerned. First, it is made in small batches using traditional distilling methods, hence the name Wiser’s Small Batch, and secondly, the bottling strength is 43.4 % rather than the traditional 40 %. This slightly higher strength should allow the whisky to display more texture in the mouth and a more concentrated flavour and aroma.

small-batch-sam_2815Wiser’s Small Batch Canadian Whisky has not yet been re-branded into the new J.P. Wiser’s family of whiskies. Hopefully this is not a signal from the brand owner that the whisky is soon to be replaced as the Small Batch is a regular attendant in my annual top Canadian Whisky Countdowns. This year it is number 21.

Here is a link to my newly revised review:

20: Wiser’s Small Batch Canadian Whisky

“… Wiser’s Small Batch is soft and supple on the tongue with hot oak spices which carry a bevy of flavour along for the ride across the palate. I taste some fresh oak and cedar; some sweet caramel, butterscotch and maple; soft corn and spicy rye; some light impressions of honeycomb and tobacco, and some delicious canned fruit (marmalade, apricots and pears). As I let the whisky sit in my mouth a Demerara sweetness forms with brown sugar and spice combining with honey to present a richly flavoured toffee …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 19 Canadian Whisky.

Chimo!

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* You may follow my 2016 Canadian Whisky Countdown by bookmarking this link:

The Rum Howler – Top 50 Canadian Whiskies of 2016

 

 

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Review: Cyrus Noble (Small Batch) Bourbon

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 21, 2016

Cyrus Nobel SAM_2742Cyrus Noble (Small Batch) Bourbon Whiskey is a product of Haas Brothers who were established in 1851 and headquartered in San Francisco. According to their website, the Cyrus Noble brand was originally established in 1871 (in San Francisco), and is currently distilled (in Kentucky) according to the original family recipe.

The whiskey is bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume and carries no age statement; however, according to the little booklet which is attached to the neck of the bottle the spirit in the bottle is five years old.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Cyrus Noble (Small Batch) Bourbon

“… The breezes in the air above the glass give me impressions of oak sap and a woody spiciness which is coupled with mild indications of both vanilla and butterscotch. Tall grassy meadows wave in the breezes beside the oak spice with orange peel and scents of green apple and cinnamon …”

I hope you enjoy this review and stay tuned for a few more bourbon whiskey reviews in the coming weeks.

Chimo!

 

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Review: Teeling Irish Whiskey (Small Batch)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 17, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn 1988 John Teeling bought the Cooley Distillery (formerly a potato schnapps distillery) from the Irish Government essentially as a purchase of a facility meant for the scrap heap. The distillery however, was never scrapped. Instead John Teeling and his Master Distiller, Noel Sweeny, turned their perceptions of the facility around, rolled up their sleeves, and ten years later started making some of the most unique Irish whiskey in the Country. (Not that it was easy, Dr. Teeling tried unsuccessfully to sell the distillery five years into the process to rid himself of the bad investment. But… innovation and desire played their part, and the remarkable turn around of the Cooley Distillery is now the stuff of legend.)

Four major four major brands (Kilbeggan, Connemara, Greenore, and Tyrconnell) were produced by Cooley all of which were all acquired by Beam Global (now BeamSuntory) in January 2012. Jack Teeling, who was the managing director of Cooley, decided at this point to go on his own again and created the Teeling Whiskey Company. At this time the flagship whiskey of the Teeling brand is their small batch Teeling Irish Whiskey.

Emerald Crusta

Emerald Crusta

The Teeling Whiskey Company website has this to say about Teeling (Small Batch) Irish Whisky:

“Our Flagship Irish whiskey and our attempt to create the most interesting Blended Irish whiskey. This small batch bottling consists of hand selected casks which are given further maturation in ex-rum barrels imparting extra character and smooth flavour unique to Irish whiskey. By bottling at 46% with no chill filtration completes an Irish whiskey of true character.”

Here is a link to the full review:

Review: Teeling Irish Whiskey (Small Batch)

“… The initial aroma from the glass brings forward a light candied sweetness which reminds me of malt scotch, butterscotch and a few wisps of cotton candy. As the glass breathes I also notice some dry lemongrass, bits of sandalwood and few dusty dry wood spices in the breezes along with impressions of almond, dusty grain and a light wafting of vanilla which tags along for the ride …”

Please enjoy the review which includes a nice Irish Whiskey cocktail, the Emerald Crusta.

Happy St. Patrick’s everyone!

 

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Review: Canadian Club Small Batch Sherry Cask

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 25, 2015

Sherry cask Port Manhattan SAM_1428Recently there have been some changes in the Canadian Club family. One of the brands which has undergone a revamping is the Canadian Club Sherry Cask which has been replaced by the Canadian Club Small Batch Sherry Cask. The newer version of the whisky has a new bottle and the two words, “Small Batch” have been added to the label. My understanding is the whisky is made from the familiar Canadian Club “blended at birth“  recipe of corn, rye, rye malt and barley spirits. The spirits from these grains are blended before entering the white oak barrel, and then set down for six to eight years to age. The matured whisky is then recasked for an additional finishing period  in Sherry Casks from Jerez Spain.

The second maturation allows the whisky to acquire some of the characteristics of the sherry (similar to sherry cask matured scotches); but this second maturation is of a much shorter time period which ensures that the core Canadian Club spirit remains the centerpiece of the whisky. When the Canadian Club Sherry Cask is bottled, it is done so at 41.3% alcohol by volume, just a hair over the regular 40 % strength of the rest of their line-up.

You may click on the following link to read my full review:

Review: Canadian Club Small Batch Sherry Cask

“… The initial aroma brings dark fruit (raisins and dates) and red licorice (Turkish delight) with fine wood spices running alongside which feature a smattering of ginger, white pepper and cardamom. As the glass sits, some rich tobacco builds up as does hints of orange marmalade, and rich baking spices (vanilla, dark brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and a hint of cloves) …”

Please enjoy the review and if you happen to have your own bottle already, do try my cocktail suggestion, the Sherry Cask Port Manhattan.

Cheers!

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Rum Howler 2014 #15 Canadian Whisky – Wiser’s Small Batch

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 10, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Wiser’s Small Batch Canadian Whisky was brought to the market in the fall of 2008 replacing the Wiser’s Reserve. When this whisky was released,there were a few important differences in its make-up which made it important as far Canadian Whisky was concerned.

In the first place, it is apparently produced in small batches using more traditional distilling methods, hence the name Wiser’s Small Batch, and in the second place, its bottling strength is 43.4 % alcohol by volume, rather than the traditional 40 %. Canadian Whiskies at the ultra premium end of the scale had of course in the past been produced at a higher bottling strength, and in small production runs. However, Wiser’s Small Batch appears to be the first of the lower priced (I hate calling them economy) whiskies to walk this path (at least as far as I can determine).

WisersSmBatch-Oct12-lgThis year we noticed that at least one of Wiser’s competitors (Century Distillers) have followed along that path of producing a higher bottling proof – low priced Canadian whisky as well (Ninety 5 Year Old). Let us hope that a few others join in, and this trends continues to grow.

Wiser’s Small Batch checks into my countdown as the 15th Best Canadian Whisky, I have tasted this year.

Here is a link to my most recent review:

#15 Canadian Whisky – Wiser’s Small Batch

“… Wiser’s Small Batch is soft and supple on the tongue with hot oak spices which carry a bevy of flavour along for the ride across the palate. I taste some fresh oak and cedar; some sweet caramel, butterscotch and maple; soft corn and spicy rye; some light impressions of honeycomb and tobacco, and some delicious canned fruit …”

The Wiser’s Small Batch is a great example of how good, inexpensive Canadian Whisky can be. It has a wonderful richness and depth of flavour, and I like the higher bottling strength which helps to concentrate these flavours, making them more assertive. In spite of the higher alcohol percentage, the whisky is smooth like Canadian whisky should be and a real pleasure to sip neat or to mix in cocktails.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014

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# 23 Canadian Whisky – Canadian Club Small Batch Classic

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 2, 2014

rum_howler_badge-2014Canadian Club Whisky is the oldest (and arguably also the most influential) Canadian Whisky brand in the world. It is sold in over 150 countries world-wide, and sales in Canada are unmatched by any other whisky brand. 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.

Recently there have been some changes in the Canadian Club family. One of the brands which has undergone a revamping is the Canadian Club Classic (12 Years Old) which has been replaced by the Canadian Club Small Batch Classic  (also 12 Years Old). The newer version of the whisky has a new bottle (shown below) and the two words, “Small Batch” have been added to the label. My understanding is the whisky is now constructed from a smaller selection of aged whisky (oak barrels) in an effort to bring a fuller flavour and more smoothness to the blend.

Classic Small batchIn my opinion the new approach has been very successful as this Canadian Whisky is ranked number 23 on my list of the Best Canadian Whiskies of 2014.

You may read my latest review by clicking the link below:

Review: Canadian Club Small Batch Classic

“… The initial breezes above the glass bring forward scents of caramel and oak which are melded nicely with dabs of light tobacco and spicy orange peel. As the glass breathes, I notice some rye spices and some sweet corn pushing though … “

The Canadian Club Small Batch Classic (12-year-old) seems to me to be a different whisky than it was before. I taste more oak and cedar in the taste profile, and the result is a richer-fuller taste experience than what I remember from the previous Classic 12 Year Old.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014

 

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on # 23 Canadian Whisky – Canadian Club Small Batch Classic

Review: Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 8, 2014

Four Roses Small batch SAM_1137Four Roses is a Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey owned by the Japanese firm, Kirin Brewery Company. The brand traces its history back to 1884 when Paul Jones Jr. opened an office in Louisville, Kentucky on a section of Main Street called, “Whiskey Row.” In 1888 Jones acquired his trademark for the name ‘Four Roses’, and in 1922 he purchased the Frankfort Distilling Company. The Four Roses brand became well established, and in 1943 it caught the eye of Seagram, who purchased the Frankfort Distilling Co., and with it, the Four Roses Kentucky Straight Bourbon trademark.

The brand underwent a few changes in the 1950s as the whiskey was converted into a blend by Seagram for the US market, but remained a Straight bourbon overseas in Asian and European Markets. As a blended whiskey the brand lost some of its importance was eventually sold to Vivendi and subsequently to Diageo. Diageo sold the Four Roses trademark to Kirin in 2002, and Kirin made a decision to discontinue the sale of blended whiskey and returned the focus of the brand back to Bourbon Whiskey.

1878 Bourbon Smash

1878 Bourbon Smash

Four Roses is now produced at the Four Roses Distillery under the guidance of Master Blender, Jim Rutledge. The Distillery uses 5 proprietary yeast strains in combination with two different mashbills to produce 10 different Bourbons recipes. To produce Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, Jim Rutledge chooses select bourbon barrels from four of these recipe Bourbons.

You may read my full review of Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon by clicking on the following excerpt link:

Review: Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

“… The aroma from the glass reveals spicy oak sap and woody cedar aromas surrounded by additional scents of vanilla  and sweet butterscotch. There is a bit of spicy orange peel as well us some nice dollops of maple and honeycomb. I allowed the glass to breath and began to notice some spicy cinnamon and clove as well as some tobacco and hay-like grassiness …”

Please enjoy the review which includes a tweaked version of Leo Engels, 1878 Bourbon Smash as the feature recipe!

Have a great Sunday!

Posted in American Whiskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

#19 Canadian Whisky – Wiser’s Small Batch

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 7, 2013

rum_howler_badge- 25WHISKYWiser’s Small Batch Canadian Whisky was released in the fall of 2008 replacing the Wiser’s Reserve. There were a few important differences in Wiser’s Small Batch which made it something of a market leader as far Canadian Whisky was concerned. First, because this whisky is made in small batches using traditional distilling methods, the moniker ‘Small Batch’ was attached to the name. Secondly, although this whisky does not sit in the ‘super premium’ tier, its bottling strength was increased to 43.4 % from the traditional 40 %. On both these counts the industry seems to be catching up with Wiser’s as small batch production whiskies and higher bottling strength whiskies are both becoming more and more common.

WisersSmBatch-Oct12-lgThis year a new bottle was unveiled for the Wiser’s Small Batch. Although the bottle changed, the quality inside seems to have remained intact as Wiser’s Small Batch is the Number 19 whisky in my Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

Here is a link to my recently written 2013 review:

#19 Canadian Whisky – Wiser’s Small Batch

“… Wiser’s Small Batch is soft and supple on the tongue with hot oak spices which carry a bevy of flavour along for the ride across the palate. I taste some fresh oak and cedar; some sweet caramel, butterscotch and maple; soft corn and spicy rye; some light impressions of honeycomb and tobacco, and some delicious canned fruit (marmalade, apricots and pears) …”

The Wiser’s Small Batch is a great example of how tasty our inexpensive Canadian Whisky can be. It has a wonderful richness and depth of flavour, and I like the higher bottling strength which helps to concentrate these flavours, making them more assertive. In spite of the higher alcohol percentage, the whisky is smooth like Canadian whisky should be and a real pleasure to sip.

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Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on #19 Canadian Whisky – Wiser’s Small Batch

 
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