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Posts Tagged ‘Vodka’

Review: Banff Ice Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 1, 2018

Banff Ice Vodka is a Vodka brand owned and produced by Alberta Distillers Limited (Owned by Beam Suntory) based in Calgary, Alberta. This is a triple distilled grain spirit  bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume. It is sold throughout Western Canada and even makes its way into Ontario via the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario).

Earlier this summer, I organized a small Vodka tasting for a few friends. We tasted Russian Standard Vodka, and Strait Vodka 40 alongside Banff Ice comparing each for sipping, for shooting, as a palette cleanser, and in cocktails. This review has been written based upon the tasting notes I constructed during the Vodka Tasting as well as from the comments of my friends, and from my impression during a subsequent tasting I did by myself with the spirit in isolation.

Here is a link to the results for Banff Ice Vodka.

Review: Banff Ice Vodka

“… The spirit was only slightly thickened, and when I raised the glass to my nose I could detect very little aroma. There was a light spiciness and a hint of menthol, but that was all. The first sip brought forward bits of grain spice and a touch of citrus zest, but again, that was all. When chilled, Banff Ice is an extremely clean, crisp spirit …”

Please enjoy my review of this surprising spirit!

 

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Review: Russian Standard Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 27, 2018

Russian Standard Vodka was introduced in 1998 by Russian businessman and entrepreneur, Roustam Tariko (the owner of Russian Standard Bank). This is a traditional Russian Vodka made from hardy winter wheat cultivated on the Russian steppes. The spirit is quadruple distilled at the company’s distillation and rectification facilities in Saint Petersburg and then blended with the glacial waters from Lake Ladoga (whose waters were chosen for their renowned softness and purity). The Russian Standard Vodka is raised to a final level of purification using a quadruple charcoal filtering process, and then it is finished in steel ‘resting’ tanks before bottling.

I recently revisited the Russian Standard brand when I organized a small Vodka tasting for a few friends. We tasted Russian Standard Vodka, Banff Ice, and Strait Vodka 40. As my previous review for this spirit was published seven years ago I decided that an updated review was in order.

Here is a link to that review:

Review: Russian Standard Vodka 

“… Comparing my notes to my review of 7 years ago, I noticed that my impressions were pretty much the same. I did feel though, that the spirit deserved a higher score this time around. I think perhaps as this was one of my early vodka reviews, I was overly cautious in my initial scoring …”

Please enjoy my review which includes two cocktail suggestions, the Sweet Moscow Mule and Soft Margaret.

Chimo!

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Review: Stone Heart Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 15, 2018

There was a time in the County of Red Deer that the county would use rye grain for erosion control on the Range Road near the farm where Ian Scott grew up (Range Road 13). Ian’s Dad who was born in the dirty thirties grew up learning not let anything go to waste so he harvested the grain that fall. Ian, being a bit of a curious young man was inspired to learn how to put that rye grain to good use and he began to  research distilling with the aim to build his own still. Although the still was never built, an idea had been planted.

Some time later, Ian and his wife, Marnie visited a distillery in B.C. and the idea was rekindled. At about the same time Alberta changed the law which paved the way to allow small micro-distillery start-ups. Ian had already had researched the process, and his work in the Alberta Oil Field gave him the confidence that he could operate the similar distilling equipment and so he and his wife Marnie created the Stone Heart Distillery (located in the town of Innisfail, Alberta). The distillery is a true grains to glass operation, Ian and Marnie mill, mash, ferment and distill their own grain, and they turned to their natural surroundings, adding pure Rocky Mountain valley water to their distillate to bring it to bottling proof. This is truly a true family run operation, from grain to glass.

Ian Scott sent me two bottle of his vodka, one from batch 17, and one from batch 18 made with a different variety of wheat. He asked me to sample each of them and send him back some feedback.

When I tasted the Stone Heart Vodkas for the first time, I conducted a side by side tasting with several other locally produced craft vodkas. From that line-up, I chose the two which I felt were the best spirits and decided to write full reviews for them.

Here is link to the full review for Stone Heart Vodka (from Batch 17)

Review: Stone Heart Vodka

“… I took a nice large swallow. The Stone Heart Vodka went down smoothly. In addition to a light grain spice, I noticed flavours of lemon balsam, and hints of banana. After the swallow the banana flavour seemed to linger although perhaps it would be more correct to label the impression as a residual flavour of slightly vegetal plantain …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a nice recipe to gear us up for summertime, the Vodka Darby.

Chimo!

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Review: Park Distillery Classic Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 8, 2018

Park Distillery  is located in the town of Banff, Alberta. The facility is not just a distillery, it is also a restaurant and bar which opened in May of 2015 shortly after the Provincial government introduced new regulations which allowed for Craft distilleries to operate. Located high in the Mountains of Banff Provincial Park, the Distillery proudly serves regionally produced food in its restaurant, and local (sourced from high-altitude family farms in the Alberta foothills) grains to produce their spirits.

Park Distillery Vodka is produced on the distillery’s 600L Kothe Pot – Twin Column Hybrid Still. It is made from 100% Alberta Triticale (hybrid of wheat and rye) and glacial water which originated at six high glaciers in the Rocky Mountains. This water gains minerality as it travels across rich limestone deposits. The spirit is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

When I tasted the Park Distillery Vodka for the first time, I conducted a side by side tasting with several other locally produced craft vodkas. From that line-up, I chose the two which I felt were the best spirits and decided to write full reviews for them.

This is the review for the Park Distillery Vodka.

Review: Park Distillery Classic Vodka

“… I felt the vodka brought a very light minty aroma into the air which was combined with a sort of lemony scent. There was also light impressions of grain spice.  When sipped the vodka was quite flavourful with mint, grain spice , lemon and a light vegetal flavour …”

Please enjoy my review which includes my cocktail suggestion, the Lemon-Lime Vodka Gimlet.

Chimo!

 

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Review: Summer Love Spiced Pear Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 17, 2018

This past fall at the Rocky Mountain Food and Wine Show I met, Mike Stanfield, Founder of Starr Distilling Co. based in Calgary Alberta. He was presenting his new Summer Love Vodka flavours, Raspberry and Peach. We struck up a conversation about the burgeoning Micro distilling industry in Alberta, and I wanted to know his story.

Mike told me that his venture started as a hobby making Limoncello and Coffee Liqueurs in his basement to share with friends. His repertoire expanded to making fruit infusions and letting them sit for months to absorb flavor and color. Mike said that he never intended to make spirits commercially, he just enjoyed serving his creations at dinner parties sending his friends home a little happier than when they arrived.

Mike eventually found SRL Global Distillers and a business relationship was forged. They currently produce his Summer Love Raspberry and Spiced Pear Vodkas which he is marketing in Alberta. The base vodka for these spirits is distilled 5 times and filtered to be a neutral spirit. Real fruit from British Colombia is used to create his flavours.

Each bottle of Summer Love Spiced Pear Vodka is produced using more than a pound of BC pears combined with the warm flavour of real cinnamon bark. The spirit is bottled at 34.6% alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Summer Love Spiced Pear Vodka

“… When I took my first sip, I decided that the scents and smells I encountered in the breezes above the glass gave a true representation of the overall flavour. I tasted heated cinnamon immediately, and that same light sweetness of cane sugar. The flavour of pears came through as well; but the fruit is definitely taking a backseat to the cinnamon …”

Please enjoy my review which includes my recommended cocktail, the Summer Love Mule.

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