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Posts Tagged ‘Whisky’

Review: Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 1, 2020

Alberta Premium is a brand of Canadian Whisky made in Calgary, by Alberta Distillers Ltd. (owned by Beam-Suntory). The Whisky was released in the fall of 2019 along with a companion release Alberta Premium Cask Strength. Alberta Distillers own the oldest distillery in Western Canada. The distillery is famous for its rich 100 % rye grain whiskies which are bottled under the Alberta Premium label. They also sell bulk 100 % rye whisky to other brand owners.

As indicated Alberta Premium is famous for its 100% rye grain whisky, although it should be pointed out that the brand has also featured releases such as Dark Horse which were not made from 100% rye grain. In the case of this Alberta Premium offering the whisky is not only labeled as a 100 % Rye Grain Canadian Whisky, it is also bottled at cask strength (65.1% abv.).

Here is a link to my review:

Review: Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye Whisky

“… the whisky began to show its strength throwing into the breezes rich smells of oak, toffee, maple, grain, leather burlap and almond. There is a healthy dollop of alcohol alongside these initial scents warning me that I had better take this dram seriously and keep my nose out of my glass …”

Please enjoy my review of this new whisky from Alberta Distillers.



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

Review: Black Velvet Reserve Canadian Whisky 

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 23, 2020

The Black Velvet brand has a long history in North America, originally produced at the Schenley Distillery in Valleyfield, Quebec in the late 1940s. The whisky was initially called Black Label; but because of its perceived smoothness, the producers soon changed the name to Black Velvet. It has been a staple of the Canadian whisky scene ever since and is now produced at the Black Velvet Distillery (also called the Palliser Distillery) in Lethbridge, Alberta.

According to the Black Velvet Website:

Using crystal clear Canadian water, plus the finest rye, grains, and corn, the whisky is painstakingly distilled, blended at birth, and put up in premium oak barrels to gently mature. Black Velvet Reserve was started in 1991 and has steadily grown in popularity due to its smooth taste from longer aging.

Review: Black Velvet Reserve Canadian Whisky

“… A nice combination of butterscotch, vanilla and almond combined with sweet corn drifts into the breezes above the glass with baking spice and wood spice climbing up as the glass breathes …”

Please enjoy my review which concludes with my serving suggestion, The Canadian Caribou.


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

Review: Wilson and Morgan Glen Elgin 1988 – 30 Year Old Single Malt

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 15, 2020

Wilson and Morgan is an independent bottler of Scotch Whisky based in Italy. The company was founded in 1992 by Fabio Rossi who also founded Rum Nation. Wilson and Morgan specialize in single grain and single malt whiskies which have been purchased by the barrel from selected Scottish distillers.

Wilson and Morgan Glen Elgin 30 Year Old Single Malt (1988) was distilled in 1988 and bottled in 2018. The whisky is part of Wilson and Morgan’s Special Release Barrel Selection of whiskies which don’t exactly neatly fit into their other range categories. Usually “one of a kind” encounters, these whiskies are unique but with no strict rules in terms of age, strength, type of casks and finishing.

The Glen Elgin Distillery (currently owned by Diageo) was the last distillery to be built during the boom years of the 1890s. The whisky produced at Glen Elgin is a key component of the White Horse brand, a blended whisky which is exported to over 200 countries worldwide.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Wilson and Morgan Glen Elgin 30 Year Old Single Malt (1988)

“… Oak sap and a firm sherry character have wrapped around each other with neither one dominating, but neither one submitting to the other either. Dry fruit (raisin, apricots, prunes, and dates) and bright citrus flavours combine with fudgy chocolate and dark black coffee …”

Please enjoy my review of this wonderful single malt from Wilson and Morgan.


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

Review: Pendleton Midnight

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 19, 2020

Pendleton Midnight is a premium Canadian Whisky produced in Oregon by Hood River Distillers brought to bottling proof (45 % alcohol by volume) using the glacial fed waters from Mt. Hood. Pendleton Whiskies are named to honour the Pendleton Round-up, which is a respected rodeo in Pendleton, Oregon. In fact, Pendleton Whisky sponsors numerous rodeos, including the aforementioned  the Pendleton Round-Up, the Cheyenne Frontier Days, and the Walla Walla Frontier Days.

According to the company website a portion of the Midnight whisky is aged for over six years in American brandy barrels.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Pendleton Midnight

“… As the glass rests dusty rye and wood spice continues to pour out with impressions of straw and chaff alongside. There is now a well defined fruitiness apparent as well with orange peel, apricot liqueur and raisin all melding together in the breezes …”

Please enjoy my review, Chimo!

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

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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