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Posts Tagged ‘Whisky’

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: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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!




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

2019 Rum Howler Favourite 20 Canadian Whiskies: #9 – J.P. Wiser’s NHL Alumni Whiskies

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 14, 2019

A few years ago J.P. Wiser’s and the NHL Alumni Association (NHLAA) got together to bring whisky fans something uniquely Canadian. One time edition Canadian whiskies which are each blended with the aim of containing characteristic links to specific NHLAA members for whom the blend is named.

I was recently sent three of the 2019 – 20 Edition Alumni Whiskies to review on my website, J.P. Wiser’s Mark Messier, Dave Keon, and Yvan Cournoyer, and if you follow my blog you will know that those reviews are just recently published.

I really enjoyed each of the the J.P. Wisers NHL Alumni Whiskies that I was able to sample. Although each whisky is unique in its own way, I nevertheless found an underlying theme of quality running throughout the line-up.

Here are links to the reviews of the 2019 Captain’s Line-up.

Note: As part of the partnership with the NHL Alumni, a potion of the sales are be donated to NHLAA to support their philanthropic causes.


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

2019 Rum Howler Favourite 20 Canadian Whiskies: #16 – Windsor Canadian

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 7, 2019

Earlier this year, I was hosting a bit of a house warming party as my family and I had finally completed our move to our new home. The move was precipitated by my son’s need for a more wheelchair accessible home and although we hated to leave the original home we built 20 years ago, we were glad to be in our new digs.

I still had a lot of my Canadian Whisky collection boxed up and inaccessible so I went to the store to find a suitable dry rye whisky for the party.

And there it was a 1.75 litre bottle of Windsor Canadian for only $44.95.  Not only did the Windsor Canadian fit the bill as a great dry rye Whisky for a gathering of friends (most of whom would be mixing cocktails), it was also probably the best whisky deal I encountered during the entire year of 2019.

Review: Windsor Canadian Whisky

“… The initial nose is very typically ‘Canadian’ with firm butterscotch scents lying alongside a fruit-filled spicy rye. As I let the glass sit, some dusty ripened grain notes develop along with accompanying scents of straw and the chaff. There is a bit of dry grassiness reminiscent of timothy and foxtail and some zesty notes of orange and lemon peel. Rounding out the nose are a few bits of cinnamon and dark brown sugar …”

Please enjoy the review which includes a modern take on the classic Whiskey Crusta Cocktail, which I have called the Canadian Crusta.


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

2019 Rum Howler Favourite 20 Canadian Whiskies: #18 – Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 5, 2019

Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky is the least expensive whisky on this list. In fact, it is usually sold in a Plastic PET bottle and found on the bottom shelf at the liquor store. But don’t let looks deceive you. Behind that ordinary looking label and inside that unassuming plastic bottle is a remarkable whisky.

It is surprisingly smooth for a young whisky (about 5 years old) with melded flavours of butterscotch and honey, rye and wood spices, and a light dab of vanilla, and with a simple ice-cube added the whisky is delicious. Add a splash of ginger -ale and you have perhaps the best Canadian whisky high ball in the entire nation.

The whisky is in fact my go to whisky for back deck rye and gingers. I love rye and ginger ale, so it is easy to see how this unassuming whisky made my list of my 20 favourites of 2019.

Here is a link to my review:

Review: Highwood Canadian Rye Whisky

“… Honeycomb, ginger, wood spice, and a light dab of vanilla all support a wonderfully clean, dusty rye flavour. There is polish in evidence here, but a little rough and tumble too, as the wood spices liven the mouth-feel and take me back in time to when rye was the King of Canadian Spirits …”

Enjoy Everybody Chimo!


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

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