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Posts Tagged ‘Whisky’

2017 Rum Howler Awards For Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 11, 2017

rh-winner2017I am a little late with this posting as bad luck (and the bad weather we have been having up north) is playing havoc with my publication schedule. My desktop computer (which I do most of my writing on) crashed after a major software update, and because my truck is in the shop (radiator leak) I can’t get my computer fixed. So I have been working with my old laptop trying to finish my Rum Howler Award Postings.

The 2017 Rum Howler Awards for Whisky should be particularly interesting to everyone as they feature a link to a previously unpublished review for Elijah Craig 12 Year Old Bourbon Whisky, and they also highlight the best scoring (and best tasting) whisky I have encountered (a stunning 30 Year Old Grain Whisky) to this point.

Elijah Craig Old Fashioned

Elijah Craig Old Fashioned

The major whisky trend of 2017 will be the continuation of the micro-distilling revolution. Ten years ago I could count all of the whisky distilleries in Canada on the fingers of my two hands. Now, if I use all of my fingers, and all of my toes, I am not even half way through the list, and the numbers of new Distilleries in the USA is much larger (and those numbers are growing as I write this). Time will tell where this is all leading; but at this point the major beneficiary is the whisky consumer who has more brands to choose from than ever before.

This expansion is of course not confined to North America. Many new distilleries are appearing in the United Kingdom, and throughout Europe. And it is probably true that in India, China, Japan, Australia, and in fact, everywhere that grain is grown, new distilleries are appearing. There is going to be an economic reckoning as at some point, the limit of consumption will be reached, and the world will be awash in excess whisky (and other spirits). I suspect that the economic fallout will catch many by surprise; hopefully those who are entering into this high stakes game (and those who are already there) have a solid game plan going forward.

And this brings me to my 2017 Rum Howler Whisky Awards. All of that great selection has brought us new award winners with whisky better than I have ever tasted before.

Here is a link to my 2017 Rum Howler Award Winners for excellence in the production of Whisky:

The 2017 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Whisky

 

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

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown #3: Mt. Logan 20 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 22, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016I began hearing about Mt. Logan Whisky just this past summer as a few of my regular readers sent me requests for a review. When I researched the brand, I discovered it was a ‘destination’ brand exclusive to Liquor Depot and Wine & Beyond (Liquor Stores N.A. Inc.) stores in Western Canada. Apparently, Ryan Engen, Director of Spirits, Liquor Stores N.A. Inc., worked closely with Highwood Distillers to produce a new Canadian WHisky range for their family of Liquor Stores.

mt-logan-old-fashioned-sam_2860According to the label on the back of the bottle, Mt. Logan 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky is produced in a batch style distillation with the spirit was matured in charred American white oak. According to Ryan, the spirit is a 100 % corn whisky blend making this a true Single Grain Whisky.

Here is a link to the 3rd Best Canadian Whisky in the World, the Mt. Logan 20 Year Old Whisky.

#3: Mt. Logan 20 Year Old

“… The initial breezes above that glass are rich with vanilla, dusty dry oak spice, butterscotch and canned creamed corn. The strength and purity of the corn scent surprises and delights me. As the whisky breathes, the fine oak spices gain momentum. Orange peel begins to turn to marmalade as the butterscotch melds into the spice; dark tobacco wells up; and a firm sense of marzipan begins to unravel into the breezes …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the Number 2 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

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

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown #4: J.P. Wiser’s 18 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 21, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016In the past, Wiser’s 18 Year Old advertised itself as a Limited Release bottling totaling only 3500 bottles for each batch produced. Last year I noticed that the whisky had undergone a subtle brand change as well, and it is now listed as J.P. Wiser’s 18 Year Old Canadian Whisky. As part of the brand re-identification the bottle no longer contains any information on the label with respect to the batch size.

j-p-wisers-18-sam_2902Whether any real substantive change in the whisky inside the bottle has occurred is unknown to me; but since we know that we can expect the whisky to change from batch to batch at a minimum, I usually look at this brand each year and write a new review if I notice any substantive change. (It turns out, there was very little change from last year to this year.)

Here is a link to the Number 5 Canadian Whisky in my Rum Howler Countdown of the World’s Best!

#4: J.P. Wiser’s 18 Year Old Canadian Whisky

“… The initial breezes are full of fine oak spices with hints of butterscotch and clean grain. As the glass breathes the spiciness within the breezes above the glass continues unabated. Meandering within the spice are rich smells of butterscotch and maple with a few hints of sharp orange peel and dusty grain. Some baking spices begin to form after about five minutes with vanilla and  brown sugar spice, bits of cinnamon white pepper and cloves …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the Number 3 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

 

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

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown #5: Wiser’s Legacy

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 20, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Wiser’s Legacy Canadian Whisky (a Corby Brand) was released in early 2010 as a new entry into the fledgling “Super Premium” category of Canadian Whisky. At the time, a few other Super Premium Whiskies already existed in the market-place (Wiser’s own Red Letter, and Crown Royal’s, Cask No. 16 and Crown Royal XR); but the category hadn’t really caught the buying public’s imagination. In fact the Super Premium category had seen more failures than successes to that point (at least as far as Canadian Whisky was concerned).

wisers-legacy-sam_2656However the tipping point for the category seems to have been the year 2010, and the brand which (in my opinion) which helped the most to bring about a this change was Wiser’s Legacy.

According to David Doyle, who was at the time, Master Blender for Wiser’s“:

“I have selected only the finest new, white oak casks, which are essential to the aging process and help mellow the perfect distillate under tightly controlled conditions. It is this careful and deliberate craftsmanship that makes Wiser’s Legacy the ultimate achievement in traditional Canadian whisky distilling.”

Here is a link to the Number 5 Canadian Whisky  of 2016:

#5: Wiser’s Legacy

“… The aroma from the glass is rich in rye spice and caramel toffee, with a subtle corn and bourbon influence. The oak is very apparent as well, bring sappy notes of oak and cedar forward as well as rich damp tobacco. There are some nice indications of baking spices (vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon) as well as vague impressions of baked muffins full of banana, walnuts and chocolate chips …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the Number 4 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

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

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #7 Mt. Logan 15 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 18, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016The Mt. Logan whisky brand is produced by Highwood Distillers who are located in High River, Alberta (about 40 Kilometers south of Calgary). According to the label on the back of the bottle, Mt. Logan 15 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky is produced from prairie grain in a batch style distillation with each grains distilled and aged separately. When I discussed the brand with Ryan Engen, Director of Spirits, Liquor Stores N.A. Inc., he clarified for me. According to Ryan, the information from the distillery regarding the brand is that the 15 and the 20 Year Old Mt. Logan Whiskies are both 100% corn distillate aged in charred American white oak.

mt-logan-15-sam_2806This is a finely nuanced whisky which delighted me as a sipper.It just oozes elegance and class and as a result, it has found itself all the way up to the Number 7 spot in my Countdown of the 50 Best Canadian Whiskies of 2016.

Here is a link to my recent review:

#7 Mt. Logan 15 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky

“… The label may read rye whisky; but it is tender corn that is the star within the breezes above the glass. Mild indications of butterscotch and vanilla join in with dusty dry oak spices building as the glass breathes. A kiss of rye spice meanders into the air and light touches of almond round out the nose which has an almost fragile quality. The whisky may not be a centerpiece of complexity; but this is outweighed by the purity of the nose which displays uncommon polish and sophistication …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the Number 6 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

 

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

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #8 Caribou Crossing

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 17, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Although Canadian whisky by volume is the best-selling whisky in the USA, the perception of this class of whisky (amongst spirits writers and whisky critics) is that the Canadian spirit is perhaps thin and uninteresting, (fortunately the millions of people who buy whisky appear to be much more impressed than the critics and writers). The landscape however, appear to be changing, especially at the premium end of the whisky market, where the Canadian spirit has seen strong growth in market share. Recognizing this trend, the Sazerac Company has recently made a push towards the premium end of the Canadian Whisky market with two new releases, Caribou Crossing and Royal Canadian Small Batch Canadian Whiskies.

sam_2657Caribou Crossing is what is known as a Single Barrel Whisky. From the company’s inventory of over 200,000 barrels of Canadian whisky, Sazerac’s whisky making team selects what they deem to be some of the very finest barrels. Each of these chosen barrels is bottled individually capturing its unique flavour. This means that each individual barrel offers a unique taste experience for the Canadian whisky connoisseur.

Here is a link to the newly scored review for the 8th Best Canadian Whisky of 2016:

#8 Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Whisky

“… This is a whisky which grows a little in the glass as you let it breathe. The oak and the rye grain seem to gain strength as sawdust and rye husks fill the breezes above the glass with very nice accents of vanilla and baking spice. Fresh corn on the cob rises into those breezes; and impressions of butterscotch pudding and vanilla ice cream tempt me into taking my first sip …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the Number 7 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

 

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

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #9 Lot No. 40 Rye Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 16, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Lot No. 40 has received a bit of a makeover recently as the spirit which was previously branded, Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whisky has received a new label, and the whisky is now known simply as Lot No. 40 Rye Whisky.

Lot No. 40 is of course the Corby branded whisky which was first released in the 1990’s as an upscale connoisseur’s whisky for the North American market. According to the Corby Website:

lot-no-40-rye-sam_2885Lot No. 40 is expertly distilled in small batches using only the finest locally sourced ingredients. By distilling in a single copper pot still, the result is a whisky that starts off earthy and woody tasting and then becomes full bodied and complex with a velvety vanilla oak finish.

Those locally sourced ingredients must include rye grain as the new label tells us:

Lot. No. 40 is crafted in small batches using rye grain in a single copper pot still aged in virgin oak barrels.

Here is a link to the 9th best Canadian Whisky of 2016:

#9 Lot No. 40 Rye Whisky

“… The initial nose is filled with the scents and smells of milk chocolate and bread crust alongside fresh rye grain and strong oak and cedar scents. Caramel toffee, baking spices (vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon) and more fresh rye pour out of the glass into the breezes. As the glass breathes, the smells of oak and cedar strengthen with firm undertones of leather and burlap revealing themselves. After about 10 minutes, some dusty grain notes begin to climb out of the glass as well …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the Number 8 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

 

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

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #10 Canadian Club Chairman’s Select

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 15, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Canadian Club Whisky is now the oldest (and probably the most influential) Canadian Whisky brand in the world.  It is found in over 150 countries, with sales in Canada that are unmatched by any other premium whisky brand. In 2014, Canadian Club (owned by Beam Suntory) launched a new 100% rye grain whisky, Canadian Club Chairman’s Select – 100% Rye. 

sam_2659It is of course produced exclusively from rye grain, distilled (and almost certainly aged) in Calgary by Alberta Distillers Ltd (who are also owned by Beam Suntory). The Chairman’s Select is aged in American Oak (bourbon barrels), cut to bottling strength (40 % abv) and then bottled in Walkerville Ontario, the home of Canadian Club.

Here is a link to the 10th best Canadian Whisky of 2016:

#10 Canadian Club Chairman’s Select – 100% Rye

“… I am delighted by the impressions I receive in the air above the glass. As it should be, the Chairman’s Select 100 % Rye whisky is very rye forward with lots of fine peppery wood spice dancing with that rye in the breezes. Melded into the spicy rye is a lovely light sweetness of butterscotch with a gentle sweep of vanilla and a few bits of almond. I also receive strong impressions of freshly harvested grain fields with dusty chaff blowing in the wind and lots of fresh straw lying in the windrows …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the Number 9 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

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #11: Forty Creek Founder’s Reserve

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 14, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016,Forty Creek Whisky has for the last number of years produced a special limited release whisky and allowed the public to participate in the release by offering to let you choose your own numbered bottle. As well you can have your bottle signed by their own Master Distiller and Whisky Maker, John Hall, when you arrive to pick up your pre-ordered bottles. These special release whiskies are built upon the foundation of the company’s flagship whisky, Forty Creek Barrel Select, and are basically versions of this whisky which have spent additional time finishing in selected oak barrels.

sam_2878-founders-reserveWhat makes this year’s Limited Edition whisky unique is that it is the first of the Forty Creek expressions to be dominated by barley.

According to the folks at Forty Creek:

As the 10th Annual Limited Edition, Forty Creek is excited to introduce Founder’s Reserve – a special, rare whisky and a tribute to our founder, John K. Hall. John was a pioneer in the Canadian Whisky industry and after 10 years of special editions, it is only fitting we pay tribute to his legacy.

This whisky is an artful blend of rye, corn and barley whisky stocks. Barley is the dominant whisky with rye and corn whiskies added for further complexity. The whisky stocks have been aged from four to nine years in a mixture of both lightly toasted and heavily charred American White oak barrels.

Here is a link to the Number 11 Whisky in my 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown

#11: Forty Creek Founder’s Reserve

“… the dusty grain note increases in strength as the sweet maple and butterscotch notes begin to merge with the oak spice bringing me impressions of marzipan and marmalade. I decided to allow the glass to breath for a full ten minutes and the oak and dusty grain continued to increase joined now by some leathery notes of burlap and deep tobacco scents. At this point I am extremely impressed …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 10 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

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

Rum Howler 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown: #12: Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 13, 2016

rum-howler-top-50-2016Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye Whisky is a new blend from the folks who run the Crown Royal Distillery in Gimli, Manitoba. It is a bit of a throwback in style as the whisky features a heavy dose whisky produced from Canadian Winter Rye grain in the blend (almost 90% of the spirit is produced from Canadian Winter Rye grain). Winter rye imparts a robust spiciness throughout the spirit when distilled which (in my opinion) provides a much stronger ‘Canadian Whisky’ feel for this particular Crown Royal Whisky than we find with the flagship blend Crown Royal Deluxe which is produced predominantly from corn rather than rye.

Northern Harvest RyeThis movement towards a more rye forward flavour profile seems to be a common theme within the Crown Royal family as two other recently released blends (Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel, and the Limited Edition Crown Royal Monarch 75th Anniversary Blend) have recently followed that common path.

Here is a link to the Number 12 Whisky in my 2016 Top 50 Canadian Whisky Countdown:

#12: Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye Whisky

“… The initial smells from the glass are enticing as I notice some obvious notes of golden delicious yellow apples and some green grapes rising into the air alongside sourdough rye notes which hint at milk chocolate. As the glass breathes, I sense a stronger underlying oakiness within the spirit as fine wood spices rise into the air. The merry little breezes above the glass are tinged with crisp spicy rye notes as well …”

Stay tuned as the countdown continues tomorrow with the number 11 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

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

 
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