The Rum Howler Blog

(A Website for Spirited Reviews)

  • The Rum Howler Blog

  • Visit My Online Memorabilia Store

  • The Rum Howler Interview (Good Food Revolution)

    Click on the Image to see my interview on Good Food Revolution

  • Industry Interviews

    Interviews

    Click the Image for Great Interviews with the Movers of Industry

  • Cocktails and Recipes

    Click Image for Awesome Recipes

  • Follow Me on Twitter!

Posts Tagged ‘Whisky’

# 25b Wiser’s Red Letter Whisky 2013 Release

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 30, 2015

Wiser’s Red Letter was re-introduced to Canadians in 2007 to pay homage to the 150th anniversary of John Philip Wiser’s distillery in Prescott, Ontario 1857 – 2007), as well as to the original Red Letter Whisky which Wiser’s produced in the late 1800s. In 2009, when I reviewed the inaugural 150th Adversary Edition (see review here), I was told by my contacts within Corby, that the spirit contained various blends of whisky which (although they ranged in age) were all ten years old or more. After these mature whiskies were blended they were then finished in virgin white oak barrels for 150 days. Once the final characteristic of flavour had been achieved, the Red Letter was bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume (non chill filtered).

Red Letter SAM_1386 Two years ago, Corby once again in a tribute to their founder J.P Wiser released Wiser’s Red Letter Whisky 2013 Release. As with the 150th Anniversary Edition the whisky was finished in virgin white oak casks and then bottled without chill filtering at 45 % abv..

Here is a link to the review of the second #25 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#25b – Wiser’s Red Letter Whisky 2013 Release

“… The 2013 version has all the wonderful flavour and zest of the 2007, but (to me anyways) there seems to be an added layer of silky elegance this time around. I taste a firm presence of sharp wood spices and orange peel, however, this sharpness ( which I am sure is also due to the 90 bottling proof) is contrasted by the silky mouth feel of a luscious corn whisky. Honeycomb and maple flavours slide through the hot spiciness of the whisky, and soon the orange peel tastes more like marmalade, and the fine wood spices more like a nice spicy maple toffee …”

________________________________________________________________

You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on # 25b Wiser’s Red Letter Whisky 2013 Release

#26 The Macallan Fine Oak 15 Year Old

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 29, 2015

The Macallan Fine Oak Series is a series of single malt Scotch whiskies, produced at The Macallan Distillery at Craigellachie in the Speyside region of Scotland which are matured in seasoned American oak casks, (sherry as well as bourbon), as well as sherry casks from Jerez Spain. The Fine Oak Series has drawn rave reviews some quarters (Jim Murray for example awarded it “Best New Scotch Brand” when it was launched), and dramatic criticism from others who considered the American barrels inferior to the Sherry oak casks from Spain due to the lighter flavour profile of the American Bourbon Cask.

The Macallan 15 Fine Oak SAM_1741I find myself siding with Jim Murray as I find the lighter influence of the American oak barrel allows the whisky to express more fully the subtle nuances of oak and whisky flavours which can be drowned out by the strong sherry influence of a first fill Sherry barrel. Unfortunately for myself, The Macallan Fine Oak series has been discontinued in Canada, although it is my understanding that this series is still available south of the border in the USA.

Here is a link to the review of the #26 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#26 – The Macallan Fine Oak 15 Year Old

“… my nose is greeted by a soft honeycomb/butterscotch, a firm little dollop of vanilla and firm oak spices. A light sherry smoke is in the air carrying wisps of dry fruit (prunes and raisins) and a smidgen of treacle.  As you allow the glass to decant, a demerara sweetness  becomes evident as does a wonderful floral meadowland with saw grass, timothy and wild flowers presenting themselves to the delight of the nostrils …”

________________________________________________________________

You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Extras, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on #26 The Macallan Fine Oak 15 Year Old

#31 Amrut Indian Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 24, 2015

The Amrut distillery is situated in Bangalore ‘the garden city’ of India. The distillery sits in a tropical locale 3000 ft above sea level with its water source being the Himalayan Mountains. According to the information printed upon the back of the cannister which houses the Amrut Indian Single Malt Whisky:

Amrut Single Malt SAM_1734” … when Gods and Rakshasas – the demons – churned the oceans using the mountain Meru as churner, a golden pot sprang out containing the Elixir of Life. That was called the “Amrut” The great founders of our distillery aptly named it Amrut Distilleries …”

The flagship whisky produced at the distillery is a Single Malt Whisky made entirely from selected Indian barley.

Here is a link to the review of the #31 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#31 – Amrut Indian Single Malt Whisky

“… I’ll start by saying that I am glad Amrut had the sense to make an Indian single malt whisky. There are flavours here I have never encountered in other whiskies. Whether this is from the locally selected Indian grain used, or due to aging in the Bangalore tropical climate I am not sure. The only comparison I can make is to the floral nature of Highland Park whisky and its unique heather infused peaty taste. This has no peat and no heather, but there is a tremendous floral note in the whisky which is unique to this brand …”

________________________________________________________________

You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Extras, Indian Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on #31 Amrut Indian Single Malt Whisky

# 32 Highland Park 25 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 23, 2015

The Highland Park Distillery is located in the Highlands of Scotland on the Island of Orkney which is famous for its heather rich meadows and its unique organic Orcadian peat. At this distillery, all of the Highland Park Whisky is matured in two styles of oak barrels which are stored in warehouses with earthen floors and stone walls. Some of the whisky is matured in Spanish (Sherry) oak, and some of the whisky is matured in American (Bourbon) oak. Maturing the whisky in two different styles of oak allows the blender to capture characteristics of each in the final blend.

HP 25The Highland Park 25 Year Old Whisky is blended with up to 50 per cent of  its whisky coming from the matured (1st refill) Spanish oak, and it is bottled at 48.1 per cent alcohol by volume. This is a full 20 % higher than the 40 per cent bottling strength we typically see in North America. The combination of the higher bottling strength and a larger portion of Spanish oak whisky in the blend will bring forward a stronger more assertive aroma and flavour than the other whiskies in the Highland Park portfolio, and may even make the whisky a little intimidating at first tasting.

Here is a link to the review of the #32 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#32 – Highland Park 25 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

“… caramelized butterscotch toffee, sweeter underlying sugars, and a floral peat rich with heather, citrus, damp spruce moss, and humus. As more of the scents separated in the air I was reminded of mildly boggy saw-grass growing in a damp lowland meadow below a field of ripe alfalfa and timothy growing in the early fall just before cutting. (This place I am describing is a real memory from my childhood days on the farm. The Highland Park Whiskies always seem to evoke these early memories from my youth …”

________________________________________________________________

You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Extras, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on # 32 Highland Park 25 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

#35 Forty Creek John’s Private Cask No. 1 Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 20, 2015

A few years ago, I had lunch with Whisky Maker, John Hall (then Owner of Forty Creek Whisky) when he was in town for the Edmonton Whisky Festival. One of the things we talked about was Mr. Hall’s penchant for saving his best whisky barrels for his own private use. You see, every once in a while when John was testing and tasting his barrels of whisky to see how they were coming along, he would hit upon a barrel that was absolutely exceptional.

Forty Creek Private Stock SAM_1882These barrels would be squirreled away and earmarked for his own private stash. John admitted to me that this had kind of gotten out of hand, and he had accumulated far more of these ‘Private Casks’ than what he would ever need, or be able to consume. It turns out John figured out what to do with these exceptional casks as in the fall of 2011 he released his new special release, John’s Private Cask No. 1 Whisky.

Here is a link to the review of the #35 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#35 – Forty Creek John’s Private Cask No. 1 Canadian Whisky

“… A bevy of oak and rye spices quickly heat things up; but, the mouth feel is eased by the softness of vanilla, maple and caramel. The flavours I taste include fresh-cut cedar planks, and a strong dollop of rye. There is also a bit of orange peel which evolves into marmalade as the glass sits, and just like on the nose,the oak and baking spices build and build in the glass …”

________________________________________________________________

You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on #35 Forty Creek John’s Private Cask No. 1 Canadian Whisky

#39 Glenfarclas 30 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 16, 2015

All of the Glenfarclas whisky is matured in two styles of oak barrels, plain oak barrels which have previously contained Bourbon or Scotch Whisky, and Spanish oak which has previously contained Oloroso or Fino Sherry from Seville. The barrels are stored in traditional ‘dunnage’ warehouses which date from the late 1800s. The Glenfarclas 30 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky which is the subject of this review has been bottled at 43 % and is produced from both first fill sherry casks and refill bourbon casks.

Glenfarclas 30 Year OldMy review of the Glenfarclas 30 Year Old was facilitated by Pacific Wine & Spirits Inc who provided a sample for me to assess, and who kindly invited me to several tasting events hosted by George Grant, the Sales Director for the Glenfarclas Distillery where I was able to sample the entire core range of Glenfarclas Whisky in side by side comparisons. Mr. Grant is part of the 6th generation of the Grant Family who originally purchased the distillery in 1865. His family still controls and manages the distillery today.

Here is a link to the review of the #4o spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#39: Glenfarclas 30 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky

“… This whisky is rich and luxurious on the nose. Chocolate, coffee, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cardamom and wonderful oak spices all rise up in a veritable bouquet for the nostrils. The whisky show its age in the glass but it also shows its character with a complex oakiness which is almost perfectly melded into the 30-year-old sherried whisky …”

________________________________________________________________

You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Extras, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on #39 Glenfarclas 30 Year Old Highland Single Malt Whisky

#44 Johnnie Walker Black Label

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 11, 2015

The Johnnie Walker Brand of whisky is one of the most iconic brands in all of the world. With its unique square bottle, and the labels tilted a 24 degrees off-center, the company has created a strong brand image and is considered by many to be the quintessential Scottish whisky. The company was born in about 1820, and has grown steadily to become one of the most important Scottish whisky brands in the world today.

Johnny Walker Black SAM_1726The Black Label is a blended Scotch Whisky, which is composed of up to 40 malted and grain whiskies. The origins of the blend can be traced back to 1867, when Alexander Walker copyrighted and began to bottle Old Highland Whisky. In 1909 the name of the blend was changed to Johnnie Walker Black Label in reference to the color of the label which had become the generic means of identifying the blend amongst the Johnnie Walker customers.

At the time of my review (in 2010), all of the whiskies in the Black Label blend were aged at least 12 years, which gave this whisky a deeper character and smoothness than one normally associates with blended whiskies.

Here is a link to the review of the #44 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#44 – Johnnie Walker Black Label

“… The aroma which rises from the glass is steeped in complexity. Initially, I smell a nice cherry soaked butterscotch which seems to have a hint of green apple rising out of the glass with it. As I allow the glass to decant, the aroma deepens with accents of dried fruits and a rather floral smoke.  At the very bottom lies a well of boggy peat …”

________________________________________________________________

You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Extras, Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on #44 Johnnie Walker Black Label

#48 Canadian Club 30 Year (150th Anniversary Whisky)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 7, 2015

Canadian Club is the elder statesman of Canadian Whisky brands being the both the oldest, and the most influential, Canadian Whisky brand in the world. Ironically, the originator of the brand was an American grocer hailing from Michigan. Legend has it, that this American, Hiram Walker, correctly foresaw the changing climate of the American attitude towards alcohol consumption and moved his distilling operations across the Detroit River to (what would become) Walkerville, Ontario. Ironically the whisky which would become the standard-bearer for Canadian Whisky, was originally (and still is) intended for the American palate.

Canadian Club Ann 30 Year SAM_1730The Canadian Club 30 Year Old Whisky was produced in 2008 to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Hiram Walker’s Distillery in Walkerville, Ontario which began operations in 1858. It was produced from 89 barrels of whisky which had been set down in 1988. One of the unique aspects of Canadian Club Whisky is that it is blended before barrel aging. This process allows the whisky to fully ‘marry’ in the barrel before bottling. The Canadian Club 30-Year-Old Whisky has thus been married for thirty years in oak melding the flavours of the blended whisky with the oak barrel for three decades.

Here is a link to the review of the #48 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#48 – Canadian Club 30 Year (150th Anniversary Whisky)

“… The initial nose is one of a rich oak spices tainted with dark brown sugar and that typical dank Canadian Club aroma. As the whisky decants, the nose deepens into a deep dark rich baking spice aroma with Demerara accents of dark brown sugars, rich toffee, vanilla, wisps of cinnamon, and even a hint of maple.  Playing in the merry little breezes is a subtle smokiness with the fleeting aroma of dried fruits and cigar tobacco …”

________________________________________________________________

You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on #48 Canadian Club 30 Year (150th Anniversary Whisky)

# 53 Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 2, 2015

The Amrut Distillery is situated in Bangalore, ‘the garden city’ of India. The distillery sits in a tropical locale 3000 ft above sea level with its water source being the Himalayan Mountains.

The Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky is produced from two geographically disparate grains. The majority of the barley used to produce this whisky was grown and harvested at the foot of the Himalayan Mountains.This Punjabi barley was mashed, distilled and aged in the distillery at Bangalore. The distillery also uses a peated barley sourced in Scotland and this barley is as well brought to the facilities in Bangalore to be separately mashed, distilled and then aged until maturity.

SAM_1016 FusionWhen each separately distilled whisky is ready, they are blended and then aged for a second period of time to allow the different whiskies flavours to marry in the barrel prior to bottling. Incidentally, all of the barrels used for maturation of the whisky are refill America Bourbon oak barrels. As all of the mashing, distillation, aging and blending was done at the same Bangalore distillery in India, the whisky is a true single malt which represents the fusion of two different whiskies.

Here is a link to the review of the #53 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#53 – Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky

“… The initial breezes above the glass carried the light indications of a peated whisky with a firm oaked character. I could smell a bit of a boggy lowland meadow complete with clumps of heather and sawgrass, and a stand willow trees growing near a black bottomed creek. There was a floral element in the air reminding me of lavender and lilac bushes, and some interesting notes of spearmint, orange peel, tar, iodine and salty brine …”

________________________________________________________________

You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Extras, Indian Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on # 53 Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky

# 55 Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Years Old Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 31, 2015

In 1856, John Gibson purchased 40 acres and built a distillery along the shore of the Monongahela River in Pennsylvania. By the turn of the century, the Gibson’s Distilling Company was the largest producer of rye whisky in North America. In 1923, the entire contents of the distillery including the stills, the aging barrels, all of the remaining spirit, (and even the grain which was on site) was sold to Schenley Industries of New York. Fifty years later this whisky brand, which was born on the US side of the border in Pennsylvania, was resurrected by the brand owner at the Schenley Distillery in Valleyfield, Quebec. Now, of course, it has become one of the iconic brands of Canadian Whisky.

Gibson's Finest 18 SAM_1743The Gibson’s Finest brand is produced from of two sources: a base grain whisky (which would be a corn-based column still whisky), and a blend of rye based flavouring whisky which contains rye and malted barley (distilled by a single column still and a pot still). Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Years Old Whisky is limited to a production of not more than 12,000 bottles per year.

Here is a link to the review of the #55 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#55 – Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Years Old

“… The initial aroma is spicy with a firm oak presence. The breezes above the glass are filled with tobacco, rye, and (what I am going to term) clean firm oak spices. These dominant scents are accented by caramel, butterscotch and vanilla. Some dusty dry notes of freshly harvested grain, autumn cornstalks, and dry straw rise into those initial breezes as well …”

________________________________________________________________

You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on # 55 Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Years Old Canadian Whisky

 
%d bloggers like this: