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Posts Tagged ‘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 …”

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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 …”

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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 …”

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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 …”

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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 …”

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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 …”

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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

#57 Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 29, 2015

In November of 2005, Highwood Distillers finalized the purchase of Potters Distilleries (founded by Ernie Potter in 1958). Part of this acquisition, was the purchase of all of the remaining barrel aged stocks of whisky in the Potters facility. These barrels of whisky were transferred from the Potters warehouse facilities in Kelowna, B.C. to the newly constructed warehouse facility in High River, Alberta, where they were allowed to continue to age at the foot of the Rocky Mountains on the western edge of the Canadian Prairies. The whisky brands which Potters Distilleries had established (Century and Potters) were added to Highwood’s portfolio of spirits where they have not only been maintained but also expanded upon. Part of that expansion was the 2013 addition of the ‘Ninety’ branded whiskies to the Century Distillers line-up. Like the other whiskies in the Century portfolio, the Ninety branded spirits are corn-based rather than wheat-based blends. (Highwood Distillers uses the Highwood brand for all of its wheat based whiskies.)

Ninety 20 Year Old SAM_1400Highwood chose the brand name ‘Ninety’ because these new whiskies are bottled at 90 proof (or 45 % alcohol by volume) rather than the usual 80 proof (40 % alcohol by volume). The higher bottling strength means that the final whisky will retain a character closer to the original cask strength whiskies from which they were blended. In the case of the Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky, the bulk of blend almost certainly has been drawn from Highwood’s treasured reserves of remaining Potters whisky stocks.

Here is a link to the review of the #57 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#57 – Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Whisky

“… The different aspects of the aroma (the wood and rye spiciness and the corn and butterscotch sweetness) are melded together beautifully creating a very enticing aroma in the air above the glass. As I enjoy those breezes, I also notice impressions of creamy vanilla pudding, hints of almond turning to sweeter marzipan, zesty orange peel turning to sticky marmalade, and lightly sweetened cereal grain …”

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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 #57 Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Whisky

#60 Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whisky (2012 Edition)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 26, 2015

Late in October, of 2012, I was able to have a one on one meeting with Hiram Walker Distillery Master Blender, Dr. Don Livermore. It was supposed to be an interview, but instead, it morphed into an information session where Dr. Livermore began to teach me about all things pertaining to Canadian Whisky with a particular emphasis on how they do things at the Hiram Walker Distillery.

Lot No. 40 SAM_1398One of the many things we talked about was the re-release of Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whisky (2012 Edition). Dr. Livermore, told me the whisky was first released in the 1990’s as an upscale connoisseur’s whisky for the North American market. Alas, timing is everything, and according to Don, the whisky never really caught on as the market wasn’t quite ready for such a new style of Canadian Whisky. With the new upsurge of interest in Canadian Whisky across North America (and in particular at the premium end of the market), Corby (the owner of the Wiser’s Brand), was optimistic that the time for this whisky has finally arrived.

And I guess you could say that I agree, as it is the #60 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#60 – Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whisky (2012 Edition)

“… The initial nose is filled with the scents and smells of honeycomb, freshly harvested rye, and freshly cut oak and cedar planks which are still seeping bits of sap from the wood grain. Caramel toffee and green tobacco, and even more fresh rye climb up out of the glass into the breezes. As the glass breathes, smells of oak and wood sap gain more expression …”

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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 #60 Lot No. 40 Single Copper Pot Still Canadian Whisky (2012 Edition)

#69 Century Reserve (Lot 1525) Canadian Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 17, 2015

Somewhere in the Highwood Distillery barrel aging warehouse is a darkened corner where all of the oak barrels are all stamped “Lot 1525“.  This  corner contains the oldest whisky in the entire facility, with the age of the whisky inside the barrels ranging  from 15 to 25 years. (It has been hinted to me that some of these barrels contain whisky that is perhaps even older!) These whisky barrels were originally part of a consignment of whisky acquired when Highwood purchased the Potter’s Distillery in 2005.  As such, these are barrels of whisky produced from a corn-based distillation at the old Potters Distillery, in Kelowna British Colombia.

Lot 15 25 SAM_1731The barrels made the journey to the Highwood facility in 2005 and have been sitting in the darkened corner waiting for the right moment to be tapped and bottled. From this darkened corner, the Master Blender has carefully chosen just the right barrels, and then just as carefully blended the wonderful elixir within to create a blend of whisky which contains the distillery’s most prized aged whisky, the Lot1525 Century Reserve Custom Blend Canadian Rye Whisky.

Here is a link to the review of the #69 spirit in my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#69 – Century Reserve (Lot 1525) Canadian Whisky

“… A beautiful amber hue seems to accent a lovely honey and caramel aroma rising from the glass. Wonderful mellow rye notes accompany the honey and the caramel and a light bourbon vanilla seems to drift above the glass in the breezes.  The impact of nosing the glass is a well received feeling of luxury, and elegance which is divine. …”

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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 #69 Century Reserve (Lot 1525) Canadian Whisky

#74 Old Parr Superior Scotch

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 12, 2015

When whisky writer Jim Murray published his fourth Whisky Bible for the year 2007, he pretty much shocked the whisky world with his selection for 2007 World Whisky of the Year. His choice, Old Parr Superior 18 Year Old Whisky.  This choice rocked the whisky paradigm of connoisseurs and aficionados worldwide. You see Old Parr Superior Whisky, is not a much heralded single malt; in fact it isn’t even a single malt. Old Parr Whisky is a blend!

Old Parr Superior SAM_1889I credit Jim Murray for not only recognizing that blends by their very nature have a capacity to be the superior whisky product, but actually saying it in 2007. The reason blends have the capacity to be superior is simple;  the Master Blender and distillers have so many more choices to work with. Give any craftsmen more choices and they will have the capacity to do better. With Old Parr Superior Whiskey we have the result of just such blending and distilling freedom. A truly great whisky, one of the very best blended Scotch Whiskies I have tasted.

Here is a link to my review of the #74 entry in my 2015 Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#74 – Old Parr Superior Scotch

“… The wave hits all at once, and I had to let the glencairn glass sit for a moment before I could begin to decipher individuality amongst the myriad of  sensations striking my nostrils.  Trails of smokey peat rising from the glass seem to carry sawgrass, lavender, and marshland willow to my nose.  Sweeter vanilla, and unripened fruit lie in between the smokey trails and the entire process of smelling the glass is heavenly …”

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

(Happy Thanksgiving Canada!)

Posted in Awards, Extras, Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on #74 Old Parr Superior Scotch

 
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