Showing posts with label Canadian Rye. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Canadian Rye. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

BEARFACE Triple Oak Canadian Whisky Review & Tasting Notes


I never thought I’d say this, but after the recent success of a fantastic Canadian whisky I rated, I’m excited to try another! Another reason I’m excited to sip this whisky is that the distillery uses a unique aging process. No, this isn’t shooting music or microwaves at barrels or sending them around the world’s oceans on ships. It is something I’ve never heard of before:  Elemental Ageing.

 

“Elemental ageing is our unique process where hand-selected oak casks are matured in repurposed shipping containers and exposed to the elements in the Canadian wilderness. Our extreme northern climate amplifies how the whisky and wood interact, transforming the liquid inside for a bolder, smoother flavor. 

From freezing -10°C to searing 40°C [14°F to 104°F], the temperatures can fluctuate wildly in a single day under steel.”BEARFACE Spirits

 

BEARFACE is owned by Vancouver-based Mark Anthony Wine & Spirits. Master Blender Andrés Faustinelli was born in Venezuela, raised in Italy, is a citizen of France, lives in San Francisco, and creates whisky in Canada. He is experienced in beer, Bourbon, wine, and Mezcal. He chose Canada purposefully due to its more relaxed rules regarding whisky making.

 

BEARFACE Spirits offers three expressions:  Triple Oak Whisky, One Eleven, and Wilderness Series. Today I’m exploring Triple Oak Whisky.

 

It begins with single grain Canadian whisky made of 99.5% corn and 0.5% malted barley aged for seven years. BEARFACE Spirits openly states it is sourced; it doesn’t state from who. Its primary aging was spent in former Bourbon barrels. Over 100 days, it was finished first in three different vintages of French oak wine barrels, which held Bordeaux-style wines from Mission Hill for seven years. The whisky was then finished in toasted, virgin Hungarian oak barrels made from staves air-dried for three years. Bottled at 42.5% ABV (85°), it carries a suggested retail price of $34.99, making it easily affordable to most.  Mark Anthony indicates this can be enjoyed neat or in a cocktail. I opted for the neat pour.

 

Will BEARFACE Triple Oak Whisky be another Canadian winner, or will it fall by the wayside like many predecessors? The only way to answer that is to #DrinkCurious. Before I get there, I must thank BEARFACE Spirits for providing a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.

 

Appearance: A brilliant orange amber shined through my Glencairn glass. A medium-thin rim released thick, watery legs that raced back to the pool of liquid sunshine.

 

Nose: A combination of browned butter, caramel, orange peel, strawberry, and sweet corn lacked any evidence of wood. Inhaling through my mouth brought strawberries and vanilla that flowed across my tongue.

 

Palate:  I found the medium-weighted liquid held a silky texture. Coffee, chocolate, and caramel started the journey. Caramel continued through the middle, joined by vanilla and corn. French oak, strawberry, and rye spice formed the back.  

 

Finish:  That rye spice built into cinnamon-soaked toothpicks. Dark chocolate and rich caramel faded to bold French oak; everything escaped with a gentle kiss of strawberry.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I don’t know if it is the base single grain whisky, the French oak finish, the Hungarian oak finish, or those repurposed shipping containers that did it, but BEARFACE Triple Oak Whisky is easy to sip and generous on flavor, and it is just damned good. It earns every bit of my Bottle rating, and I’m thrilled to have this easy-on-the-wallet Canadian whisky in my library. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 


 

Monday, July 18, 2022

Proof and Wood "Good Day" 21-Year Canadian Whisky Review & Tasting Notes


 

What does Canada require for its whisky to be considered Canadian? Many people get this one wrong – and I used to be one of them. I used to believe the rules were fast and loose. I was schooled by none other than Davin de Kergommeaux, a respected whisky author who, in 2009, founded the Canadian Whisky Awards and is one of the most respected gurus regarding Canadian whiskies.

 

Canadian whisky must begin with the mashing and distillation of cereal grains (corn, rye, wheat, etc.). It must age at least three years in small cooperage – less than 700 liters), all of which must occur in Canada. It can have added flavors – up to 9.09% and can have added caramel coloring (e150A). The added flavors must be from a spirit at least two years old or wine. Contrary to popular belief, not a single grain of rye must be used for a Canadian whisky to be called Rye.

 

Them are the rules.

 

Something else you need to know is my bias when it comes to Canadian whisky. Simply put: I don’t like it. I want to like it. I’ve been on a mission to find an enjoyable one for several years. The closest I have come to is the Gray and Gold Labels of Barrell Seagrass. Yet, those are so unusual (and expensive) I don’t even count them as a win.

 

So, here I am, once again, staring at a bottle of Canadian whisky and wondering if this will be the one that changes my mind. It is a unique bottle containing a 21-year-old blend called Good Day. Good Day comes to us from Proof and Wood Ventures out of Bardstown, Kentucky. I’ve reviewed several whiskies from Proof and Wood. It was founded by Dave Schmier, the gentleman who started Redemption Rye. Dave has a habit of finding stunning barrels, mainly from MGP (now Ross & Squibb). If there was something in the United States called a Master Blender, you’d have to hand that title to him.

 

Good Day began with corn, rye, and barley whiskies, each distilled in 2000 or later and sourced from the Lethbridge distillery in Alberta. If you know your Canadian distilleries, that would be Black Velvet.

 

You may notice that I used the word “whiskies” because that’s how things are done in Canada. One grain is distilled and aged before being blended with others. Eight barrels were used, making the final formula 97% corn, 2.7% rye, and 0.3% malted barley. Dave then took that concoction, brought it to Bardstown, and finished it for an additional three weeks in vintage American Rye barrels.

 

Good Day comes in a 700ml, 52% ABV (104°) package with a suggested retail price is $99.99.

 

Before I begin this adventure, I must thank Proof and Wood for providing me a sample of Good Day in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Time to psych me up and #DrinkCurious.

 

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, Good Day looked like pale straw. That may seem strange for a 21-year whisky until you remember the rules of Canadian whisky and the penchant for using vintage wood. A nearly invisible rim was formed, yet the thick, wavy legs were easy to see.

 

Nose:  The very first thing I smelled was green apple. Not Jolly Rancher green apple, but the kind you cut up and put into a pie. Corn and vanilla were present, along with floral rye. As I drew the air into my mouth, I found honey and more green apple.

 

Palate: A thick, syrupy texture filled every crevice in my mouth. Raw honey, vanilla, and brown sugar were introduced on the front. Caramel-covered apples formed the middle, while the back featured cinnamon, clove, and oak.

 

Finish:  A freight train finish left cinnamon spice and clove all over my tongue and throat. Except for those extensive spice notes, there is nothing in terms of burn to contend with.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I’m going to do something I’ve never done before. I’m going to congratulate Proof and Wood. You have finally ended my quest for an affordable, drinkable Canadian whisky. Yeah, in this case, $99.99 is “affordable” when you consider it is 21 years old. I’ve paid far more than that when it comes to similarly-aged Scotch, and that becomes almost a Walmart price when you bring Bourbon into the picture. Today was a good day to drink Good Day, and it snags my Bottle rating. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 

Monday, June 13, 2022

Crossborder Jackpot Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


 

Dave Schmier is no pigeon. If you’re unfamiliar with him, he’s one of the originals who sourced better barrels from MGP and bottled something special.  If you’ve heard of Redemption, that was his brand. He sold it in 2015. He’s since created Proof and Wood Ventures.  He runs a hot table. Of all the whiskeys from Proof and Wood that I’ve tasted, most have been not only good but excellent (for the record, he also does rum). There’s been an occasional tap-out, but the odds have been against that, except…

 

I am not a fan of Canadian whiskies. I’m trying; believe me, I am. I have been buying and trying Canadians to find something acceptable to my palate.

 

Crossborder Jackpot is two-thirds Canadian. The distilleries involved are undisclosed, but the mash of the Canadian blend is 97% corn, 2.7% rye, and 0.3% malted barley. The Canadian Rye is 91% rye and 9% malted barley. Both aged seven years in former Bourbon barrels.

 

The wild card in the blend is a typical 95/5 MGP American Rye recipe that rested seven years in new, charred oak. It is packaged at 107°. The idea here is that seven is a big deal.

 

A 750ml bottle requires a minimum bid of $74.99.

 

Dave is obviously going all in and hopes Crossborder Jackpot hits all lucky sevens. Is it a winner or a bad beat? Let’s get past what’s on the label, #DrinkCurious, and let the chips fall where they may. Proof and Wood sent me a sample and is familiar with the terms and conditions requiring a no-strings-attached, honest review.

 

Appearance: The ante was a neat pour in my Glencairn glass. Crossborder Jackpot showed as dirty blonde. A thin rim formed that released massive tears, which crashed back into the pool.

 

Nose: If you hedged about this whisky’s rye content, it was confirmed by the floral notes exploding from my glass. Vanilla, toasted oak, mint, and cinnamon were easy to discern. When I pulled the air past my lips, minty vanilla rolled across my tongue.

 

Palate:  The texture was incredibly silky, but it was weighty at the same time. The front of my palate picked out vanilla, caramel, and red currant. The back doubled down on spice with rye, cinnamon, and clove. The middle? It was transitionary with sweet corn, nutmeg, and oak.  

 

Finish: Vanilla, toasted oak, cinnamon Red Hots, and an herbal flavor played the last hand. The Red Hots moved the duration from long to very long.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  This whisky is certainly a gamble, at least for my palate. I enjoyed the way everything with this whiskey went from sweet to spicy. The mouthfeel was enticing. The palate offered fascinating flavors. I savored the long, spicy finish. In the case of Crossover Jackpot, the payoff is a Bottle rating. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 


 

Friday, April 15, 2022

Pendleton "Original" Blended Canadian Whisky Review & Tasting Notes

 


Pendleton “Original” is a whisky bottled by Hood River Distillers in Oregon. It uses glacial water from the Mt. Hood National Forest. It is named to “celebrate the spirit of the American cowboy and cowgirl.” However, it is a Canadian blended whisky distilled from the “finest ingredients” and aged in American oak. It carries no age statement.

 

Pendleton isn’t overly difficult to find, and it certainly is affordable. A 750ml, 40% ABV (80°) package runs about $22.00.

 

In full disclosure, I’m unimpressed with the mainstream Canadian whiskies I’ve tried so far—all of them. But, I keep trying others as I stumble across them in hopes of finding something that is beyond a mediocre mixer. I also work to clear my mind as best as possible and approach each one as I do with any other whisky – no expectations. That’s the #DrinkCurious lifestyle.

 

Let’s get to this review, shall we?

 

Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, I allowed this to breathe for about 20 minutes. It presented as dull gold and made a fragile rim that led to weak legs.

 

Nose: As I brought the glass to my face, the aroma reminded me of Corn Chex cereal. Also found was a hint of cinnamon before what smelled like industrial floor cleaner took away the others. When I took the air into my mouth, it was like acetone.

 

Palate: There are many instances where a lovely palate offsets a poor nosing experience. The mouthfeel was thick and creamy. I picked up caramel and then what tasted exactly like vanilla-flavored vodka. It wasn’t my favorite, but it wasn’t offensive like the nose.

 

Finish:  Have you ever been dusting your furniture and accidentally taking a cloud of lemon Pledge in your mouth? That’s what I think I was tasting. Chemical qualities remained, which I initially thought was clove, but any semblance of it quickly vaporized. And unfortunately, it stuck around.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Must I say it? Bust. End of story.

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Canadian Mist Blended Canadian Whisky Review & Tasting Notes


Let’s get something out of the way here. I’ve not tried Canadian Mist in probably the last dozen years. Why? Because the last time it passed my lips, I was in Orlando, and it was the only whisky poured at the event I was attending. It was hideous. Canadian Mist is the whisky that turned me off of Canadian whiskies.

 

I wasn’t reviewing whiskey a dozen years ago. My palate has refined significantly since then. With the whole #DrinkCurious mantra, I’m supposed to return to things I didn’t previously enjoy and give them second (and sometimes third) chances.

 

What is Canadian Mist? It is a blended Canadian whisky founded in 1967 by Brown-Forman. It is made from a mash of rye from Ontario and Alberta, corn grown from within 100 miles of the distillery in Collingwood, Ontario, and malted barley. Triple-distilled in a column still, Canadian Mist uses water sourced from Georgian Bay. It rested “at least” 36 months in used, charred oak barrels that formerly held “heavier whiskeys” in climate-controlled warehouses. Sazerac purchased the brand in 2020. You can expect to spend $9.99 for a 750ml, 40% ABV (80°) package.


I picked up a 50ml taster for $0.99 at some random liquor store. Let’s see if this is any better than I remember.

 

Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Canadian Mist was the color of yellow straw. A medium rim led to fat, sticky tears.

 

Nose: I smelled acetone, caramel, butterscotch, and something like synthetic citrus. When I brought the air into my mouth, it was kinda-sorta butterscotch.

 

Palate:  The texture was thin. The first thing I tasted was something chemical. It took a lot to get past it, but I eked out maple and a fake-tasting caramel. Please don’t ask me to break it up into the front, middle, and back because I can’t.

 

Finish:  Too long and bitter, Canadian Mist’s finish featured caramel and more acetone.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  My gosh, it all came back at me as I was smelling this. The only thing I can say that is attractive about Canadian Mist is it is dirt cheap. It is a palate wrecker. I can’t see attempting to salvage this in a cocktail, and I refuse even to try. Rating Canadian Mist as a Bust does a disservice to the Bust rating. Drink anything else.

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 


 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Barrell Craft Spirits Gray Label Whiskey (2021) Review & Tasting Notes


I say this with pretty much any Canadian whisky I’m about to review:  I am on a mission to find a Canadian whisky I enjoy. So far, that’s been a losing proposition. There have been some that are stunningly horrendous and others that are tolerable. But, nothing to date has been good, let alone great.

 

I have high hopes for today’s pour. It is from Barrell Craft Spirits, and it has a long history of knowing what it is doing. It is called Gray Label Whiskey; this is its second release and is a 24-year blend.

 

“Gray Label Whiskey began with two selections of 24-year Canadian whiskey barrels: one set was fruit-forward and tropical, and one was woody, with a light floral aroma. A portion of the fruit-forward blend was transferred into Oloroso Sherry barrels and a portion of the floral and earthy blend was transferred into Armagnac casks. The remaining whiskey from the two groups was then combined to mingle. When the timing and flavor from the finishing casks peaked, the three components were carefully blended together.” – Barrell Craft Spirits 

 

Aging took place in both Canada and the United States. The final product was bottled in Kentucky at its cask strength of 60.82% (121.64°). In line with other Gray Label releases, you can expect to pay $250.00 for a 750ml package.

 

Based on everything I’ve read from Barrell, I still have high hopes. I love XO Armagnac. I enjoy whiskeys finished in Armagnac casks, as I do with Oloroso sherry butts. And, to my knowledge, I’ve not had a 24-year Canadian whisky before. The equation for success is there. Will Gray Label be my holy grail?  Before I #DrinkCurious, I appreciate Barrell’s generosity in providing me a sample for a no-strings-attached, honest review.

 

Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Gray Label Whiskey presented as the color of golden straw. I had to hold the glass at a weird angle in front of a light to pick out the fragile rim. The droplets that stuck to the wall like glue were much easier to find.

 

Nose: This is a 24-year whiskey, and for whatever reason, corn was the first thing I smelled. But, it was quickly subdued by apricot, citrus peel, ginger, fennel, nutmeg, and vegetal notes. When I thought I identified everything, crushed red grape and toasted bread grabbed my attention. When I drew the air into my mouth, I found vanilla.

 

Palate: The texture was thin and oily. I tasted melon, raisin, and vanilla custard on the front. The middle offered cherry and plum, along with oak. The back featured rye spice, fresh rosemary, and green pepper.

 

Finish:  The finish was earthy and consisted of walnut, ginger, mint, green pepper, a dash of oak, mushroom, and rosemary. There was some candied fruit that I could not put my finger on, try as I might. It was a long finish, with the mint and fennel lasting the longest.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I’m at the point where I don’t even care what the price is. All I want is a good Canadian whisky. It was one of the more interesting Canadians I’ve tried, but I still can’t say I’ve found a winner. It is something I could see fans of Canadian whiskies enjoying. It just didn’t work for me, so I’m tossing a Bar rating at it. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 


 

Friday, January 14, 2022

Barrell Craft Spirits Gray Label Seagrass Review & Tasting Notes


Barrell Craft Spirits has recently released some high-end and premiere whiskeys that go well beyond its portfolio most of us find familiar. There exists a Gray Label series and a Gold Label series. The Gold series is a step above the Gray, and the Gray is above the standard releases.

 

In 2021, I named Barrell Seagrass the winner of my Best Blended Whiskey Award.

 

“This is probably the most unusual whiskey I’ve tried. It was sweet. It was spicy. It was earthy. The challenge became both exciting and a little frustrating. But, as I experienced the frustration, I caught myself smiling because the mystifying quality just worked for whatever reason.”  

 

As such, you can imagine my excitement as I came across a 16-year age stated Gray Label Seagrass. At the same time, I found myself concerned. Would Gray Label be like the original? Would it be a completely different whiskey? Would Barrell take away some of the magic I found in Seagrass?

 

Gray Label Seagrass starts with 16-year 100% Canadian Rye barrels. The distiller is undisclosed. The original Seagrass was a blend of Canadian and MGP-sourced Rye whiskeys. So, this is already a bit different.



Those barrels were divided into two groups. A portion of the first was finished in apricot brandy casks. A selection from the second group was transferred to Martinique Rhum barrels. Then, a blend of the first and second groups was finished in Malmsey Madeira barrels. From there, all were blended into a single batch. Barrell indicates that Gray Label Seagrass is aged in Canada and the United States and bottled at a cask strength of 130.82°.

 

A project like this isn’t going to come cheap. The suggested retail for Gray Label Seagrass is $249.99 for a 750ml package.

 

Before I get started on my review, I want to thank Barrell Craft Spirits for providing me a sample and the opportunity in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Now it is time to #DrinkCurious and taste how this pans out.

 

Appearance:  Served neat in my Glencairn glass, Gray Label Seagrass was the color of gold bullion. It even looked thick like melted gold. When I gave it a gentle swirl, a thin rim led to slow, sticky tears.

 

Nose:  As I let my glass rest on my bar, I could smell a mix of spices filling the air. Once I brought it near my face, things became more apparent. Well, kind-of-sort-of. The first thing I identified was cinnamon. Then I found allspice and nutmeg. Then there was a smidge of tobacco leaf. The aroma then changed to sweet with caramel and fresh grass. That transformed to earthy with mushroom and ripe olive, which gave off a puff of brine. When I drew the air through my lips, I picked out what I could swear was buttered cornbread.

 

Palate:  The unusualness of Seagrass continued with an airy and oily texture. I know that doesn’t sound like a plausible combination, but that’s what it was. The apricot brandy slammed into the front of my palate. It fell off in the middle, allowing notes of soft rye, fried plantain chips, shelled sunflower kernels, and cherry cola. A complicated back featured oak, citrus, green grape, plum, and smoke.

 

Finish:  The smoke and oak flavors continued into the finish and stuck around long enough to be the final notes. Before everything dropped off, the cherry cola, plum, and apricot made an encore presentation and slowly faded.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Let’s get a few things out of the way. I’ve been on a mission to find an enjoyable Canadian whisky for a few years and have come up empty. Gray Label Seagrass was unlike any whiskey I’ve had, Canadian or otherwise, and frankly, it wasn’t even reminiscent of the original Seagrass, except for being just off-the-wall different.

 

It is uncommon for me to consider paying $250.00 for a whiskey – any whiskey. It happens, but the whiskey has to be incredible. Gray Label Seagrass is so unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced; and because of that, I could picture myself saving up for a Bottle. If that’s too much for your budget, you’ll want to find a good whiskey bar and buy yourself a pour or two. You’ll not regret it.



On a final note, I’m not counting this as a “win” for Canadian whisky because this is a one-off. I’m still on that quest. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


 Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Crown Royal DeLuxe Canadian Whisky Review & Tasting Notes



I have been a man on a mission for the last year. I’m determined to find a Canadian whisky that I could enjoy and recommend. So far I’ve come up empty, but I have a number of them in my whiskey library just waiting to be sampled.


I know there are a lot of fans of Canadian whisky, and in particular, Crown Royal. I’m prepared to take some flak with this review, as even my friend Lew Bryson, who I deeply respect, said earlier this week, that he enjoys Crown Royal with his Thanksgiving meal, and then tossed a friendly barb at anyone who hated it. His statement was the driver for me to taste and compose this review in time for Thanksgiving.

 

What is Crown Royal? Aside from being the standard-bearer of what Canadian whisky should be, it was established in 1939 as a means to commemorate the arrival of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth I, the first British monarchs to visit Canada. The blenders at Seagram's Waterloo distillery sampled some 600 different whiskies in an attempt to create the perfect representation. They managed to whittle it down to 50, and it is aged in a variety of cooperages, including new charred oak, vintage charred oak, and French oak.  

 

A fun fact is that from 1939 until 1964, you could not purchase Crown Royal outside of Canada. The final result has remained mostly unchanged by design. It was originally owned by Seagram’s and then sold off to Diageo in 2001. 

 

Some of the blends are single grain whiskies, some of it is a mix of grains. Regardless, all of the grains are sourced from Manitoba and surrounding provinces. It changes in a quest to keep consistency year-to-year, as grains change slightly each growing season. The whiskies are aged at least three years to comply with Canadian regulations. One of the components could qualify as Bourbon if it was made in the United States! Once matured and blended, it is packaged at 40% ABV (80°).  You can expect to pay about $32.99 for a 750ml bottle.

 

I’ve tried Crown Royal before, and I wasn’t a fan. However, it has also been several years since I’ve tried it. As many of us know, our palates tend to change over time, so I’m willing to #DrinkCurious and give Crown Royal another chance.

 

Appearance:  Served neat in my Glencairn glass, this whisky appeared as the color of golden straw. I have no idea if e150a has been added for coloring, but I’d suspect that’s not the case considering how light it is. It formed a medium rim which released a huge, wavy curtain that dropped back to the pool.

 

Nose:  Corn was the first thing I smelled, which was joined by caramel, barrel char, floral perfume, and acetone. Yeah, I remembered that acetone from the last time I tried it. When I drew the air into my mouth, a soft vanilla flavor rolled across my tongue.

 

Palate:  I found the mouthfeel to be silky with a medium weight. The front of my palate picked out corn and vanilla cream. Next up was a blend of brown sugar and rye spice. The back featured oak, nutmeg, and milk chocolate.

 

Finish:  Medium-long in length, what rounded out this whisky were pepper, dry oak, caramel, and milk chocolate.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  The nose was not something I relished. If the acetone wasn’t there, it might have been decent. The palate was okay, as was the finish. The best part of Crown Royal is the mouthfeel. That’s not enough to garner a Bottle rating from me. In this instance, my coronation is a Bar.

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 


 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Revel Stoke Blended Canadian Whisky Review & Tasting Notes

 



I am Whiskeyfellow. I drink whiskey and I know things. I love whiskeys from around the world:  The United States, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, Israel, France, Sweden, India... you get the idea. But, there is one niche of whiskey I've not been fond of, and that's the stuff from Canada.


One of the first non-American whiskeys I tried was a Canadian. To my then untrained palate, it was horrible. I've tried a number of Canadian whiskies since then. I've had some that were upper-tier, such as from Alberta Distillers but there was never a wow factor to any of them. I know Canadian whisky has its fanbase, and I respect that. And, part of the #DrinkCurious lifestyle is the requirement to revisit stuff you didn't like in hopes that a more mature palate (your palate is always maturing no matter how experienced you are) might appreciate it more. To be perfectly frank, I'm looking for a Canadian whisky that will change my mind about Candian whisky.


Canadian whisky has to be mashed, distilled, and aged in Canada for at least three years in small wood barrels, must possess the aroma, taste, and character generally attributed to Canadian whisky, and, finally, can be colored and flavored with caramel.


I'm sure you've heard of Canadian Rye. That's a general term for Canadian whisky. Did you know that in order to be called Canadian Rye, there is no requirement for a single grain of rye in the mash?


After a fairly long hiatus, I'm back to trying something Canadian. In this case, it is Revel Stroke Blended Canadian Whisky. Named after the mountain resort Revelstoke in British Columbia, Revel Stoke is known for its various flavored whiskies. It is owned by Phillips Distilling Co. out of Minnesota. Phillips holds a lot of information close to its vest. The mashbill is unknown. The distiller is unknown. It makes no secret, however, that this is a blend of three-year and eight-year whiskies. A one-liter 80° bottle will set you back about $12.99, making it a very affordable choice.


While the affordability aspect is nice, what's more important is how it tastes.


Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Revel Stoke presented as pale gold in color. It formed a thicker rim that stuck to the wall while the watery legs raced back to the pool.


Nose:  The initial aroma was caramel, which didn't shock me considering the legally allowed caramel additive is a factor. Behind that was an ethanol punch. Once I got past that, I picked up a faint Jolly Rancher green apple smell.  I tried to pull the vapor into my mouth, but there was nothing.


Palate:  The mouthfeel was watery and light. It offered an almost immediate tingle to my tongue but left the hard palate alone. I picked up just two flavors:  corn and toasted oak. Try as I might there was nothing else to be had.


Finish:  The tingle continued into the finish, which was longer than I anticipated based upon the mouthfeel and palate. It consisted of toasted oak, clove, and raw almond.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  This isn't the Canadian whisky to change my mind about Canadian whisky. What this really is is a mixer or something to slam as a shot. Or, it is a whisky to drink for someone who really doesn't like the taste of whisky because there's just nothing there whisky-like, at least in my opinion. I don't buy whiskies for the purpose of having a mixer. I'd rather use a good whisky to make good cocktails. Revel Stoke earns a Bust. You can do much better than this. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs that you do so responsibly.



Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Barrell Seagrass Review & Tasting Notes

 



Barrell Seagrass may be the most unique whiskey I've ever tried. There, I said it!  When it becomes challenging for me to figure out just what I'm tasting, that piques my interest. Each time I took a sip, I was tasting something else.


Seagrass begins with a blend of Ryes from MGP of Indiana and an undisclosed Canadian distillery. They've been finished separately in some rather unusual barrels:  Martinique rum, Malmsey Madiera, and of all things, apricot brandy barrels. If you're trying to imagine what this would taste like, don't bother. I spent a week wondering about it. I was wrong.

 

"Seagrass stands alone as a whiskey, while also inviting the drinker to explore the multitude of influences created by a global approach to sourcing, finishing, and blending. It highlights the grassy oceanside notes we love in rye and the opulence and spice of finishing barrels." -- Joe Beatrice, founder of Barrell Craft Spirits.


If you're unfamiliar with Barrell Craft Spirits, they're blenders. There are good blenders and less-than-good ones. Barrell is in the former grouping. That's not to suggest everything they do is awesome, I've had some blends that have fallen short. But, I've enjoyed most of what I've tried.


Seagrass doesn't carry an age statement, and like everything out of Barrell, it is packaged at barrel proof. In this case, that's 118.4°. You can expect to pay about $89.99, which is about average for a Barrell expression. 


Before I get to the tasting notes and recommendation, I'd like to thank Barrell for providing me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. With that, it is time to investigate this whiskey.


Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, Seagrass was bright bronze in color. It made a thin rim and perhaps the thickest legs I've seen. They were heavy and crashed back into the pool.


Nose:  Here's where things got really different - dried apricot and plum were sweet notes, then brine offered a barrier of sorts, separating out the grass and mustiness on the other end of the spectrum. When I inhaled through my lips, coconut and apricot rolled across my tongue.


Palate:  The mouthfeel was full-bodied and weighty. The front of my palate found candied apricot, peach, pear, and pineapple. Rich, strong pineapple. The middle consisted of chocolate, almond, and caramel. On the back, there was a mixture of cinnamon, molasses, candied ginger, and the bitterness of walnut.


Finish:  Long and warming, the finish had plenty of wood tannin, salted chocolate, molasses, ginger, rye spice, apricot, and pineapple. Again, these are things that are difficult to imagine intermingling with one another. I did find my hard palate zinged quickly, but the sweetness mellowed out any burn the proof may have otherwise presented.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  As I said at the beginning, this is probably the most unusual whiskey I've tried. It was sweet. It was spicy. It was earthy. The challenge became both exciting and a little frustrating. But, as I experienced the frustration, I caught myself smiling because the mystifying quality just worked for whatever reason.  


If you're adventurous and want to really #DrinkCurious, I'm here to tell you this is going to stimulate the heck out of you. Of course, I'm in that camp, which means Seagrass grabs my coveted Bottle rating. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It