October 2011 Archives

Blanton's Original Single Barrel Bourbon

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I first discovered Blanton's Original Single Barrel while on a family vacation in North Carolina. I told the shopkeeper that I was looking for a good quality sippin' Bourbon of a similar pedigree to that of Old Rip Van Winkle. Without blinking, he turned to the shelf, picked up a bottle of Blanton's and said, "This is what you're looking for. Smooth like Ol' Pappy, I drink it neat." 

Turning the bottle over in my hands, I was intrigued by both the design and the uniqueness of the spirit contained within. According to my bottle's label: "This Bourbon whiskey was dumped on November 16, 2009 from Barrel No.6 , Stored in Warehouse "H" on Rick No. 56." I pondered the words and thought,"how many other bottles from this barrel are still around?" I searched for an age statement and discovered that it's not blended with other spirits or Bourbons in the distillery and, that due to the variable nature of each maturation process, there's no "standard" age statement. 

Basically when it's ready, it's ready. 

"Well," I said, "the price is right and this does look interesting....I'll take it!"

8Blantonstoppers.jpgIn case you need any more incentive to buy a bottle, there are 8 different variations of the horse and jockey figure on the bottle stopper. 

Ardbeg Tasting at Harbour Sixty

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Harbour Sixty EntranceMatchmaking has long been a skill that mankind has sought to perfect. But pairing a tasting of a Scotch whisky with a cult following with arguably Toronto's most venerated steakhouse may just be the pinnacle of such quests to occur in Toronto this year. 

Combining rich ambiance, a knowledgeable and personable group, fantastic food and drink, and some excellent news, LVMH and DDB served to raise the bar for tasting events very early this whisky season. 

Glendower 15 Pure MaltToday's review is of the Glendower 15 Year Old Pure Malt, one of a number of new blended malt whiskies that have been appearing at the LCBO in recent months. While interesting that it has been labelled as a "Pure Malt" - which according to the Scotch Whisky Association is not an official designation, it nonetheless signifies that this expression has had no grain alcohol added - only single malts have contributed to the final product. The bottle states that this whisky finished its ageing process in port pipes (oak barrels previously used to hold port wine).  The whisky is a dark amber colour, and we have our suspicions that caramel colouring may have been added.

Deerstalker (Balmenach) 18

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A recent addition to the shelves of the LCBO, the Deerstalker features a traditional-looking package with an image of a gentlemen whom we agreed must have killed many a deer.  The spirit comes from a Speyside distillery called Balmenach originally established in 1824.  The description doesn't do it any favours with the rhetoric noting "firm character", "high nobility" and "generosity".  So here's an actual flavour profile to sink your palate into.

Glenfiddich 15 Year Old

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Glenfiddich 15yrs SoleraGlenfiddich's 15 Year Old Single Malt has long been a staple on the LCBO's Scotch whisky shelves. While considered something of a "run of the mill" dram, it nonetheless exemplifies what a quality scotch at a reasonable price point should be. Glenfiddich, which is gaelic for "Valley of the Deer", is owned by William Grant & Sons. One of the largest Scottish-owned distillery corporations in Scotland, they also produce The Balvenie, Grant's Blended Whisky and Gibson's Finest Canadian Whisky, among others. Glenfiddich's primary line consists of the 12, 15, 18, and 21 year old expressions. The 15 year old that we are reviewing today is matured in what Glenfiddich calls a Solera vat; a large, Oregon pine tun, which is kept at least half full at all times. In this vat, a combination of whiskies matured in sherry, bourbon & new oak casks are married to produce a consistent and quite pleasing nose and flavour profile.

The Arran Malt - Amarone Cask Finish

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In this author's opinion, no distillery is doing more with wine cask finishing these days than The Arran Malt. In perhaps their most successful wine finish yet, the Amarone Cask Finish takes standard Arran whisky and ages it in casks that previously held Amarone della Valpolicella, a dry Italian red wine. While this whisky is not age-stated, it nonetheless demonstrates how wonderful a properly balanced Scotch can be. Some purists may balk at the strong wine-based flavour profile, however in our opinion this demonstrates how well scotch whisky and wine can play off each other, when properly executed. 


Recent Comments

  • Isabelle Gurble commented on The Famous Jubilee, Special Edition Reserve:

    This looks amazing, something my husband would love. His birth is coming up soon as well.

  • Ryan commented on Forty Creek Heart of Gold:

    Hi Sherry, I think you might be outta luck on this one. Only 9000 bottles of this delicious whisky were produced and I'd wager most - if not all - purveyors have been sold out for quite some time now. If you're looking to sample it, I'd recommend visiting your local whisky bar and checking their list of Canadian whisky offerings. Your only other option would be to try and track down someone willing to give up their bottle? I've got one 2oz sample tucked away and, sorry, I'm keeping it all to myself! :) Good luck! Let us know if you find a bottle!

  • Sherry commented on Forty Creek Heart of Gold:

    Do you know where I can purchase this item?

    Sherry Boutilier

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