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Month: June 2016

Canadian Rockies | Blog # 126

As promised this week I am delving into a new brand to hit Canadian shelves that has garnered some decent press. The Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old is the brainchild of Beverage group Fountana. Distilled by Highwood distillers in Alberta these aged casks were chosen specially by the Fountana team to form the foundation of what will become their core brand. As a caveat I have to let readers know that I have worked for a long time with Fountana sales director Roberto Roberti in various capacities and am excited to have the opportunity to write about their first brand.

“So forgive the possibility of a little bias here but I stand by the taste and experience of this whisky as presented below”

Aged in American oak casks for a minimum of 21 years the mashbill is simple – 100% corn. Slightly unusual for Canadian whisky 100% corn reacts extremely well to additional aging where the sometimes overtly sweet corn base is balanced by barrel added complexity.

Lets get stuck into the dram itself:

Canadian Rockies 21 Year Old Canadian Whisky, 46% ABV no chill filtration and no added colour – Batch number 1

Tasted in the ever faithful go to Glencairn glass

Colour:     Certainly light for a 21 year old whisky and I would think the majority of casks used for this first batch might have been 2nd fill. Having said that the lovely 14 carat gold polish looks inviting in my glass.

Nose:     Recognizable sweet corn notes wrap around alpine meadow floral character much like the heady scents after a serious hike to the top. White chocolate dusted brandy snaps filled with vanilla infused whipping cream.

Palate:     Soft and caressing sweetness that delivers all of the above. The 46% gives it weight and helps to spread it all over the palate giving a complete mouth feel. Rather than a candy apple this reminds me of what a toffee covered pear would taste like if such a thing existed. A firm ripe pair thinly dipped into fresh vanilla toffee on a stick now that would be awesome.

Finish:     Long and sustained notes of ripe pair carried along on the creamy vanilla wave with accents of toffee. The weight is really impressive given the age and the mashbill.

This is a really well balanced whisky which can be harder to accomplish utilizing just corn as the base. This is really yummy and something that especially now that Summer is here will be a go to on the deck when the sun is shining.

“I just saw a press release not long ago about the oldest age statement Canadian whisky ever released which I believe is 35 Years Old under the Canadian Rockies banner”

I am looking forward to trying that because based on this 21 year old I can only think that this freshness will still be evident after another 14 years in cask but the added complexity should be amazing.

Always exciting for a company to branch out with their own brand (I know personally just how exciting) so congratulations to Fountana for taking the plunge and for being so selective in releasing such a delicious combination of casks under their Canadian Rockies label. For around $ 69 on the shelf this is well worth the investment.


Aussie, Jew, Aussie – Oi, Oy, Oi | Blog #125

So here we are at our second whisky of this combined blog. Sorry it has taken a while between drinks here as there has been a lot going on with Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar manufacturing and the launch of our new Rum’s Revenge.

After a delicious Rye it was time for us to get a little serious with a single cask bottling of Balblair from Gordon & McPhail. As one of the oldest independent bottler’s Gordon & McPhail have the enviable status of probably holding more single cask stock than anyone right now. This often means that some of the more rare and interesting bottlings tend to be found under the G&M banner. Without further ado let’s delve into this little beaut.

Gordon McPhail Cask Strength Balblair 21

 Distilled on June 28th 1993 bottled in October 2014

1st Fill Sherry Puncheon

Colour: Dark unctuous tawny port with a touch of hidden gold

Nose: Dark chocolate covered raisins soaked in a Sherry reduction sauce. The smallest hint of a freshly opened box of matches in the background and A touch of antiseptic swab like my mum applied liberally to my brother after he ran his bike into a parked car on the way to the beach wearing nothing but bathers and a beach towel. Poached blood oranges (not at all related to my previous comment) drizzled with chocolate and grande mariner.

Palate: Zesty initially with the higher ABV at first it quickly coats the palate with layers of rich dark chocolate orange peel crescents, quite dry almost fino Sherry like especially with the start being so fleetingly feisty. Ovaltine and warm milk by the fire.

Finish: Big dry sherry finish on this one leaving no doubt how much impact this puncheon had on the Balblair over 21 long years but in a good way.

This is why so many people love Sherry casks. Dessert in a glass is never a bad thing

Water: On this occasion just a wee couple of drops of water was sensational. On the nose sweet caramel came into play and on the palate a bowl of sweet fruit pastels got poured into the mix. Yummo.

This is a perfect example of a whisky where a touch of sulphur is neither off putting nor detrimental. This is an absolutely delicious older sherried cask and one that I would happily shell out for (if I could wrench said bottle out of Joshua’s hands).

“This was really a fun exercise and one that I would happily repeat. It really is interesting to bounce your take off someone as geeky as you are and see how different and alike your experience can be.”

A big thanks to Joshua for getting in on this and for the fun times in Chicago. Looking forward to the next time we have whisky in front of us.

Next week I will be reviewing a new Canadian whisky brand on the older side of the aging tracks.

Until then…

Aussie, Jew, Aussie – Oi, Oy, Oi!