Spiced Rum Round 4 – Whaler’s (Champ) VS Elements Eight (Challenger)

1) Whaler’s Spiced Rum – Bishop Wines & Spirits (Mira Loma, CA, USA), 35% ABV – 750ml$39.50 CAD @ Liquor Depot Dilworth in Edmonton, AB (7/2010 price)

  • “Made from Hawaii’s legendary recipe”


2) Elements Eight Spiced Rum – Elements Eight Rum Company Ltd. (London, England, UK), 40% ABV – 700ml$59 CAD (after 10% off) @ Sherbrooke Liquor in Edmonton, AB (3/2011 price)


  • 8 step process: 1) Terroir (St. Lucia climate) -> 2) Cane -> 3) Water (tropical water) -> 4) Fermentation (3 strains of yeast) -> 5) Distillation (Kentucky Bourbon Vendome pot still, using “heart only) -> 6) Tropical Ageing (American oak Bourbon barrels) -> 7) Blending (10+ single rums) -> 8) Filtration
  • 2x the price point of “standard” rums ($60 vs $30)
  • Fancy and classy bottle



  • Whaler’s (WH): 50/50 blend of vanilla-molasses & alcohol detection
  • Elements Eight (E8): nutmeg, orange, coffee nib, biscuity liquid toffee
  • E8 is much cleaner and more enticing

Taste & Texture:

  • WH: thinnish, a mix of cinnamon/nutmeg with vanilla and alcohol at the start, medium-high heat with dryness as the finish
  • E8: explicitly full-bodied. Slick, big orange coffee up front (much like Pyrat Rum Cast 1623), clove, cascading waves of controlled molasses sweetness, cocoa, subdued medium alcoholic heat. Finally a good sipping spiced rum.
  • WH: watery feel, vanilla, dull. E8: oily, big orange coffee bean, smooth rounded sipper. E8 is FAR superior.

In a Rum & Coke

  • Whaler’s & Coke is cola-caramel forward with dry lime juice and oils in the mids to finish.
  • Elements Eight & Coke is aggressively sweet sticky-tart with a incompatible cloying orange flavour in the mids, finishing unclean with cocoa-cola.
  • Whaler’s is more enjoyable in a cola mixer.

Final Notes:

  • Whaler’s has a decent of mix of cinnamon/nutmeg, toffee and vanilla but is thin and has harsher detectable alcohol.
  • Elements Eight has a luscious rush of orange nutty coffee bean, tanginess, and toffee-cocoa.

WINNER = the challenger Elements Eight. You can taste the rich difference in quality. Finally, a tasty sipping spiced rum that has left the rest behind (Sailor Jerry’s, Devil’s Triangle, Captain Morgan’s, Whaler’s), but less than perfect in a Rum & Coke.

Fraîcheur du Soir 2011 – Brasserie Trois Dames (Saint-Croix, Switzerland)

Fraicheur du Soir (Blanche double malt) 2011 – Brasserie Trois Dames, 7% ABV, 75 cl., (Saint-Croix, Switzerland)

  • Style: Sour Ale / Wild Ale
  • Taste: Sour soft tart grapefruit apple barley malt light pukey woody clean
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek / Vancouver
  • How much: $16 CAD (10% off) – 750 ml., September 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes
  • What was the impression: sour yet clean and composed

Visual: (cellared for 5 years). Pours translucent marmalade orange with large bits of suspended yeast, no head, active tight clustered micro streams.

Nose: liquid barley malt, mild woody dank (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: sour, light crisp, soft-puckery

Mid-palate: (lvl-3-sweetness), sour fleshy grapefruit, subdued subtle pukey, apple undertones, sweet barley malt backbone

Finish: woodiness, subtle bittersweet citrus peel, residual pukey malt

Summary: It says it is a blanche but it drinks unlike any witbier I’ve ever had. With no wheat listed in the ingredients, this one drinks darker but still has bitter orange peel nuances, though I’m not getting much coriander. Great all around balance and a unique style.

Spiced Rum Round 3 – Captain Morgan (Champ) VS Whaler’s (Challenger)

2 Years later and never too late for Round 3. This time Captain M is going up against it’s piratey competitor Whaler’s. Which one will win the booty? Which one will walk the plank? Let’s find out. R2 here and R1 here.

1) Original Spiced Rum – Captain Morgan (Diageo), 35% ABV – 750ml, (Global), $31.61 CAD @ BC Liquor Stores (11/15/2017 price)


  • blend of Caribbean and Canadian rum
  • in colour (but still rather light), aged in oak barrels for up to 1 year. Caribbean spices used (wiki)

2) Whaler’s Spiced Rum – Bishop Wines & Spirits (Mira Loma, CA, USA), 35% ABV – 750ml$39.50 CAD @ Liquor Depot Dilworth in Edmonton, AB (7/2010 price)

  • “Made from Hawaii’s legendary recipe”



  • Captain Morgan (CM) has an noticeable alcoholic nasal edge, vanilla, and butterscotch. Semi-smooth.
  • Whaler’s (WH) is much more subdued and clean. Bubblegum, a touch of cinnamon, and cola notes emerge in the mids and just a bit of alcohol detection emerges at the finish.
  • CM = vanilla+alcohol WH = bubblegum+cola. Winner = Whaler’s, simply cleaner.

Taste & Texture:

  • CM: Too thin flavoured to enjoy as a sipper, plus the alcohol detection kicks in almost from the very start. The vanilla is very faint but I must say I just noticed a peppery spiciness from the mids to finish that is decently pleasant. Tastes cheap because it is.
  • WH: Thicker on the palate, bringing a much more composed and complete profile. Brighter and a sharper bite at the start, while drying out by the finish. Cinnamon, cola, and nutmeg along with a bit of caramel comprise of the discernible flavours. There is medium throat heat and warmth that lingers. Flavours are muted, decent but not great.
  • CM = thin-bodied vanilla+butterscotch, WH = cola+alcohol throat heat, but complete.

In a Rum & Coke

  • Captain & Coke is smooth with lots of cola caramel and lime oils painted on the palate. Somewhat cloying at the finish.
  • Whaler’s & Coke is a touch sharper and black pepper spicier, finishing drier with lingering vanilla notes.

Final Notes:

  • Captain Morgan is smoother, cheaper, and more accessible.
  • Whaler’s has more complexity and spicy length, but comes at a price of more alcohol heat.
  • Both come across as imperfect spiced rums.

WINNER = the challenger Whaler’s Spiced Rum, offering more complexity, balance, and refined mixability.

Blueberry off-dry Dessert Wine 2011 – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)

  • My Rating: FAIL

Blueberry off-dry Dessert Wine 2011 – Isabella Winery, 11% ABV – 375 ml., (Richmond, BC, Canada) (*local BC fruit wine*)

on the back label:

“Overlooking the historic Fraser River in the heart of blueberry country, Isabella Winery balances blueberry characteristics in this off-dry dessert wine. Delicious drizzled over vanilla ice cream” (same description as their Blueberry Dessert Wine [C+])


  • Style: (Blueberry) Dessert Wine
  • Taste: Sour tangy acidic muddled short blueberry vinegar cloying rough tannic
  • Where I got it : @Winery
  • How much: $17 (after 15% off) – 375 ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: you’re joking
  • What made an impression: crap quality

Visual: (cellared for 4.5 years). Pours deep dark purple, suspended large bits of sediment.

Nose:  (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: big sour, medium acidic cloying

Mid-palate: (lvl-1-sweetness), tannic rough, tangy blueberry juice, berry vinegar,

Finish: tart rough palate, dry

Summary: It is way too sour acidic-vinegary and lacks counterbalancing sugars to make it enjoyable as a dessert wine; Total waste of time and money, not recommended at all.

(a “why would anyone drink this?” moment…)

The Joe Shack (Rhubarb Cider) – Left Field Cider Co. (Logan Lake, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: [D+]

The Joe Shack (Rhubarb Infused Cider) – Left Field Cider Co., 6.7% ABV, 500ml, (Logan Lake, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)

On the front-right label:

“….this cider is made by infusing our full juice cider with fresh pressed rhubarb, the result – the perfect way to kick back after a long day in the summer sun.”


  • Style: (flavoured – rhubarb) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Tart tangy acidic off-dry dull apple mild rhubarb unclean
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $9 CAD (after 5% off) – 500ml., October 2017
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: no
  • What made an impression: dull unappetizing flavour

Visual: Pours crystal clear blush pink with large bubbles hugging the side of the glass, sporadic fast bubbles surfacing.

Nose: cotton candy, tangy apple acidity, mildly dank (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: tart, flat, juicy acidic impression

Mid-palate: cloying apple juice, (lvl-2-sweetness), dull body, sticky tangy acidic tart

Finish: rhubarb tartness, thickened saliva, unclean vegginess

Summary: The dull cloying apple body combined with off-dry mids, too much tart-tanginess, and a flat CO2 equates to a subpar experience. The apple-rhubarb flavour itself is very muddled to the point where you are not sure what it is you are drinking. Definitely the worst of the five ciders I’ve tasted to date.

Whiskey Barrel Aged Porter – Powell Street Craft Brewery (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Whiskey Barrel Aged Porter – Powell Street Craft Brewery, 6% ABV – 27 IBUs, 650 ml., (Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)

on the back label:

“We’ve aged a robust porter for six months in American whiskey barrels. Notes of cherry and vanilla enhance the subtle dark fruit and coffee flavours of this limited edition beer.


  • Style: (whiskey barrel aged) Porter
  • Taste: Heavy sweet caramel toffee malt alcoholic vanilla
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N. Bby
  • How much: $9 CAD (after 12.5% off) – 650 ml., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nah, not enough balance
  • What made an impression: aromatic vanilla from barrel aging

Visual: (cellared for 1.5 years). Pours heart of darkness black with a small 1cm frothy head, 1mm retention, lots of fast tight clustered streams.

Nose: brown sugar molasses malt, vanilla (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp-fizzy-airy, sweet impression

Mid-palate: tingly-bloated, sweet cocoa, cloying heavy (lvl-7-sweetness), light woody, sweet caramel-toffee malt, tangy alcohol

Finish: vanilla, cherry-dark fruit, mild bittersweet

Summary: Decent body, but too much persistent sweetness that becomes cloying and heavy on the palate. The whiskey barrel influence is certainly there, but it’s lacking in creaminess and finesse to balance it out.

La Pitoune (Pils) – Le Trou du Diable (Shawinigan, QC, Canada)

La Pitoune (Pils) – Le Trou du Diable, 5% ABV, 375 ml., (Shawinigan, Quebec, Canada)

on the back label:

“The Pitoune Pils offers and intense aroma of grain and hops, topped with a rich, thick cream. The palate is both fresh and crisp, and the bitterness comes through with each sip for a refreshing experience.”

Ingredients: water, malted barley, hops, yeast.


  • Style: (unfiltered lager) Keller Pils
  • Taste: Tangy bright off-dry citrus grainy barley
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $8.70 (after 10% off) – 375 ml., November 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: sure
  • What made an impression: clean grainy barley with depth

Visual: (Cellared for 2 years). Pours cloudy bright yellow-orange with a 1cm head, a thin layer of micro retention, a few microbubbles here and there.

Nose: musky apricot-pineapple malt, honey. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp, smooth almost creamy CO2

Mid-palate: bright, light tangy, very grainy barley malt malt, dry (lvl-1-sweetness), hint lemon

Finish: apricot, subtle hop dry bitter, residual grainy

Summary: A fine balance of bright barley grain accented by slight citrus and subtle hops. This goes well with any meal. A fine lager, which I don’t particularly lean toward in preference.