Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Rum - Ironworks Distillery Amber

Picked up a bottle of Ironwork`s Amber rum at the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market. Ironworks Distillery is a local spirits producer based out of Lunenburg who pride themselves by using local ingredients for the distilling of rum, vodka, gin and assorted brandies.

"Ironworks is a micro-distillery located in the old port of Lunenburg on Nova Scotia’s historic South Shore. We take our name from the 1893 heritage building we call home: a marine blacksmith’s shop that once produced ironworks for the shipbuilding trade. We craft our spirits with the same love of traditional methods and attention to detail...."


Their Bluenose dark rum is currently available at the local NSLC stores but both the amber and light rums currently need to be purchased at the distillery, online or at special venues like the farmers market. Having had the Bluenose rum previously(sidebar - very nice dark rum that is not super sweet with hints of caramel and vanilla) I was keen on sampling the amber.

The market was very busy on a Saturday morning but I had the opportunity to sample and eventually purchase a 750 ml of the amber rum for about $38 CDN. Not cheap by mass produced rum standards but decent considering it is a local small batch distillery.

The packaging is very well done. Minimal labeling in an uniquely designed bottle. Complete with a stopper and not a metal screw on cap. Very nice presentation focusing upon the golden hue of the rum.

Neat in the glass the amber rum has a nice silky mouth feel possessing an initial burn followed by a slightly harsher finish. The website says the rum is aged in oak barrels for a "year or more" but (I thought) the server at the market mentioned it could be aged up to two and a half years? Regardless it is a typical young amber rum and I think that shows in the tasting. The aging in bourbon oak is noticeable in color and taste and, in my opinion, gives the rum a whiskey like characteristic.

In the glass over ice is where this rum really shines for my tastes. The slow melt of the ice cubes does not affect the silky mouth feel but does smooth out the finish. The addition of cubes makes this a decent sipper, especially if you prefer a moderately oaky rum.

Sidebar - I did sample the five year old amber at the market. It was really nice but substantially more expensive.

Pretty nice rum. It`s local too......always a good thing.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Nalgene Stainless Steel Water Bottle

The wide mouth version by Nalgene might just be the most versatile stainless steel water bottle available. Made from Guyot Design surgical grade 316 (18/10) stainless steel it is virtually bulletproof in a 34 ounce format.


I picked up one from The Canadian Outdoor Equipment Co online store after doing some research. The versatility of the bottle is in its construction; a heavier and unlined stainless steel without any seams. The wide mouth version makes for easier cleanup but also can be used on heat sources for boiling water or preparing food. That is where it excels. Unlike the competition it has a pronounced bottom lip that facilitates the secure fastening of a wire, small chain or paracord when using the bottle suspended over an open fire.

I also like the fact it fits into my GSI cup for ease of transport and also fits most standard water filters on the market.

Awesome bottle. A must for any pack.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sardines - Little Big Fish!

I know what you are thinking - sardines! Yuck! Before you pass judgement give this a read. They do require a bit of an acquired taste but are well worth the effort.

Little BIG Fish

From the Clupeidae family sardines offer lots of nutritional value in such a small package. Loaded with vitamins and minerals they pack a serious punch.....

"Canned sardines contain energy, protein, lipid or fat, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, and zinc. Vitamins in sardines include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, A, D, E and vitamin K. The fatty acids found in them include total saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and cholesterol."

Better yet is their small stature offers three additional benefits; they are relatively mercury free due to their shorter lifespans, canned sardines include their bones which are small and soft enough to eat with no issues(a better "nose to tail" nutritional profile) and are cheap.

As a sidebar if they are captured using a purse seine there is very little by-catch so they are a better environmentally friendly choice.

How good are they and what health benefits do they offer?



What Kind to Buy?

There are a legion of options. I prefer the varieties packed in water as you get all the benefits but not the added calories of oils or flavorings like mustard, lemon or hot sauce. Sardines packed in olive oil may be more expensive but far better than cheaper ones in soya oil. That said if you need to mask the fishy flavor with oils/added flavors then so be it.

They taste fishy!

Yes they do...they are fish after all. If you don`t mind the price increase opt for the Brisling variety of North Sea/Baltic sardines packed in extra virgin olive oil. Not only are they delicious but have little after taste. In my opinion they are the "caviar" of sardines. A perfect choice for the discriminating fish eater.