Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pendleton Blended Canadian Whisky Review:

She drank Canadian whiskey
Pure blended whiskey
She drank it like wine
Her eyes were the color of Canadian whiskey
Pure blended whiskey
So light brown and fine
- Tom Russell, Canadian Whiskey

I’ve had many requests on particular whiskies people want to see on this blog and I have to say, for some reason, Pendleton is one of the main requests I receive. Maybe the fact that I had been living in Oregon for sometime has something to do with it? I also find there is some sort of religious devotion to the whole drink – whole families will swear by it. You'll just have to decide for yourself whether it is worth the all commotion. 

Pendleton is produced by Hood River Distillers using “glacier water” from Mt. Hood, which is distilled in Canada, and then brought back past country lines to Oregon where it is be bottled. Being distilled in Canada it is appropriately branded as a Canadian whisky. The first thing that I would say about that is that it seems to be a bit much just to make whisky. Yes, I said it. The transportation of the water and distillate past state and country lines seems excessive, and I am never very much a fan of something so unsustainable and not, “of its place.” That being said, I am not making a huge issue of this. And for those who will get up in arms that I even hint any whisky making process as excessive, I don’t apologize. Fresh water is great – but don’t they have any good water up in the untamed land of Canada? Just a thought. So, now that we can move past that, let us turn to the actual whiskey:

Pendleton Blended Canadian Whisky Review:

Price: Around $23.99 for a 750ml bottle. Can’t beat that price.

Packaging/Labeling: The bottle is nicely stylized – it is shooting for a very distinct market.

Alcohol Content: 40% abv, 80 proof – typical Canadians.

Nose: At 80 proof I am surprised at the phenolic introduction, even after the bottle is half gone and allowing time for it to sit at least 10-15 minutes. Smells young and green. New-make on the nose. Unripe lime, lemon, and sour Lemonhead candy. Lime slushy. Not as sweet as I was expecting on the nose.

Palate: The palate is much different than the nose with a creamy Werthers’ and honey arrival. I get a delicate mint and floral note with beach wood and leather expanding into light smoke. There is a hint of buttery rye on the finish. Undemanding, and polite. 

Conclusion: This is a whisky which exceeds that of many Canadian whiskies produced. As John Hansel has said, most Canadian whiskies are too harsh when they are young, but they tend to get too woody when they are aged more than ten years. While the nose is somewhat off, as my wife says, “Smells like hairspray, taste like vanilla,” the age and drinkability allows Pendleton to break away from the mold.  

I do have to say something about their target market: with a label that states, “Let 'er buck!” and being that it is produced in Oregon (/Canada), can we at least up the abv a little bit? But hey, maybe today’s cowboys are a bit more sensitive than they use to be? We know that Canadian whisky is generally going to be a light style of whiskey, but I believe that Pendleton is the perfect agent for changing some views to the betterment of the style by presenting their brand as a true craft product. Mildly recommended.


  1. thank you! Yes, the nose is of hairspray (albeit caramel hairspray). Please thank your wife for me, was starting to think I was insane given the really positive reviews from others. Hard for me to get past that nose, I'm hoping my friends will enjoy it as a hand-me-down bottle

  2. I may be a 21 y/o young'un, but this is the only whiskey I will sip on. In fact I'm sipping on it right now. HAHA!