Oh Taste & See: Pendleton Blended Canadian Whisky

What makes a whisky Canadian? Well I guess if you ask the folks at Hood River Distillers, the Oregon-based bottlers of Pendleton Blended Canadian Whisky, the only requirement is for the liquid in the bottle to have been distilled and aged in Canada. Given how much I like their product, I won't argue with them at all.

Pendleton is named after Oregon's Pendleton Round-Up, one of the worlds longest-running rodeos. The bottle features the Round-Up's bucking bronco logo, and all of the marketing seeks to tie this whisky to the romance and intrigue of cowboys and rodeo culture. In fact a portion of the proceeds from each bottle is donated to the Pendleton Round-Up. That's all great, but it does even more to make this seem like a distinctly American (Oregonian?) whisky, even if the liquid itself was made in Canada and the bottle says Canadian Whisky. Oh well, enough nitpickin' about Pendleton's provenance, how does it drink?

Color: Pendleton is whisky colored. It hits the perfect golden, honey brown color that I expect in a good dram, and it even has a bit of a shine to it that makes it look extra intriguing.

Nose: From the first time I popped open the bottle this was a very fragrant whisky, and it only gets more-so in the glass. It has lots of sweet, floral scents such as honey and roses, and also a bit of bright citrus and some maple syrup sweetness.

Flavor: A very easy drinking but flavorful whisky. My only complaint might be that when an 80 proof whisky is this super smooth it has about as much bite as a glass of milk, not what I expected from a "cowboy whisky", but very enjoyable and relaxing. There are lots of sweet tastes at first, some malt, maple syrup, and honey. There are also some cranberry notes and something like graham crackers. There's just enough oaky taste to let you know this whisky isn't super-young, although they don't say how old it is.

Finish: The finish has more sweetness and is just long enough to be full and complete. It also develops some raisin tastes as it lingers. With all the syrupy sweetness, raisins, and graham crackers, I think this would be my pick as a breakfast whisky if I ever needed such a thing.

Overall Pendleton is unique. Not like most Canadian Whiskies I've tried, but certainly not like anything else either. I would certainly recommend it to anyone looking to try something different...good different.