Whisky Review: Pendleton Midnight

Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by Pendleton. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

Whisky is a spirit that can be there for you at midnight. Good nights or bad, a dram is generally a welcome addition. It’ll warm you in the cold and add a sweetness to the heat. Nothing is quite so inherently deep and dark.

Except perhaps brandy. It’s been the spirit of aristocrats and the spirit of farmers. Some are unaged and a little rough. Some are Cognac, the most elegant of the grape-based spirits.

Pendleton Midnight brings us both. A portion of the whisky in this expression has spent six years in American brandy casks, adding a depth of flavor. Or shall we say, a darkness? This expression is a bit of a different stroke for Pendleton in terms of inspiration. It still has the same roots in the Pendleton Round-Up, and it still sees some of its production in Oregon. The craft is still largely the same.

What’s different is the ideology. Pendleton’s other expressions incorporate or honor direct elements of the heritage of the Pendleton Round-Up. This bottle honors you, the drinker. Pendleton says it makes this whisky “for the originals, rewarding those who seek to elevate the casual get-together into an extraordinarily memorable experience.”

This is about friendship, camaraderie, and community. Values that are not at all distinct from those of the American West. This may be the very whisky for this moment. The get-together may be over Zoom, and casual may include wearing a mask, but the elements of togetherness and making memories are the same.

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And so I raise my glass of Pendleton Midnight to you: friends, community, the originals. From a safe social distance of course.

Pendleton Midnight

Pendleton Midnight (image via Talia Gragg/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: Pendleton Midnight

Vital Stats: 45% ABV, 90proof, 750ml, $33, a portion of the blend is aged for over six years in American brandy barrels

Appearance: Dark amber, or the sunset shining through Venetian blinds

Nose: Big and boozy, then grows in a candied sweetness.

Palate: Slightly heavy body, a bit viscous. The body is like Terry’s chocolate oranges, caramel, and kettle corn. The finish goes quickly from candy apples to sour oranges.

The Takeaway

Summary

Distilled spirits don’t have sugar, but this bottle almost makes me doubt that. It’s like diving into the candy bowl or the divinity of a Christmas stocking.

And yet it doesn’t feel like a holiday bottle. It feels like a bottle to do exactly what Pendleton suggests - enjoy with friends. I did just that (prior to our recent lockdown and within social distancing guidelines), and it had the desired effect. This expression could have exchanged some of the heavy sweetness for more complexity; it’s a little like midnight at Disneyland. Still, it has depth and some good flavor. Maybe sweet and easy is just right.

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User Rating 4.5 (4 votes)
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