Conversations surrounding Canadian whisky in the U.S. typically center around what bottle of Crown Royal is available behind the neighborhood bar. Despite its popularity in the 60s and 70s, most American whiskey drinkers still don’t have a strong understanding of Canadian whisky.
Lucky for us, the Pendleton brand serves as a nice introduction to the best of what Canadian whisky has offer, and their Pendleton 1910 takes an already impressive whisky brand to the next level. Hood River Distillers, Oregon’s oldest spirits company, established the Pendleton brand in 2003.
Pendleton offers a collection of Canadian blended whiskies distilled in in Canada, imported to the U.S., and brought to bottling proof with water from Mount Hood.
The brand’s name comes from the Pendleton Round-up, a major rodeo in Pendleton Oregon and “one of the top 10 rodeos in the world.” In fact, the Pendleton brand sponsors the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, and is the official whisky of the Professional Bull Riders Velocity Tour. The first Pendleton Round-Up held was held in 1910 and gives the bottle its name.
Pendleton 1910 differentiates itself from the normal Pendleton whisky in that it’s aged for much longer. While regulation dictates Canadian whisky must be aged for at least three years, Pendleton 1910 is aged in oak casks for 12 years. It’s also made from a 100% rye mash bill.
Vital Stats: 12 years old, 80 proof, 100% rye, 750ml bottle retails for around $38
Appearance: The color is that of a well worn saddle – a medium brick hue reminiscent of maple syrup.
Nose: The nose opens with notes of pipe tobacco before revealing the aromas of leather, cardamom spice, and fruit.
Palate: The flavor is smooth and clear with a tidy balance of herbal flavors. The fruit taste becomes more pronounced as traces of stone fruit sweetness (cherry and plum) and ambrosia reveal themselves.
Final Thoughts & Score
This whiskey has earned a permanent spot on my shelf. Of the Canadian whiskies I’ve had the chance to try, The Pendleton 1910 is simultaneously accessible and smooth while balancing more complex and unique flavors than other available Canadian hiskies. This is an uncomplicated whisky of high quality and a thoroughly enjoyable drinking experience and at about $40 a bottle is a great value for its unique flavor.