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Canadian

Pendleton Whisky

OVERALL
RATING

Whisky Review: Pendleton Whisky

Tasting Notes:

About:
Appearance:
Bright copper and very translucent with thin, widely spaced legs.
Nose:
Extremely sweet and dominated by caramel and burnt marshmallow. There’s a sharp, bottom-shelf vodka element to the aroma, like toasted wood floating in solvent. More interesting notes poke through, like a faint hint of rye bread crust, but the aroma is overpowered by artificial notes suggesting a mixture of pennies and Werther’s Originals.
Palate:
Also very sweet and driven by notes of caramel, confectionery, and low calorie sweetener. The caramel is pretty artificial tasting, much more reminiscent of a Yankee Candle than burnt sugar. The mid palate offers a bit of rye spice but without much richness or dimension, and quickly peters out into a short, slightly warming finish. Conclusion: Sweet, flat, and thin-bodied, Pendleton Whisky tastes a lot like vodka mixed with grocery store caramel sauce. A few tantalizing rye notes hint at something interesting, but overall this spirit reminds me of nothing more than diet cream soda. You might like Pendleton if you find most whiskies too rough or too dry, but I didn’t find much to enjoy about it. Final Score: 74/100
Finish:
Comments:
Pendleton_1L
Pendleton’s one liter bottle is called a Mustang

Named after the Pendleton Round-Up, Oregon’s largest rodeo, Pendleton Whisky is ubiquitous in the parts of the state where mustaches aren’t ironic. From its red bucking bronco logo to its folksy tagline (“Let’er Buck”), Pendleton has positioned itself as synonymous with all things cowboy. It’s the official whisky of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the presenting sponsor of the All American Pro Rodeo Series. They’ve even renamed their bottle sizes to jive with their Wild West branding: a 375 ml bottle is called a Pony, while the standard 750 is called a Bronco. Want a half-gallon? You’re in the market for a Stallion.

Made by Hood River Distillers, Oregon’s top-selling spirits producer (and recent purchaser of Clear Creek Distillers and their beloved McCarthy’s American Single Malt), Pendleton isn’t actually distilled in Oregon, but rather a blended Canadian whisky aged in oak barrels and proofed with water from Mt. Hood. It recently launched a line extension known as Pendleton Midnight, which matures a portion of the whisky in former brandy barrels.

Pendleton Whisky is widely distributed, and a 750 ml bottle costs around $20.

Tasting Notes:

Appearance: Bright copper and very translucent with thin, widely spaced legs.

Nose: Extremely sweet and dominated by caramel and burnt marshmallow. There’s a sharp, bottom-shelf vodka element to the aroma, like toasted wood floating in solvent. More interesting notes poke through, like a faint hint of rye bread crust, but the aroma is overpowered by artificial notes suggesting a mixture of pennies and Werther’s Originals.

Palate: Also very sweet and driven by notes of caramel, confectionery, and low calorie sweetener.  The caramel is pretty artificial tasting, much more reminiscent of a Yankee Candle than burnt sugar. The mid palate offers a bit of rye spice but without much richness or dimension, and quickly peters out into a short, slightly warming finish.

Conclusion:

Sweet, flat, and thin-bodied, Pendleton Whisky tastes a lot like vodka mixed with grocery store caramel sauce. A few tantalizing rye notes hint at something interesting, but overall this spirit reminds me of nothing more than diet cream soda. You might like Pendleton if you find most whiskies too rough or too dry, but I didn’t find much to enjoy about it.

Final Score: 74/100

 

Margarett Waterbury

Margarett Waterbury is the author of Scotch: A Complete Introduction to Scotland's Whiskies and a full-time freelance writer and editor. Her work has appeared in Whisky Advocate, Food and Wine, Spirited Magazine, Artisan Spirit, Edible Seattle, Sip Northwest, Civil Eats, Travel Oregon, Artisan Spirit, and many other publications. She is the former managing editor of Edible Portland, as well as a cofounder and former managing editor of The Whiskey Wash. In 2017, Margarett won the Alan Lodge Young Drinks Writer of the Year award. She received a fellowship for the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers in 2017 and 2019.

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