Pendleton 1910 Canadian Rye Whisky 40% alc./vol
Butterscotch and maple fudge with cleansing zesty limes. Gingery hot pepper and fresh cooling mint. Crisp charred oak. Rich, weighty, balanced, and ever so complex. Fruity & Spicy. ★★★★☆ If you happen to be in Pendleton, Oregon, any time soon, you may want to mosey on over to Pendleton Cigar & Mixer on Emigrant Avenue, a block south of Highway 30 between S.W. 2nd and 3rd Streets. Right now, this is the only place in the world where you can lay your hands on the latest release from Pendleton Whisky. Three hundred cases – that’s no more than 1,800 bottles – of Pendleton 1910™, a 12-year-old 100% Canadian rye whisky, were delivered to the store early last week. That’s enough to make sure nobody is likely to repeat what some wise-acre did a couple of years ago when Pendleton released another special edition. He walked into the store and bought the whole batch.Pendleton 1910, the latest in the Pendleton line-up, was distilled in Canada from 100% rye grain. It then spent 12 years maturing in charred white oak barrels in a Canadian whisky maturation house. When the whisky was fully mature, Oregon’s Hood River Distillers transported it to its plant in Oregon, added some glacier-fed spring water from Mt. Hood, and bottled it just in time to celebrate the 101st Pendleton Round-Up.The Round-Up runs from September 14 to 17 this year. Pendleton, widely known as “the Cowboy Whisky,” is the official spirit of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and one of the fastest growing premium whisky brands in the U.S. If you can’t make it to Pendleton, have no worries. Limited allocations will be available across the U.S. later in October.The trademarked name, 1910, pays homage to the year of the first-ever Pendleton Round-Up. The whisky comes packaged in a unique bottle intricately embossed with detailing reminiscent of the tooling on a saddle, and features the famous Pendleton Round-Up bucking horse. Incidentally, although the bucking horse symbol with its “Let’er Buck” slogan appears on most Pendleton bottles, this is actually the logo of the Round-Up event itself, and not the name of Pendleton’s most popular whisky. Pendleton donates a portion of its sales to the Round-Up and puts its logo on the bottle to show its support.In announcing the release of Pendleton 1910, Ronald Dodge, president and CEO of Hood River Distillers said, “We are proud of this new and rare 100% Canadian rye whisky. Pendleton 1910 delivers an exceptional, fuller-bodied flavor, but maintains the smooth finish that our Pendleton Whisky drinkers have come to expect.”Dodge and his team recommend that the whisky be served chilled or on ice for sipping and peaceful contemplation, but there is enough flavour here that you may want to try it at least once just as it comes from the bottle.Nose: A rich and complex interplay of butterscotch and maple fudge with crème brulée, vanilla pudding, earthy rye grain, glimmering rye spices, and vaguely herbal overtones. Just slightly dusty and hard as wet slate before it begins to unfold layers of cereal mash, complex floral fragrances, raisins and prunes.Palate: Decadent butterscotch, maple syrup, burned sugar, and French vanilla custard balance fresh tart lime juice, rosewater, and toasted grain. Zesty limes brace the palate for glowing peppery heat, spicy ginger, and the hot-cold luxury of moist menthol tobacco that soon evolves into Canada balsam, pitchy pine sawdust, and charred firewood. Elements of fragrant pipe tobacco meld with sweet dark fruits. It’s as sweet as cherry bourbon but with a spicy rye kick. Fresh, vibrant, bright, and weighty.Finish: Finishes slowly and cleanly with navel oranges, canned pears, pink grapefruit pith and lingering pepper. Maybe just an inkling of peaches surface just as it tails off.Empty Glass: Butterscotch and clean, crispy oak.$39.95 in Pendleton, Oregon, and soon in liquor stores across the U.S.Highly recommended ★★★★☆News update: Pendleton 1910 was awarded a silver medal in the 2011 Canadian Whisky Awards.