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Pendleton Blended Canadian Whisky

Pendleton Blended
Canadian Whisky


By Robert Plotkin

Founded in 1934 after receiving their state's first distiller's license (DSP-OR-1), Oregon's Hood River Distillers is the largest and oldest importer, producer, bottler and marketer of fine spirits in the Pacific Northwest. The company is located near the town of Hood River in the Columbia River Valley. With majestic Mt. Hood as its backdrop, the distillery began by making fruit wines and brandies from the apples, pears and berries that were going to waste as excess production from the valley's abundant harvests. As impressive as their portfolio is, Hood River Distillers' most prestigious accomplishment may well be Pendleton Blended Canadian Whisky.

Launched in 2003, Pendleton is distilled and oak barrel-aged in Canada. After reaching maturity, the whisky is brought to Hood River Distillers where it is rendered to 40 percent alcohol by volume (80 proof) using the glacier-fed spring water from Mt. Hood, Oregon's highest mountain peak.

When people describe a whisky as being smooth as silk, Pendleton is what they must have in mind. Delicious and smooth are the two best descriptors. Little wonder why it is one of the fastest growing whisky brands in America. Pendleton has an amber/golden hue and a bouquet saturated with the aromas of caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, tobacco and spicy ginger. Its aromatics are simply spectacular. On the palate, this Canadian gem delivers loads of flavors, including malt, raisins, spice, honey and chocolate covered almonds. The finish is fruity, slightly spicy and touched with a hint of smoke.

Pendleton Whisky was created to celebrate the bold spirit of independence and the hard work ethic of the American cowboy and cowgirl. It celebrates the rich tradition of the century old Pendleton Round-Up, one of the most famous rodeos in the world. The brand has been a major sponsor of the international event since its inception and the bottle bears the rodeo's famous bucking horse symbol and the "Let'er Buck" slogan.

In late 2011, the brand launched Pendleton 1910 Canadian Rye Whisky, a limited edition whisky that commemorates the year of the first-ever Pendleton Round-Up. The whisky is distilled in Canada from 100 percent rye and barrel-aged for a minimum of 12 years. After blending, it is transferred to Hood River Distillers where it is rendered to 40 percent alcohol by volume (80 proof) using glacier-fed spring water from Mt. Hood.

Like its predecessor, Pendleton 1910 is extraordinarily smooth and flavorful. The dark amber whisky has a medium-weight, satiny textured body and a gloriously spicy nose. It bathes the palate with the flavors of butterscotch, toffee, vanilla, maple and red fruit. The finish is long and satisfying.

Both of the Pendleton whiskies deserve to be sampled neat to be truly appreciated. Few distilled spirits are this easy to drink. That said, they are superb whiskies to feature in Manhattans or Old Fashioneds.

As they say, "Let'er Buck!"