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Snake River Stampede Canadian Whisky

Snake River Stampede
Canadian Whisky


By Robert Plotkin

Whisky enthusiasts are driven by the sense of discovery. Few things are more satisfying than finding a new sensational whisky to savor and introduce to their friends. Snake River Stampede Canadian Whisky is just such an undiscovered treasure. Distilled in Canada and sherry-finished in Oregon, there's nothing on your backbar or retail shelves remotely like it. So if you're in the market for an extraordinarily smooth whisky that's loaded with character yet affordably priced, here's the ticket.

Launched in 2006, Snake River Stampede Whisky is comprised of a proprietary blend of Canadian grain whiskies—both column- and pot-distilled—that are aged to perfection in charred, American white oak barrels. When the whiskies have reached optimum maturity, they are blended to a specific taste profile and then put into sherry casks for an additional 6 months of maturation. Afterwards the whisky is transported to Indio Spirits in Portland, Oregon and where it is bottled at 40% alcohol (80 proof).

Spend a few moments alone with this whisky and you'll become a fan for life. It has a golden/burnished copper color, a medium-weight, satiny textured body and an enticing nose of butterscotch, caramel, ginger, vanilla, dark chocolate and pralines. To derive the full impact of the whisky's brilliant aromatic display, allow it a good 10 minutes alone in the glass to sufficiently breathe. Your patience will be richly rewarded.

The initial entry on the palate is malty and spicy warm. It then quickly expands filling the mouth with an explosion of flavors—zesty citrus, caramel, cloves, cinnamon, cacao, black pepper and honey. Other blended whiskies would kill to taste this good. The finish is long, peppery and a touch smoky.
Snake River Stampede Whisky is so vivacious that sipping it neat is a must. That said, it's also an inspired choice to feature in whisky-based cocktails and mixed drinks. Its ultra-reasonable price makes that a viable option.

Every year in July the Snake River Stampede Rodeo draws thousands of riders, rodeo fans and country music lovers to Nampa, Idaho. Over its 95-year history, the weeklong event has grown to be the 8th largest rodeo in the world and its huge purse of $400,000 attracts the best and the brightest stars in the sport.

Kudos to both the rodeo and the whisky it inspired.