Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pendleton 1910 100% Canadian rye - an Oregon Canadian with rich flavor and astounding creaminess.

The "Round Up" Cowboy logo
Pendleton is a town in Oregon near Mt. Hood (a massive Cascade range volcano) famous for a rodeo. The rodeo, called The Pendleton Round Up has been held since 1910 - thus the name of this whisky. The bottle is decorated with cowboy motifs like a cowboy boot - with the bucking bronco symbol of the rodeo inside a lariat. On the Hood River Distillery web site is a press release explaining "Pendleton Whisky is imported, bottled and marketed by Hood River Distillers of Hood River, Ore., and is available nationwide. The oak barrel-aged whisky uses glacier-fed spring water from Oregon’s Mt. Hood". Nowhere is there a mention of where the whisky was originally distilled - other than the nation of Canada. It's a bit of a mystery. If anyone knows, please enlighten me. Meanwhile, it's what's in the glass that counts.

FYI - I selected this because as I read "Canadian Whisky: The Portable Expert" by Davin de Kergommeaux I felt keenly that in the 3 months this blog has been in operation I have only reviewed one Canadian whisky.  I chose this one because Davin's description was so colorful.

Pendleton 1910 12 year old 40% abv 100% Canadian rye. Hood River Distillers

Color: intense coppery amber. A pure metallic copper color with golden highlights. Stunning!

Nose: sweet toffee, gentle citrus, soft heather, graphite, leather and distant cedar. A gentle yet oddly appetizing scent. Not one you'd nose all night - but really nice and inviting.

Entry is clean and off-dry with subdued treacle herbal sugars and a kiss of sweet oak. The mouthfeel is rich with silky viscosity. Mid-palate blooms with rye's sweet herbal peppery heat and a lovely creamy sensation. Black pepper, anise, chalk mineral and rich sweet cream dominate the mid-palate and much of the finish with its medium in length and incredibly smooth and gentle. There are whispers of cedars and pines as the sweet cream and herbal pepper fade. At the end there is creamy mouth coating with a hint of cherry malted milk glow. Tannin bite and oak presence are virtually absent at the end.

Repeated sips and extended air reinforce the drill. Bold herbal rye in a velvet tuxedo holding a White Russian. The signature of rye is unmistakable, but the smooth creaminess and ultra easy finish is unlike anything I've tasted - even the smooth and creamy Russell's Reserve 6. This is unmistakably Canadian whisky, yet more polished and less spirity than most. Delicious. Compulsively drinkable.

Perhaps gratuitously I added a drop of water. It amps up the herbal heather in the nose and ups the creamy sweetness into cream soda territory. I like it - but it's unnecessary. It risks taking softness and gentleness into the territory of "flabby".

Bottom line - cowboy whisky is my new whisky crush. I'll be looking at Canadian whisky with a new eye.  This is only missing a bit of august refinement for five stars


Retails for $39.95.  Shopper's Vineyard has it for $31.95.  An excellent value at the price.


  1. Given that it's a 100% rye, the whiskey is probably being sourced from the same distillery that supplies Whistlepig, Jefferson's rye and Masterson's.

    I'm glad to hear a good report of this one. It has a couple of years on the other private label bottlings, though the fact that they brought it down below 45% and still want just as much money for it makes me a little hesitant. If you like this one, I'd highly recommend Jefferson's 100% rye. It has a little bit higher bottling proof, so there's a little more heft to the spirit. As a small downside, there seems to be some batch-to-batch variation, but the bottle I got was absolutely top-notch:

    1. Great tip on the Jefferson's - and great review, Jordan. Pendleton's 1910 at $32-$35 is very well priced. I, too, wonder how it would play at 43-45% abv. I suspect that the heat and pow would compromise the smooth finish. It might be worth it, however, for the richer flavors.

  2. I noticed you had a question above about where this is actually distilled and aged. It is in my hometown! The whisky is crafted from 100 % rye, distilled and oak-aged by Alberta Distillers Limited (ADL) in Calgary, Alberta Canada for 12 years.

  3. Thanks so much! Hard to believe it's made at the same distillery as Alberta Premium, Whistlepig, and Masterson's. The flavor signature is very different. More soft creamy cherry malted rather than the more , clean pointedly sweet and herbal pow others. Davin De Kergommeaux said that they use a different production method for this stuff but wouldn't provide any additional details. Clearly additional research is necessary.