Tag Archives: canadian

Caribou Crossing Canadian Whisky Review

Producer: Sazerac/Buffalo Trace. Distiller: undisclosed. ABV: 40%. Age: NAS. Mashbill: undisclosed (blend). Price: $45-50.

A salute to our friends up North tonight with the Caribou Crossing — billed as Canada’s first single-barrel whisky since the 19th century.

I jumped on this when it popped up at K&L Wines Hollywood a few months back as a way to start expanding my palate for Canadian whisky. Until then, I’d had little, and only truly enjoyed the Lot 40 Rye. (I know some of you will say Green Apple Jolly Ranchers, but I love it.) The Caribou Crossing came recommended by Canadian Whisky guru Davin de Kergommeaux, and got a respectful writeup from Mark Bylok in his fine book The Whisky Cabinet. Good start.

How is it? A very light but enjoyable dram — though not the revelation the Lot 40 was. Nose: Rye, plum, fruitcake, malted milk. Marzipan. Maybe a touch of jasmine. Plus a whiff of neutral grain spirit for the first few drams — uh oh — though this faded with a week or two and 1/3 of the bottle gone. Palate: orange marmalade, with alternating stewed fruits and preserves. Mouthfeel is where it falls down. At 40% ABV, it’s awfully light. The Lot 40 is 40% too, but a flavor bomb. The Caribou Crossing is much shyer. Finish: very little to speak of, just a hint of almond oil and pencil shavings.

As a Sazerac/Buffalo Trace product meant to raise Canadian whisky’s profile in the US — hand-picked from 200,000+ barrels of Canadian juice that Saz/BT has laid up — why play into the American prejudices about Canadian whisky by releasing it at such a low proof?

I’d be quite curious to try a more potent future release along these lines. As for the Caribou Crossing, I’m glad I tried it. But I’m getting another Lot 40 next. – BO

Masterson’s 10-Year-Old Rye Review

Distiller: Alberta Distilling Co, Producer: 35 Maple St. 45% ABV. Mashbill: 100% rye. Price: $70-80.

When Mark Bylok — author of the excellent book The Whisky Cabinet and host of The Whisky Topic podcast — recommends you try a whisk(e)y, there’s going to be a good reason.

Masterson’s 10-year-old rye is sourced from Alberta Distillers, the same house that initially provided all of Whistlepig’s juice. Masterson’s is also bottled in the U.S. — in this case, by Sonoma, CA-based 35 Maple St. Between its $80 retail price and the rather silly marketing about buffalo hunter and wild man Bill “Bat” Masterson, I started out skeptical.

But as always, the proof is in the bottle. And it’s delicious.

Sweet honeyed nose along with a strong familiar rye note from the 100% rye recipe — but not biting. The age helped. Rounded palate that moderates the sweetness with citrus, tobacco, and a dry, somehow grown-up Chardonnay note at the end. I kept thinking, “This is what I want Canadian whisky to taste like!”

This would be an easy daily drinker for me — especially in the summer — were it not for the premium price. $80 is awfully steepĀ given what else is on the market. I’ve heard rumors it can be found at Costco for $50, which seems more appropriate.

But if you’re a rye fan and see it out, definitely try a dram. Thanks for the tip, Mark! – BO

Buy Masterson’s 10-Year-Old Rye online at Mash + Grape