During the holidays we took a bit of an impromptu trip to Montreal to see family and friends. In preparation of dealing with family and all the other fun that surrounds the holidays I opted to pick up a bottle of Bearface Whisky to see what it was like.

The story section of their website is a little over the top with a video that shows some intense upside down shots, the short of it being they seemed to have “acquired” single grain whisky (with no mention of what that grain is) that has been aged for 7 years in American oak. They don’t mention where this was acquired from other than “distilleries across Canada” so at least we know it’s Canadian. They then finish it in French oak that was previously used for red wine. They don’t mention how long this finishing stage lasts before they put it into Hungarian oak, again for an unknown amount of time. Hungarian is certainly the most interesting oak out of the three but without knowing how long it was in there it’s hard to tell how much it affected the flavour.

A little Google magic and I found a few interesting bits and pieces. For one, the master blender, Andres Faustinelli has little to no blending experience, instead he has mostly been on the business side of alcohol, specifically in pecurement. It’s also interesting that he seems to be based in San Francisco.

It looks like Bearface is part of the Mark Anthony group, best known for their wine companies and Andres has been the VP of Brand Development there.

Not going to let any of that get in the way though: if Tim Hortons can call themselves Canadian when owned by an international corporation, Bearface can be a good Canadian whisky.

On to the tasting notes:

Appearance: Dark gold with strong legs

Aroma: Vanilla and Cinnamon with a hint of bitter dark chocolate.

Taste: A tad confected and combined the vanilla and cinnamon from before. Some black pepper shows up and blends well with some honey.

Aftertaste: Pure honey.

Overall: Relatively simple but enjoyable and great for the price. I’d have it straight but could also work really well in a sazerac but not an old fashioned.

Kole McRae

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