Updated: Dec 6, 2018
Reviewing Bearface's 7 year old triple oak Canadian whisky.
Whisky typically gets aged in new or ex-bourbon barrels. Many of those same whiskies are finished in different types of casks: sherry butts, port pipes, wine barrels, etc.
Some whisky sold hasn't been distilled by the bottler but rather, outsourced.
(Think Whistlepig 10 Year Old - Rye whisky distilled in Alberta, aged and bottled in Vermont)
Just putting that out there.
And that's what Bearface Whisky has done. What they've done with their whisky isn't new; however, their story is out front for everyone to see. No hiding. No misdirection.
Bearface Whisky is a blend of single grain Canadian Whiskies that sees time in ex-bourbon barrels. Then, in French oak casks. Finally, the whisky sees the inside of Hungarian oak barrels.
A smart, stylish bottle starts the story off. It's clever, polished and enticing.
All good stories need a strong opening line and here, the bottle promises more than just the same old same old.
The colour is copper rich and luscious paragraph.
The nose brings out one helluva story.
There are all kind of notes that I picked up. First was the airyness - as if a waft of fresh air brought them to the fore. Then it was perfumy, Then oaky and spicy. There's more: there's fruit... red fruit and citrus. There's icing, apple crumble, strawberry ice cream, some candy, creamy custard, tapioca, cherry blossom, cinnamon,
This whisky needs to be fully explored. Not just down the middle with the nose but on edges as well. Top, bottom, left and right. Almost as if turning a page, notes and flavours add to the story.
And, to me, it's not that this whisky, because of the 3 barrel finishing, is having a hard time defining its character. That is its character. Just like the 3-headed knight in Monty Python's And The Holy Grail: one body - 3 characters.
The taste is chili slash black peppery/spicy on the tongue, as if to announce the climax has arrived. It's a not an understated arrival indeed.
That's followed by fruit, custard cream. apple crumble. cinnamon.
The finish is right down the centre.
And it lingers in the throat, just like that final note on the Beatle's "A Day In The Life" fading away ever so slowly.
Lastly, the empty glass brings out the chapter: sweet burnt caramel, vanilla and hazelnut.
Our pairing suggestion:
Different. That's the experience being touted. That's the promise being given.
Whenever someone tries something new and they say: "That's different", that, to me, is because they were expecting a similar experience.
What is different is the Bearface story... but more importantly, how this 7 year old/3 oak whisky tells that story.