Review: Pendleton Director's Reserve Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Pendleton DR.jpg
20 Years
Distiller N/A (Canada)

This whisky is probably has my favorite presentation, of all the whiskies I've discovered. When you open the magnetized box, you are met with a whiff of the smell of leather - a terrific smell, coming from the leather "saddle" made for the bottle - designed by Randy Sever who made saddles for nearly 70 years, and who, at one time, was the Pendleton round-up director. There was an earlier version, released around 2010, also 20 years old. Some say that Pendleton whisky is sourced from Alberta (perhaps because of the 100% rye Pendleton 1910), however, they don't disclose where it is from and a few Canadian distilleries make 100% rye whisky.

Review (2017)

  • Batch: 2017

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

Rich business here! Oaky, and exceedingly rich – maple, spice, dried berries – more drawn out and slower than the other pendletons. Rich, almost in a rum sort of way. The oak is there, adding a brilliant firm oaky backbone to the whisky. Sharp orange peel, leather, clove, cinnamon, root-rich earth, dried corn husks, light mint, and a rich oily quality that comes with good oxidation and age.

The palate is oaky and rich, with lots of oak, spice and orange zest. Good mouthfeel, with some terrific buttery grain at the core. The finish is enduring, with the standard Canadian whisky spices and corn husks. The spices and body grow as you drink more of it, and the dryness develops and corn shines through. Quite nice. The finish is unmistakeably Pendleton. Definitely better and more complex than 1910, which I also quite like – more subtle, less bold, and less sweet.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low. Cool bottle, and good whisky, but pricy (around $200)