Pendleton 1910 Canadian Rye Whisky Review

Pendleton 1910 Canadian Rye Whiskey
Pendleton 1910 Canadian Rye Whisky

When most drinkers reach for a light and easy whisky, it’s often Irish Whiskey which fills their glass. Canadian whiskies don’t have the same kind of reputation as their Irish counterparts, and that’s only partly deserved. A bad Canadian whisky can be a rough experience, but not all Canadian whiskies are bad, Good Canadian whisky can provide a wonderful, light, easy, and flavorful experience, ideal for those just starting to explore the whisky category.

Hood River Distillers has done an exceptional job bringing Canadian whisky to a new audience. Hood River trucks down whisky from Canada, finishes it, and bottles in their facility in Hood River, Oregon. It’s a slight distinction, but by bottling in Oregon and connecting themselves with one of the iconic rodeos in the West, the Pendelton Round Up, Hood River Distillers has helped bring Canadian whiskey to a group of drinkers who may have looked to other categories of spirits or alcohol to imbibe. Riding on the success of their flagship whiskey is Pendleton 1910, a 12 year old rye Canadian whisky, named after the year that the Pendleton Round-Up began.

Pendleton 1910 Canadian Rye Whisky ($39.95, 40% / 80 Proof) – light gold in color,  it’s clear that this whisky has been partially aged in more neutral oak. Canadian whisky can have as little as 40% rye content and be called rye, but Hood River has indicated that this whisky is 100% Canadian Rye. The nose on the 1910 is light and slightly sweet with light vanilla and butterscotch backed by light oak and a subtle tobacco note. The entry is easy and lightly sweet with a honey vanilla note at the front that morphs into a nice butterscotch note. Things get spicy in the midpalate with oak, black pepper, and tobacco notes jumping into the mix. The 1910 has a medium finish with light spice and some sweetness that quickly dries out and leaves your mouth fairly clean.

There’s something very inviting about the Pendleton 1910 Canadian Rye Whisky – after taking a sip, I found myself quickly reaching for the next. The interplay between the sweet and spicy with the 1910 is superb, and it’s all done with balance and finesse. The 1910 is thinner than some of its American counterparts, especially 12 years of age, and the finish is much drier, but it’s these elements which help make it much more accessible and eminently more drinkable.  For fun we decided to do a side-by-side tasting of Pendleton 1910 and the recent Crown Royal XR, which sells at nearly three times the price. The Pendleton 1910 won hands down in a unanimous vote.

Hood River Distillers has done a superb job releasing a Canadian whisky that not only outclasses whiskies over twice its price, it makes a convincing argument for the category itself.  A significant upgrade over the standard Pendleton Whisky, Pendleton 1910 is a delicious, affable, and drinkable whiskey perfect for those occasions when you want something light but flavorful.


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  • Please go and read this book before doing another canadian whisky review Canadian Whisky: The Portable Expert

    • I picked up the book on your recommendation and have edited the piece accordingly.

  • First of all, even the bottle says Canadian Whisky, no e, yet you repeatedly say whiskey…?

    Sorry, but I’m disappointed in your description of Canadian whiskies and wish more research would have been done before this was written.

  • Hoke Harden

    The confusion here may be from the type of whisky we’re talking about. There are four different types of Canadian whisky recognized in Canada. The U.S. sees primarily “Canadian Whisky”. There’s also Grain Whisky, Rye Whisky and Flavor Whisky (akin to the Bourbon designation in the U.S.) Geoff is correct in that Canadian Blended Whisky is allowed to use wine, port, sherry and concentrated fruit juices in its blending formulation. It is so stated in the rules and regulations—and visitors to distilleries in Ontario publicly allude to such in their visitor tours. I believe it is not allowed in the other types, as in the bottle of “Canadian Rye Whisky” pictured and discussed—however, the vast majority of whisky that is sold in the U.S. is Blended Canadian Whisky. The others are rarely seen. So Geoff is correct in his statement.

    It’s easy to look it up online, since the Federal liquor statutes are posted publicly.

    I’d also add that the partisan insults and rude comments I’ve seen above belie the reputation Canadians have for politeness and decorum.

    • Dee Smith

      Here, Here. Nicely put.

  • Hoke Harden

    Whisky Lassie: I think you’re confusing rather than clarifying with your (obviously emotionally laden) comments.

    Blended Canadian Whisky is not “stretched out” with additions. Blended Canadian Whisky—by definition—is allowed to use flavoring ingredients. Like it or not, it’s the law. Allowed, not required.

    The whiskey brands to which you refer are entirely different in category: they are whiskey which is flavored, post production, and so labeled, as required by federal regs. Again, not “stretched out”, flavored whiskey.

    Bourbon, on the other hand allows no additions to the fermented and distilled grain other than water and the oak container in which it ages. That’s the rule for that whiskey.

    Scotch whisky allows the use of caramel coloring, for consistency. Yet you don’t call that stretching or get incensed over it. It’s part of the definition (and a very rigourous definition at that) of scotch whisky.

    And spelling? It’s allowed in the U.S. to use either whiskey or whisky for the category/type. Most people defer to the producing country’s preferred spelling, but as a category we’re allowed to use either correctly.

  • I think it’s important to point out that we at Drink Spirits actually like good Canadian Whisky and are contexting a review of GOOD Canadian Whisky in the space where people do have a lot of poor perceptions about the category.

  • Brian

    I visited my Oregon in-laws over the weekend and tried Snake River Stampede 8 yr Canadian Whisky. It was very smooth. Since it’s a blended Canadian whisky I’m wondering if this smoothness is due to the “additions” that are allowed in Canadian whiskys. Is there any way to know if other flavorings or things are added?

    I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination so any info is welcome.

    • Haven’t tried that one yet but Canadian whiskies are a combination of a base whisky and favoring whisky (usually rye). The smoothness comes from the blend and from the aging of the base spirit, possibly in ex-bourbon barrels that have been used a few times and impart less tannins.

  • Lon Sabala1

    Thoughtful blog post – Speaking of which , if somebody has been needing to merge some PDF files , my wife discovered post here