Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Canada Week Part II: Caribou Crossing

As my second in a week of Canadian Whiskeys, I thought I'd finally try Caribou Crossing.  This is a Canadian Whisky from an undisclosed distillery bottled by Buffalo Trace.  (Buffalo Trace is named for the path created by migrating buffalo, so the name "Caribou Crossing" is a bit of a play on that).  It's a single barrel whiskey that was first released in 2010. Buffalo Trace isn't revealing whether this is a single-grain Canadian "flavor whiskey" or a blend which was blended prior to barreling or rebarreled after blending. As always with single barrels, results may vary.  There is no barrel number or other identifier so you just have to take your chances, though I should note that I've had this particular bottle for a few years.

Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whisky, 40% abv ($45)

This has a nice bourbony nose with caramel and some oak notes; nosing blind, I would certainly guess that it was a bourbon.  On the palate, it's more distinctly Canadian, but with a richness that isn't typical of Canadian blends (at least the ones we tend to see in the US).  There's chocolate, rye and some nice oak notes all backed up with some traditional Canadian sweetness.  The finish has muted rye spice and honey.

This is a nice whisky, certainly better than most Candian Whiskies I've had.


Rabbi Charles Arian said...

How can a blend be single barrel?

Dan said...

Most Canadian whiskies, despite actually being what would be considered single grain whiskies (as in, grain whiskies produced at the same distillery) and up being labelled as blends when exported to the US. They are not blends as per US regulations (which allow GNS to be added), but rather blends of various different types of grain whiskies produced at one distillery.

As Sku has pointed out though, if you're sourcing single barrels of Canadian whisky, it can be hit or miss since each distillery produces a variety of whiskies that are meant to be blended together to create a specific product, and you could end up with a base whisky (one that has been distilled to a higher proof and then aged in a re-fill barrel), as opposed to a barrel that contains a flavouring whisky (generally aged in new oak or first fill ex-bourbon barrels).

sku said...

Good point Rabbi. I was assuming it was a blend, but the bottle doesn't say that. Based on the flavor, I'd be surprised if it were a single grain whisky (i.e. a Canadian "flavor whisky") so perhaps they whiskies were married prior to barreling (or aged, married and rebarreled). I'll see what I can find out.

Lazer said...

Have you tried Wild Turkey's new Canadian whiskey? its called Crazy Goose.

sku said...

Buffalo Trace gave me a "no comment" so I edited the post to reflect that we don't know anything about the composition of this whisky.