- Brand: BearFace
- ABV: 42.5%
Well, this is quite an interesting animal indeed. Seven year old “single grain” whisky, sourced from an undisclosed distillery on the shores of Georgian Bay, and aged primarily in ex-bourban American oak. It’s then moved into tight grain French oak previously holding bordeaux wine, then finished in virgin Hungarian oak. That’s the story in a nutshell. Quite a life for a Canadian whisky, if I do say so! My guess is that “single grain” in this case means corn whisky, and a distillery on Georgian Bay would be Canadian Mist Distillers…better known as the guys who make Collingwood. That’s not fact, just an educated guess! It is confirmed however, that this whisky is chill-filtered, but has natural colour! That’s one feather in their cap, let’s see how this stuff actually stands up!?!
First of all, my feeling is that the final product cannot really be described as complex…layered, maybe, but complex…no. That may seem contradictory to some, but hear me out. When I first stick my nose in the glass, an image flashes through my mind…more of a feeling really. I’m back in my early childhood, let’s say 1987. I used to love rooting through the spaces of the house that we weren’t intended to go, in this case, its the closet of the spare/guest bedroom upstairs. In that closet, were a couple pieces of old luggage…you know the kind, less what we’d call luggage, and more like a suitcase. Somehow, that old luggage made me think of all the places and adventures that suitcase might have seen…as a child, my mind loved to wander…but I digress. So when I stick my nose in the glass, I smell that old moth-ball and vinyl, mixed with leather. A concoction that brings to mind the nostalgia of an old car interior, faded photo albums, and somehow, Christmas! Actually, that makes perfect sense! The next thing that moves in on the nose is dried dark fruits like figs, dates, plumbs. I’m willing to guess that comes from the bordeaux wine barrel influence. Then the scent of those Hungarian oak barrels lingers like a funky piece of spiced Christmas cake. It’s not entirely off-putting, but not great either. It is unique.
The palate follows the very same path as the nose, nothing new here. That’s what I mean about the layers…it travels this path, very predictable, every time. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s layered…not complex. Complexity has a way of surprising you, changing, sometimes shape-shifting. This doesn’t perform those types of tricks, but for what it is, it’s pretty good.
Leave it in the glass for more than ten or fifteen minutes, and these traits get a bit overshadowed by a generic sugar sweetness that comes up and covers things a bit too much for my liking…leaving me with the conclusion, that this is best used as a daily sipper, something you can pour whenever and not think too much about. In fact, in that role, this becomes better than average, a divergence from the norm. And come on, who doesn’t love the smell of an old car, or an old suitcase. This bottle probably won’t make it on my list to “buy again” but I’m happy to have experienced something outside the norm.