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Pendleton (Let ‘er Buck) Canadian Whisky

Review: Pendleton (Let er Buck) Canadian Whisky  87.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on July 24, 2011

(Use of this Logo courtesy Pendleton Whisky)

Pendleton (Let ‘er Buck) Canadian Whisky is distilled and aged in Canada. The spirit is then transported to Oregon where it is brought to bottling proof by Hood River Distillers using the glacial fed waters from Mt. Hood. The whisky is named to honour The Pendleton Round-up, a well-respected rodeo in Pendleton, Oregon, and in fact, Pendleton Whisky sponsors numerous rodeos, including the aforementioned  the Pendleton Round-Up, the Cheyenne Frontier Days, and the Walla Walla Frontier Days.

A few websites mention that the spirit is aged for 10 years in American Oak barrels, but I could find no age statement on my whisky bottle or confirmation of a minimum age on the Hood River Distillers website. I think it is probably more correct to assume the brand is blended to a specific taste profile and the actual age of the blend may vary from batch to batch.

Photo Courtesy Authentic Wine and Spirits

In the Bottle 4.5/5

The Pendleton Whisky arrives in a in a short squat clear bottle. It is sealed with a nice high density cork which provides that satisfying ‘pop’ when opened. The labeling is clear and uncluttered, and each bottle bears a copy of the approving signature of  R.R. Dodge. The entire presentation is professional and attractive. I should mention that I was given my  bottle of Pendleton Whisky for the purpose of this review by Tracy Howe, the marketing manager at Authentic Wine and Spirits, who are responsible for the distribution of Pendleton Whisky in my locale.

In the Glass  8.5/10

In the glass the whisky is a very nice amber colour with tinges of orange apparent in the light. When I gave my glass the customary tilt and slow swirl a thin layer of whisky was imparted to the sides of the glass which released long, fast-moving slender legs.

The initial aroma is very clean and spicy with ginger and oak accenting a honeyed toffee. As the glass decants hints of cardamom and cinnamon appear and a light caramel builds. I would not consider this to be an extremely complex nose, rather it is crisp and clean. I know already that I am going to like this whisky.

In the Mouth  53/60

The whisky has a crisp and smooth delivery. Rye and light oak spices lead out in front. Sweeter flavours of honey and toffee follow which are rounded out by ginger and a light touch of vanilla. I also taste hints of grain and straw, and a light touch of corn. However the focus of the flavour remains to be lots of fruity rye accented by light oak spice.

The Pendleton Whisky tastes just fine as I sip it neat, it tastes even better with an ice-cube, and as I am sipping, it almost seems like the glass is begging me to add a bit of ginger-ale. I acquiesce to the temptation, and find that I am not disappointed.  In my opinion, this is the way a good Canadian Whisky ought to taste!

In the Throat  13/15

What a nice kick in the tonsils.  I experience a ghostly mild dry burn which stays just long enough to make me remember the sensation for the next time. The finale was a burst of rye and fruit heating up the back of the palate. Everything fades in a relatively short but crisp dusty dry finish which leaves vague impressions of ginger and cardamom trailing behind.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

The Pendleton is not filled with layers upon layer of  complexity; but neither is it without its charm. It is a good old-fashioned dusty Canadian Whisky with rye and oak flavour as the centerpiece and just enough honey and toffee to make everything taste great. It is a decent enough sipper; but, when I mixed my first dram with a little ginger-ale, I found myself enjoying this highball style drink immensely. And that is kind of the point of this whisky I think. You can sip it, or you can mix it with no regrets at either decision.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipe:

The Pendleton Let ‘er Buck Canadian Whisky mixes with ginger-ale so beautifully that I thought I had better stick to a sure thing with respect to my suggested recipe. However, I wanted to make the recipe just a little more than the traditional rye and ginger highball, so I added citrus juice and turned the recipe into into a Mammy.

The Pendleton Mammy

2 Oz Pendleton Whisky
1 Oz Fresh Lemon or Lime Juice
dash of Sugar Syrup
1/2 cup cracked ice
Ginger Ale
Threads of Lemon or Lime Peel

Remove thin strips of citrus peel from a fresh lemon or lime
Fill a tall highball glass half full of chipped ice
Add the lime juice and the Pendleton Whisky
Top with ginger ale
Add a few threads of citrus peel and stir gently.

As Always I want to remind everyone that my aim is not to help you drink more…it is to help you drink better!


As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)


2 Responses to “Pendleton (Let ‘er Buck) Canadian Whisky”

  1. Robert Jordan said

    I quite enjoy this whisky. I like to drink it as a simple rye and coke.

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