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Pendleton Whiskey Review: Flavors of the West

Pendleton Whiskey Review

Last Updated on March 8, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Whiskey, the liquid gold, has long been a symbol of craftsmanship and tradition. It’s not just a beverage; it’s an experience that evolves with every sip and in the tens of thousands of whisky brands, Pendleton Whisky stands as a testament to the art of distillation.

But if you have yet to try this bottled spirit, let me share my thoughts and what you need to know about this Canadian whisky in this Pendleton whisky review.

Pendleton Whisky In-Depth Review

Man Drinking Pendleton Whiskey

Pendleton Whisky is a Canadian whisky distilled by Hood River Distillers in Oregon. It’s a commendable expression with 40% ABV, which I find approachable and versatile.

The nose greets with inviting hints of vanilla and oak, while the palate unfolds with sweet caramel and a touch of spice, making it an easy sipper. Its medium-length, sweet finish leaves a pleasant warmth.

“Sip the West: Pendleton Whisky is where rugged meets refined elegance.” – Liquor Laboratory

Pendleton Canadian Whisky doesn’t aim for complexity but excels in balance. It’s a reliable choice for newcomers and seasoned enthusiasts, ideal for sipping or crafting classic cocktails.

While not a top-shelf rarity, it embodies the spirit of the American West and tradition.

Pendleton Whisky Quick Facts

Alcohol Content40% ABV (80 Proof)
Ingredients100% Rye Grain
Aging Process10 years 
Popular in CocktailsYes
Distillery LocationHood River, Oregon
Famous Whiskey VarietiesPendleton Canadian Whisky, Pendleton Midnight, Pendleton Rye
How To DrinkNeat, On the Rocks, in Cocktails, with a Splash of Water
Similar ToBulleit Rye 
Star Rating★★★☆☆

What’s Pendleton Whisky?

Pendleton Canadian Whisky is crafted with a touch of the Western spirit. It pays homage to the iconic Pendleton Round-Up, a rodeo event in Oregon, making it an official spirit of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association [1].

This Canadian whisky is aged in American oak barrels for ten years in Canada but bottled by Hood River Distillers in Hood River, Oregon, and distributed by Proximo Spirits.

To achieve the bottling proof, they import the whisky at its full cask strength and dilute it with glacier-fed spring water from Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon’s highest peak.

Read: Pendleton Whiskey vs Crown Royal

Pendleton Whisky Tasting Notes

Pouring Pendleton Whiskey on a Jigger


Pendleton takes an aromatic embrace. It greets with subtle hints of vanilla, molasses, dark honey, and a touch of brown sugar and oak. The scent is inviting, giving a harmonious blend of flavors, which I like.

But the dominating factor here is the caramel and sweetness, giving caramel-flavored coffee syrup and maple syrup vibes.


As I took that initial sip, I immediately noticed the delightful wheel of flavors. The balance is commendable and unbelievably light, making it an easy drinker.

Sweet caramel, maple syrup, and allspice-infused corn syrup notes intertwine with the warmth of cinnamon and a hint of citrus.


The finish is where Pendleton Whisky truly shines. It provides a smooth, medium-length finish with a gentle, lingering warmth.

The presence of rye grain alcohol is there, but the pleasant cinnamon and burnt caramel sweetness beckons taking another sip.

My Thoughts

On the First Sip

It’s approachable and warm on my first sip, which I see fit for an average American drinker. The initial sweetness gives way to a mild spice, creating a well-rounded flavor profile.

Final Taste

With the last drop in my glass, Pendleton Whisky leaves a lasting impression. It’s not overly complex, but that’s its charm. It’s a whisky that anyone can enjoy (particularly an American cowboy, I must say).

It has molasses and allspice hints on top of the chemical aftertaste, but trust me – it’s versatile and ideal for sipping or mixing. But do you know what’s the worst Canadian whisky?

My Rating on Pendleton Whisky: ★★★☆☆ (Mid-Shelf)

Pendleton Whisky sits comfortably on the mid-shelf of my rating scale. It’s a commendable whisky that offers a well-balanced flavor profile.

While it may not be the most exceptional whisky I’ve ever tasted with the finest ingredients, it’s far from disappointing.

It’s a reliable choice for casual sipping and crafting classic cocktails, particularly the Pendleton Midnight Whisky.

To Sip or Skip?

Man Drinking Pendleton Whisky

Pendleton is a SIP, and it’s worth savoring. If you appreciate smooth, easy-drinking whisky with a touch of rye spice, this one’s for you.

“We are very pleased with how the Pendleton Whisky brand has grown over the past fifteen years.” – Ronald R. Dodge, CEO of Hood River Distillers

It’s a good bargain if you’re seeking a better brand that’s aged and approachable than most Canadian whisky expressions.

However, if Pendleton Whisky is not your style, you might be interested in these alternatives:

  • Buffalo Trace Bourbon: A classic bourbon with a rich and complex flavor profile.
  • Crown Royal Canadian Whisky: Another Canadian whisky with a smooth and approachable taste.
  • Bulleit Rye Whiskey: If you enjoy rye whiskey, Bulleit offers a spicy and flavorful experience.

How Do You Drink Pendleton Whisky?

Pendleton whisky is a versatile spirit that you can drink in various ways:

  • Neat: Sip it slowly and savor the flavors on their own.
  • On the Rocks: Pour it over ice on your glass to balance the rye spice.
  • With a Splash of Water: Water makes rye spices clearer, balancing the sweet tones.
  • In Cocktails: Use it to craft classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned or Whiskey Sour.

FAQs Related to Pendleton Whiskey Review

What is Pendleton Whisky known for?

Pendleton Whisky is known for its smooth and mellow flavor, derived from a blend of different grains and aged in oak barrels.

How does Pendleton Whisky compare to other whiskies?

Pendleton Whisky is often praised for its smoothness and drinkability, making it a popular choice among whisky enthusiasts.

What is the best way to enjoy Pendleton Whisky?

Pendleton Whisky can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails like the Pendleton Whisky Sour or the Pendleton Mule.

Where is Pendleton Whisky made?

Pendleton Whisky is made in Canada and is inspired by the spirit of the American West.

What flavors can be expected from Pendleton Whisky?

Pendleton Whisky is known for its smooth and approachable flavor profile, with notes of caramel, vanilla, and a hint of spice.

Is Pendleton Whisky a good choice for beginners?

Yes, Pendleton Whisky’s smooth and mellow flavor makes it a great choice for those new to whisky.

Are there any limited editions or special releases of Pendleton Whisky?

Yes, Pendleton Whisky occasionally releases limited edition bottlings, often in collaboration with rodeo events or other Western-themed activities.

Final Verdict

Pendleton carves out its own space in the industry. While it can’t impress us with its complexity, it offers a comforting and familiar experience that both enthusiasts and connoisseurs will enjoy.

Inspired by the Pendleton Round-up, carrying tradition and craftsmanship, Pendleton is a reliable choice for those seeking a taste of the American spirit (especially if you have a sweet tooth!)

Whether sipping it neat, on the rocks, or crafting cocktails, it delivers a well-rounded and enjoyable experience.

So, should you give it a try? Absolutely. It may not be a five-star rarity, but it’s a whisky that embodies the spirit of the West and the heart of whiskey-making tradition.


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