Colour: Deep gold.
Nose: Milk chocolate, caramel, orange zest, dash of baking spices, fresh orchard fruit
Taste: Caramel, baking spice, chocolate, and woody notes.
There’s been a raging debate amongst zoologists and it’s this: Reindeer and caribou are or are not the same animal. On one side of the fence, there are those who vehemently state they are and on the other side of the fence, is the group that state they are not. Ok, maybe it’s not a “raging” debate”. It’s most likely a polite non-agreement with both parties apologizing for not agreeing with each other. Splitting hares, really.. Anyway, whether they are, or aren’t, it’s not like anyone will be suggesting changing the lyrics to “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Caribou” anytime soon.
Caribou Crossing, as branded by Sazerac, is the world’s first Canadian Single Barrel Whisky, since the 19th century. (That’s quite the way to introduce yourself at a party. ) Anyway, while this is a Canadian whisky, most of it is made in Canada and bottled at the Buffalo Trace distillery. However, Caribou Crossing is now being made and bottled in Sazerac’s distillery located in Old Montreal.
Caribou Crossing is bottled at 40% abv. So, don’t wait for a raucous caribou in a china shop leading the charge of flavours up your nose. This caribou is gentle and gingerly in its approach. It’s not timid, it’s reserved. (If this Caribou was doing public speaking, you’d have to turn up the microphone levels a bit.) One zoologist tasting Caribou Crossing could call it subdued, while another could call it subtle.
On the nose, restrained and nuanced is how the flavours get introduced. Milk chocolate and caramel, orange zest and what seems like a purposeful right amount of baking spices politely mill about. Orchard fruits also arrive but seemingly cut up and put on a tasting board for you. On the tongue, this whisky again doesn’t pound its chest and bloviate. Wood notes show up along with the caramel. The baking spice has a little more zing but not in a way that dominates everything else. Again, it’s a dash that doesn’t ruffle one’s feathers, or hide in this case. As for the finish, Caribou Crossing thanks you for your time, doesn’t want to take up more of it, and then bids you adieu, leaving it up to you to ask it for a second visit.
Caribou Crossing isn’t demure or sheepish. I see it more as polite, restrained and well mannered. I would love to sample this same whisky at a higher abv to see if this caribou would grunt its own horn a little more. (Nerdy hoofed ruminant mammal fact: Elk bugle, moose wail and caribou grunt.) Then again, if it did come out with a higher abv, would be a different animal altogether? Until and if that caribou crosses your path, enjoy this one. Cheers.