Bearface is a relatively new Canadian whisky brand with a somewhat complicated backstory. First, the name, Bearface, comes from the fact that the whisky is said to be aged in “Bear Country.” More specifically, it’s aged in shipping containers located in British Columbia where they do have their fair share of bears, but more importantly, the environment experiences rather intense temperature swings that contribute to the “Elemental Aging” process used to mature this whisky. Bearface begins life as a 7-year-old 100% corn whisky sourced from an unspecified Canadian distiller and aged in ex-bourbon American oak casks. It is then finished twice, once in a mix of French oak, ex-wine casks and finally in a toasted Hungarian oak cask that was first air dried for three full years. Thoughts follow.
For a whisky dubbed Bearface (with claw marks on the bottle, no less), you would expect a more aggressive first impression, but the aroma is surprisingly gentle and sweet. There’s a big candy corn element here but also something almost akin to rum with a mix of dark brown sugar and mild, slightly rubbery red fruit notes. Secondary notes of vanilla and soft oak only add to that sweet and subtle presentation. The palate is more assertive and more nuanced with a nice front-end spice and balanced, honeyed sweetness. The corn whisky at its core has built a solid foundation for notes of stewed dark berries, cocoa, cigar wrapper, and spice cabinet. The initial wood-driven spice dissolves gently into a finish of Demerara sugar and vanilla bean that again bears some resemblance to a younger aged rum. A solid Canadian whisky for sipping or cocktailing, especially for the money.
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