Bearface 7 Year Old Triple Oak Canadian Whisky
Bearface 7 Year Old Triple Oak is a Canadian whisky brand released by the Mark Anthony Group. The brand sources single grain whisky from distilleries in Canada which have aged in American oak ex-bourbon barrels for seven years. Then the whisky is transferred to French oak barrels which held Bordeaux-style red wine from British Columbia winery Mission Hill. Finally, the whisky finishes its maturation in air-dried virgin Hungarian oak barrels. Available across Canada from fall 2018 with international markets to follow.
The wood wowed them. It seems the judges at the ninth annual Canadian Whisky Awards were impressed by what a little extra barrel-aging can accomplish, naming Bearface 7 Year Old Triple Oak Best New Whisky, and awarding it a gold medal for excellence as well.
“We created Bearface to challenge perceptions and elevate the craft of Canadian whisky,” says Anthony von Mandl, founder and chairman of Mark Anthony. Mission accomplished: Bearface is a corn-based whisky that is aged at least seven years in ex-bourbon American oak barrels in Ontario, then travels to B.C. to spend time in former wine barrels from Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, and is finished in Hungarian oak, which adds spicy rye-like notes.
Very sweet corn syrup. Buttered popcorn, slightly scorched. Condensed milk. Sweet tarts. Toasted marshmellows. Lots of fruit, but different than you would expect – black and red currants, cranberries. Dried apricot. Perfumy floral, with violets. Light rye spice, cinnamon especially, but also with hint of chilies. The toasted oak really comes through, there is no hiding the complexity here. No real off notes from the distillate, the extra age (longer than most Canadian whiskies) presumably helps with that. Off to a good start.
Initial corn sweetness hit, gets creamier on the swallow. Definitely a sweet one, not really getting the tartness from the nose any more. Indeed, not really getting any of the subtle notes here – the toasted oak comes on really strong mid-palate, and dominates everything else. More like burnt marshmellows and popcorn now, and scorched wood. Has a silky texture, with good mouthfeel. Rye spices comes up at the later palate, but soft and not at all “hot” or sharp. Fairly mild, consistent with the alcohol level.
Again, the woody notes definitely dominate initially on the finish, but with the lighter rye spices holding their own. Some of the dried fruit notes return eventually. Coffee grinds. Some astringency, but not the initial tartness from the nose. More going on here than a typical Canadian corn whisky, that’s for sure. Some sticky sweet corn syrup lingers until the end.