Whisky You Can Drink: Bison Ridge

Welcome to a long overdue round of Whisky You Can Drink, wherein I drink whisky and tell you about it. Today is our first foray into Canadian whisky, though not Myo’s beloved Wiser’s, a bottle of which sits in my cabinet unopened, for reasons which are not entirely clear. Nay, today we are pouring something called Bison Ridge Special Reserve, which carries an 8 year age statement and weighs in at 80 proof. I paid $18.99 for this bottle on sale, which is why you can drink it.

Now, you will not find any information regarding a “mash bill” for this whisky, because that’s not how Canadians roll. See, Americans, pragmatists that we are, throw some corn, some rye, and some barley together, ferment it, and distill it. Canadians apparently like to do things the most difficult way possible or some shit like that, so they ferment some corn and distill it, ferment some rye and distill it, ferment some wheat and distill it, blend all those various and sundry distillates in different proportions, and don’t tell you what those distillates or proportions are. Fucking Canadians. Bison Ridge also claims that American “whisky connoisseurs” clamored for this particular blend during Prohibition, and thus “a very limited stock of the finest aged whiskies was smuggled across the border” to meet their demands. Not to dash your hopes, but if that was the case, it’s no fucking wonder we started making bourbon again. This was one of the weirdest bottles I’ve come up against.

What’s it smell like? Caramel corn, or kettle corn, something like that. There is an overall scent of vodka mixed with bourbon. Maybe a hint of apple juice. A whiff of brandy. I expected a little more from something that claims to be 8 years old.

What’s it taste like? Cotton candy. Marshmallows. Vanilla. In other words, like Canadian whisky. Three pours in, there is coffee or mocha, and a bit of brandy. The finish is a bit soapy. Now here is the weird part: the initial finish was bitter, to the point that I was turned off by it. It tasted as if the staves of the barrel weren’t properly dried before they dumped the whisky in. It did mellow a lot over time, but was still perceptible. A bit of ice brings out the vanilla, oak, and a bit of butter.

Should you buy it? Don’t let me tell you what to do with your money. I’ve gone back to Budweiser because fuck $16 four-packs of IPA.

Will I buy it again? Probably not. It was pretty okay after it sat for awhile, but what fun is that?



  1. I hate to say it but my reaction to the name turns me off. Big poopy fly swarmed cow whiskey doesn’t do it for me.

    Which I know is inconsistent — there are plenty of deer and elk associated with booze, and while I don’t drink Colt 45, I’ve never thought of it in terms of bull, uh, manure.

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