Whisky Advocate

New “Caribou Crossing” Single Barrel Canadian Whisky

February 18th, 2010

A bottle of this came while I was gone. It’s actually under the Buffalo Trace Distillery umbrella. According to CEO Mark Brown, they came into some stocks of Canadian whisky and decided to bottle some of it.

Full Disclosure: I was consulted during the selection process for this whisky. About a year or so ago, Mark Brown sent me several review samples. I told him which ones I liked, didn’t like, and why. I didn’t actually help select the final product, but I was involved early on.

I wasn’t part of the naming or packaging of this whisky, but I do like both. It comes in a “Crown Royal-ish” bag, beautiful caribou design on both sides, and has a nice heavy metal “maple leaf” stopper.

I just had a wee taste of it after I took the picture and it is delicious! Very rich, creamy, and velvety smooth–especially for a Canadian. (And a lot better than some of the samples Mark sent me.) My formal tasting notes will follow shortly.

I’m told the price will be about $50 and will get into distribution in March. It will be an allocated item and will be distributed in about two dozen states to start.

36 Responses to “New “Caribou Crossing” Single Barrel Canadian Whisky”

  1. Tanguy says:

    Just curious to know where will it be available. Nation wide where BT is present or into limited markets only?

    • John Hansell says:

      I updated the post with new info. Not sure which states yet. I will try to find out.

    • Ethan says:

      i have personally been able to enjoy a few bottles of this and let me tell you it is FINE. once i tasted this i could barely drink anything else. its about 60 a bottle down here in southern MS. unfortunately it is a little hard to come by down. we usually have to have a few bottles special ordered.

  2. Neil Fusillo says:

    I do like the packaging, although the fake ‘ice’ hanging off the top looks like something I’d stab myself upon.

  3. Seth Nadel says:

    When will we be seeing a score?

  4. JWC says:

    glad to have you back john! the stopper looks like something i could use as a christmas tree ornament after the bottle is finished – a plus in my book. “very rich, creamy and velvety” – i like the sound of it so far. also curious to know which 24 states it will be distributed to and approx. number of bottles. i’m assuming that texas will be one of the states. also, how much canadian stock did they get? in other words, how long (assuming the product sells) will it be on the market? limited number of years or will it be ongoing?

    appreciate your disclosure at the beginning.

    • John Hansell says:

      I’ll try to get more info. If I do, I’ll post it up.

    • Texas says: topic, but if you see this, the Texas whiskey being produced in Hye, Texas (Hill Country) by Garrison Bros. is just about to be released. Initially it will be only available in the Hill Country area, but the guy at Spec’s who is always looking out for new products assures me they will get it in Houston.

      Here is the newsletter update I received:

      • JWC says:

        Hey Texas, I’ve been following them for a while – I’m actually tempted to drive up with the family and get one of their initial special releases (just 1 bottle – I’ve read that it will be 375ml and $50) just because it is a Texas whiskey and to enjoy the scenery. Gotta think about it though bc it is a heck of a drive, I’d probably keep it unopened as a momento BUT it is a Texas whiskey. I still have to follow up on the other store and see if they have the Colorado whiskey for less than Spec’s. May do it today.

  5. Brian McHenry says:

    Hey John, Is this from Walkerville stock? Any idea on the average age?

    Sounds like there is very little Rye in the blend. BTW, while we’re talking Canadian, gotta disagree with your CWotY. This year’s 40 Creek Port Wood Reserve blows away the Cask No.16, IMHO.

    • John Hansell says:

      Brian, I don’t know where it’s from or how old it is. Let me see how much Mark Brown is willing to offer. (I fully understand if he wants to keep it secret.)

      There’s nothing wrong with this year’s Forty Creek PWR. A nice whisky, but not #1 in my books. We will agree to disagree.

    • Johanna says:

      Wow Bushido…! Talk about a blast from the past! It’s excellent to see that you’re still around and still drinking whisky, including Canadian. I had a chance to visit with John Hall at his distillery last year and if you enjoyed the Port Wood Reserve, I think you’ll really appreciate his 2010 limited edition release, IMO the best I’ve tasted from Forty Creek so far… slainte, Johanna

    • Seth Nadel says:

      I think Forty Creek has some of the best Canadian whiskies. For whatever the reason, it hasn’t seemed to find its stride. Crown Royal Cask 16 seemed to steal its thunder. Of course, if the CR 16 was so great, why did they drop the price?

      • Johanna says:

        Crown Royal Cask 16… yawn…

        • John Hansell says:

          Unfortunately, many of the really good Canadian whiskies aren’t imported to the U.S.–including some of John Hall’s whiskies. I really liked the Port Wood Reserve. Too bad it wasn’t sold in the U.S.

        • Seth Nadel says:

          I think the CR Cask 16 was good for Canadian Whisky. It was differnt and brought some attention to the category. It paves the way for other distrilleries to bring their product into the market. I think 40 Creek is a better whisky, but Cask 16 sold more.

        • John Hansell says:

          I think it is a polarizing whisky. Some (like myself) really liked it. Obviously, you’re in the other camp.. 🙂

        • Mark says:

          I tried it the year it came out. My response was, ” Not only is this the best Canadian whiskey I’ve had, it’s also pretty good.” Not the desired response, I think, but the “Master of
          Whisky” cracked a smile.

  6. Archaeology Carl says:

    I was touring Buffalo Trace when they were bottling this about a month ago. The bottles and packaging looked great. The top is a very sturdy maple leaf, with the letter C,A,N or D on it. It follows the theme of the Blanton’s top…you can spell CANADA with it. The wax is removed the same way as Blantons. The bottle form looks just like Rock Hill Farms Bourbon, another Buffalo Trace product. The whisky had a deep amber color. Unfortunately they would not let me sample the product…I asked (begged) many times.

    • MrTH says:

      It’s possible to spell “Canada” with only three letters. C, eh? N, eh? D, eh?

      John, this is described as Single Barrel, but do I gather correctly that it’s many single barrels? Or is it really only about 250 bottles at $50 each? That seems unlikely. Any information you can get on number of barrels and bottles would be appreciated. It doesn’t seem to me that a single-barrel release would be “formulated” in any way, but I’m open to enlightenment.

    • John Hansell says:

      You are correct. It is sort of a cross between Blanton’s (stopper) and Rock Hill Farms (bottle).

  7. DavidG says:

    Do you you know if there is any OTS wine in this? As a kosher consumer, the largest stumbling block to trying Canadians (next to access) is the potential for up to 9% of wine-based OTS wine in any Canadaian bottling.

  8. Luke says:

    Alas, we won’t taste this one on this side of the pond.

    Just a general query whilst I’m here, are there any Canadian whiskies bottled at 46%+ (NCF)?

    • Johanna says:

      Hi Luke — the Forty Creek Port Wood Reserve is John Hall’s favourite whisky so far, so much so that he bottled this at 45% instead of 40%. And as far as I know, he doesn’t chill filter his whiskies either. Well worthwhile if you can it find on your side of the water.

    • John Hansell says:

      Luke, it wasn’t even sold in the U.S.

  9. John Hansell says:

    Mark Brown read your comments and sent me this note. He’s not giving up too many secrets:

    Have read the blog, here are the questions we can answer. Hope it helps.
    – Will be allocated but can be available in more than the 24 states if demand warrants
    – It is a Maple Leaf on top, not fake ice. LOL! I like the Christmas tree ornament idea though. Collect the tops to spell C-A-N-A-D-A!
    – It is wax
    – We have been laying away matching stocks of the whiskies being used so it is a permanent brand and supplies will grow
    – It is single barrel, bottled one barrel at a time

    The rest is a big secret!



    • JWC says:

      Mr. Brown, I believe the references to “fake ice” was the grayish wax, not the maple leaf. I’m glad you like my comment about the Christmas tree ornament – do I get a “cookie”? Since BT is my favorite distillery (BTAC, BTEC, Pappy’s, etc.,), I’ll take some free samples in lieu of a monetary commission =)

  10. […] first wrote about the single barrel, called Caribou Crossing, here back in February. Now Buffalo Trace is also introducing a small batch Canadian whisky to go with […]

  11. Tom Millitzer says: as I write this you can see it being boxed and labeled at
    This web cam link.

  12. greg knight says:

    I’ve compared this with crown royal XR side by side. Unfortunately and I’m a huge crown royal fan I have to state that this whiskey is better the crowns topshelf. For $50 a bottle you can’t find a better Canadian whiskey in the states. I now consider this to be my favorite Canadian whiskey. So smooth.

  13. Pat Barrett says:

    I work @ Buffalo Trace Distillery and we were bottling this beautiful package today…

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