Whisky Advocate

Buffalo Trace introduces two Canadian Whiskies

April 7th, 2010

I 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 it.  Details (and images) are below in the press release I received. I already have a sample of Caribou Crossing and expect to receive the Royal Canadian Small Batch shortly. I’ll let you know my thoughts at that time.

 Sazerac Company Launches Innovative New Canadian Whisky Brands Including The World’s First Single Barrel Canadian Whisky 

Launch also includes unique Small Batch Canadian Whisky offering


Two new upscale Canadian Whiskies from the Sazerac Company will hit the market in April. Caribou Crossing, the world’s first single barrel Canadian Whisky and Royal Canadian Small Batch Canadian Whisky will be the latest additions to the Canadian Whisky category. Both products will be released in limited quantities.

The barrels used for Caribou Crossing were hand-selected by Sazerac’s Master Blender Drew Mayville. He selected the most mature and flavor-rich samples available and oversaw the bottling of each individual barrel.  Each bottle of Caribou Crossing has its own subtle uniqueness. Whisky buffs can expect to taste radiantly-hued nectar with a nod to the tantalizing silky texture provided by the barrel. The rye grain cuts through the wood flavors making its spicy presence known without risking the creamy vanilla custard smoothness. The finish is oak with an orangey tang.

Royal Canadian Small Batch Canadian Whisky underwent the same stringent selection process under Mayville’s watchful eye. This beautifully crafted offering introduces another experience for Canadian Whisky connoisseurs. Royal Canadian is sweet and smoky like a Memphis BBQ. The initial sip is velvety smooth with huge flavors. There is a nutty praline sweetness that slides through the creamy rich sensations. The finish is a bold reminder that this is whiskey and the citrus-spicy conclusion just leaves you with the desire for the next notable sip.

“A great deal of time and energy went into the creation of these two super premium Canadian offerings,” said Mayville. “Our goal was to put forth the highest-quality whisky available and to give consumers a new way to look at Canadian Whisky. We are very proud of the end result and hope these new products will foster a greater appreciation among consumers for what Canadian Whisky can be.”

These new releases are expected to hit store shelves in April. Caribou Crossing Single Barrel will retail for $49.99 for a 750ml bottle and Royal Canadian Small Batch will retail for $24.99 for a 750ml.

32 Responses to “Buffalo Trace introduces two Canadian Whiskies”

  1. Marc says:

    Canadian whisky produced by an American company? So I’m assuming the distilleries are in Canada then? Any details on them? Are these two whiskies from the same distillery? Any idea on location, capacity etc.?

    • John Hansell says:

      Buffalo Trace acquired stocks of Canadian whisky. The have not revealed the source of the whiskies.

      • Marc says:

        So its an independent bottling of sorts..? I’m assuming stocks are limited so these will only be available for a short period? No mention of how many bottles available?

        • John Hansell says:

          I was told they purchased quite a large stock of these Canadian whiskies, so I don’t see them running out anytime soon.

          • Marc says:

            I’m very new to the whiskey industry in North America, so thanks for your patience John. Is this a common practise? It seems so strange to me. Its like Lagavulin buying stock of Ardbeg and selling it under a different name.. Why would the original distillery not bottle it either under a different name or release it as a premium range under their normal brandname? That’s it from me, promise.

      • Steffen Bräuner says:

        Doesnt Sazerac own Buffalo Trace.

        And doesnt Sazerac own Black Velvet and Valleyfield Distillery in Canada ?


        • Brian McHenry says:

          Hey Stefan, Thanks, I didn’t know that Sazerac recently acquired Constellation brands. So they also own the Lethbridge, Alberta distillery in addition to the old Schenley Valleyfield distillery. So maybe that mystery is solved.

    • Brian McHenry says:

      Probably from the old Hiram Walker distillery group, I’d wager. They were acquired by Fortune Brands several years ago, who also own the Jim Beam, Knob Creek, Maker’s Mark brands. So at least there’s a US/Canada connection there.

  2. Thomas Mckenzie says:

    John, sounds like the rye content is up there.

  3. Red_Arremer says:

    Yes– finally the richer more authentic Canadians that we’ve all been craving, carefully branded, balanced, and brought to you by an the American of whisky distillery… ? It’s as if the interest in Canadian whisky on the part of American whisky buffs exceeds that of the folks at the Canadian distilleries.

    I think Canadian is getting a boost these days (see Crown Royal Black also) just because **it is a long established style of whisky**. This alone is enough to interest whisky buffs, like us here on the blogs, in “discovering” and “exploring” it– Or would be enough, except for the fact that, until very recently, there’s been virtually nothing of it to explore or discover. In other words, I think that the market for interesting and substantial Canadian whiskeys consists mostly of people who are fascinated by whisky in general probably on the basis of a more specific dedication to either scotch or bourbon.

    I am sure that the Canadian whisky marketers will be watchin these whiskies. It could the case that whether or not the mainstream Canadian audience will ever be exposed to a single barrel from the major brand they prefer will depend, in large part, on how well these experimental small run products fair with scotch and bourbon afficianados.

    • Brian McHenry says:

      How soon they forget….. Doesn’t anyone remember the Canadian response to small batch bourbon whiskeys by Corby/Hiram Walker a few years ago? Pike Creek, Gooderham & Worts ,Ltd., Lot No. 40, ring a bell? A valiant effort with some really exceptional whiskies (2 out of 3 anyway) but lackluster marketing sunk this trio. The new releases by BT have nice eye candy bottles, I just hope that the contents deliver the promised goods.

      There have always been rich and authentic Canadian Whiskies available all along like Gibson’s Fine and Rare 18yo, Canadian Club Founders Whisky and Three Grain from 40 Creek. The issue isn’t quality, but focus by the CW industry. They’d rather flood the market with well brands destined for highballs than pander to a niche.

      As for American whisky enthusiasts appreciating the brown vodka from the Great White North, Bush Pilot’s remains in the pantheon of my Canadian Whisky enjoyment. Reputed to be a product from the now defunct Okanagan Canadian Club distillery near Kelowna, B.C. and sold only in the U.S. as a single cask unblended whisky. That’s a real beauty, eh?

      p.s. Buffalo Trace might want to rethink that headline in the press release. I think several distillers have beaten them to the punch for the “first single barrel Canadian Whisky”. Also the PR dept. needs to learn how to spell “whisky” when referring to the Canadian variety.

      • Red_Arremer says:

        Actually Brian, I’m completely unfamiliar with the premium Canadian history you unfold. Thanks for the enlightening post.

        • Brian McHenry says:

          Hey Red, You’re welcome. I never miss a chance to get on the bully pulpit to talk about good CW. ;^)

  4. Derek says:

    …but will it be available in Canada?

  5. Seth Nadel says:

    Canadian whiskies are coming on strong. It’s good to see.

  6. Kevin K says:

    Is that dripping wax on the closure of the Caribou Crossing? Sazerac should follow US industry news more closely.
    Still, any innovation in the Canadian segment is welcomed news.

  7. Sku says:

    Interesting development, given that many of the new, smaller Canadian distillery products (e.g. Alberta Springs) are unavailable in the US. Maybe this will inspire some of them to ship their wares down south.

  8. Gary says:

    Well, mark me down as a sucker because I will try these.

  9. whiskeyminis says:

    I’ve heard very positive things about canadian whiskies lately and i’m curious to try them.
    As BT have them in their range now i hope that these are gonna be available in europe too.

  10. John Hansell says:

    I tried the Caribou Crossing when I received my review bottle back in February and I enjoyed it. I’m eager to try the Royal Canadian too!

  11. JWC says:

    their product descriptions sound pretty darn good (but then again, what product description doesn’t?). i’ll probably end up trying both. what’s interesting is that bt is using the same bottle for the small batch as they do for their btac – except for almost a third of the price.

    well, i’ll try them and if i like them, i’ll probably buy a few bottles because if they prove to be popular, i have a feeling with the unspecified number of barrels they have in stock, they will be increasing the price.

  12. DeanSheen says:

    I cant believe BT is using the premium tall bottle on the cheap stuff!

  13. Brian McHenry says:

    Crown Royal Black Label hit the shelves in Chicago this week. My initial impression is not so good, but I am more of a Canadian Club kind of guy. It strikes me a little like the Loch Dhu of Canada. I like the boosted abv, but there is a lot of E150 going on in there.

    • John Hansell says:

      Brian, I have already reviewed this whisky and will be posting it up today or tomorrow. And guess what? I have a reference to Loch Dhu in my tasting notes!!! I was thinking the same thing.

  14. […] and John Hansell bring news of Buffalo Trace releasing a Canadian whisky.  No word on whether or not floppy heads […]

  15. […] I just wanted to make you aware of this. Also, there is a second, lower-priced ($25) release called Royal Canadian, which I have and also hope to review in the near […]

  16. Mike says:

    Funny: in Ontario, Carbiou Crossing hit the market at $84.95 while Royal Canadian is listed at $39.95. Must be our low dollar…oh, wait a minute…

  17. Red_Arremer says:

    What ever happened to Royal Canadian? I haven’t seen it anywhere. You guys said you had a sample and that you would review it, but you haven’t… Anyone know what’s up?

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