“Whiskey making is an act of cooperation between the blessings of nature and the wisdom of man.” Mark Twain
Breaking News: Bearface Triple Oak Whisky is born. Not trying to reinvent the wheel, but to give it a smoother ride, a team of seekers, blenders, coopers and makers collaborate in their shared passion to create a Canadian whisky truly unlike any other.
They are not distillers, they are nurturers. The finest 7 year old single grain whisky is sourced from distilleries across Canada, and driven, carefully, to the wine country of Mission Hill, B.C. Here, a process of collaboration begins, alongside Master Blender Andres Faustinelli.
You cannot hurry whisky.
First, they age the Triple Oak Whisky for a few years in bourbon American Oak barrels from the whisky makers, to impart vanilla notes. Next step is further ageing in Bordeaux tight grain French Oak casks from the winemakers. The Bordeaux casks impart dry fruit notes and a rich golden amber colour. The last step,more ageing in Virgin Hungarian Oak casks,air dried for 3 years from their coopers, that impart rye-like notes. And there you have it.
The bottle design has the gashes of a bear claw in the glass with a chunk ripped out of the label. It tells us that this whisky is not for the faint of heart, it’s for the whisky aficionado.
In a bravely conceived evening to showcase Bearface, a collaboration is once again in order. UFeast (event planners you’ll be hearing more about) has created a five course menu to pair with inventive Bearface whisky cocktails and Mission Hill wines. This convivial evening was held at Figures, a unique concept restaurant at Ave and Dav that draws on some of our fondest memories of comics and superheroes and brings them to life again. Admiring the mural painted walls is in order before admiring the food and drink.
My favorite Bearface cocktail is Town of York, an intriguing mix of whisky, dry vermouth, Grahams port, Campari, chocolate bitters, nutmeg, and orange zest. Too much? I loved it.
The kitchen has outdone itself, with dishes like the oceanic feast of Tuna and Sea Urchin with barley risotto perfumed with Black truffle Sabayon is paired with Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay. And Mission Hill Reserve Meritage enhances the aggressively styled Coffee Braised Lamb with root vegetable ragout, sweet potato brulee and the spark of gastrique. If this dish is on the menu when I next visit, I’ll be sure to order it. As part of this creative culinary experience, a deconstructed coast-to-coast whisky tasting led by Alex Bohman is something you won’t come across too often. Guests taste six styles of whisky from the beginning of the process to the art of the finish – in bourbon American Oak barrels from the whisky makers, Bordeaux tight grain French Oak casks from the winemakers, and virgin Hungarian oak.
Canadian whisky has a revered niche in the world of spirits, right alongside Kentucky Bourbon. Now, there’s a new kid on the block. Bearface Triple Oak Whisky.
They say that too much of a good thing is bad, but with Bearface Whisky, too much is hardly enough.
Sara Waxman is an award-winning restaurant critic, best-selling cookbook author, food and travel journalist and has eaten her way through much of the free world for four decades, while writing about it in books, newspapers and magazines. She is the Editor in Chief of DINE and Destinations magazine.