In the search of elemental maturation, Bearface Wilderness Series 01 Matsutake

Bearface has a brand goal to flip the script on what we consider blending. The Wilderness Series is the start of their story, a clear direction in where they’re going, and an understanding of the market.

In the limited release of the Wilderness Series (01, implying there will be a 02), the focus is on the blend of wild mushrooms (Matsutake) that were foraged in the BC mountains. As with previous one-time releases, the process is authentic. Bearface is ridiculousness (the name!) that’s wrapped up in authenticity.

So yes, Bearface Wilderness Series 01 features Shrooms (but no, not those kinds of shrooms). Bearface is the out-of-the-box Canadian whisky brand that pushes limits.

The flavour profile they’re going for is Unami, that earthy sort of texture that’s hard to detect, but definitely present. No, there’s no mushroom note. In fact, I think it’s better we consider these foraged fungus, since this isn’t your everyday store purchased pre-cut produce.

Tasting notes below! I liked it, especially because it was distinctly not mushroom-y.

Bearface updates their process.

I briefly spoke to Bearface when they sent me a sample bottle. A lot has changed there since we’ve last spoke. Bearface primarily purchased 7+ year old barrels of whisky from a large Ontario distillery in Collingwood.

That’s changed. They now buy white-dog off the still, and they choose the oak and age it on location in BC (Mark Anthony’s Group owns wineries in BC). I don’t think any of that whisky has yet to make it into the process, but this is a great direction for Bearface. They’re into elemental aging (barrel seasoning) and expressions that challenge the Canadian 9.09 rule. This is great. I expect plenty of fun products for them in the future, and a profile that’s more distinctly Bearface from the core line.

If you like a rant about Canadian whisky, have a listen!

Nose: Boozy cherry (light), Unami, earthy, spices (nutmeg, paprika), and a touch of nuttiness. It’s kind of like that black chocolate waxy note that I love in Canadian whisky, but with a breath of complexity.

Palate: Lovely paprika spice that evolves within each sip. Apple caramel, dried fruits, a nice airy buttery note, and that Unami note you’d expect with the whisky making process. The paprika spice settles through the finish, offering a softer sweetness and cinnamon spice.

Conclusion: This is a delicious gimmick wrapped up in a nice bottle that offers a subtle complexity that’s unique to the whisky world. It’s not trying to be a left-turn off the Canadian whisky flavour map, but instead a subtle lift in flavour. High-proof whisky drinkers will find it spicy enough, though maybe mellow. Serve it to someone without preconceived notions.

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