Grand Grizzly (40% Alc/Vol)

February 14, 2012


Black pepper and earthy spirit give way to hard and gingery rye, while citrus zest with dark fruits, real black pepper, butterscotch, and dashes of pickle juice meld into cold wet slate. The round and weighty body is alive with the grizzly growl of restless young rye. Spicy Rye. ★★★★

Deep in the melancholy of yet another cheerless Canadian winter, the mind drifts southward. No, it wouldn’t be Christmas without blasting winds and pelting snow, but many of us northern spirits confess that once the merrymaking ends, it’s the sand and surf of Mexico that beckon.

This year, Canucks arriving in los Estados Unidos Mexicanos will find a welcome that is even warmer than usual. From Mazatlán to Cancún, from Acapulco to Cabo San Lucas, vacationing Canucks can expect a “Grand Grizzly” welcome.  This “grizzly” is a new all-rye that is enjoying unprecedented popularity south of the Rio Grande among Mexican nationals and visitors alike. It’s Canadian whisky yes, but a truly Mexican treat and the only way to get your hands on a bottle is to visit that southern clime yourself or have someone else bring a bottle back for you.

Grand Grizzly is all Canadian rye whisky, but it’s whisky with a twist as it’s blended in Canada from Canadian rye, but in tune with the Mexican palate. To think of Mexico in a bottle is to think of tequila. And the best tequila is made from the blue agave plant with its spicy black pepper and its muddy earthy tones. These are the same peppery earthy tones that rye drinkers find so enticing, except that in the most prized tequilas they’ve been turned up a couple of notches.

Because these flavours are also naturally present in rye whisky, wouldn’t it be fun to see what happens when you crank them up a notch in whisky, just like tequila?  What’s involved? First, you have to select only the right barrels of rye. The best barrels would be the ones with the strongest earthiness and black pepper notes. Then, you mingle them to create a whisky with a truly Mexican feel. Taste Grand Grizzly and you’ll soon agree. Yes, indeed, this is variation of the rye theme that is certainly well worth exploring.

Mexican whisky drinkers seem to agree: Grand Grizzly has become the fastest growing whisky brand in Mexico, a market where Canadian whisky is already well represented. Of course this is not surprising given the number of Canadian visitors there each year. It’s something to think about for those heading south this winter.

Nose: Dry, bright, fresh, and expressive with pickles, hints of spices, some sharpness, vanilla, spring flowers, cereal mash – Weetabix®. There is a fruity bouquet with stewed prunes, sweet new spirit, and a rich full creaminess, then the vaguest menthol, Caramac® chocolate bar and fresh black pepper.

Palate: Clay, hard rye, sweet cereal mash, and authentic fresh-ground black pepper. Unusually earthy, with a tinge of plastic, fiery heat, clean new spirit and the muddiness of great mezcal. Bright and so lively with aggressive rye spices and just hints of fruitiness, this is an excellent example of just how vibrant and flavourful a young rye whisky can be. Filled with zesty flavour, it tingles with gingery, hot, spirited pepper. A soothing creaminess dissolves into milk chocolate and butterscotch, with dry breakfast cereal hovering in the background. A unique and very enjoyable whisky.

Finish: Medium longish pepper, earthy rye, and lightly herbal.

Empty Glass: Slight floral notes mingle with sweetish wood smoke, creamy cereal, and green plants. Way in the background hints of lemonade poke through dusty rye.

So yes, enjoy your Margaritas by the Oaxaca pool, or back at base after a steamy hike to the Mayan temples of Palenque or the pyramids of Teotihuacán. But this year, instead of slipping a bottle of tequila into your suitcase when you return, why not grab a Grand Grizzly and bring a Mexicanadian treat back home with you, something  to cheer the soul as the snow falls on yet another northern winter night?

Highly recommended. ★★★★

Mexico Vacation Tourism logo and Grand Grizzly Canadian Rye Whisky


21 Responses to “Grand Grizzly (40% Alc/Vol)”

  1. Richard Culver:

    Who is producing this?

    • Davin:

      Hi Richard,
      It’s a Mexican firm that is selling this. All their promotional material is in Spanish.
      Which Canadian distillery actually makes the whisky is not disclosed.

  2. Hi Davin

    This sounds so interesting! Some of your descriptors sound like they have a bit of an agave flair. This must be a very young Canadian Rye Whisky with a lot of the rough and tumble rye flavours only lightly tempered by the oak. I suspect I would quite like it, and I am going to have to hit up some of my friends who travel to Mexico to bring me back a bottle!

    Thanks for the unexpected review of a ‘Mexican’ Canadian Whisky.

    Happy Holidays!

    • Davin:

      Thanks Chip!
      Grand Grizzly is just the start. Lots of surprises coming in 2012. This one is a unique young rye and well worth hinting about if you have friends heading down to Mexico.

  3. Darko Vusir:

    Have someone going to mexico. Hopefully in a week or so I’ll have some to try!

  4. kallaskander:

    Hi Davin,

    as far as I can read it the marketing spin tells of a man named James Grizzly (or was ist Grizzly McAdams?) who living “deep in the Rocky Mountains” discovered the advantages of Rocky Mountain water. The fertility of the soils ideal for the cultivation of rye he utilized these features to create a unusual whiskey from 100% rye destilled with the tradtional pot still method.

    That is not much of a clue, is it?


    • Davin:

      Hehehe – Marketing non sequiturs. I love the muddiness and the real black pepper though.

  5. Just returned from P.V. Mexico only to discover how difficult it is to purchase Canadian whiskey.I stumpled across a liquor store downtown P.V.Playa something I can not remember the name there I found Grand Grizzley and it is the best I have ever had. Wish I brought a bottle home.It was only 99 Pesos compared 260 pesos for Can. Club. Now I am trying to find it in the US??? Does any one know where to find it???? Ingrid Tyree

    • Davin:

      I think it is limited to Mexico. Yes, I like it too.

  6. David:

    The liquor store in downtown PV is called La Playa. They have a bunch of stores around Puerto Vallarta. I have sampled GG at our condo in the Marina area & quite like the rye spiciness. And at 99 pesos a bottle – quite a deal – if you don’t count the many thousands of dollars spent to vacation here in PV! A bottle will be coming home with me.

  7. Available at Walmarts Mexico for 99 pesos or about $8.25 Canadian. Excellent rye wiskey.

  8. Oliver Ramirez:

    Hey guys

    I am mexican and I drink GG all the time, i just love the flavour of it. And it gives you a great high too!. LOL. Plus it doesn’t get me hangovered next day. And its so cheap, I super ultra love it! Thank-you canadians for making this spicy and deliciouss whiskey. In fact im drinking it at this very moment.

    Viva Canada & viva México!

  9. Eduardo:

    So, i live in mexico and anyone knows where is made and bottled GG, and how better is canadian club compared to GG?

  10. jaume Gironés:

    What a nice taste, now one of my favorites

  11. jaume Gironés:

    What a nice discover in México nice color,aroma,flavor
    I línea to be yogur mexicano sommelier

  12. Richard:

    A pleasant, easy to drink-straight surprisingly smooth rye with a hint of a slight peppery aftertaste… but what a great deal. And only in Mexico you say? …eh? Eduardo, the CC sold for export is not the same whisky as is sold in Canada… It’s a different ‘younger’ and cheaper product and is nowhere as nice as the Canadian stuff…

  13. Trevor Gregg:

    Sure hope you can help.
    I have moved to Mexico and discovered Grand Grizzly. Unfortunately I have only found two stores (Bodega Aurrera) that carry it…..sort of. One in Merida and one in Progreso. I know of at least another 1/2 dozen expats that are frustrated in their search for this whisky. The two stores that carry it are incredibly inconsistent in stocking it. It’s been a month since I’ve seen it on a shelf. I understand that Walmart has an exclusive on it?
    After looking in over a dozen Walmarts and other Bodegas, I didn’t even see a shelf sticker for it. It’s mind boggling that there is such a demand for it and no one willing to stock it.
    If you could direct me to who to contact or where to go, I would be willing to buy a case at a time. Aas a matter of fact I could supplement my retirement income by filling the demand in my small little village on the beach.

    Trevor Gregg

    • Davin:

      Good luck in your search. Unfortunately, I can’t help as I am a writer and do not sell whisky. I got a bottle for review; that’s where this review came from.

  14. Robert:

    Enjoying the whiskey and the price here in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. First store was selling a 750 ml plus a mickey of 100 ml for 155 pesos, and found another one for just the 750 at 105 pesos or roughly 7.Dollars Canadian. So smooth wondered whether it was actually 40 per cent, if it is bottled in Canada that would be right but was wondering if they werent bottling it down here and watering it down. In any event I mix it with water anyway and get fairly drunk on a half bottle or so. Thanks Grizzly and why so secretive about who is distilling and bottling this product.

  15. Robert:

    I have a feeling it is coming from Alberta, anyone out there know where the product is being made.

    • Davin:

      Distillers have no control over what people might do with whisky they purchase from them, so most distilleries require all third-party customers to sign non-disclosure agreements before they will sell them whisky. They don’t want their reputations affected if someone buys whisky from them then makes a mess of it.

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