Umami is the flavor of now. Dubbed the fifth primary taste—along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty—chefs, burger chains, and even spirits makers are getting in on the action. Last year, Johnnie Walker released a special savory edition of its classic Blue Label called Elusive Umami. Now Canadian whisky maker Bearface releases its own umami spirit, Matsutake 01.
Bearface launched back in 2018 with a focus on elemental aging, meaning that the whisky was finished in ex-wine casks, matured in sherry pipes, and placed in shipping containers out in the Canadian wilderness. Exposure to the elements “amplifies how the whisky and wood interact,” reads the brand’s website.
Matsutake 01 is the first bottle of Bearface’s new Wilderness Series. The limited-edition release was made with matsutake mushrooms, a scarce brown and white fungi found in Vancouver. By infusing three special casks with the mushrooms then aging the barrels for six months before blending with the other casks, Bearface imparted unique flavors to the final whisky. The result is complex, with savory and cinnamon notes, followed by wild, earthy warmth, and an umami finish featuring subtle forest floor notes.
“This Matsutake expression has been a long time in the making. With each new limited release, we strive to shatter category norms and challenge traditions,” says Bearface master blender Andrés Faustinelli. “The matsutake mushroom grows once a year in the Canadian wilderness, making it highly covetable and rare and brings a sophistication to this bottle unlike any other whisky.”
Bearface Matsutake 01 is bottled at 42.5 percet ABV. In Canada, the brand has already launched the second whisky in the collection, Mitlenatch Island 02.
If you want to mix a drink with Matsutake 01, the brand suggests this Krakauer-inspired cocktail called Into the Wild.
Matsutake 01 “Into the Wild” Cocktail
- 2 oz Bearface Matsutake 01 Whisky
- 1/4 oz orgeat syrup
- 1/4 oz sugar syrup
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Add all ingredients to a mixing glass filled with ice and stir well.
- Strain into new glass with fresh ice.
- Garnish with fresh pine (squeeze pine for aroma).