Fraser & Thompson Whiskey Review

The bottle tag states, "It's going to be strange liking whiskey," but I already like whiskey, and I don't like this one. It doesn’t bring anything new to the market, and adding 8% Kentucky bourbon to the 92% Canadian whisky does not add any dimension.

Fraser & Thompson Whiskey Review

Michael Bublé - the dulcet-toned Canadian crooner - is the latest celebrity to drop a whiskey brand. Fraser & Thompson blends the brown liquor heritages of both his native and adopted countries by combining Canadian whisky with Kentucky bourbon, yielding what they call a "North American Whisky." But is it any good? Read on to find out. 



SHARE WITH: Michael Bublé fans. And, according to the brand, people who don't like whiskey.

WORTH THE PRICE: What I can’t fault Fraser & Thompson for is the price. At an MSRP of $29.99, it’s a low enough entry point for curious drinkers to give it a go.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: It's a bust for me, folks. I am very sad to give it this rating because I love Michael Bublé and respect Heaven Hill Canada alum Paul Cirka. Fraser & Thompson does not fill a gap in the market, as drinkers aren’t clamoring for lower proof points or new mashup whiskey categories. Savvier drinkers tend to gravitate towards higher proofs that allow them to taste the whiskey closer to the barrel proof and water down on their own. Whiskey neophytes seek familiarity with brands and the counsel of sites like ours. I love creating a new category, but it has to be markedly different and offer the consumer something unique. Plus, as its inaugural release, Fraser & Thompson does not yield a flavor profile that is special enough or different enough to warrant its creation.

OVERALL: Back in the fall of 2009, I was studying for my graduate school comprehensive exams and struggling with where my professional life would take me. The world began to crawl out of the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, especially for a newly minted 22-year-old about to graduate with a Master’s in Diplomacy. There was angst. There were boy troubles. There were socioeconomic uncertainties. I was in a bit of an existential crisis. But I found my soma in an unexpected place: the buttery notes of Michael Bublé’s newest album, Crazy Love

I was on one of my many therapy ambles around one of Lexington’s Targets when, on an end cap, I saw Mr. Bublé’s face staring out at me from the yellow cover of his new album. I bought that CD. (Yes, we still did that back then.) I repeatedly listened to that album, belting ballads and ditties from the Great American Songbook at the top of my lungs as I cruised Fayette County’s roads in my Honda Civic between errands or when I needed a little “me time.” I aced my exams and eventually figured out my next professional steps, and Good Ole Mike got me through it all. I was hoping his whiskey would have a similarly soothing effect. 

Sadly, there isn’t much appeal to this whiskey. The bottle tag states, "It's going to be strange liking whiskey," but I already like whiskey, and I don't like this one. It doesn’t bring anything new to the market, and adding 8% Kentucky bourbon to the 92% Canadian whisky does not add any dimension. It doesn't taste like much; even though the nose of cooled snickerdoodles was pleasant, the palate was overwhelmed by artificial butterscotch and cheap caramel candy flavors. I could have stopped there, but I wanted to learn more.

Paul Cirka and Michael Bublé share a dram of Fraser & Thompson

I turned to the Fraser & Thompson website, hoping to find details on the brand story, tasting notes, and mashbill. Unfortunately, instead of helpful information about the product and a message to the consumer, I was met with an email copy/paste from WES Brands Executive Chairman Marshall Watson. I think it's meant as a meta-joke - which I am always all for - but it just doesn't hit right, especially when trying to shill a mediocre celebrity liquor brand. It sends the message, "Hey, we know this is a joke! We don't even like the product either! So we aren't even going to try to make up a story for why you need to buy it." It comes across as crass, insincere, and condescending.

At Bourbon & Banter, we talk a lot about marketing ruining perfectly good products. In the case of Fraser & Thompson, the marketing dealt the coup de grâce to a whiskey I wanted to give a chance to, didn't care for upon tasting, and now feel like it's another gimmicky product that will collect dust on liquor store shelves. Thankfully, the press release (quoted below in brand notes) provides a bit of sincerity on why Michael and Paul came together to create this brand, but the public face of the brand does the exact opposite.

My advice to the brand moving forward? Fire your marketing team. Promote anyone who didn't like this idea. Lean into the endearing sincerity that Michael exudes and the industry clout that Paul brings. That is what makes brand marketing successful. As for the product? I like whiskey, so do a lot of people. So let's try to make the next whiskey release something unique - give me something I've never had before. That is what sells.


From the Fraser & Thompson website:

Hey everyone! I need all hands on deck for this release. Here’s what I want the layout to be for the website. Make it clever, keep it cute, and remember: Michael Bublé is a charming, likable, family man with a rock-solid career. We can’t go wrong!

This paragraph should be about Michael Bublé, his achievements, and his identity as a classic sex symbol. Write something about him being VERY involved in the advertising. He is thinking about this campaign 24/7. He really wants it to be big and he will put the work in! Make up the quotes if you need to. It’s fine. We have time. I’m sure he’ll call us back eventually. After all, he took three years perfecting this whiskey. It’s not like he’s just going to launch this campaign from the comfort of his hotel room. Where is he, anyway? Try texting.

Second paragraph is about Paul Cirka, the Master Distiller and Blender. This part’s easy. Paul knows his shit. He hand-selected North American oak barrel whiskeys. Smooth flavor, sweet fig, and blood orange on the nose. Subtle finish of caramel, vanilla, and a hint of spice. Etc. etc. etc. Sophistication. Epicurean taste. Luxury. Take all your words and dress them in a bow tie.  

Now here’s where we’re going to replace all the lorem ipsum with something funny. Like, tell an anecdote about Michael. He’s in a tuxedo, he makes Paul laugh and then they both sip whiskey together. Maybe they are standing by a billiard table? Make it work. You’ve got this.

I’m going to have plenty of time to go over everything before launch. I want this to be huge.

Procrastinate responsibly.

-Marshall Watson

WES Brands

I will be out of the office October 25th through October 27th, returning Monday, October 30th. If you need immediate assistance during my absence, please contact Michael at

Fraser & Thompson Press Release:


The North American Whiskey is blended and bottled in Bardstown, Kentucky

Dallas, TX (October 25, 2023) - Today, Grammy-winning, multi-platinum superstar, Michael Bublé, announces the launch of Fraser & Thompson, his new whiskey brand in partnership with longtime friend and award-winning Master Distiller and Blender Paul Cirka. Michael took to social media to share the news, as if a project three years in the making could come together with just the push of a button. The plan is to support the brand with an integrated marketing campaign to be announced soon, assuming Michael has enough time within his schedule of touring, squeezing in a mid-day nap, and knotting the perfect bow tie (it’s harder than it looks).

This North American Whiskey - a first for the whiskey category, brought to market by fast-growing spirits incubator WES Brands - blends and bottles Canadian Whiskies with Kentucky Bourbon in Bardstown, KY.

This whiskey is a triumph, an achievement, the product of years of hard work and collaborative efforts involving dozens of beverage alcohol professionals, yet we haven’t received much more than a winking emoji from Mr. Bublé when asked how we should advertise it. It strikes us as supremely ironic that a guy with such an extensive catalog of music has mastered radio silence.

We toyed with the idea of constructing an attractive, well-dressed scarecrow stuffed with hay next to a tape recorder playing “Haven’t Met You Yet,” but the coincidental sentiment felt too on-the-nose for our marketing team, whose calls keep getting bounced between assistants. Through the grapevine, we hear that it’s “fine :),” “everything will work out” and “have you tried meditating?”

At some point, from somewhere, he released this very nice statement that we’d like to share with you now:

“I spent many summers with my grandfather at the confluence of the Fraser and Thompson rivers in British Columbia," said Fraser & Thompson founder Michael Bublé. “When I heard

Paul’s vision for creating a new kind of whiskey, I knew instantly what I wanted to call it. For the last three years, we worked together to perfect a whiskey blend that is equally elegant and approachable. We can't wait to pour you a glass!”

Isn’t that great? As if Michael is just the salt of the earth, sitting on a porch somewhere talking

to the neighbors, and pouring you a glass of his smooth, delicious whiskey? This overbooked,overextended, sentient tuxedo of a man is thousands of miles away telling us, “Easy, now,” like he’s gone fishin’ instead of playing sold out shows in a new city every night.

Regardless of any personal feelings for this still-buffering campaign, Fraser & Thompson is genuinely fantastic. The creative blending process curated by award-winning Master Distiller and Blender Paul Cirka, co-founder of the brand with Bublé, sets Fraser & Thompson apart.

Cirka hand-selected aged liquid to blend into an inviting whiskey, with sweet fig and blood orange on the nose, and a subtle finish of caramel, vanilla, and a hint of spice.

I mean, sure, we have one of the best voices of our time as a face for this campaign, but we could let the whiskey speak for itself, I suppose. And this Cirka character sounds like an upstanding guy.

“Michael and I bonded over our shared passion for whisky, and wanted to create a blend that was flavorful but more light-hearted than the category at large can be known for,” says Fraser & Thompson co-founder and Master Distiller and Blender Paul Cirka. “We stumbled upon creating something new for the category, a blended North American Whisky. I would be delighted if you would call my personal cell and I can explain everything about this beautiful whisky: (929) 867-7490.”

Well, there you have it. I guess we just launched Fraser & Thompson. Tell the concierge at Michael’s hotel to pass along a thumbs up from us so we don’t interrupt his beauty sleep. We wouldn’t want to harsh Mr. Bublé’s mellow.

Fraser & Thompson North American Whiskey is blended and bottled by Heaven Hill in Bardstown, KY. The brand is sold in 750ml bottles at 42% ABV and is available in limited quantities in the U.S. and select international markets, including Canada, for $29.99, as well as on ReserveBar. And by “limited,” we mean “limited,” as we don’t yet have enough product produced at the time of this announcement to sell into most major markets. I think this is an issue, but when I raised it with Michael, his response was, “You’re welcome.”

This should be interesting.

Disclaimer: Bourbon & Banter received a sample of this product from the brand for review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.