Proof: 80 proof / ABV: 40.0%
Age: 18 years
Distillery: Hiram Walker and Sons Distillery, Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Blend: Likely around 94% corn whisky. Rest probably rye. Finished in ex-bourbon casks (not sure but may also be in used Canadian casks or new oak casks like the 15-Year)
Retail Pricing: $65-85
Availability: Generally easy to find in Canada or at bigger stores in the U.S. Used to be “limited” to 3500 bottles per run but I don’t believe this to still be true.
A super premium offering of J.P. Wiser’s formerly known as “Wiser’s Very Old,” it fits nicely in the lineup with other age-stated offerings 15-year and the rare (and very pricey) 35-year. Like most other Canadian whiskies, the individual grains are mashed, distilled, and aged separately then blended together to create the final product under a Master Blender (Dr. Don Livermore for Hiram Walker). This Wiser’s is unique in that it is almost entirely comprised of corn whisky.
I also have a 2007-ish bottle of this from prior to the redesign when it was “Wiser’s Very Old” and let me tell you, the redesign was money well spent (formerly cheap plastic topped cork, a piece of ribbon on it with glue seeping through, cheesy foil labeling…)
Sensibles: The low proof really hamstrings the nose as it’s a bit boring with only muted vanilla notes, orange peel, and a hint of maple syrup coming through. Likewise, the taste is fairly underwhelming saved only by the same flavors of vanilla, maple, and a tinge of cracked pepper. It’s thin to medium-bodied with no warming on the palate. The finish is slightly hot at first but otherwise smooth, medium-length, and harmless.
Value: Probably pass on this one unless you’re a fan of Canadian whisky (of which there are still many better bottles) or looking for a classy looking, easy drinker. In Canada, this may be more worth it as the price is lower, but Dr. Livermore has released many, arguably better, special bottlings under the J.P. Wiser’s label (Dissertation, Canada Commemorative, Last Barrels, Seasoned Oak, Union 52, Legacy) that can be found with a little searching or online ordering. In the U.S., just buy J.P. Wiser’s Legacy (high rye) or the non-age stated Triple Barrel Rye. At 40%, you’re just paying for the age statement which is poorly reflected in the taste. Bummer.
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