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J.P. Wiser’s Spiced Whisky No. 5 (Vanilla)

Review: J.P. Wiser’s Spiced Whisky No. 5 (Vanilla)      77.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra
Published February 24, 2015

A few years ago J.P. Wiser’s introduced Wiser’s Spiced Whisky (Vanilla) to the Canadian market. My understanding is that this new spiced whisky brand was very successful, and as a result, the company decided to further develop their spiced whisky portfolio. Wiser’s Spiced Whisky (Vanilla) was re-branded (perhaps also re-developed) as J.P. Wiser’s Spiced Whisky No. 5 (Vanilla), and another flavoured/spiced whisky brand was introduced, J.P. Wiser’s Spiced Whisky No. 9 (Scorched Toffee).

I recently received samples of both flavoured whiskies, and have decided to review each here on my website. This is the review for J.P. Wiser’s Spiced Whisky No. 9 (Vanilla), as although I have already reviewed its predecessor, I am curious if any substantive changes occurred when it was re-branded. The bottle labeling has changed, and that is with the bottle that I will begin my review.

Spiced vanilla No 5In the Bottle: 4/5

Pictured to the left is the new J.P. Wiser’s Spiced Whisky No. 5 (Vanilla) bottle. It carries the same rectangular shape as the previously reviewed Wiser’s Spiced Whisky (Vanilla). This is the same bottle that J.P. Wiser’s uses for all its economy brands, and that signals to me that this spiced whisky is not intended to be some sort of high-end premium spirit. It is instead intended as a soda mixer. This was confirmed when I checked the Corby Brands website which has this to say about their new spiced whisky:

” The newest member to the J.P. Wiser’s family shares the unique sweet-soft whisky characteristic with an enhanced vanilla spice flavour. Perfect for mixing with cola or ginger ale!”

The bottle presentation is just fine for an economy mixer, with labeling that is smart and attractive, but I have my usual concerns with the metallic screw cap.

Note: J.P. Wiser’s Spiced Whisky No. 5 is bottled at 43 % alcohol by volume.

In the Glass 8/10

The whisky has a coppery/amber colour which hints at a deeper orange hue than its predecessor. As was the case when I reviewed the former spiced vanilla whisky from Wiser’s, I notice a moderately thick sheen of oil appears on the side of the glass when it is swirled in my glencairn. Thickened legs drop slowly back down into the whisky. The thickness of the legs indicated to me that sugar sweetener has probably been added with the vanilla spice.

The air above the glass is mildly sweet with firm butterscotch scents accompanied by vanilla, and gentle rye & wood spices. As was the case two years ago when I reviewed this whisky’s predecessor, the vanilla spiced whisky seems rather pleasant and laid. It is hard to tell without having the original to compare with, but my tasting notes this year seem to indicate that the newer version of the whisky has just a touch more wood and rye apparent than before which gives the nose more character than I remember the previous spiced whisky having.

In the Mouth 46/60

Butterscotch, vanilla, and light wood spices led out as the whisky entered my mouth. I also tasted a mild rye flavour accompanied by a bit of ginger and orange peel. The taste descriptors are very similar to what I reported for the previous version of the brand, however I am left with an impression that the spirit has just a little more character. I suspect we have the same basic recipe of whisky and spice as before, although perhaps the formulation has been tweaked to bring less slightly vanilla forward which would reveal more rye and wood spice. (Of course the difference I am tasting could be simply a result of batch variation as well)

The overall flavour is not aggressive, it is pleasant and the vanilla spiced whisky should be a good mixer.

In the Throat 11.5/15

A touch of wood spice heats the palate, and the whisky is relatively smooth with a lightly bitter exit lengthened by lightly sweet butterscotch and vanilla.

The Afterburn 8/10

I reviewed the original Wiser’s Spiced Whisky (Vanilla) two years ago and found it an acceptable but unexciting mixer. The re-branded J.P. Wiser’s Spiced Whisky No. 5 (Vanilla) appears to have undergone a subtle change whereby the typical Canadian Whisky flavours of rye and wood spice have been allowed to shine through just a little more firmly. I like this change which for myself has elevated the spiced whisky from an acceptable mixer, to a good mixer, and one which I am now more apt to serve to my good friends.

You may read some of my other reviews of  Liqueurs and Flavoured Spirits (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipe

Here is a long tall cocktail which mixes J.P. Wiser’s Spiced Whisky No. 5 with ginger ale and mint. (It is sure to be a crowd pleaser this summer!)

SAM_0664 Spiced Northern JulepSpiced Northern Julep

5 sprigs of Mint
2 oz J.P. Wiser’s Spiced Whisky No. 5
1/4 oz Sugar syrup

ginger-ale to fill

Muddle 4 Sprigs of Mint and the Sugar syrup in the bottom of a mixing glass
Add the Spiced Whisky
Stir and fine strain into an Old-Fashioned glass filled with ice
Complete with ginger-ale
Garnish with another Sprig of mint

Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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