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J.P. Wiser’s 15 Year Old Canadian Whisky

Review: J.P. Wiser’s 15 Year Old Canadian Whisky  (89.5/100)
Review By Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted December 01, 2017

John Philip (J.P.) Wiser, purchased a distillery in Prescott Ontario in 1857, and began to produce Wiser’s Whisky.  In fact, it may have been J.P. Wiser who first used the term “Canadian Whiskey” on a whisky label when he introduced his spirit to the World at the Chicago’s World Fair in 1893. From the beginning J.P. Wiser established his brand as a quality whisky with high standards of production. As a result, the distillery grew side by side with the popularity of Wiser’s style of whisky, and by the early 1900′s Wiser’s was the third largest distiller of whisky in Canada.

The Company merged with the H. Corby Distillery Company sometime after the death of J.P. Wiser in 1917.  Shortly after in 1932, production of the Wiser’s brands moved to the Corby distillery. A controlling interest in the Corby distillery was acquired by Hiram Walker several years later, and by 1989, the Corby distillery was closed, and all production was moved to the Hiram Walker Distillery. Today Wiser’s is distilled at the Hiram Walker Distillery in Walkerville, Ontario, and aged in their facilities at Pike Creek near Lakeshore Ontario. Through all of these changes the Wiser’s Brand has been recognized as a vital component of each company’s portfolio of brands.

J.P. Wiser’s 15 Year Old Canadian Whisky (bottled at 40% alcohol by volume) was recently released across Canada.

In the Bottle 5/5

I like the J.P. Wiser’s 15 Year Old bottle with its heavy rectangular shape. It has substance, and although it is not as tall as some of my other whisky bottles upon my shelf; it nevertheless seems to command attention with its square edged masculine form. In fact, it looks like a decanter more than a bottle, and when I pour out a dram for myself, there is a sense of satisfaction when holding the bottle.

I also like the solid cork at the top which adds ambiance with that satisfying ‘pop’ sound as it is opened. (I could do without the tacky clear plastic covering over the cork. A nice foil wrap would look better.)

In the Glass 8.5/10

Nose: Dusty grain and woodspice with corn and rye. Bits of butterscotch and maple with almond and orange peel. Some canned fruit (apricots and peaches) vanilla and light baking spices (cinnamon and ginger)

The oak grows in the glass melding with the butterscotch to bring toffee and tobacco. Dusty grain and rye develop further as well.

In the Mouth 54/60

Taste: Smooth and yummy with a rich toffee-like flavour of wood and grain spices melded butterscotch and maple. Canned fruit as noted above is joined by light impressions of raisins and a very light cherry-like impression similar to red licorice (Turkish Delight). The vanilla has joined with the orange peel bringing impressions of marmalade. Rich tobacco and new leather with an underpinning of almond syrup.

The Whisky is very nice to sip and when we add ice the cooling brings nice milk chocolate flavours forward. (In fact, I prefer it with ice.)

In the Throat 13/15

Finish: Medium bodied with lingering flavours of toffee, vanilla and baking spices. Perhaps a bit of maple as well. With ice the finish oozes milk chocolate.

The grain spice does whack the tonsils just a touch which puts a light dent in the score.

The Afterburn 9/10

For this review I wrote fairly extensive tasting notes which seemed to me to represent the whisky quite well. I expect what people want to know is how this whisky compares to the more expensive J.P. Wiser’s 18 Year Old. My impression is that the 15 Year Old is lighter, but perhaps it is also a more nuanced whisky. The 18 Year Old is more robust, but the stronger flavour masks some its lighter nuances. The choice then is between a nuanced whisky with subtleties which can be explored and enjoyed (the 15 Year Old), or a more robust/complex whisky which shows the oak more firmly (the 18 Year Old).

You really cannot go wrong with either choice.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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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