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J.P. Wiser’s 18 Years Old Canadian Whisky (2017)

Review: J.P. Wiser’s 18 Years Old Canadian Whisky (2017)   90/100
a review By Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published December 05, 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.

In 2015, Wiser’s 18 Year Old Whisky underwent a brand change whereby the whisky was re-identified as J.P. Wiser’s 18 Year Old Whisky, and it was no longer advertised as a Limited Edition Release. The spirit inside the bottle is still aged a minimum of 18 years in used bourbon barrels.

In the Bottle 5/5

I like the J.P. Wiser’s 18 Year Old bottle with its squat square 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 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 heavy J.P. Wiser’s 18 Year Old 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 9/10

When I poured the Whisky into my glencairn glass, the whisky displays itself as a very appealing amber/copper coloured spirit. The initial breezes bring me indications of corn and rye melded with butterscotch, some dusty dry notes with hints of orange peel and vanilla

This is a whisky which should be allowed to breathe in the glass to reach its full potential. As the glass breathes the spiciness seems to build. Meandering within the spice are additional  smells of maple and spicy sharp orange peel. Baking spices begin to form after about five minutes with vanilla and brown sugar, bits of cinnamon, white pepper and cloves. Some tobacco lurks in the air and a light grassy qulaity which I haven’t noticed in previous editions of the 18 Year Old brand.

In the Mouth 54/60

The entry into the mouth is a double whammy of wood and grain spice combined with vanilla, light baking spices and sweet butterscotch and maple. The wood and grain spices are definitely the hallmark of the dram, and if fine oak spices are your thing the J.P. Wiser’s 18 Year Old will have you enthralled. As I sip I notice sharp orange peel mixed with the wood spices and a bundle of spicy/fruity rye coming forward with bits of cinnamon, clove and white pepper. The whisky evolves in the glass as slowly the spice and the sweet begin to meld bringing marmalade and cinnamon buns into focus. The Whisky tastes much the same as in previous years with perhaps just a tad more bite than I remember.

In the Throat 13/15

The finish brings a thrust of wood spice and tobacco as well as a light dollop of butterscotch   sweetness through the palate and down the throat. My mouth is left glowing with hot peppery spices. I notice that the grassy quality which was in the breezes also leaves a light imprint in the exit.

The Afterburn 9/10

I find the spiciness of the J.P Wiser’s 18 Year Old invigorating. This is a whisky which revels in wood spice and dry Canadian Whisky flavours. It is an excellent whisky to sip with a touch of ice, and it is also one of the best rye and ginger mixers out there. In fact, if you do not mind the glares of the whisky snobs, try my suggestion of the whisky with just a splash of ginger ale and ice. (It tastes fantastic!)

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


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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