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J.P. Wiser’s Lanny McDonald Alumni Whisky

Review: J.P. Wiser’s Lanny MacDonald Alumni Whisky (88.5/100)
Review By Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted November 06, 2019

A couple years ago J.P. Wiser’s and the NHL Alumni Association (NHLAA) got together to bring whisky fans something uniquely Canadian. One time edition Canadian whiskies which are each blended with the aim of containing characteristic links to specific NHLAA members who helped to design the blend.

I was recently sent three of the 2019 – 20 Edition Alumni Whiskies to review on my website, J.P. Wiser’s Mark Messier, Dave Keon, and Yvan Cournoyer. This is part of the new Captain’s Line featuring these historic Ice legends who each served as Captain of their respective NHL Hockey teams.

I plan to review each one; but as I have also had the opportunity to taste three of last year’s (2018 – 19 Edition) release; I have decided to begin this review series with those instead.

This is the review for J.P. Wiser’s Lanny McDonald Alumni Whisky. (pictured below)

The Lanny McDonald Whisky is blended from 3 grains, predominantly corn but with a significant amount of wheat as well as barley. The higher than normal percentage of wheat is apparently an homage to Lanny McDonald’s prairie roots, and the three grains together are said to give the spirit a ‘well rounded’ character in keeping with Lanny’s well rounded play throughout his NHL career. The spirit has been aged 9 years (McDonald wore number 9 on his jersey). Apparently the most of the corn and barley blends were aged in ex-Canadian Whisky oak barrels while most of the wheat spirit was aged in virgin oak.

J.P. Wiser’s Lanny McDonald Alumni Whisky was bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Note: As part of the partnership with the NHL Alumni, a potion of the sales are be donated to NHLAA to support their philanthropic causes. This whisky was exclusive to Canada and marketed primarily in Quebec and Ontario. 

In The Bottle 5/5

The NHLAA Alumni Whiskies are housed in the medium tall bottle shown to the left. Each Bottle is sealed with a cork closure and features the parchment style label which prominently displays the NHLAA player it represents in a large colourful font the colour of which is made to be similar to the NHL Team colour of the Calgary Flames.

The whisky is described on the bottle with information which tells us the number of grains used, the number of years the spirit was aged, and the barrels used in the maturation of the spirit.

I like everything I see!

In the case of the J.P. Wiser’s Lanny McDonald Alumni Whisky, opportunity to taste and score the spirit was afforded when I was asked to act as a juror for the 2019 Canadian Whisky Awards. I kept brief tasting notes for each spirit i judged and then augmented these notes afterwards when I was able to taste the remainder of the spirit in isolation from the others.

Here are my notes and my scores:

In the Glass 9/10

Colour:  Copper

Legs: Mid-sized legs ambling down

Initial Aroma: Rich oak spice with butterscotch vanilla and almond, fruity rye in evidence as well

Decanted Aroma: Oak and baking spices growing with hints of chocolate and coffee

Empty Glass: Dry spices and pencil shavings

In The Mouth 53/60

Alcohol push and Spice: Smooth with very little alcohol push

Initial Taste: Maple and light oak spice with vanilla and baking spices

Follow up: Very smooth with butterscotch toffee and lovely coffee and tobaccoundertones.

In The Throat: 13/15

Body and Length: Medium body with light mouthfeel and crisp finish

Flavours  during Swallow: Toffee, coffee and tobacco

Lingering Flavours: Peppery baking spices

The Afterburn 8.5/10

Interesting that I tasted coffee a few times during my tasting sessions as Paul Coffey played for the Oilers during Lanny’s run with the Flames in the early to mid 80s. Perhaps a little Coffey rubbed off on Lanny during those battles in the corner.

If I was a Flames fan this whisky would be on my want list. For the non flames fan, the whisky is still appealing although perhaps just a little too smooth. I think Lanny had more rough and tumble to his game and would have liked to see that reflected in the whisky.

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

Note: This whisky is a Canadian only release and is almost completely sold out across the country. Grab some while you still can if you are a collector.


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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