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J.P. Wiser’s Legacy

Review: J.P. Wiser’s Legacy Canadian Whisky  92/100
a review By Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published December 10, 2017

Wiser’s Legacy Canadian Whisky (a Corby Brand) was released in early 2010 as a new entry into the fledgling “Super Premium” category of Canadian Whisky. At the time, a few other Super Premium Whiskies already existed in the market-place (Wiser’s own Red Letter, and Crown Royal’s, Cask No. 16 and Crown Royal XR); but the category hadn’t really caught the buying public’s imagination. In fact the Super Premium category had seen more failures than successes to that point (at least as far as Canadian Whisky was concerned). However the tipping point for the category seems to have been the year 2010, and the brand which (in my opinion) which helped the most to bring about a this change was Wiser’s Legacy.

The Legacy is produced from a rye forward mash bill (Canadian rye, rye malt and barley malt) using a slow copper pot distillation technique which was ‘fine-tuned’ to capture the very specific flavours and aromas during distillation. The new oak barrels used to age the resulting distillate were lightly toasted rather than heavily charred to help bring more of these specific flavours forward.

Wiser’s Legacy was recently re-branded (as was the entire Wiser’s range) by adding the first two initials of the founder (J.P. Wiser) to the brand name. This means the spirit is now properly called, J.P. Wiser’s Legacy.

In the Bottle  5/5

I messed up and forgot to take a picture of my bottle of J.P. Wiser’s Legacy, so I will have to make do with the bottle shot from the Corby brands website.

I like the look of the square masculine bottle. It looks more like a decanter than a whisky bottle, and this serves to lift the consumer’s perception of the spirit inside. This bottle says,

“This ain’t your average whisky inside this container.”

The solid cork topper and professional label serve to reinforce that notion. (I could do without the tacky clear plastic covering over the cork. A nice foil wrap would look better.)

Note: J.P. Wiser’s Legacy is bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume.

In the Glass  9/10

When I poured a sample into my glencairn glass, I noticed that the whisky left a thick oily sheen on the glass. The crest coalesced into nice fat legs which very slowly crawled back down into the bottom of the glass. The fat legs are a reflection of the higher than normal alcohol content, as well as the aging regimen used for this whisky brand.

The aroma from the glass is rich in oak, cedar, rye spice and caramel toffee all tainted with a subtle corn and bourbon influence. Baking spices (vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon) follow as do impressions of baked muffins full of cooked bananas, walnuts and chocolate chips. The oak grows in stature as the whisky breathes, and soon cigar-like tobacco smells have arrived as well. The aroma has me itching to take a sip.

In the Mouth  55/60

Fresh oak and sap are at the forefront of the flavour which is also heavy with butterscotch, rye and bourbon-like corn notes. I catch hints of maple and cedar, as well as a light herbaceous quality that reminds me of menthol. There is rich pipe tobacco, vanilla and baking spices, almond taking that journey towards marzipan, as well as fruity flavours of marmalade and canned apricots. The whisky seems to burst with flavour and complexity.

In the Throat  14/15

The finish is full of oak and rye spice with little bursts of cinnamon adding to the heat. This is a full-bodied whisky and so the flavour lasts and lasts. If I add ice, chocolate seems to ooze from the oak and baking spices much to my delight.

Afterburn  9/10

J.P. Wiser’s Legacy, seems to be getting a little better each year. The brand has become one of my favourites, and if you are reading this Maureen (my wonderful wife), please add the Legacy to my Christmas List, as that bottle which you gave me for my birthday is long gone.

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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