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J.P. Wiser’s Wendel Clark Alumni Whisky

Review: J.P. Wiser’s Wendel Clark Alumni Whisky (91/100)
Review By Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted November 10, 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 am going to begin with those instead.

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

The Wendel Clark whisky is similar to Lot No. 40 (also produced by J.P. Wiser’s) in that it is a Single Grain Rye whisky. In the case of this Alumni Whisky, unmalted rye is used. The spirit is distilled once upon a column still and then distilled a second time on a pot still. The spirit is then aged for 11 years in ex-bourbon barrels. The product has two obvious ties to the character of Wendel Clark, the first is the robust rye grain selected by Wendel himself for this whisky, and the second is the bottling proof 41.6 % alcohol by volume which is the Toronto area code of Maple Leaf Gardens Where Wendel played hockey for much of his career.

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 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL Team jersey colour.

The whisky is described on the bottle with information which tells us the type of grain 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 Glass 9/10

The whisky has a nice copper hue and when my glass is tilted and twirled I see lots of mid-sized leglets dropping down the inside of the glass as slender legs. The breezes above the glass bring me impressions of oak sap and cedar with vanilla and rye, honeycomb, canned fruit all joining in the fray. Wood spice builds with marmalade and sap melding together to form a yummy aroma that has my mouth watering just a little.

In The Mouth 55/100

Initially I taste a nice swat of oak spice which give the dram a nice bit of rough and tumble in my mouth. This does indeed seem to have a bit of Wendel’s spirited character. I taste both maple and cedar with dabs of oak sap and corn syrup. Pipe tobacco, a winding of menthol and mint, robust grain (corn and rye) flavours and hints of nutty barley all combine with lovely baking spices making this a truly wonderful dram.

Ice is not required, but if you do throw some in your glass the rye grain intensifies and is followed by a swamping of milk chocolate.

In The Throat: 13.5/15

The whisky is medium bodied  and has a long spicy oak filled finish. Flavours of chocolate and mint are obvious during the swallow and these are followed by lingering flavours of menthol, pipe tobacco and baking spice all glowing on the palate afterwards.

The Afterburn 9/10

I am not a Toronto Maple Leaf fan, but I am a fan of this yummy Whisky which is not only suitable for sipping neat or over ice. It also makes a grand Old Fashioned Cocktail.

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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