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J.P. Wiser’s Yvan Cournoyer Alumni Whisky

Review: J.P. Wiser’s Yvan Cournoyer Alumni Whisky (91/100)
Review By Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted November 13, 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 for whom the blend is named.

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.

The subject of this review, J.P. Wiser’s Yvan Cournoyer Alumni Whisky is blended from 3 grains, and aged for 12 years. The twelve years of aging is of course an homage to Cournoyer’s Jersey Number. Additionally (according to the information sent to me) the spirit was inspired by Cournoyer’s game-winning pass to Paul Henderson in the Canada 1972 Summit Series. Cournoyer’s smooth pass and Henderson’s gritty goal is said to be reflected in the smooth 3-grain whisky which is complimented by gritty rye flavours.

J.P. Wiser’s Yvan Cournyer Alumni Whisky is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

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 last name of NHLAA member it represents a large colourful font the colour of which is made to be similar to the NHL Team colour of the team he played for.

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 Glass 9/10

The whisky has a nice amber in the glass and when that glass is tilted and twirled I see mid-sized legs ambling down from the crest that formed. When I inspect the breezes above the glass I notice oodles of dusty dry oak spice complimented a triumverate of butterscotch, vanilla and almond. The initial aroma is very recognizable as a classic profile of well aged Canadian Whisky.

As I let the glass breathe the dusty wood spice and rye continues to pour out with heightened scents of spicy grain, straw and dusty chaff. There is a winding of lightly herbal tobacco in the breezes with hints of menthol. The almond and vanilla have combined to give me an impression of marzipan and orange scents previously unnoticed have joined with the spicy wood and vanilla to give us hints of marmalade as well. This is very nice!

In The Mouth 54/60

The first sip of whisky is smooth and just as promised in the advertising this smooth quality is quickly followed by a swat of spicy rye. I taste maple, rye and oak spice, butterscotch, vanilla, almond all jumbled together with yummy baking spices joining in for good measure. The second sip brings more rye forward as I can taste the bitter rye kernal as well as a rush of canned fruit (peaches and apricots). This is followed by waves of butterscotch milk chocolate. Can I say yummy again!

The whisky is definitely smooth enough to sip on its own, although if you add ice those yummy chocolate flavours come into focus more. Both the rye and the wood spices push through even when you add ginger-ale. Manhattans and Old Fashioned Cocktails are both highly recommended.

In The Throat: 13.5/15

The Cournoyer Whisky is medium bodied yet it has a light mouthfeel and crisp smooth finish. I taste a nice melding of butterscotch, corn, almond and vanilla during the exit with peppery baking spices, rye and milk chocolate lingering for just a little while after the finish.

The Afterburn 9.5/10

The Yvan Cournoyer Alumni Whisky from J. P. Wiser’s is a treat for those who love the traditional Canadian Whisky flavour profile. The whisky is elevated by the 12 years of aging which adds structure and complexity and I think I could taste just a touch of raw oak from those virgin barrels mentioned on the label as being used to age some of the spirit.

I’ll say it one more time, the whisky is just plain yummy!

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

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. 


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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