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J.P. Wiser’s 18 Years Old (2015)

Review: J.P. Wiser’s 18 Years Old Canadian Whisky (2015)   92.5/100
a review By Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published, December, 2015

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 the past, Wiser’s 18 Year Old advertised itself as a Limited Release bottling totaling only 3500 bottles for each batch produced. This year I noticed that the whisky has undergone a subtle brand change and is now listed as J.P. Wiser’s 18 Year Old Canadian Whisky. As part of the brand re-identification the bottle no longer contains any information on the label with respect to the batch size. Whether any real substantive change in the whisky inside the bottle has occurred is unknown to me but since we know that we can expect the whisky to change from batch to batch at a minimum, I decided it would be appropriate to provide a new review based upon the sample bottle provided to me this past summer for my Rum Howler 2015 Top 25 Canadian Whisky Countdown series.

cq5dam.web.1280.1280In the Bottle 5/5

I like the 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 Wiser’s 18 bottle.

I also like the solid cork at the top which adds ambiance with that satisfying ‘pop’ sound as it is opened.

In the Glass 9/10

When I poured my recently acquired ( November 2015) Limited Edition Wiser’s 18 Year Old into my glencairn glass, the whisky displays itself as a very appealing  amber coloured liquid which is well on its way to copper. The initial breezes are full of fine oak spices with hints of butterscotch and clean grain.

As the glass breathes the spiciness within the breezes above the glass continues unabated. Meandering within the spice are rich smells of butterscotch and maple with a few hints of sharp orange peel and dusty grain. Some baking spices begin to form after about five minutes with vanilla and  brown sugar spice, bits of cinnamon white pepper and cloves.

In the Mouth 55.5/60

The entry into the mouth is a double whammy of wood and grain spice combined with sweet butterscotch and maple flavours. The clean spiciness is definitely the dominant characteristic of this 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.

In the Throat 13.5/15

The finish brings a thrust of wood spice and oak sap 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.

The Afterburn 9.5/10

I find the spiciness of the J.P Wiser’s 18 Year Old to be particularly invigorating. This is a whisky which revels in wood spice and clean 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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