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Wiser’s Red Letter (150th Anniversary Edition)

Review: Wiser’s Red Letter Canadian Whisky  93/100
A Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 11, 2009

Wiser's Red Letter

After some careful research, and an email from a Corbys representative,  I was told  Wiser’s Red Letter Canadian Whisky contains various blends ranging in age,  with  none younger than ten years.  A key,  which  makes Red Letter unique in Canada, is the fact that it is the only Canadian Whisky that is non chill-filtered.  This allows the whisky to maintain a more natural flavour, as imparted by the virgin white oak barrels during the final finishing stage.  By finishing the  Whisky for an additional 150 days in these virgin white oak casks a new  flavour profile is achieved.  Although richer, the new oak also imparts younger fresh oak tannin into the blend and gives it a rougher feel which hearkens back to the original whisky drank in watering holes 150 years earlier.  You can almost imagine coming in after a hard days work and grabbing a shot of this whisky to knock the dust out of your throat.

In the Bottle  5/5

As far as Canada goes,  no whisky has ever received such an impressive presentation.  A rich dark brown wooden encasement complete with leather straps to hold the whisky box together,  a deep red velvet lines the interior of the box with a beautiful whisky decanter insidWiser's Red Letter 3e.  each bottle is individually numbered, and each is hand signed by the master blender.  My bottle is number 2179.  I also own bottle numbers 1713 and 1579.

In the Glass  9/10

This whisky is a golden brown with a toffee and spice nose.  Rich scents of vanilla and bourbon rise from the glass which shows spots of oil on the sides.  The scent is heavier in alcohol than most Canadian whiskies which is not a surprise as this was bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume.

In the Mouth 56/60

Giddy up and lets go.  This monster hits the back of the mouth with a wallop.  Hot spice and rich oil coat the palate while the vanilla and toffee have their way with my tongue.  There is a real zest to the flavour, and I can taste the younger oak tannins dancing with the richer flavours of the bourbon from the older oak.  An elegant balance is achieved  with the older rested flavours  enlivened by the presence of the virgin oak.

In the Throat 14/15

This has burn to spare, but what a tremendous finish as well.  It is as if the younger flavours rush down the throat and then the older vanilla richness eases down after wards to coat the throat with a satisfying vanilla and spice.

The Afterburn  9/10

I save this whisky for special occasions.  When I have a drink, I limit myself to one. The whisky is simply put, a marvel.  It will be a very sad day when my last bottle is consumed, but a happy one as well as I will know that I, and I alone consumed it all. This is definitely a whisky I hoard to myself.

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)


11 Responses to “Wiser’s Red Letter (150th Anniversary Edition)”

  1. J Smith said

    I am from Pennsylvania, looking to buy a bottle of Wisers Red Letter. Can anyone help me??

    • rintamaki said

      peace bridge canadian duty free has over from buffalo and return through fort erie canada. around 90 bucks.

  2. Piers Stronge said

    I found a bottle for sale today, but at $142, my very limited budget really makes this a hard decision

  3. george rintamaki said

    i bought a bottle at the peace bridge duty free in canada for 89.00 ,i feel it was a deal .Is it possibly the last bottles.

  4. paul said

    I also have the red letter and it is something else….the 18 rocks but only whip out the red on special occasions

  5. Great review and love the blog! Keep it up!

  6. Thanks Jim

    I have tasted and appreciated the Wisers Very Old 18 Year, it will be represented here with a review soon. As for the Red Letter Whisky I must have good taste as I have been informed by Corbys that Jim Murray will be awarding this one the “2010 Canadian Whisky of the Year”. If you make it to Canada for a visit I might break my own rule and offer you a glass. After all you did offer to make me a marvelous cocktail when I make it to your sunny locale.

  7. jimminpr said

    This sounds like a real find Chip. The Red Letter is obviously not in wide distribution. Have you tasted the 18 year old in comparison?

    Thanks for bringing to light a new brand from Canada I had never heard of before.

    Your enthusiasm for this product is delightful!

    Jim. AKA Rum Runner

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