Featured at World Whisky Day 2017: J. P. Wiser was a Canadian businessman in the late 1800s who went about building a spirits company centered around whisky. A lot of the mythology around Wiser involves the dedication to the craft of making whisky, specifically that the time it takes to mature is more than worth it. Wiser’s company has been bought and sold a few times since he founded it and the brand is now part of the Hiram Walker portfolio, which in turn is part of the Pernod Ricard conglomerate. As with many, though not all, Canadian whiskies, any information about the blend or maturation is very difficult to come by.
Distillery: Hiram Walker & Sons
Age: 18 years
Location: Windsor, CA
Nose: Sweet, brown sugar
Palate: Brown sugar, vanilla, honey, fruit, syrup
Finish: Vanilla, licorice
Comments: Almost no edge on the palate for water to take off.
Adam – This is surprisingly bright. The nose is a little hot, more than I expected. It took me a while to warm to this one, perhaps because it is not as loud as some of the other whiskies we had at the tasting but this one deserves some lone appreciation. Maybe I’d be better able to gauge its quality if I’d had any of the other Wiser line or were even better versed in Canadian whiskies at all. What I can tell is that there is some solid flavor in here, packed into a smooth path. The sweetness is rich in a rather broad natural way. This is a whisky to relax with and savor. It is particularly fine if you want the smooth and easy flavors to enjoy without any aggressive flavors. I swear, this one keeps being a little different every time I encounter it. Much like an 18 year old, I suppose. Sometimes it feels full bodied and smooth, the next time abrasive, then too weak, yet other times like graham crackers and candied syrup while cuddling on a cold winter night. Brrr.
Michael – The palate is reminding me of a fruity sangria, in that there’s a little bit of alcohol with some fruit flavors. The heat reminds me of that spritzy sensation.
Meghan – It is a very smooth whisky. I suppose that shouldn’t be a surprise since it is an 18 yr but, as has been seen at times, age does not always equal smoothness. I agree that the nose is harsher than one would expect. However, the actual whisky is much lighter and friendlier than the nose. It is very sweet, almost to a cloying level of overripe fruit. Then, the finish is quite long, with a slow creep up the esophagus. This is not my favorite but it is drinkable. However, it lacks the needed depth for me to enjoy on its own but also lacks the substance to stand up to a mixer. It reminds me of a standoffish teenage girl who, if you get past the initial outside harshness, proves to be very sweet but then, as soon as you are about to walk away, she applies a verbal smack upside the head. Whether that last retort is sarcastically witty or underhandedly rude is up to the recipient.
Peter – It is round, that curves around into a sweet, syrup taste. I love it. Almost sort of a dessert at Christmas. Friendly.
Mary-Fred – It’s not a light whisky. It really is excellent, gentle and sweet.
Ben – The heat on this comes later. It’s not part of the main story, it’s part of the epilogue. I recall giving a second look at this because of the shape of the bottle. It looks like a giant perfume bottle.