Review: J.P. Wiser's Rye Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Distiller Hiram Walker (Windsor, Ontario)

Who was JP Wiser? He was a man of German descent, born in America, who made money early on in the cattle business. Eventually, he bought a distillery across the river in Ontario (in Prescott) and became the chief supplier of both whisky and cattle to the border states until he died in 1911 and production of his whiskies moved to Corbyville. Much like Joseph Seagram in Waterloo, he also became very interested in horses and spent extravagant money to get the best horses he could find. His motto was: “Quality is just something you can’t rush. Horses can hurry but whisky must take its time”. [Source: Canadian Whisky, Davin De Kergommeax]

This whisky is, I believe, only available in the US – it certainly isn’t available in Ontario. And, as far as I understand, it hasn’t been around that long – but since I’m not in the States I am not sure if that’s true. It is produced, along with other Wiser’s whiskies, in Windsor, Ontario.

Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2014

Nose: Rye and banana come off at first, with some bourbon notes in the background. It’s fairly rich, too. I also get some dried corn and fresh dried oak – and these seem to grow as the whisky sits – and they certainly are quite nice. Brown sugar, maple, and a few pine notes are in the mix too. Not bad.

Taste: Fairly sweet on the entry, with some rye fruitiness, oak, brown sugar, and caramel before some cinnamon and banana kick in. Just at the end, I find a touch of black tea as well. It’s a bit more sweet than I would like, and doesn’t quite have the spice I expected with Wiser’s – but it’s still quite nice.

Finish: Banana, maple, vanilla, a touch of oak, and a few bourbon notes. Still maintaining that sweetness from the palate. There is a bit of dry tingling spices as well – cinnamon, black pepper, and a bit of nutmeg. Also, there’s a bit of a saccharin on the finish too.

This is a pretty decent offering, and is a bit different than the stuff in Canada, but not too much. It’s a bit too sweet for my liking as a sipper, but it has enough going on to make it enjoyable.

Score: 82/100

Value: 78/100 (based on $27)

Review (2015; Blind)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2015

Bright and yet dark and spicy, with some apple and light butterscotch and a slightly spicy and oaky edge which lends itself to a drying finish - this one goes down easy! Different things are at play here - fruit and sugars which offset the grain and spice.

Score: 80/100

Value: 74/100 (based on $27)