Review: Wiser's Last Barrels Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

14 Years, Ex-Bourbon Casks
80% Corn, 11% Rye, 9% Barley
Distiller Hiram Walker (Windsor, Ontario)

This whisky is an LCBO exclusive, a limited run whisky produced for Father's Day. 132 barrels were blended together to create 2000 cases of this whisky. The whisky itself is very unique, and made much in the style of a bourbon than that of a typical Canadian whisky in terms of mashing and fermenting. However, the head distiller (Jim Stanski) who produced this whisky wanted to create a sour mash and use wiser's original recipe from 1869 - but to produce this sour mash, he put milk on a counter in the lab and let it sour to be the souring agent! Yuk! I can only imagine what the people in the lab thought. However, like sourdough, perhaps some things left on the counter to sour produce some good results - let's take a look.

Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: 15SL24 L16078 EW9:21

  • Bottling Date: 2016

A sweet nose, much more bourbon-like than Canadian. I would have thought that the used wood wouldn’t have contributed such a wood character – but it has. Oak, cherry, sweet vanilla, dry corn husks, and a very nice vegetal rye note. Gets a bit deeper with time in the glass – dried cherries, prunes, dried apricot, nutmeg, and some oaky earthiness which is quite wonderful.

On the palate, big, and very corn driven. On the end, quite oily and spicy – the oil is joined by some very nice spice which lingers and develops into a longer finish. Based on the nose, I didn’t expect it to be so corn driven – it doesn’t quite hold the complexity of the nose although the rye plays in beautifully with some arugula and a herbal character. Mint, dried blueberries, clove, and brown cardamom are also to be found…

Fabulous bourbon…er, "rye”….

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). A worthwhile try. I must say that as I had more of it, I stopped liking it - whether that was imagining tasting the sour milk, or actually tasting it - there were components that I started disliking. But…there were days I loved it. From a uniqueness perspective, pretty incredible.

Value: High.