In one month, Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary. A number of other writers have focused this year on Canadian whisky, in part to honor the anniversary, and in part because of the broader variety of Canadian connoisseur whiskies available. Canada has always had terrific whisky, at times some of the best, but never have we had so much high level Canadian whisky as now.
I wanted to give a nod to what I think is the best regularly available Canadian whisky - Wiser's Legacy. The 45% beauty has been terrific ever since its release in 2010 when it hit the shelves at $84 and soon dropped down to $50. It is a rye heavy blend of a lot of different whiskies - pot still unmalted and malted rye as well as column and pot distilled corn and barley whiskies. The rye whisky component is basically Lot no. 40 - another terrific Canadian whisky. It is matured in new oak for about 10 years, but the fermentation, blending, and distillation techniques all play as significant of a role in the definition of flavor. It truly is a tribute to the beauty of good whisky blending and maturation.
The hype these days for the best Canadian whisky seems to continue to sit with Lot No. 40 - perhaps because of the big, strong and oaky profile which consumers look for these days. Lot no. 40 has won two of the seven years of the Canadian Whisky Awards, but, as anyone who has judged a whisky competition knows - competitions favor immediate strong flavor to complex and subtle drams that reward patience. If you taste a spicy curry beside a nice cut of meat with a light sauce, the curry takes over.
I love Lot no. 40, let's not get that wrong, but for a quick head to head to show what others think - Serge Valentin (Whisky Fun), Andre Girrard (Quebec Whisky), Jim Murray (The Whisky Bible), and Mark Gillespie (Whisky Cast) all rate it higher than Lot no. 40, among others. For all that people talk about Lot no. 40, Legacy really should be getting a bit of the press. As for what I think? It's the only whisky I can buy today which has a 99/100 on my value score, my best "value" purchase. My desert island dram. If you haven't, give it a try...it might be yours too.