Review: J.P. Wiser's One Fifty Commemorative Canadian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Wiser's 150.jpg
16 Years
Corn and Rye Whiskies
Distiller Hiram Walker (Windsor, Ontario)

Released to commemorate Canada's 150th Anniversary, Wiser's is continuing their impressive roll with this release - a blend of corn and rye whiskies which have been maturing since 2000 and before, split between new oak casks and refill casks. The base whisky was double distilled, with a small amount of column distilled rye which adds the underlying spicy character. One bottle was made to commemorate each week of Canada's 150 year history, with each bottle having a unique number and listing the week it is commemorating. A total of 7,827 bottles produced.

The whisky is made from 100% non-GMO Canadian grain. According to Wiser's, the 43.4% is selected to represent the strength of whiskies in the mid to late 1800s where the ABV was higher to prevent the un-chill filtered whiskies going cloudy (they go cloudy because fats can dissolve in alcohol. Thus, at lower strengths (or temperatures) these fats can precipitate out of the spirit and make it cloudy in appearance.)

Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L17066EW1121 (bottle 6713, Week of Feb. 19 1996)

  • Bottling Date: ~2017

This is interesting – a classic spicy, woody Wiser’s nose – but also clean and light with a good kick of vanilla and char influence from the New Oak. It is similar in that regard to Wiser’s Union 52, and makes me wonder if Wiser’s limited releases are headed more in this particular direction – clean, spicy, slightly sweet, with lots of new oak (I would say Canadian new oak, it’s not like a bourbon oak overload). Somewhat of a cross between Wiser's Small Batch and Union 52, if you have to make a comparison. But, a crude comparison.

Anyway, to the tasting – pine, clove, cinnamon, vanilla, barrel char, mint, and some light earthiness. The grain notes play through nicely in this, and some nice porridge-y notes. We have some fruit too – sharp orange and some stewed apple and pear. The palate is sweet, oaky, spicy – lots of wood notes with cedar, pine, oak, and sandalwood – and mixed baking spices with old clove prominently. The finish is full of vanilla, oak, nutmeg, baking spices, and corn husks. Remains interesting, complex, and easy. Brilliant.

A great whisky, particularly for those that don’t know the category that well. It reminds me a bit of Wiser’s small batch, but a bit older and with more oak influence. A nice blending of the old with the new – fitting for Canada’s 150th!

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High. Against the market, a great whisky for $50.