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Gibson's Finest 12 Year Old

Maybe the Last of the 12 Year Old

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@VictorReview by @Victor

16th Sep 2016


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

My thanks to @Nelom for the reviewed sample

Gibson's 12 yo has long been a staple of the Canadian whisky shelf. Gibson's brand was a western Pennsylvania distiller of rye whiskey which fled to Canada at the time of the US Prohibition in order to continue in the whisky business. Rumours abound that the 12 year old may be losing the age statement soon. Recently I did see Gibson's Finest Rare without an age statement and with a near identical label to the 12 yo in an Ontario automobile Travel Retail/Duty Free outlet. I've managed to taste 4 dozen Canadian whiskies over the past 5 years, and I've managed not to try Gibson's 12 until now

Nose: lots of wood, lots of vanilla, a little spice from rye grain, some caramel, and some honey. Definitely pleasant, albeit a bit dry and dusty. Extremely representative of the Canadian blended style. Water added brings out a lot of spice. Water is a nice variant. Score: 22/25 points

Taste: sweeter in the mouth than in the nose, with strong caramel, and even some reduced maple syrup. The flavours seem more simplistic in the mouth than in the nose, but come very much alive. Water brings out some sourness. Score: 21.5/25

Finish: goes bitter into the finish, probably from the old re-used wood. Some sour creeps in late also. Stays sour with water added. Score: 20/25

Balance: very good in the nose, good on the palate, fair on the finish. Score: 21/25

Total Sequential Score: 84.5 points

Strength: very good strength of flavours throughout, even at 40% ABV. Score: 22/25

Quality: very good grain flavours are understated in intensity; merely adequate wood flavours are dominant. Score: 21/25

Variety: adequate variety of flavours, but not much more. Score: 20/25

Harmony: very good harmony in the nose, good harmony on the palate, fair harmony on the finish. Score: 21/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 84 points

Comment: I am very glad to finally become acquainted with Gibson's Finest Rare 12 YO, which may soon become truly rare and start to disappear, as did its excellent older brother Gibson's Finest Rare 18 Year Old. The 18 yo has a successor, named "Venerable". This 12 YO might well be replaced by a No Age Statement whisky, if my experience with Travel Retail becomes generalised. Overall, I like Gibson's 12 YO better than I was expecting, based upon the prior comments and reviews of others

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