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Gibson's Finest Rare 18 Year Old

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0 1094

@JasonHambreyReview by @JasonHambrey

22nd Jan 2015

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
    94

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

This whisky, I find, is very highly regarded by most that have had it - but I, for whatever reason, don't find it recommended that often. Fabulous stuff.

Nose: Vanilla, honey, oak, caramel, creme brulee - it certainly develops as it sits. You can sense the sweetness of the whisky and the oak combines with that to make me think of maple. There are some beautiful cedar notes, and intriguing notes of pickle. The nose has a slight floral element to it as well reminding me of the blossoming of a tree we had in our house growing up which grew big balls of white flowers. Most excellent! 92%

Taste: Thick, slightly sweet, and creamy...lots of bourbon-like influence. There's a good bit of oak and spice kicks in with some nice sweetness at the end along with some wheat-like graininess. There's also a touch of cedar in the mix as well which pokes its head up here and there. The rye seems to be dusty, and the mouth dries out a bit as with other whiskies in the Gibson's line. The cereals also come out for me in a way that reminds me of stale bread. There are some fruit elements like grape juice. There's a touch of acidity which seems to lift the whole experience up a bit and keep everything in check. brilliant. good mouthfeel to it as well. 95%

Finish: Lots happens on the finish! There's some nice honey, alongside some oak and tannin. It's still wonderfully light even after all those years in oak. there are some really nice oaky and corn notes, similar to the smell of angel's share if you ever have a chance to visit a distillery. 93%

Intrigue: This is a fabulous offering by Gibson's and this whisky is one that demands your attention - it is excellent. The wonderful honey, caramel and light fruitiness is balanced against the oak and cedar, and lifted up by just a touch of acidity. A wonderful whisky - one well worth enjoying. 95%

Weighting the nose 25%, taste 35%, Finish 15%, and Intrigue 25% the overall grade is 94.

*I realized I would never have time to re-write all my Canadian whisky reviews to connosr, so I've been importing the tasting notes in bulk to expand the whisky base on connosr. For more info on the whisky (with similar tasting notes), see my post at whiskywon.wordpress.com/2014/04/…

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10 comments

@Victor
Victor commented

Gibson's Finest Rare 18 yo is wonderful whisky, but there is not a lot of it around and it is not very easy to find, even in Canada. Outside of Canada there is none for sale. If Gibson's 18 yo ever became as popular as its quality dictates,...POOF! you wouldn't be able to find a bottle of it for sale anymore, because they would all be scarfed up in a week.

4 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@Victor, 'Gibson's Finest Rare 18 Years' is truly a rare whisky. The name of the whisky is now changed to Gibson's Finest Venerable 18 Years. Finding the true 'Rare' iteration is now a nearly impossible task.

Gibson's whisky was at one time produced exclusively at the Valleyfield plant in Quebec, which was also the home to Danfieild's 21 YO Limited Edition. Neither whisky is now produced at the Valleyfield facility.

The production of Gibson has transitioned from Valleyfield to Walkerville (Windsor) beginning with the youngest iteration, Sterling, and later followed by the 12 YO version.

The 18 YO whisky remains elegant and refined with the only noticeable change being on the label. I believe the name change, from Rare to Venerable, signals the transition of the 18 YO expression from Quebec to Ontario. Watch for the changing shape of the bottle stopper; when the acorn-shaped stopper changes to a sleeker more cylindrical top, the whisky will likely then be aged distillate from the Windsor facility, which happens to be the home of Corby's/Wiser's and Canadian Club.

With the exodus of both Gibson's and Danfield's (now produced in Lethbridge, AB at the Black Velvet facility) from Valleyfield, the era of a truly iconic distillery, the old Schenley's distillery, has come to pass.

4 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@JasonHambrey, thank you for a nice review of an iconic Canadian. The recent batch of Gibson's Finest Venerable 18 Years is absolutely brilliant....would we expect anything less from the owners, the Grant Family, which happen to be responsible for two iconic Scottish brands, Glenfiddich and Balvenie?

4 years ago 0

@JasonHambrey
JasonHambrey commented

@paddockjudge I've recently had some of a recent batch of the "venerable", and you are right. Great stuff. Have you sampled any of the Hiram Walker 12 Year Old yet?

4 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@JasonHambrey, I have not yet sampled the 12 yo Hiram Walker. Where did you find yours?...and is worth seeking?

4 years ago 0

@JasonHambrey
JasonHambrey commented

Well I wasn't overly impressed with the last 12 year old I had - a great first tasting but subsequently didn't match out. I've seen the new hiram walker bottles at my local LCBO now, but not sure if I want to venture there yet. Davin says it is a bit richer than Valleyfield. I posted a review of my previous bottle on connosr, I think. It's not an expensive buy, so I might grab a bottle of the new juice before too long.

4 years ago 0

@selfbuilt
selfbuilt commented

Thanks for the review Jason. I too wasn't too impressed with the last Gibson's 12 yo I tried (Valleyfield era) - a nice crème brûlée-like flavour, but still a bit too rough. This 18yo is a very fine product in comparison, one of the best Canadian whiskies I've had.

4 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@selfbuilt, Danfield's 21 is very similar to Gibson's 18. I prefer D'field's 21 and the price is a nice kicker.

4 years ago 0

@selfbuilt
selfbuilt commented

@paddockjudge, Thanks, that Danfield is indeed at the top of my short list to try - but it doesn't seem to be available anywhere in the LCBO at present. Will have to wait until my next trip out West!

4 years ago 0

@JasonHambrey
JasonHambrey commented

yes, Danfield's can be a hard find, and is getting harder. But it does keep coming around....

yes, it's remarkable the difference between Gibson's 12 and 18. Almost surprising that they come from the same place, but if you taste them side by side you realize how much the oak makes the spirit come alive with time. That's why I'd love to taste a 20+ Gibson's, especially as the tannins are in good control even at 18.

4 years ago 0

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