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I've held back this review for more than a year, not because the number at the top is controversial, but because I wanted it to be right. I think when you start a whiskey collection it is done for love of the spirit and not pursuit of perfection, but when those two align it is a thing of beauty. I purchased this bottle after my discovery of near perfection in Gooderham & Worts Naturally Small Batch Lot 4. In my review of that bottle I stated with a real belief that asking for more in a whiskey would be like Icarus wanting to fly closer to the sun. Wiser's 18 takes me into a stellar nursery. Stars burst into life all around me while Icarus looks up with envy, his fragile wings confined to low atmospheric flight. I've consumed about 75% of the bottle over the past year and it has not changed. It is perfect.
Nose: Christmas! Evergreen pine, gingerbread, sugarplum and chocolate candies. Letting the glass open up reveals an apple pie before it has been baked - crisp and freshly sliced apples, cinnamon, and freshly made dough.
Taste: Taste is the wrong word here. This whiskey is a journey. You do not taste it, instead you experience it. I take a sip and time stops. There is no liquid, only imaginary objects that take the form of old memories and tangible objects. In my minds eye there is a canoe hewn from a mighty oak. I board and begin to paddle, but there is an anchor that keeps me centered. The shore disappears and I look out on the boundless sea and spy a bottle bobbing in the currents. Inside is a list of flavors: Coffee, rye, anise, and pear. I look out again and there are now bottles too numerous to count surrounding me. Each contains a different list. The depth here is phenomenal. I have spent hours with a single dram.
Finish: The finish is dry for a whiskey. It begs you to take another sip and savor the flavors as long as possible. The ocean drains. Bottles now litter the dry and cracked ground.
Balance: This stuff is damn good. Nothing is out of place because the depth of this whisky is incomprehensible. If there is a flaw it is that there is no consistency. My experience is different every time and yet it is always flawless. The whisky bends and conforms to your every desire. Every sip is a new adventure.
Final Thoughts: Jim Murray described his experience with Wiser's Legacy as being a young man in the wanting hands of an older vixen. Wiser's 18 reverses those roles. The whiskey is a flawless young yoga instructor. The way she bends with slow grace and precision fills my head with thoughts not suitable for a whiskey site. Incredible.
Disclaimer: I've seen from plenty of reviews that Wiser's 18 is subject to batch and even bottle variation. This review is for this bottle and it is my sincere wish that there are others out there like it. The only identifying mark is that this is from case 789 of 2000.