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Canadian whiskey is light by design, and should not be judged among other whiskey types, such as bourbon, Irish or Scotch. Canadian whiskey is usually blended, and begins with a very light and fairly neutral corn base, to which a very small amount of flavoring grain whiskey, such as rye, is added. Later the whiskey can be matured in any type of cask they choose … but often these are used bourbon barrels. Wiser’s 18 is blended Canadian whiskey, that is aged for a staggering 18 years … quite long for this type of whiskey, and interesting to taste this extended aging result on such a light blend to begin with. Unfortunately not much more information is readily available from the distiller, other than their recommendation that it be enjoyed sipped. Other Wiser expressions are the DeLux, Legacy, Small Batch, and Special Blend.
The bottle is an elegant and authoritative, heavy square glass rectangular cube, which confidently signals that the contents command respect.
Bottle Nose: Butter cream icing, vanilla, butterscotch, sugar cookie, nuts, dates, bananas foster and a good deal of old wood.
Glass Nose: With a bit of water and time, we coax out similar aromas to the bottle nose, but more subdued. And if you wait long enough, you might even notice some bourbon-like oak and caramel.
Palate: Butter cream icing, vanilla, butterscotch, honey, sugar cookie, lemon and wood. Other than the unmistakable signature Canadian taste, the Wiser’s 18 taste summary is that of sugary pastry. Add a bit of water to round the peppery edge and lower the calorie rush.
Finish: Amazing smooth and balanced, medium finish, with a lip-smacking and slightly peppery, satisfying sweetness, followed by some cleansing and lingering orange and grapefruit rind.
Conclusion: Wiser’s 18 is sometimes almost cloying sweet, but never like a liqueur or a honey whiskey … but I am not at all complaining … after all, how many whiskies can claim this glorious amount of balanced sweetness !? IMO, there are not many top-shelf Canadian whiskies, but if you are serious about whiskey, you might as well include one of the best Canadians in your collection. Wiser’s 18 would be a perfect top-shelf change of pace to your favorite lighter Irish whiskey or Speyside malt … especially for those relaxing summer months.
At about 45 USD, this is a great value for an 18-year bottle. Of the very few top-shelf Canadians I have tasted, only Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve is a respected peer … albeit quite different. My score is 91/100 in the Canadian category … thus leaving room for all those other motley & tantalizing Canadian bottles that @dbk and other Connosr Canadians are unearthing :)