The Wendel Clark 11 Year Old 100% Rye is the only whisky from the J.P. Wiser's Alumni Series currently available at the LCBO. I'm not ashamed to admit I love the idea of a Canadian distillery teaming up with some Canadian hockey legends to create this line-up. The fact that Dr. Don Livermore appears to have spearheaded this project makes me love it even more. The Wendel Clark edition is a blend of double column distilled rye and pot still distilled rye (I think), aged for 11 years in ex-bourbon barrels. This is bottled at 41.6 % abv, in honour of the Toronto's area code, where Wendel Clark spent the majority of his career.
- Nose (undiluted): rye spice, toffee, red apples, oak, vanilla
- Palate (undiluted): rich and round, toffee sweetness, clementine oranges, a little bit of coconut giving way to peppery cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon
- Finish: medium length, Kraft soft caramels, chai tea, with the taste of coconut macaroons lingering.
With the addition of water, there's more red apple on the nose, more spice on the palate, and a pleasant hit of fresh cigar on the finish. I was loath to add water to a whisky bottled at 41.6% abv, but water really opens it up nicely. A few scant drops will suffice. This whisky is delicious either way. When I first opened the bottle, I found it very similar to Lot no.40, but it changed with some air exposure. Lot 40 has a wider spectrum of flavours, and is more oak-driven in general, but this whisky is much more than a marketing gimmick. It delivers the goods in a big way. Recommended.