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Wiser's Dissertation

The Doctor is In

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@OdysseusUnboundReview by @OdysseusUnbound

18th Jul 2017


Wiser's Dissertation
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

This is an abridged version of a review from my blog

When I read that Don Livermore, Master Distiller at J.P. Wiser's had a Ph.D. in Distilling, (likely on this very site), I had to investigate further. I had always thought of Wiser's as a mixing whisky and hadn't given their premium offerings a second glance. What I found changed the way I think about Canadian Whisky.

For those who don't know, this whisky is (according to various internet reports) 12 years old, 87% rye, 13% corn, is unchilfiltered, not coloured with E150A and bottled at 46.1% ABV. Pretty good start.

Tasting notes

  • Nose (undiluted): very rye forward, toasted oak, maple sugar, some baking spices, mint in the background

  • Palate (undiluted): surprisingly smooth arrival, medium bodied, rye spice, vanilla, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, red apples

  • Finish: medium length, more rye spice, vanilla, some charred oakiness lingering

Adding water to Dissertation allowed the spices, particularly cloves, to come through a bit more, but the rye and oak were still quite present. In addition to the toasted oak, water brings a freshly-cut oak note to the nose and some butteriness to the mouthfeel. The rye is very pronounced in this whisky and that's a great thing. If you associate rye flavour with inexpensive mixer whiskies (e.g. Wiser's Special Blend, Canadian Club) like I used to, Dissertation can show you just how good rye whisky can be.

I was very pleasantly surprised with this whisky. It even inspired me to buy a bottle of Lot 40, just to try some other Canadian whiskies of high repute.


Scoring is always tough for me. I'm a teacher by trade, so I tend to want to grade strictly but fairly. Also, I don't want to think about how I scored other whiskies, be they bourbon or single malt scotches, when scoring this one. Comparing bourbon to scotch to Canadian whisky to Japanese whisky (which I haven't tried yet) seems like a futile endeavour. I also tried to distinguish between my enjoyment of the whisky and my impression of the overall quality of the product. They are often close, but not always the same. My enjoyment score would be 89/100 and I feel like the quality score would be 92/100. Obviously, some will find my scoring too high, others too low. So be it.

Related Wiser's reviews


MadSingleMalt commented

Folks reading this review might be interested in the "ask me anything" that this Livermore fella did on Reddit a few months ago:


6 years ago 3Who liked this?

Nozinan commented


Entertaining, but after one or 2 masterclasses with the good doctor, no new information.

6 years ago 1Who liked this?

Nozinan commented

I initially copied and pasted the entire dissertation as a comment but then decided that even if Connosr software allowed such a huge file there might be issues around copyright, plagiarism, and it would essentially make the comments page too long. But as @Nelom did for my review, here is a link to it.


I must admit I've not yet gotten around to reading it even though it's only 287 pages.

6 years ago 1Who liked this?

canadian commented

This offering from Wiser's is one of the best. I find if I drink some lot 40 before I drink dissertation, it gives dissertation so much more. I even use the same glass with out even a rinse. It comes alive, you can taste the heavy lot 40 in it but has so much more. I would almost say it's a 12 year lot 40 that's blended with other whisky to create this. Very nice rye, one of the best.

6 years ago 1Who liked this?