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J.P Wiser's Legacy

Wonderfull stuff

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@JasonHambreyReview by @JasonHambrey

11th Feb 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
    95

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

The first time I had this whisky it was in a liquor store tasting bar, where I tasted some Ardbeg Corryvreckan - one of the biggest, most muscular peaty Scotches out there. I looked at Legacy and thought I might want to try it, but figured I wouldn't have a chance at tasting anything after the Corryvreckan. However, I decided to try some, and was shocked to find that Wiser's Legacy stood its ground with some brilliant rye and spice. The name "Legacy" is a tribute to Wiser's founder, J.P. Wiser, and is based off one of his recipes.

The whisky is distilled in a pot still from a rye-rich mash, and matured in white oak barrels, which are toasted rather than charred. It works some magic in this fantastic whisky. It comes in the bottle at 45%, which is unusual for Canadian whisky normally bottled at 40%. It was also one of the first Canadian whiskies to enter into a "super-premium" category, which was small at the time and now includes many more additions than when Legacy was released in 2010.

This bottle was bought in 2012, and reviewed in 2013.

Nose: a nice big, bold and engaging nose. there's caramel, and the nose is sweet and candied. It has lots of vanilla, honey, oak, toffee, ginger, unfiltered apple juice, cinnamon and butterscotch (it's quite creamy!). Banana also features quite heavily, and the nose is quite similar in that respect to that of Lot no. 40 - but I would say this features more complexity and louder vanilla and oak, and less banana. There's a corn backdrop, and some toasted oak develops as it sits and the vanilla notes get larger. There also are some notes of menthol in the nose. There's even a bit of smoke in this one, but it's quite light like match smoke. 92%

Taste: smooth and sweet entry, with apples, caramel, bananas, and warming rye which lightly burn for some time in the mouth before a slow fade and spicy, lingering, dry finish. There's maple, and some light orange as well. Very full bodied, and perhaps not the best balance but almost overpowering. Sweet on the finish. The ginger and cinnamon feature quite nicely in this one. There's also a bit of fragrant mint on the finish, which has the effect of lifting the whole experience slightly. 95%

Finish: fantastic! Big, muscular, long. It's quite dry, fruity, and oaky, and some vanilla and sweetness come out after some time. There is some black pepper and some fruity, candy-like rye as well. 98%

Intrigue: This is one of my favourites. It has lots of complexity, and appealing flavour profile, depth, and breadth. This creamy, spicy, and fruity rye is one I thoroughly enjoy. It seems to me a bit more developed, bolder, and complex version of Lot no. 40 (also a fantastic whisky) with some more softer flavours and less spice intensity. 95%

Weighting the nose 25%, taste 35%, Finish 15%, and Intrigue 25% the overall grade is 95.

Related Wiser's reviews

26 comments

@Victor
Victor commented

Every whisky lover on earth who doubts that there is such a thing as good Canadian whisky should get a taste of Wiser's Legacy.

Wiser's Legacy beats out scores of excellent world whiskies to merit a place on my Profile Page favourites list.

4 years ago 0

@JasonHambrey
JasonHambrey commented

@Victor indeed. It is fabulous, and relatively available too.

4 years ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@JasonHambrey very nice review. I just wrote a review of this rye then read your review and I think we had a similar experience with this dram. As usual, you picked up way more flavors than I did, but my palate is not familiar with rye. Still, we are very close although for me, Lot 40 is playing way more the exotic fruits while Legacy has a unique way to play the wood spices. I also expect Legacy to better take air because of the wood. You may give me an advise on this point since I am at my first bottle of Legacy, that would be welcome! Anyway, let me tell you that I am learning a lot by comparing my notes to your reviews, they are very usefull to acquire the ability to name the flavors I encounter in Canadian Whisky.

4 years ago 0

@JasonHambrey
JasonHambrey commented

@Robert99 thanks. I think many people have a similar experience of this dram - it's amazing! I've only tasted from a few different bottlings of this one - all good - but I would like to do a more extensive batch comparison at some point.

Interesting about Lot 40- I have never actually compared them side by side, though I have samples at home to do some of them. I would have said Lot 40 plays more with the wood (but less with the spice), whereas Legacy still do that but a bit more spice focus (as you said). I don't (from experience) know how it will take air - the bottles don't stay around too much in my house! One thing with air I find though is that some of the spicy edge can be lost, which would detract from this one.

4 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@JasonHambrey, nice review of an iconic Canadian Whisky. Your assessment of the wood and, as you phrased it, "corn backdrop" are spot on! The similarities, which you have detected in the nose, to Lot No. 40, especially the banana notes, are truly magical and a benefit derived from the pot single distillation process. Banana notes are also evident in Crown Royal Monarch and the new Single Barrel expression; the ancient coffee still in Gimli, MB (formerly employed in Waterloo until 1991) creates similar magical properties.

Great review for a great Canadian classic by a reviewer with a great appreciation for Canadian Whisky.

4 years ago 0

@JasonHambrey
JasonHambrey commented

Thanks @paddockjudge. Yes - Canadian whisky is my passion (as yours, I believe!). You also certainly know Legacy very well, and your comments on @Robert99 were very informative. I think, if I could have just one Canadian whisky as a desert island dram, this would be it (though perhaps suited better to colder temperatures!).

4 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@JasonHambrey, I think very highly of Legacy and agree it certainly makes for a good dram on a cold day, like today. As for my favourite Canadian whisky, I have many! I have not yet been able to purchase Crown Royal Single Barrel (high proof) nor WhistlePig Boss Hog...c'mon Connosr members, help out a brother.

4 years ago 0

@JasonHambrey
JasonHambrey commented

I've tried Boss Hog - it's very nice - but I don't think I could stomach the price for that. CR single barrel I would love to get my hands on

4 years ago 0

Astroke commented

I actually like this more than Lot 40, but as Canadian whisky goes my absolute favorite is Highwood Ninety. Feel sorry for all those Whisky lovers who cannot purchase this gem (H-90)

Got a Whistle Pig 10 year from the US and I still like the Legacy more

4 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@Astroke, It is not at all surprising to learn you like Highwood Ninety 20 YO. The largest component of Legacy is some very sweet and delicious corn whisky, much like H-90. Add some Lot No. 40 to the H-90 and you are on your way to creating your very own Legacy.

4 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

Go ahead, @paddockjudge...why not give @Astroke the rest of the Legacy recipe?...but I suppose he will need the quantities/ratios too.

4 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@Victor, why not?! Great fun for all regardless of your favourite whisky style or preference. This blending exercise will enhance the understanding of the relationship between grain, wood, and distillation method. It is educational and a wonderful gateway experience for those willing to explore bold and new frontiers.

Paddockjudge Legacy Recipe:

15 ml Highwood Ninety 20 YO 7.5 ml Corby's Lot No. 40 1.25 ml Deanston Virgin Oak Highland Single Malt

The resulting blend is about as close to Wiser's Legacy as you can get without opening a bottle of Legacy. Much of the fun is derived from experimenting with varying ratios and product substitutions.

Here is an excerpt from my comment to @Robert99 on his review of Wiser's Legacy

" Legacy is not a 'standard' Canadian 'Rye' blend. The proportional composition is somewhat heavily weighted in the rye whisky component of this spectacular blend, approximately 33%, much more than any standard blend I can think of. Barley in the 2 - 5% range and the balance, which is the base, the platform upon which this particular Canadian expression is carried, is a combination of column still and pot distilled corn whisky...and bottled at 90 pf.

There is a lot going on with Legacy. Glancing at my collection of notes from a master class, and subsequent discussion, with Dr. Don Livermore, who succeeded David Doyle (2007 Red Letter and the launch of Legacy, 2010) as Master Distiller at Corby's/Wiser's/ Meagher's, this particular expression is a blend derived from varying styles of whisky; pot still rye, malted rye, column and pot still corn and barley whiskies. The rye whisky component is Lot No. 40. The barley whisky is particularly delicious, most notable were the grassy notes that are characteristic of column still production. Believe it or not, the star of the show was the pot double-distilled corn whisky - absolutely incredible, like a long-aged Cameron Bridge single grain Scotch.

Dr. Don Livermore indicated the age of the whiskies employed to be 10 years (Red Letter being 13 years, finished in new oak for approximately 5 months and basically column distilled). The new oak used to age all of Legacy's component whiskies is undoubtedly a large part of the unique flavour profile exhibited by this blend; however, the method of distillation is equally influential and makes its mark on Wiser's Legacy. Each of the component parts are truly very fine examples of the various grain varietals, but the method of distillation sets each apart from the other. The floral and fruity aromas from the rye component (Corby's Lot No.40) can be attributed to the copper pot single distillation. The relative absence of any sulphurous, grassy, or soapy notes indicates to me that the proportion of pot distilled whiskies is much greater than that of column distilled whiskies."

4 years ago 0

Astroke commented

@paddockjudge, great, although I would rather substitute something other than the Deanston, I will try some Berry bros.Speyside blend.

Cheers

4 years ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@Paddockjudge I was reading your comment and I understand it better now than I used to! Why? Because recently I opened a bottle of Nikka Coffey Malt and having a whisky made of 100% barley in Coffey column still is quite educative. The way the barley is coming out in the sweetness of the whisky is unique and I now kind of link simple natural flavors to column still because of it and because of your comment about the grassy notes being typical of column still. For me, it is as if column still let the primary flavors of the grain devellop themselves but don't work on secondary flavors, letting them in the background, while a pot still will bring those secondary flavors, full of lower notes, up in front. Maybe I am totally wrong but that is the way I am making sens of my experience for the moment. Please, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. As I said before, one of the reason I am writing on Connosr is to be educated by more experimented Connosr.

4 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@Astroke, please post your results. Try the concoction before you add the single malt - the volume is tiny, but the influence can be substantial.

4 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@Robert99, those are some keen observations. I also participate on Connosr to learn and, if at all possible, to share what I can with others. How about @MaltActivist and his Feis Ile Diary! Now that is sharing!

4 years ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@Paddockjudge @MaltActivist probably makes all of us dream! The only Connosr members not dreaming are those lost in their memories of this festival! I hope he will talk about the people he is living the experience with, the amateurs with whom he shares appreciation, tasting notes and probably small talk and laugh.

4 years ago 0

@JasonHambrey
JasonHambrey commented

What a great thread. Thanks @paddockjudge for sharing the recipe. When work lightens up, I'll have to take a crack at recreating legacy as well. With some blind tests and friends a few slight variants, this could be a lot of fun!

4 years ago 0

Astroke commented

@paddockjudge, took your advise and now I cannot bring myself to add the SM. May not be Legacy without it but it's really good. I think you all have started me down the path to Mad Science:)

4 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@JasonHambrey, I have not yet tried L15009. I will be adding a few bottles of this most recent batch to the eight batches already in the cabinet. L10270, L11090, 11196, L11326, L12096, L12303, L12304, L13289, and now L15009.

4 years ago 0

Astroke commented

Picked up a bottle a couple days ago, my bar had no Legacy for 3 days. Panic set in and I quickly picked one up. Phew.

3 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@JasonHambrey, a year later and the bottle of Legacy L15009 is all but empty. This batch is similar to the early releases. Subsequent batches have an elevated level of black licorice, as do recent batches of Lot No.40.

2 years ago 0

@JasonHambrey
JasonHambrey commented

Yep. I'm not super keen on black licorice. We'll have to wait the year out. Last year's lot 40 was fantastic.

2 years ago 0

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