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Wiser's Red Letter 15 YO 2020 Distillery Exclusive

Happy New Year!

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@NozinanReview by @Nozinan

1st Jan 2024


Wiser's Red Letter 15 YO 2020 Distillery Exclusive
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Wiser’s Red Letter is a favourite of one of my whisky buddies. I and @Nosebleed hunted several bottles of this for him over the years (and my brother in law even surprised me with a bottle of the 2015 release). In 2020 Wiser’s released a distillery exclusive of the Red Letter, a 15 year old expression bottled at 45%. It is this one I am reviewing to honour my tradition of posting a review of a Canadian whisky on January 1.

I have reviewed a sample (thanks @paddockjudge) of the 2013 release in the past. From what I understand the 2013-15 releases were all from the same bond. This would likely be from a different batch of distillate. The bottle is 80% full, gassed after each use. Opened initially Dec. 10, 2020, and last poured on Oct. 13, 2021.

This expression is reviewed in a standard Glencairn glass, in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water (for research purposes only), waiting, then nosing and tasting.

Nose: 22/25

Very “Canadian Whisky”. A slightly sweet, sour, spicy, grainy nose. Caramel, some cinnamon. High pitched fruity notes. Something in between an unripe green apple and a sour cherry. Flawless, pleasant nose. No appreciable change with water.

Taste: 21/25

Sweet and spicy arrival on the first sip. A little thin in the mouthfeel. Some fruits too. Vanilla and caramel in the development. Not as complex as I would like. Thinner with water, but brighter. The fruits come out a bit more, as does the pepper. (21.5/25)

Finish: 22/25

Warmth down the throat. What does Dr. Don call it? a Canadian Hug? Vanilla and pepper on medium length finish. Definitely more pepper with water.

Balance: 22/25

The nose promises a little more than the palate receives. A little sweet but overall quite pleasant.

Score: Neat - 87/100 With Water: 87.5/100

In contrast the sample of the 2013 release (which I dug out and still had a little left) is a little dustier and does not have the same spicy cinnamon notes on the nose. The same thinness on the palate. A fairly similar whisky. For some reason mixing them together makes it a little off-balanced, though with time it seems to settle, with caramel becoming more prominent.

This is a solid whisky. It’s a shame that this was a distillery-only release, as I am sure there are people outside of Ontario would love to have some in their cabinets. I’m happy to share with any visitors.

To all of you I wish a HAPPY NEW YEAR! May 2024 bring great drams and great happiness!

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