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Wiser's Small Batch

Average score from 7 reviews and 7 ratings 78

Wiser's Small Batch

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Wiser's Small Batch

I like a lot of Wiser's whiskies for their spiciness and boldness. This whisky is a wonderful example of that. It comes in at a higher strength, 43.4%, compared to the usual 40% which is pretty well ubiquitious in Canadian whisky. It is a double barreled whisky, at least once in virgin oak barrels (i.e. not previously used for maturation of a different spirit) -i.e. it was partially aged in one barrel before being transferred to another barrel for further aging.

Nose: Lots of maple and vanilla, along with some spicy rye and some notes that remind me of baking bread - perhaps not wheat but malt loaf. Even though there is no wheat in this whisky, it almost smells as if there is with the soft sweetness which comes with wheat which lingers in the background. The maple syrup leaps from the glass, and it is of the heavier sort which has slightly more burnt and caramel flavours. There's also oak, and the whole whisky smells a bit green - like green wood rather than dried wood. There are little tiny bits of soft vanilla and dried fruits reminiscent of bourbon. However, there's a part of the nose I don't like that is almost starchy, and brings to mind bean sprouts. It's odd, and seems to detract from the nose significantly for me. It's also a bit oily on the nose - slightly buttery. There's also a bit of smoke on the nose too. So there is certainly a lot going on, but to me it is not that well balanced and there are a few stray scents I would rather wish were not there. 82%

Taste: Brown sugar, with some reasonable sweetness, maple, caramel, and vanilla. Spicy rye and some slightly smoky, brilliant oak provides the backdrop and this is a weighty, spicy whisky and I love the delivery. I still find a fair bit of that starchiness - those bean sprouts - but it is much more amenable to my palate than my nose. It comes together very nicely and is much more balanced than the nose. There's also a nice soft bourbon-like kick on the end which is quite nice. 90%

Finish: it's warm, with some spicy rye grain, dark rye bread, and oak - both green wood and dried, older wood, and a touch more of those bean sprouts and some vanilla. The bean sprouts I don't love here either, but it's It also has some good length and a nice amount of sweetness - not too sweet but not lacking in sweetness either. 83%

Intrigue: I really love the palate, and the finish is quite good as well, but I don't fancy the nose. However, the flavour profile is great and this is still a favourite of mine because of the great delivery and I'm always happy to have a dram of this. 85%

Weighting the nose 25%, taste 35%, Finish 15%, and Intrigue 25% the overall grade is 85.


Small Batch is a mid-level whisky from Wisers, who are generally known to make pretty good stuff. The label states that it is aged in virgin oak, and that it is "double barreled", which probably means it was re-casked after blending.

On the nose there are soft aromas of butterscotch, pulled taffy, and quite a bit of oak. I scored the nose 18 because it is pleasant but not very deep; it doesn't beg for repeated nosing.

In the mouth the whisky is light- to medium-bodied, with a soft silky texture on the tongue. Caramel sweetness spreads across the tongue before the spices kick in as oak grips the mouth. I'll give it a 20 for the flavour because it is satisfying to drink and pretty well-balanced.

The finish is what I would call off-dry (whatever that means). It leaves you with a nice oak impression and just a hint of sweetness. A little on the short side, though. 18

Overall, Wiser's Small Batch is a good entry into the premium Canadian whisky category. It is a smooth, tasty whisky with a bit of extra kick over the standard Canadian product. Extra points for striking a balance between full flavour and smooth delivery. 22

This one is also notable for being one of the few (though the number is growing) Canadian whiskies to be bottled over 40%. Hopefully the trend (with Lot 40, Alberta Premium Dark Horse, and others) will continue to the point where a cask strength Canadian whisky bottling comes out.

Glen Breton has with their 17 yo ice wine finished single malt, but to my knowledge, a Canadian style whiskey has yet to be issued at cask strength.

Every once in a while an exceptional bottle comes along; I had one of these, the old silver label in 2010, and would rate it a home run - about 87. The last two bottles that I opened were closer to 70. I have one new label and one old label currently opened and will let them sit for a number of months before I revisit them. This one is usually a swing and a miss.


Recent addition to the Wiser's stable, it's a very affordable rye with a nose of spice cake: caramelized sugar, cloves, nutmeg and Jamaican pepper with a hint of candied apple and orange peel boiled. A beautiful dark vanilla is added and is followed by green wood, compost and fresh cranberry. One of the most spicy nose that you can find. I said, spice cake, but I might as well have said fruitcake, club lion style.

The mouth is a beautiful spicy vanilla with cinnamon and nutmeg and a touch of fresh toffee and apple-cranberry. Not to mention a beautiful green wood with clove and a long spicy finish.

Adding water brings a floral nose and wrings out the sweetness and a somewhat medicinal taste. A bit like clove oil syrup. It thus becomes a much cooler and fresher whisky.

Superb. We take it with water in summer and straight the rest of the year.

Rye has quite a bit of spice, but Wiser's found a way to not get too earthy, a taste often associated with rye whisky. If you want to see a rye heavy bourbon for which it they were not able to balance that so well, try the Fighting Cock Kentucky Bourbon. Barley sugar and earth. Strange


Drunk neat.

Nose: Vanilla-dominant with fruitiness that decreases each time it is poured. Some minty freshness in the background. While it sounds nice, this mix unfortunately ends up smelling slightly chemical.

Taste: Slightly less sweet than maple syrup, but it has all its syrupy consistency. Again, I detect weak mint. As it warms, the rye makes an appearance with a increasingly stronger spiciness, though it never becomes overpowering. Simple, but frank tastes.

Finish: Rye spiciness and toasted oak, soft and very pleasant. Warmth is subdued and short.

Balance: It's a simple and easy drink, but it still maintains the "full flavours" mentioned on its bottle.

Will I buy it again? The price is right (30$ CAD), but life is too short for sipping average spirits. The nose is a major let-down, and, though they are strong, the flavours are too simple to be interesting.

Thinking about the tastes, I think they might actually make good, fake bourbon balls. If I ever try it, I'll post my impressions here.


Wiser's Small Batch is a full-flavoured Canadian blend. It tastes kind of rummy, with burnt sugar and butter aromas. It also has a chemical element, sort of a mild 'magic marker' smell. It is full and spicy on the palate, certainly more robust than your average entry-level whisky. I just don't find the flavour that distinctive, and while it has a smooth full body the flavour can come across as a little harsh or a tad sour. I recommend it on the rocks.


The Wiser's whiskies are currently distilled at the Hiram Walker & Sons Distillery in Windsor, Ontario.

Nose: strong aroma of pleasant old sweet maple coupled with not-so-pleasant undefined astringent cleaning chemicals

Body: thin body, maple syrup consistency, coating the tongue

Taste: very sweet,like maple syrup. There is a lot of wood flavour and very noticeable spiciness, probably from rye, but, as with the nose, it tastes like there are cleaning chemicals mixed in with the taste of the maple syrup.

Finish: the flavours last quite long and fade away together. The chemical flavour is the strongest flavour at the end.

Balance: I have sampled from this bottle for 3 1/2 months now. For the first 3 months I thought this was quite possibly the worst whisky I have ever had in my mouth. For 3 months all I could taste was the industrial chemical taste, and some obscured spice in the background. At 3 months the flavours opened up a lot and mellowed out somewhat, with more sweetness becoming apparent, and an easier access to the wood and spice flavours. Now I would consider this drinkable, but at the low end of desirability.

Greetings, @mrgargas. I saw your @talexander's recent laudatory comments about Wiser's Small Batch, and wondered whether I would be drawn into the discussion. It is, of course, always good to go back and sample the actual product before commenting, so I am doing that right now with my 2 1/2 year old, 1 year gas-preserved 90% full bottle of Wiser's Small Batch. The nose still seems very artificial and chemical to me. Taste: pretty much as I described in my review, above. The maple flavours are so intense it makes me wonder whether maple syrup has been added to it, but the chemical undertones remain. I cannot say that this bottle is any more appealing than it was when I did the review.

When I meet you in person one day, I would be happy to sample from your bottle of Wiser's Small Batch, to see whether it is significantly different from mine. There is a lot more variation in batches of whisky than people would like to believe. I do not discount the possibility that another bottle from another batch of the "same" whisky might taste different than my bottle does. I have seen it quite a few times already.

@Requiem, thank you for your comments and for your kind words. I am just now drinking the Wiser's Small Batch with a little water, as you have suggested. I do find that it improves both the nose and the palate noticeably. The chemical smells and tastes do not completely go away, however. I like the maple flavours and the rye flavours here. It is just the chemicals that get in the way for me. I will most likely from now on make a point of consuming this with a couple of drops of water. Cheers, Tim.


Nose: Sweet vanilla with caramel, oak, grape fruits. Strong smell. Not so attractive to me, but not repulsive either. Spicy.

Taste: Very sweet, syrup taste, maybe too much, delivered in a velvet texture. Then the roughness kicks in with rye and fruits flavors very well balanced by a bit of vanilla. Very strong, with a woody finish and a bit of citrus. The caramel fades; the oak stays a bit longer on the palate.

For me it was an interesting try-out, but it is not one of my prefered whisky taste. Just another discovery. Though I was pleased by how strong and affirming it is. Good simple canadian whisky, like many.

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