By fluke chance, I walked into a burger bar best known for it’s craft beer, and they had a whisky I haven’t had a chance to try yet.
It’s like opening up a chocolate bar and then seeing a really tasty pretzel and buying it because you have no willpower.
So like that. They even served it in a cool little glass to make it easier for me to sample.
And it was before I drank like a fish for a weekend, so I totally was able to enjoy it… rather than, well now, when I’m realizing I don’t like drinking to get drunk as much as I used to.
Odd. Anyway, I finally tried Wiser’s Last Barrels 14, so hooray for finally catching up with the rest of /r/canadawhisky.
So what do they mean by “Last Barrels”? Is there no more Wiser’s? What, oh what, will us Canadians mix with Coke (or Pepsi if you’re Newfie or Quebecois)?
No, these aren’t the end of a distillery in Canada. More so, back in 2001, before any of us were asking where we were when the world changed, Jim Stanski left Wiser’s, and these are his last barrels made.
Who was Jim Stanski? Well I’m guessing you didn’t assume he worked in the mail room. But just in case, no, he didn’t work in the mail room.
He was the distiller at Hiram Walker distillery, which makes Wiser’s. He left… to go to management and is now the VP of Production. So good for him.
Stanski, it would seem, was promoted because he did things differently in Canada. For this whisky, he blended the grains before mashing them. He used 80% corn grist, 11% rye, and 9% barley malt in a bourbon-style mash. Where did he get this idea? Well turns out that crazy zombie hunter and all the time whisky maker J.P. Wiser’s had a recipe like it back in 1869.
You know, when everything was better unless you count racism, sexism, general health, child mortality, or really anything other than the odd recipe like this one.
Then he used a sour mash. In Canada we don’t use those, and instead we use rigourous sanitation,
You know, because even though it doesn’t make the whisky better, and some would argue worse, at least that’ll make people drink less and that’s what certain Canadian politicians want, so fuck us.
Anyway, Stanksi specifically made a carton of milk go bad on the counter of Hiram Walker to make the sour mash.
So, this is all the methods that Canadian whisky makers have given up, at a decent Abv, sold in a limited run, from someone who still works there, presumably to prove to the rest of the country what the rest of the world has been saying over and over, that it’s time to step up on our whisky.
Politics aside, let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Price: $64.95 (CAD) at the LCBO
Colour: 5YR 6/12
Nose: Caramel, apples, light smoke, honey, wheat, lime, wood varnish, fresh velour
Very silky nose. Nice amount of smoke, adds to the different flavours.
And I think this is the first time I’ve had that fresh flowers note in a Canadian whisky. Very different than other Wiser’s I’ve had.
Taste: Lime, peppery, caramel, lemon, cumin, hoppy
I wish there was a little more here, not going to lie. This isn’t the Canadian whisky to change my mind throughout time.
That said, there are some interesting flavours being developed. For one, the hoppyness, as you may now, goes against a bias I have against… hops. And breakdancing, oddly enough.
However this is nice to sip on, and goes down (dare I say it?) smooth. There’s no off flavours (barring my previous complaint).
Finish: Pepper, caramel, honey, powder good ginger, cashew, hot, green apple jolly ranchers
Big pepper, lots of spice, and an oddly hot finish. There’s aspects I like and there’s aspects that need some work. Some of it feels gritty. Other parts have a nice, sweet finish.
Conclusion: It’s not easy to score this one. For one, I want more of this on the market. I want people to buy this out and for it to make a big splash, bigger than Northern Harvest (since this is much better).
On the other hand, I pride myself on not lying to you, the people reading, to ensure that you take my reviews seriously, even though I drop a lot of dick sucking jokes.
All joking aside, I enjoy this whisky, and think it’s probably the best okay priced whisky to come out in Canada since Alberta Premium Dark Horse. This is on its way to competing with some bourbons I’ve had.
I think that releasing it at a higher abv may help the finish. I think that tweaking their design and releasing lots of whiskies in this way would help overall. I think it isn’t something to pick up and change your mind in a second.
What this is is the right step in the right direction for making whisky. In Canada we need to learn from American’s and Scots on how to make whisky. We need to understand we don’t have the benefits of super warm climates that helps out the US, India, and Taiwan, and will need more time.
So frankly, I applaud Hiram Walker for making this whisky. And I hope that some old moron who can see things globally in who is elected takes his head out of his ass to realize that he’s not making society better by attacking our whisky business with short-sighted, foolish, and frankly demeaning taxes, and instead needs to revise it to help create a better product overall
World Whisky review #165, Canada review #59, Whisky Network review #796