Thanks to Wiser’s for pouring a few samples of this as we toasted Detroit and Windsor.
For those of you not in the know, last year was the first year for the Northern Border Collection. Given my countries excellence in winter clothing, I wouldn’t be surprised if most people assumed it was a clothing line. But it’s more exciting than that.
It’s a special limited group of whiskies brought out by J.P. Wiser’s. As part of it last year we saw the now much-beloved Lot 40 12 year Cask Strength and Wiser’s 35-year-old, one of the oldest Canadian whiskies.
Thus while sitting down with Dr Don (let me pick up that name I just dropped) after a lovely lunch and many glasses of water to clear off my palette, I immediately became Pavlov’s Dog when I was told we’d be sipping on J.P. Wiser’s 35 (2018).
This is a corn whisky that has been given the time to age. I was too excited to ask if this was aged similarly to last years, with ex-bourbon casks used and less than 10% rye. So for now, let’s just try the whisky and see how this year is, shall we?
Price: Don’t know yet (fingers crossed same as last year)
Colour: 7.5Y 9/6
Nose: Old wood furniture, light apple syrup, buttery apple crumble, flower vanilla, rich caramel
Initial nice woody note of old furniture. It’s a tad shy at first, eventually opening up into some sweeter apple aspects. Then more apple, but different. At first it’s a pure apple syrup type of flavour, however, a bit of time brings in cereal and buttery notes.
Water opens up floral vanilla and rich caramel. Really nice to nose. I actually went back for a second glass because of the nose alone.
Taste: Green apple hard candy, butterscotch, light cloves, lime zest, pepper
Big tart and sweet apple note here. Whereas last years had this spicy backbone, this was sweeter and lighter. The apple candy takes the forefront. Some citrus, a bit of pepper and cloves, but Apple is king here.
Finish: Cherry, lime cordial, cloves, cola, smoke, pepper/farmyard
The finish is where we that citrus aspect kicks in and takes over. Gone is the hyper-evolutionary apple. Now we’re getting more smoke, lime/cherry, and even more spices. It’s a more restricted spice of just clove though.
Water brings out more farmyard and pepper, though not as much as some funkier whiskies.
Conclusion: Apple in many ways. That’s the main thing for me. I was surprised at the change between this and last years whisky by a long shot. If last year was a spice bomb with intricate aspects, this is an apple bomb where it shows off apple in multiple ways and then expertly changes tact at the end.
There’s a consistency throughout this whisky that is very nice. Lovely nose that draws you in. I wish there was a bit more on the taste, though that green apple candy is very nice to have. Even my non-sweets enjoying companion enjoyed another glass, so please note this isn’t super crazy sweet.
If you’re looking for a well-balanced dram and like tart apple flavours, this is up your alley. If not… I don’t know if I can help you.
World Whisky review #329, Canada review #109, Whisky Network review #1547