Wiser’s 18 Year Old is a classic Canadian whisky somewhat notorious in some circles for batch variation. I wrote a review last year on a previous batch (which was quite nice), and this is a different batch (the previous had 3500 bottles, and this one only has 3400 bottles). The bottle code stamped on the back of the bottle is L140062204B.
I picked up this bottle in the fall, and now I believe on some shelves (in Canada at least), a new batch with a different label is on the shelf – actually even perhaps 3 more. I have a few re-reviews of some other batches of Canadian whiskies I’ll be posting soon, especially as the batches can go out of date quickly.
Nose: Mighty in oak, fruit, and grain. Molasses is present, with the typical rum notes I find in the Wiser’s products. Maple, caramel, orange peel, and light musty sesame seed like notes. Depth is certainly there, and it is pleasing. Spices, too, are present. Classic Wiser’s. 26/30 (87%)
Taste: It has a nice feel – candied orange peel and a large maple kick before developing spices carry the weight of the whisky into a lightly dry finish. That description perhaps gives it much more of a candied feel than it should convey – it is grain, spice, and wood heavy, overall, still holding on to those molasses notes. The smoke from the barrel char comes through nicely too. Very nice delivery – Wiser’s does know how to craft the palate pretty well. 27.5/30 (92%)
Finish: An oaky, spice-laden finish with wheat-like grainy notes and some almonds and maple. Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, star anise – all there. A bit of light bitterness unfortunately comes through. The elements, other than the bitterness, is quite nice – a plethora of spices which match well with the dry woodiness and light fruity suggestions. But the bitterness detracts quite a bit from this experience for me – it really doesn’t help and drops this score a good bit. 16.5/20 (83%)
Conclusion: A deep nose, great delivery – full of wonderful spice. Really too bad about the bitterness on the finish. Mixed – sometimes I am in love with this one, and sometimes the bitter finish takes too much over. Not as good as the previous batch, but still enjoyable. At the price, to be honest, I wouldn’t pick this one up – with these it can be worth it with a good batch but sometimes it’s hard to know which is which without being able to do a tasting (it’s really too bad the liquor board in Ontario doesn’t do many of these!). 17/20 (85%)
Overall Score: 87/100