Review: Gibson’s Finest Venerable18 Year Old Canadian Whisky (2015)

Gibson's 18 VenGibson’s 18 Year Old is a reliable and elegant Canadian whisky which originated in Pennsylvania in 1856. Eventually, it was sold to Schenley and produced at the Valleyfield distillery in Quebec, and in 2002 the brand has shifted to William Grant & Sons (who also own Glenfiddich and Balvenie Single Malts, among others) and is produced out of the Hiram Walker Distillery in Windsor, Ontario. Thus, there are now versions of Gibson’s 12 year old which are made from Hiram Walker liquid, but the 18 will still be from Valleyfield for a few more years yet. I reviewed this whisky roughly 2 years ago as well, and you can see my review here.

Nose: This whisky demonstrates the style of so much Canadian whisky (even though it didn’t originate in Canada) that is typically mixed into cocktails – but this is refined, complex, and creamy – a clear class above most of those. There is fruit – dried and dark, yet still holding some lighter elements like white grape, some nuttiness, vanilla, some grassy freshness…some oaky earthiness too. Rich, in a way similar to sherried whiskies though this doesn’t smell particularly sherried – but has some of the rich nuttiness and dried fruit. Here, the earthy woody notes seem emphasized over the vanilla and coconut of the last one, and it’s not quite as sweet on the nose. A bit darker and not quite as stunning as my sample from 2012, but nonetheless brilliant. 27/30 (90%)

Taste: Rich, with a mix of fruitiness and nuttiness – and a decent bit of rye amidst it all. A touch bitter on the end – but it doesn’t detract. The richness of the grain meets the richness of the fruit and the oak quite well. Sweetness is nicely balanced. 28/30 (93%)

Finish: Nutty, oaky. Dries out as well – it still tastes so rich. Praline, a bit mossy oak, and a bit of a spicy edge too – more on the side of nutmeg than other things, I think. 18.5/20 (93%)

Conclusion: Very nice, rich…certainly aged well with a very nice profile. This Gibson's 18 Ven (2)bottling is still very nice, but it’s a tad below the last one in terms of some subtle complexity – but it still is very nice. The rich, complex, and creamy nature of this gives Forty Creek Confederation Oak a partner in crime, in terms of rich complexity and subtlety. 18.5/20 (93%)

Overall: 92/100

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6 thoughts on “Review: Gibson’s Finest Venerable18 Year Old Canadian Whisky (2015)

    • Yes, true. Though for all the high-demand Canadian whiskies they get that we don’t have access to, it’s nice to have one which is usually findable at home (though this is becoming more difficult to get in Ontario!)

  1. Great review, this is indeed one of the best Canadian whiskies I’ve tried as well.
    Also agree that it is hard to find. Doing an analysis of inventory at the LCBO (using their iPad/iPhone app), I see that there are only 650 bottles of the 18yo available in Ontario right now, compared to over 42,000 bottles of the base 12yo and Sterling expressions. And most of those 12yo/Sterling bottles are the larger 1140 and 1750mL sizes. So if you do a comparison by volume, only 1.1% of Gibson’s whisky available in Ontario is the high quality 18yo.

    • Yes, indeed. I would imagine Hiram Walker is upping production of this since it moved there from Valleyfield, but with the way demand is at present for premium whisky who knows if they can meet it.

  2. Pingback: Gibson’s Finest 18 Year Old | Selfbuilt's Whisky Analysis

  3. Pingback: Review: Gibson’s 12 Year Old (2015) | Whisky Won

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