Wiser’s is the fifth most popular whisky brand in Canada. Wiser Deluxe is also available in most US states and select market around the world. It was originally distilled in 1857 by J.P. Wiser and is aged for 10 years in oak barrels. It is a traditional Canadian blend. It is also the fastest growing Canadian whisky brand, and that has a lot to do with its bolder than normal flavour. For the most part, Wiser’s has been a stalwart whisky brand in Canada and ranks #2 in Canadian whisky sales. Someday’s I wonder if the whisky the world gets (aka the “brown vodka”), is a ploy to keep all the good stuff for ourselves. Could that be possible? Maybe that has a lot to do with why Canadian whiskies are looked down on by the elite dram imbibers who hold single malts so high. I always like to appreciate a spirit for what it is, instead of what the perceived value is.
Whiser’s Whisky Tasting: Neat
To start the colour is deep golden and closer to a bourbon colour than a Canadian style whisky. The nose is fairly light to start with a little bit of grain and alcohol. After a minute the whisky starts to open up and has that gentle Canadian whisky aroma. After about five minutes this whisky really opens up and has a very unique nose grain, chocolate and charcoal. The longer you let this spirit site, the bigger the nose gets.
On the tongue Wiser’s is probably the most full flavour Canadian whisky in this group. It has a big flavour right out of the gate with some rye and lots of wood flavours and that sweet vanilla toffee character. It has a good bit of bite and is really “chewy.” It is slightly astringent, in a neutral way and has lots of spiciness in the finish.
The long finish leaves your mouth tingling and you can taste the chard oak barrel. I would say that they must be using some heavy char barrel for this whisky. Wiser’s closes to bourbon out there for full bodied flavour, but still retains that Canadian character. It also has a nice warming effect on your throat. If you have a cold or sore throat, this might work nicely to numb the irritation. If the in-laws are over, it also may help to numb the irritation.
Adding water doesn’t do much to the nose accept to dilute some of the alcohol on the start. When tasting the diluted Wiser’s Deluxe it smooths out the whisky really well. The flavours are still quite apparent and that very forward tastes a present including the oak. The finish isn’t as warm, but it is still spicy. If you find Wiser’s Deluxe to bold, a little bit of water might change your mind.
I decided to put some Jameson’s Irish Whiskey is another glass and when judged against the Wiser’s Deluxe, the Jameson’s whiskey is just too light to compete. After trying the Wiser’s, the strong flavours overwhelm your taste buds and for a little while after, the Jameson’s seems very light. Usually I don’t perceive Jameson’s to a light, boring whiskey, but when comparing head to head, the Wiser’s comes out on top.
Overall this is a great Canadian whisky. For those that think all Canadian whiskies are soft, light and boring you might want to pick up a bottle of Wiser’s. It still has that Canadian characteristic, but it also has a bit of an attitude. It’s not bourbon bold, which is sometimes a little to strong of a flavour. I think Wiser’s Deluxe strikes a good balance between flavour and smoothness.
Price: $22.45 / 750ml
Additional Wiser Whiskies
Wiser’s Special Blend $21.75
Wiser’s Reserve $24.45
Wiser’s Very Old 18 Year $36.95
If you liked this post, check out the Johnnie Walker Blue Label write-up.
Writer, author of Fix the Pumps, chemist, beekeper and general do-er-of-things, Darcy can generally be found looking for new and interesting things to do, usually over a cocktail. Currently working on more soda fountain history.