Whisky Advocate Award: Canadian Whisky of the Year
Wiser’s Very Old/18 Year Old, 40%, $65
Some folks always suspect that food or drink exporters keep the best stuff for themselves. I’ve heard it about cheese, beer, fruit…but when I’ve looked into it, the export markets are indeed getting “the good stuff.” Why not? You’d want to send the best to get the highest price, given that shipping costs are the same for great or mediocre products.
But after enjoying this bottle of Wiser’s Very Old (also sold as Wiser’s 18 Year Old), I’m starting to think that the Canadians really are keeping the good stuff up north. There are small amounts for sale in the U.S. (though that’s slowly increasing), but almost all of it stays home.
That’s a hardship for us non-Canadians, because this is a very nice whisky. After years of thinking of Canadian whisky simply as fuel for highballs and sweet Manhattans we’re looking for something else, something that can stand on its own and intrigue us, or something that could make a more robustly Canadian cocktail, and this Wiser’s would very much fit the bill. You can really taste rye and oak, without a lot of gloppy sweetness, and there’s a finish to reward sipping contemplation.
We’ve seen innovation in this category from John Hall’s Forty Creek whiskies, and rare elegance from limited bottlings like Canadian Club 30 Year Old. Wiser’s Very Old delivers classic Canadian smoothness with a rich extra helping of well-integrated flavor and complexity. Keep it coming, Canada; we’re ready for more.—Lew Bryson
Tomorrow’s announcement will be the Irish Whiskey of theYear.