Wiser’s Legacy Canadian Whisky
Review: Wiser’s Legacy Canadian Whisky 90/100
a review By Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
First posted December 31, 2009
On November 11, 2009 I published my review of Wiser’s Red Letter Whisky. I was very pleasantly surprised to receive an email the very next day from Corbys Distillers (Canadian Office). Apparently my review had been noticed, and they were interested if I maybe would like to receive a lab sample of a new whisky, Wiser’s Legacy.
Of course the answer was yes. This is something that every reviewer wants, a chance to test his or her palate on a new spirit with very little information in the public realm to pollute the tasting notes. No other information was sought or obtained by myself. The review was as clean as a review could get and I posted it almost two years ago as a First Impression Review (as I lacked any information on the bottle presentation which is included in all my full reviews).
(Later correspondence from Corbys indicates that indeed Legacy is a very special whisky developed by their Master Blender in a similar formula to that of J.P Wiser’s final recipe. This product is positioned above Wiser’s 18 Year Old and includes a unique blend of copper pot distilled rye. This hand crafted whisky is produced in limited quantities.)
It took nearly two years for me to receive a picture of the final bottle (J-peg) so that I could properly move the review from the First Impressions area of my website to my ‘Canadian Whisky Reviews’ section of the website.
Here is the finalized review:
In the Bottle 5/5
Pictured to the left is the bottle shot I recently received for Wiser’s Legacy Whisky. The square design and professional labeling is attractive and sits very nicely on my whisky shelf. A nice feature for the whisky is the addition of a solid high density cork which completes the presentation. I think this is solid and attractive.
In the Glass 9/10
When I poured the Legacy sample into my glencairn glass, I immediately noticed a similar aroma to the Wiser’s Red Letter, I had reviewed earlier. This is heavier than the Red Letter though, with a more demanding array of fresh oak tannin hitting my nostrils. The aroma is rich in rye spice and toffee, with a subtle corn and bourbon influence.
When I swirled the glass I noticed that the whisky left a thick oily sheen on the glass, thicker than I have noticed with other Canadian whiskies. This oil slowly coalesced into fat legs the like of which I rarely see.
In the Mouth 53.5/60
This definitely seems like an attempt to inject a fuller oak presence into the Canadian Whisky profile. Fresh oak tannin is at the forefront of the flavour which is thick with corn and bourbon tones swimming in a pool of rye. A kind of punky dankness lingers under these flavours, and I catch hints of maple, and perhaps a touch of anise buried in that dankness. Weaving through the profile of tastes are the definite fingerprints of typical Canadian rye spice and an appealing citrus undercurrent. Finally, underpinning the entire presentation is a mild smokey cigar like quality with dry wisps of woody tobacco. This is very complex; but the cost of the added complexity is a small loss of balance and smoothness which is typical of Canadian whisky. It is an interesting trade-off. In fact, I believe this may be an intended result. The whisky seems to burst with an appealing brashness which would be lost in the typically smooth and balanced Canadian whisky taste profile.
In the Throat 14/15
Thick oil coats the throat with an oak and spice explosion. The exit leaves the mouth puckered somewhat from the dry woodiness, and the throat is assaulted by spices which grow hotter in the throat than they were in the mouth. At the end of the finish, typical Canadian rye flavours finally appear en masse to battle the youthful oak down the throat. The overall impression is that something awesome just might have happened in my throat, but it is hard to describe exactly what it was.
The Legacy is extremely interesting because it is such a departure from a regular Canadian whisky. There is a great deal of complexity introduced by the young oak and this is definitely a giant step towards a more defined bourbon taste profile. What is missing, is the typical smoothness that Canadian Whisky is famous for. What is extra, is a rough and ready whisky which has one of the most complex flavour profiles I have experienced in Canadian Whisky.
You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)