Wiser’s Special Blend
Review: Wiser’s Special Blend Canadian Whisky 82.5/100
a review By Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on May 22, 2010
I noticed a change on the new bottles of Wiser’s Special Blend about two years ago. The older bottles proudly proclaimed, ‘Wiser’s Special Blend Canadian Rye Whisky‘, whereas the newer labels say ‘Wiser’s Special Blend Canadian Whisky‘. The difference of course is the word “rye” which has been taken off the label. It is small changes like that which give me cause for apprehension. I like rye whisky, and as the number of Canadian rye blends is diminishing, I am growing concerned that my favourite whisky will one day be only a memory. Fortunately for me, I was recently given a bottle with the new label by the folks at Wiser’s. They also gave me a sharp-looking Wiser’s glass in the hopes that I would provide an honest review of the Special Blend. It so happens that I already owned a bottle carrying the previous label so I intend to compare the two bottles to see if the blend as well as the label has changed.
In the Bottle: 4.5/5
Pictured to the right is the new bottle of Wiser’s Special Blend. It is a tall flagon style bottle with a square shape. (One thing I love about the square-shaped bottles is how easily they stack on my whisky shelf. ) The label design is assertive and bold and I have no real quibbles with the presentation.
In the Glass 8.5/10
In the glass, the Wiser’s Special Blend shows itself as a rich copper coloured whisky with lighter shades of amber. The vapour from the glass is mildly spicy, and seems to be sweetened with an aroma of ripe fruit. Light hints of caramel lie in the breezes as well.
As I mentioned, I still had a bottle of the older label whisky so I thought I would pour a glass and compare the two side by side. I saw no difference in colour between the two but my nostrils did seem to detect a difference in aroma. The older blend was slightly spicier and had a more pronounced rye scent carrying from the glass.
In the Mouth 48.5/60
Bringing the Special Blend to my mouth, I taste caramel, light oak spices, and a mild rye flavour carried by sweet fruit (pears and apples). It tastes good, but lacks the typical thrust of flavour I expect from a Canadian whisky. It is also not how I remember the older blend of Wiser’s Special Blend Canadian Rye Whisky to taste. To be sure I conducted four blind trials and was able each time to identify the older blend easily. The older blend has a pronounced rye flavour and delightful dryness. The newer blend is sweeter, and depends upon the light caramel and flavours of ripened fruit to carry its flavour profile rather than rye.
It is a difference in style; the newer blend is softer in the mouth, and perhaps has a touch of maple and cinnamon riding in the very background. This new style is very easy going with a flavour profile that is light and inoffensive with a very mild Canadian character.
In the Throat 12.5/15
Wiser’s Special blend is very smooth. The finish is light caramel with a touch of sweetness. A dash of rye-like burn brightens the finish at the end. The smoothness bodes very well for mixing cocktails and party drinks.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
What we have with the new Wiser’s Special blend is a prototypical cocktail whisky. It can be served with coke, or ginger ale and I doubt anyone will complain. It has such an easygoing style that it will go down smooth without any rough spots. Finally, the whisky has light flavours and an entirely inoffensive nature. I think this would be the perfect whisky to serve at large gatherings where you are unsure of the range of palates.
You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
As I said before, Wiser’s Special Blend is a perfect whisky for cocktails. Its light whisky flavour and superb smoothness just about beg to be allowed to mix with other flavours. Here are a couple of original cocktails I constructed to take advantage of the smooth whisky taste.
1 1/2 oz Wiser’s Special Blend
1/2 Oz Cherry Whisky
1/4 to 1/2 Oz Lemon Juice
1 – 2 Tsp Simple syrup
3 Large Ice Cubes
Place all ingredients including the ice into a blender.
Blend until smooth(ish).
Serve in a suitable cocktail glass. (I could not resist using my Wiser’s Rocks Glass)
Garnish with three frozen Raspberries
This is so good! It might just be the tastiest cocktail I have come up with yet (and don’t knock the garnish, the raspberries soak up the goodness of the cocktail as they thaw and are a delicious treat at the end.)!
A longer and taller cocktail I constructed uses Grand Marnier and Ginger ale in conjunction with Wiser’s Special Blend to make a thirst quenching drink for a long hot day.
2 Oz Wiser’s Special blend
1 Oz Grand Marnier
1/2 oz lemon Juice
1/2 Oz Lime Juice
Mix all ingredients over ice
Dress with a slice of Lemon
The slice of lemon adds tartness to the cocktail which I really enjoy on a hot day!
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)