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. I should point out that Tastings, (The Beverage Tasting Institute) in Chicago, has already previewed the Legacy and that information was available to me. But, so far no other information has been sought or obtained by myself. This is a clean as a review gets, and I am eager to share the results.
A couple of things of course are unknown to me at this time. First the age of the blend, my guess is that it is about six to eight years old ‘refinished’ in new oak to give the whisky a much more robust new oak taste profile. I further suspect that new white virgin American oak barrels were used in this “refinishing”. Now my palate is not necessarily as smart as that, but based upon what I know of how Wiser’s Red Letter, and Wiser’s Small Batch are finished and some similarities I noted in the tasting, this seems a safe guess. (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 will also be produced in limited quantities.)
I also do not know if this is a final blend or a sample blend still in design. I suspect this is the final design blend, as I can see no real reason for Tastings to be publishing the results on their website unless it is a final blend. (Correspondence from Corbys on Jan 4,2009 indicates this is a final blend and that I was one of the first whisky writers to receive a sample)
And finally I do not know what the final label and bottle will look like. On this front, I have no guesses, although the sample bottle looked very much like an ex Hiram Walker Special Old Rye Whisky bottle.
What I do know is that the legacy is a 45 % alcohol by volume blend, It is a rich orange copper coloured Canadian Whisky that oozes complexity in the nose and on the palate.
Because of the unknowns, a complete review based upon my regular methodology is impossible. Part of my score is for presentation and with no knowledge of the final bottle design I cannot score this particular area. But because of what I do know, a First Impression Tasting was not only possible, but also very enjoyable. I scored the areas of my review just as I would normally do, but left no score or comments for IN THE BOTTLE.
So without further ado here is my first impression of
This Note added January 4, 2010
I have chose to add additional notes to this posting in bold Italics in the areas where further correspondence with Corbys has clarified information.