Many are surprised to know that J.P. Wiser’s 18 contains no prominent rye, and yet there’s a wonderful spice component to the whisky. All of that spice comes from barrel maturation. The base product here is a double-distilled corn whisky aged in reused American bourbon barrels. The 18 doesn’t get enough attention, primarily because it’s a little too one-note for some, but it makes a rich and dry whisky that competes wonderfully with many Scotches at and above its price-point of $60.
For the Northern Border Collection, the 35 Year Old release is the same base whisky as the 18, but aged for 35 years. It’s the only whisky in the collection priced over $100 ($165 to be exact), which still seems like a great price for a whisky this old. At 50% ABV, it has been proofed to concentrate the flavor (it’s less watered down). At any lower proof-point, those intense Canadian Whisky flavours would have felt watered down. This is a rich whisky — I could probably not drink more then half an once a sitting — but that’s all the more reason to appreciate each sip.
J.P. Wiser’s Age 35 Years
Category: Canadian Whisky, 35 Year Old
Nose: The nose is ever-so-subtle. That’s not a bad thing; in fact, for my tastes, that’s a great thing. It's spice, brown sugar, and butter all the way through. The spicy notes vary in intensity, a wave overtop of the buttery sweetness, with touch of herby notes (anise, most likely). Subtle, but beautiful.
Palate: An intense journey of oak spice, cinnamon, rich caramel, anise, and a buttery fat steak served to perfection. Powerful peppercorn spice, caramel, and nicely charred notes are tempered by a buttery richness. The finish lasts forever. The buttery notes are wonderful. Caramel comes through from start to finish, but it’s an even player rather than overwhelming the palate. Cinnamon spice and dried fruit finish off the whisky. The spice never leaves. A layer of orange zest compliments it all.
Whisky Cabinet Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ Extraordinary, memorable, and original
Compared to the eighteen, the 35 year old is far subtler on the nose and palate, but it's all the more enriched by depth of flavour. I always found the 18 year old to be a little too obvious in the, “Hey, look at me! Pancakes! Maple Syrup! I’m Canadian!” The 35 year is not braggartly; it simply performs beautifully, and does it in the smooth subtle ways that makes it a joy to drink.
*Whisky Cabinet Rating Explained:
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Not recommended
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ Good whisky, but not a ‘must-have’
★ ★ ☆ ☆ Your great regular rotation whisky that'll come and go
★ ★ ★ ☆ Excellent, a near must-have
★ ★ ★ ★ Extraordinary, memorable, and original