Wiser\'s Reserve (Special Edition) 43% ABV
The brand began in 1857 in Belleville, Ontario. J.P. Wiser was the founder. What did he make in 1857? Was it straight rye? Probably, but we can't be certain, it might have been double-rectified in the lingo of the time. In any case, Wiser's for a long time has been a blended whisky. But it is a very good one, and has tended to favor older ages. It has a young black label (probably about 5 years old), a cream label 10 years old, an 18 year old reserve, and now a Special Edition, with no age statement. It does not taste too old (which is a good thing) and my best estimate is 7-8 years old, maybe with some 18 year old whisky added as a fillip. The new product is 43% abv not 40% as almost all other Canadian whiskies including the other Wiser's. It is very good, with a butterscotch, very "Canadian" palate but with good rye tangs as well especially in the aftertaste. The extra 3% abv seems to lend more body and gravitas. Its style is dry and hearty, not sweet and hearty as the new Danfield's I've mentioned. There is a faint rum-like taste too, not sure where that comes from. This is a good modern Canadian product. It isn't groundbreaking but is a good new entrant. By the way I called Corby's about the new brand and was informed incidentally that the company does not have stocks of straight rye whiskey. I inferred that some low proof new whisky (in effect, rye white dog) is married to a larger amount of high proof spirit and these mature together in the Canadian, "blended at birth" style. This is how CC is made and I am sure Wiser's follows the same approach. But this is nice whiskey and cuts its own swath in the whisky world. The day when a Canadian distillery may release a true all-straight rye isn't nigh, but we can hope..