JP Wisers Triple Barrel

JP Wisers

Recommended use: Mixer

Mixer Rating: ★★★★

Mixer Recommendation: Buy it

Type: Canadian whiskey

Origin: Canada

ABV: 40%

The bouquet is mild and inviting, with occasional gusts of grain and rye peeking through a thin cloak of demerara sugar, honey, caramels, vanilla and eucalyptus cough drops, coffee, chocolate and marshmallow; certainly a complex affair, but mostly muted and the volume turned down low. On the palate the whisky is sweet and sugary, and whatever oils cling to the tongue at first vanish as quickly as a drop of water to a sizzling frying pan; what a watery, boring, one dimensional whisky. There is certainly lots of brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, honey and the taste of a day old pot of dried out Turkish coffee with a toasty undertone. The finish is hardly worth mentioning. You are probably wondering why this whisky gets 4 stars despite its seemingly lackluster flavour profile, but to be fair that is precisely what makes it a good buy – it seems to be designed not for the flavour obsessed malt lovers who want fireworks on the palate (of which I am a member) but the vast majority of adults who just want a reasonably priced, smooth and tasty whisky to mix.

I was going to say that this whisky is “disappointing”, but that would suggest that I had high expectations for this whisky. I didn’t. It exceeded my expectations. JP Wisers Triple Barrel is a Canadian whisky which sells in Australia for $49 per bottle, and, to be honest, that is pretty darn cheap. With that price tag in mind, it seems clear to me that JP Wisers is not meant to blow your socks off nor does it seem to be designed for whisky connoisseurs. It seems to me that JP Wisers Triple Barrel is intended to be a nice smelling, and nice tasting, whisky which can be slurped neat or mixed without overpowering a cocktail or mixed drink. In that respect, JP Wisers Triple Barrel has proved to hold up well in a number of mixed drinks and cocktails; perfect this festive season to keep those outside the single malt connoisseur market happy. That’s it folks. JP Wisers may be boring for the connoisseur, but its mild bounbony style notes and subdued flavour is well suited to the world’s mixed drinks market – JP Wisers and coke, JP Wisers and lemonade with bitters, JP Wisers on ice and a dash of soda and lime, JP Wisers in the steak marinade. You get the drift. Watch out Jim Beam and Jack Daniels, is all I can say.  

JP Wisers Triple Barrel smells good, tastes good, and holds up in mixed drinks. Try it if you are after a refreshing change from bourbon or Tennessee whiskey. 

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Canadian Club 12 Year Old

Spirit Name:
Spirit Type:
Canadian Club 12 Year Old
Blend
Score:
89/100
2, medal, silver icon
ABV:
40%
Region:
Canada  
Body:
Medium 
Intensity:
Light
Texture:
Silky  
Balance:
Excellent 
Best served:
Neat, mixed 
Theme(s):
Sugared almonds, apples, bread and butter pudding, raisins, bourbon theme, chocolate, caramel, cream, mild spice, rye  

Thoughts:
Supremely sippable and great as a mixer, the Canadian Club 12 Year Old was a whisky that I found versatile – its soft flavours were great for mixing and sipping with silky smoothness all the way. Its subtlety can be mistaken for flatness, so keep peeling away the layers (as frustrating as that may seem!). This is certainly not for those wanting a whisky that leaps out of the glass, but great for those who enjoy unpacking a whisky carefully and slowly or who enjoy sipping a very well balanced spirit. Awesome work Canadian Club.   

Blind tasting notes:
Nose: Sugared almonds waft up with stewed green apples and crusty bread and butter pudding with sultana – beautiful nose that offers softness and subtlety.  

Taste: Sensationally light and smooth, this stealthy little whisky glides down the palate without causing much of a ruckus – the flavours meld together harmoniously with bourbon notes coming to the fore with vanillas, raisin and milk chocolate. That beautiful spicy rye strikes, glowing brightly within the sweetness. 

Finish: The finish is the disappointing part, as the character fizzles and dies. What remains is soft caramel, cream and a chorus of gentle sugars. 

Would I have another dram? Yes.

Would I buy a bottle? Yes. 

Likes:
Super soft, great balance, very little harshness, smack of spice and rye  
Dislikes:
Dying and short finish  
Price:
$44 (Aus)

Canadian Club 20 Year Old

Spirit Name:
Spirit Type:
Canadian Club 20 Year Old
Blended whisky
Score:
92/100
3, medal, silver icon

ABV:
40%
Region:
Canada 
Body:
Medium-full 
Intensity:
Medium 
Texture:
Velvety  
Balance:
Near perfection 
Best served:
Cask:

Neat, with ice, water
American white oak
Theme(s):
Vibrant, fresh, dense, complex, sweet (raspberry cotton candy, licorice), fruity (raisins, dates, glazed oranges, orange poppy seed cake), herbaceous (mint confectionery  mint, crushed basil), creamy (vanilla, custard), spicy, woody (white oak), medicinal (menthol and mild eucalyptus), rye, spiced dark chocolate 

Summary:
Canadian Club whisky is often portrayed as boring and to be mixed… I’m not sure where that perception comes from but whatever whisky formed that image of Canadian Club, if it ever existed, has been given a “Moe Green special” and sent to the bottom of the lake with cement shoes! All the Canadian Club I have tasted has been great, but the 20 year old… amazing! 

This whisky offers wave after wave of vibrant and energetic complexity, with a sweet North American style and spiciness that is smoothed by luscious layers of vanilla through which the warm Canadian kiss of rye emerges over the bright corn… one of my favourite whiskies of all time. Canadian Club has retained the best aspects of the distillate and turbo charged it with a maturity and complexity only 20 years can produce!

Whisky is an experience. Smelling it, tasting it and savouring it is only part of that experience. The other part of the whisky experience is appreciating a whisky’s story and history. Canadian Club 20 Year Old offers one of the most enjoyable whisky experiences around – the whisky itself graces the palate with a silky smooth and gradually intensifying complexity while the Canadian Club story entertains the mind with imagery of mafia linked Prohibition-era smuggling and bootlegging. To borrow from Canadian Club, “every bottle of Canadian Club is filled with history”… and the 20 Year old offers that history in a complex and thoroughly enjoyable package. 

Tasting notes:
The Canadian Club 20 Year Old offers a level of sophistication and complexity that can only develop from 20 cold years in Canada – the result is a silky smooth, supple and soft whiskey with complexity, elegance and finesse. This is what happens when Canadian Club decides to let its six year old Classic whiskey mature for a further 14 years in frosty Canada. Forget maple syrup, Canada’s second best cheer producing product is whiskey – 20 year old whiskey to be exact and second only to the late John Candy. For a bit of extra happiness, try sipping this whiskey to the sound of (ironic I know) the Blues, John Lee Hooker’s “Whiskey & Women“. You’ll be melting in your chair in no time. 

While you lie melting in your chair, ponder for a moment Canadian Club’s role in quenching the American thirst for whiskey during prohibition and consider watching “Boardwalk Empire”, a film set in Prohibition-era United States. The opening credits, as the below video shows, includes Canadian Club (then known as “Club Whisky”) washing up on the American shore – fitting, because whiskey production remained legal in Canada during Prohibition and whiskey would be smuggled into the United States sometimes over water. 


Canadian Club 20 Year Old is distilled twice with the purpose of removing fusel oils for a light tasting whisky. It is then barrel blended and matured in white oak barrels for two decades. It is comprised of a ratio of different distilled grains, including corn, rye, rye malt and barley malt. Canadian Club whisky is often portrayed as boring and to be mixed… I’m not sure where that perception comes from but whatever whisky formed that image of Canadian Club, if it ever existed, has been given a Moe Green special and sent to the bottom of the lake with cement shoes! All the Canadian Club I have tasted has been great, but the 20 year old… amazing!

The below video captures the point of this post – “every bottle of Canadian Club is filled with history”… and the 20 Year old offers that history in a complex and thoroughly enjoyable package.  


Having entertained the mind, now let’s turn to the magic on the palate. The Canadian Club 20 Year Old has been one of the most pleasant whisky surprises of 2013, and CC has certainly started a bright new chapter in its story. 

Nose: The nose on this whisky is vibrant, fresh, dense, complex, sweet, fruity, herbaceous, creamy, spicy, woody, medicinal and rich in corn and rye. The whisky is immediately vibrant and energetic with a fresh gust of dense character. It is ridiculously complex, with sweet bourbon-like notes of raspberry cotton candy over licorice and fruity raisin, dates and glazed oranges – in fact, syrup and jelly (jello) layered orange poppy seed cake develops. The herbaceous twist of fresh mint and and crushed basil flickers weakly within the bright sweet North American style – a style that offers sharp flints of varied spices smoothed by creamy vanilla and custard as the warm kiss of rye remains a constant embracing feature – almost makes you want to slap on a pair of slippery brogues are dance yourself silly at the Copacabana. The woody notes are beautiful, resonating the American white oak – very North American with a Canadian rye twist. A medicinal character also develops, almost like a think haze lifting over the whisky, most in the form of menthol and mild eucalyptus. The grains shine through from the distillate, despite 20 long years of maturation, this whisky is energetic, rich and vibrant.  

Taste: The taste of this whisky is sweet, spicy, woody, complex and energetic. The character on the nose move seamlessly to the palate, but first comes the rye as it gently caresses the palate with shimmers of menthol and mint as the corn glows brightly. The white oak shines with sharp whips of spicy bourbon and grain rich distillate – this is sensationally made! The sweet fruit (brandy soaked raisins) merges with anise seed as the licorice on the nose softens and becomes more elegant and earthy while licorice and dark chocolate raspberry bullets develop. 

Finish: The rye lingers with the sweet warmth of the American white oak influence, that electrifies the taste buds as they buzz with the flavours that make this Canadian whisky truly sensational – sweetness, smoothness and a touch of rye alongside spiced dark chocolate. 

Likes:
This is seriously complex whisky – rich, fresh, vibrant, energetic and complex. Canadian Club has appeared to re-invent itself! This whisky is also an absolute bargain! 
Price:
$70 (Aus)

Canadian Club: 1982 versus 2013 bottling

“When I sell liquor, it’s called bootlegging; when my patrons serve it on Lake Shore Drive, it’s called hospitality.– Al Capone

“Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class. – Al Capone

Al Capone, in case you have been living under a rock, was an Italian-American gangster who led a Prohibition-era crime syndicate which included bootlegging and meeting the insatiable American appetite for alcohol. During Prohibition between 1920 and 1933 the production of alcohol was illegal in the United States but this did not stop the Canadians from producing whisky. The business savvy Al Capone, in the pursuit of happiness some might say, smuggled this whisky across the border to quench the American thirst for booze. The American lawmakers did not appear to share an enthusiasm for (others) pursuing happiness and the government chased Al Capone until he was finally convicted of tax evasion.

In this review, I compare two bottlings of Canadian Club: one bottled in 1982 and the other bottled 31 years later in 2013. This is an exciting opportunity to go back in time, to parallel taste Canadian Club from 1982 alongside Canadian Club from 2013 and determine if the whisky has changed in 31 years.

I found the Canadian Club bottled in 1982 had a dull nose but an interesting energetic character on the palate while the Canadian Club bottled in 2013 had a beautiful nose but a boring character on the palate. They two bottlings reflect an underlying sweet theme, but, much like my tasting of a vintage Johnnie WalkerRed Label and Jack Daniel’s Old No 7, current whisky making appears to have dropped off since the 1980’s and 1990’s. No wonder consumers are now demanding boutique whisky!

Spirit Name:
Rating:
Canadian Club (Bottled 1982)
★★★★☆
Score:
81/100
ABV:
37.5%
Region:
Canada
Body:
Light
Intensity:
Medium
Texture:
Light-medium
Balance:
Superb
Best served:
Neat, mixed
Theme(s):
A dull nose is followed by a hefty punch of super smooth whisky, lovely
Tasting notes:
Nose: Sweet candy shop sweetness lifts up from the glass, with cotton candy and bubble gum interlaced with the fine flecks of grain that sparkle within the creamy alcohol. Delightful, but not the most complex nose. It is also a tad flat as it struggles to command any real presence in the glass.
Taste: Sweet… very sweet in fact! Tinned pineapple in syrup hits the palate with the candy shop theme, as the oak does very little while the alcohol shines with some bitterness and lemon. All credit to Canadian Club from 1982, this whisky was not meant to be anything special at its price but despite being an “entry level” whisky they clearly produced something very drinkable, smooth and enjoyable. It is not very complex, but that is to be expected.
Finish: The character remains on the palate for a short while, as the fumes of alcohol evaporate off the tongue and full the mouth.
Likes:
Punchy and delightful on the palate, it is incredibly smooth and drinkable
Dislikes:
Dull and lifeless nose
Price:
N/A

Spirit Name:
Rating:
Canadian Club (Bottled 2013)
★★★★
Score:
78/100
ABV:
37%
Region:
Canada
Body:
Light
Intensity:
Light
Texture:
Light-medium
Balance:
Superb
Best served:
Mixed
Theme(s):
A beautiful nose is followed by a boring character on the palate
Tasting notes:
Nose: This is much more lively and energetic than the 1982 bottling of Canadian Club, but it has retained its sweet candy shop themed heart with blackberry bubble gum and notes of vanilla emerging from a creamy foundation. As the whisky rests the candy shop theme develops into dried berries, in particular dark berries, as a gentle licorice theme develops in the form of anise seed. This is very impressive whisky, with a delightfully complex nose. This is a job very well done by Canadian Club, the nose has a big improvement from 1982!
Taste: Flat, dull and boring unfortunately. It is very watery and diluted. While the nose has improved since 1982, the complexity on the palate has taken a steady nose dive to being quite bland and unexciting. It is very drinkable and enjoyable, and there are no noticeable undesirable notes: it is all smooth sailing without an iota of displeasure. There is not much pleasure, either. The creamy alcohol hits the palate with some spicy sweetness as the fumes lift from the tongue and linger with sugary sweetness.
Finish: This whisky has a short lived finish that keels over and dies prematurely.  

Likes:
Super smooth with superb balance
Dislikes:
Dull, boring and almost lifeless on the palate. However, some people enjoy a whisky that slips down without much character.
Price:
$38 (Aus)

Fireball Cinnamon Flavoured Whisky

Spirit Type:
Rating:
 Whisky liqueur 
★★★
Score:
68/100 
ABV:
33% 
Region:
Canada  
Body:
Medium 
Intensity:
Medium 
Texture:
Average  
Balance:
OK 
Best served:
Neat, mixed 
Theme(s):
Syrupy cinnamon, sugary syrup, licorice candy  
In a nutshell:
Ridiculously sweet, this “whisky” offers a dense cloud of syrupy cinnamon that mingles with sweet sugary licorice candy and leaves a finish of crushed cinnamon sticks with light notes of alcohol. This “licorice” does not just describe the flavour, but also the sugary sweetness of candy flavoured licorice that bursts with the refined and artificial flavoring of a syrup. To be honest, I cringed when tasting this “whisky”. Not my thing and much too sweet for a “whisky”, though spot on for a liqueur.  
Likes:
Very smooth and good if you are expected a sweet liqueur type drink 
Dislikes:
Overly sweet and sugary if you are expecting a “whisky”
Price:
$48 

Crown Royal

Rating:
★★★ 
Score:
67/100 
ABV:
40% 
Region:
Canada 
Body:
Light-medium 
Intensity:
Medium 
Texture:
Watery-medium  
Balance:
OK 
Best served:
Mixed 
Theme(s):
New spirit, dough, grain (rye, corn), mixed fruit 
In a nutshell:
The stench of new spirit dominates as mild shimmers of grain and sweet fruit struggle to outshine the dark cloud of alcohol that sits in the glass. On the palate the whisky releases some sweet notes of mixed fruit salad, but these are torn down by the strike of alcohol and musty new spirit. The finish is mild and lingering, impressive but not very enjoyable given the flavour profile. Very disappointed.  
Likes:
 
Dislikes:
Stench of new spirit that overpowers and leaves an unpleasant note on the palate and in the nostrils 
Price:
 $55

Glenora Glen Breton 10 Year Old

Glenora is a good Canadian whisky that strikes the palate like a dense fog, releasing a musty base with glimmers of fruit that are somewhat overwhelmed with bitterness. This whisky is smooth on the palate, but it seems a little too unbalanced to the sour side.

Colour 

The colour of this whisky is straw, like a crisp white wine.

Nose

Dense bread and butter pudding gently whiffs up with the musty fragrance of leather bound books that have sat neglected for a very long time. Within the bitter blackcurrant and tide of malt is a spritz of lemon juice cutting through like a lonely figure.

Taste

Delightfully crisp on the entry, this whisky delivers a mellow gush of flavours that slide on the palate like velvet. The bitter-sweetness of honeyed grapefruit zest begins on the tongue, but this soon morphs into a dry sourness as though the honeyed zest was replaced with a big helping of grapefruit fresh. There is a subtle sparkle of cinnamon in the blackdrop of bark as a twist of lime adds a tangy aftertaste to the wave of alcohol that floods in.

Finish

The finish on this whisky is excellent, lasting a very long time. It leans towards the dry and sour side without being dominated by sweetness. It is possibly a little too sour and bitter, with a noticeable wave of rough alcohol detracting from the silky smooth gracefulness of this otherwise enjoyable whisky.
  

Canadian Club (bottled 1982)

 
Being produced since 1858, Canadian Club is a whiskey with a long history. During the prohibition era in the United States, Al Capone smuggled thousands of cases of this whiskey. It was popularly known as club whiskey, and developed a lot of popularity.
 
This popularity continues today. Canadian Club whiskey can be found in almost any liquor store in Melbourne and it has a very popular range of ready mixed drinks.
A few months ago I found an old dusty bottle of Canadian Club whiskery, and on further inspection discovered that this was bottled in 1982. Canadian Club is a blended whiskey, and this one is bottled at 37.5% Alc/Vol. During a blind tasting of the 1982 Canadian Club whiskey, I found it more pleasant than the Jim Beam white label and despite its age fresher and lighter (incidentally Canadian Club is now owned by Beam Inc). So put on your skinny tie and lets beam back to 1982!
Nose
The nose on this whiskey is light and fresh with mellow lemon tones wafting up with some crisp lime leaves and metallic spring water. This 6 year old is no doubt meant to be a mixer, as the back of the bottle clearly shows, but this whiskey has a surprisingly good nose! There are some clear dull moments when nosing this whiskey and the smell of alcohol is evident, but that crisp lemon is an ever present scent.
Taste
Thin in texture, this whiskey gives a hit of fresh lemon with lots of sweetness. It is extraordinarily smooth, lovely! Notes of honey and grapefruit fall on the tongue, very vague though. This is a one dimensional whiskey.
Finish   
This whiskey has the strangest finish I have encountered in a whiskey yet. Just as disappointment sets in, this whiskey redeems itself and pleases with a sensationally soft and long finish. The crisp character of this whiskey results in a dryness that bursts into live a few seconds late to develop into a finish that I was almost convinced was not coming. This whiskey is incredibly smooth, and it has no burn or harshness whatsoever. However, it is a little too light. It does not have much oomph but instead, what I would call some buzz.
Overall
This 1982 bottling of Canadian Club is a charming whiskey, crisp and light with bursts of fresh citrus, it has a lovely smooth taste and a nice but weak finish (though it does give a strong fume sensation of alcohol). Where I think it stumbles very noticeably is in the finish and balance. This whiskey has little variety of flavours, and it is heavily skewed towards dry citrus. It has a weak finish. Because this whiskey does not have much variety, its nose, taste and finish suffers because complexity and depth cannot be teased out. However, it is crisp and smooth, very drinkable!