Gibson's Finest Rare 18 year old Canadian Whisky

Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 years old (40% alc./vol.)

July 14, 2013


Sweet, spicy oak and pine sawdust, rich in toffee, vanilla, and hot spicy pepper. Biscuits, with typical rye dustiness, spice, fruit, and just a drop of pickle juice. Rich & Oaky. ★★★★★

Gibson, one of Canada’s most respected names in whisky, started out south of the 49th parallel as a most-respectable Pennsylvania rye. In the 1830s, in a tiny bustling distillery on the Monongahela River in western Pennsylvania, John Gibson began making rye whisky. Gibson’s distillery soon grew into a large, prosperous, and very well-known establishment, and by 1856, it had expanded to cover over 40 riverside acres. All of that changed in 1920 when Prohibition closed the distillery doors. Shortly afterwards the entire Gibson plant was demolished and sold off, stone by stone.

Lewis Rosentiel, a New York entrepreneur, was confident that Prohibition would eventually come to an end. In anticipation of that outcome, his company, Schenley Industries, was busily buying up distilleries, ageing whisky stocks, and brands. One of the brand names Schenley acquired at that time was Gibson’s. Unfortunately, Rosentiel arrived on the scene too late to save the Gibson distillery itself. That was bad luck for American whisky lovers but good luck for us here in Canada, as we can taste in this fine 18-year-old example.

In 1945 a Schenley subsidiary called Schenley Distillers Corporation established a distillery in Valleyfield, Quebec. Then, in 1972, using whisky distilled at Valleyfield, Schenley re-introduced the still-familiar Gibson’s name to the American whisky market . That’s right, when the Gibson name re-surfaced on whisky bottles they no longer contained Pennsylvania rye, but rather, an equally fine Canadian whisky. That same Valleyfield distillery, now owned by Diageo, is where this particular bottling was made.

Nose: Pine sawdust, with loads of oak—dry but not drying, and the luxurious sweet fragrances of vanilla, toffee, and caramel. Rich yet dry, with lots of spicy rye, fruity rye, dusty rye, and a couple of drops of pickle juice for good measure. Fleeting dark fruit, prune juice, then sour green fruit stand out from the generic sweet rye fruitiness. And out of nowhere comes a contrasting whiff of green wood.

Palate: The first sip is rich in caramel, toffee, vanilla, and fresh sweet corn until spicy oak and hints of pepper turn quite hot on the tongue. This whisky showcases one of the unique characteristics of Canadian whisky making. When it is distilled, the new spirit is divided into different streams, some rich in grain-derived congeners and some less so. Generally, these are aged separately then re-blended when mature. Some whisky makers have suggested that this process recasts the oak flavouring that in other processes, can actually overpower older whiskies. With Gibson’s Finest 18 year old, like so many Canadian whiskies in the rich and oaky flavour camp, it seems the longer the whisky sleeps in the barrel the fresher the woody notes become. Here, after 18 years in wood, an initial flurry of cedar and fresh sawdust resolves into a fragrant base for a whole range of rich and flavourful delicacies.

Hot pepper dominates, but not so much that you can’t appreciate some unusual flavours in there too, like biscuits, vitamins, and Juicy Fruit™ gum. The citric zest keeps it clean, showcasing the complexity. This is rye whisky that is loaded with rye crisps and hot baking spices. There is fruity chewing gum, yes, but overall it’s not a very fruity whisky on the palate, except for a little sour kiwi that manages to poke its nose though the citric notes.

Finish: Medium. Hot and spicy with fading pepper and zesty bitter lemon. Loads of wood and rye spices, then some sweet fruitiness towards the end.

Empty Glass: There is not much left the next morning, except a touch of fresh pine sawdust and a hint of prunes.

A Twist in the Tale

But there are more plot twists to the Gibson story. To begin with, Gibson’s whiskies, now called “Gibson’s Finest”, are currently available almost exclusively in Canada. Ownership of the brand has shifted to William Grant and Sons, and there are plans firmly in the works to resume exports to the USA. However, these plans are not expected to materialize for at least another several years. As well, the production of Gibson’s whiskies has moved from Valleyfield to a new home at the Hiram Walker distillery in Windsor, Ontario.

Some tasters find the new batches of Sterling and Gibson’s 12-year old being produced at Walker’s just a little more expressive than the original Valleyfield versions. But if there is any difference at all it’s not in the whisky. Gibson’s have enough ageing Valleyfield whisky on hand that it will be at least 4 years before they make the switch to Walker’s warehouses to source aged whisky. Supplies are slowly being shifted to Windsor, but for the time being most of the ageing Gibson’s whisky is still held in Valleyfield. Although they are now bottled in the Windsor plant, the 18-year old version is still blended at Valleyfield as are occasional batches of the Sterling and the 12-year old. Incidentally, you can identify the Valleyfield bottlings by their distinct acorn-style bottle caps.

LCBO price, $65.00, and a bargain at that.

Highly recommended


Gibson’s Finest 100th Grey Cup Limited Edition is reviewed here.
Gibson’s Finest Sterling Edition is reviewed here.
Gibson’s Finest 12 year old reviewed here.
Gibson’s Finest Rare Bourbon Cask reviewed here.


189 Responses to “Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 years old (40% alc./vol.)”

  1. Gerald:

    Most thorough review I’ve read on the 18 year old. Thanks for the back story!

    • Davin:

      My pleasure, Gerald. Gibson’s make good whisky and the 18 is my favourite.

  2. Mike:

    Been a while since I’ve had this stuff but I recall aromas of baked apple and brown sugar. I find Gibson’s quite subtle in general, and their Sterling I found entirely unimpressive, but the 18 year old is one of the better Canadians I’ve had.

    • Davin:

      Yes, the 18 year old is good whisky, and so is the 12 year old.

    • francine:

      je possède une bouteille de Whisky canadiens Gibson s finest rare 18ans qui c est combien sa vaut

      • Darren:

        ca vaut $89.95 en 2017

  3. One of my favorite Canadian whiskies. Strange that they do not market it more. The website for Gibson’s targets an odd demographic.

    • Davin:

      Hi Jason,
      I’m curious to see what Gibson’s new, re-vamped website will look like.
      It seems to sell as fast as they can make it. In fact last year they actually ran out of 750′s of the 12 year old at LCBO.

  4. This is the site:

    Check it out. Really seems to target the 20 to 26 yr old demographic.

  5. Annie:

    Hi Davin, your website has been a great help for me. I’m trying to decide on a special Canadian whisky to get for my husband for our first anniversay. He is usually a mixer, but maybe that’s because he hasn’t gotten a whisky worthy of drinking straight yet. I think I’ve narrowed it down to Gibsons, Weisers, or Forty Creek. I’ve seen my husband buy CC, Gibsons, Weisers, Crown, Southern Comfort before but not Forty Creek, I’ve heard and read a lot of great things about Forty Creek while trying to decide on this purchase though. What whisky would u reccommend for me to buy. Also, I’m curious to know what your favorite Canadian Whisky is.

    • Davin:

      Hi Annie,
      For a guy who likes to mix his whiskies you cannot go wrong with any of the Gibson’s, Wiser’s, or Forty Creek bottlings as you suggest. Personally, I am not a fan of Southern Comfort, but that is not Canadian whisky anyway. If he has already the others, then any of the Forty Creek, bottlings are good. If you spend a little bit more money you’ll often get better quality. Honestly, I don’t have one favourite whisky, but I tend not to drink the lower priced whiskies. From among the brands you mentioned, I love Gibson’s 18, Wiser’s 18, Forty Creek Double Barrel (Barrel Select is pretty good too), and Crown Royal Limited Edition.
      Good luck and happy anniversary!

  6. Hi:
    I just found a bottle of Schenley’s “Spirit of ’86″ Canadian Whiskey. It’s a limited addition of 18 year old (now 42 year old) rye which was boxed in celebration of expo ’86. Any idea of it’s worth or if it’s still okay to drink?

    • Davin:

      Hi Clare,
      The market for old Canadian whiskies is not well developed yet, and most old whiskies sell for less than $200. Most people say whisky does not age in the bottle so it does not improve. That is beside the point, because it’s value is more in its rarity and the fact that at some point it becomes an antique. If you send me some good photos showing the fill level, dated tax stamp if there is one, and the label I can help you establish a value, but of course the real value is only established by a willing buyer and seller. I am working on a piece about evaluating, buying and selling old Canadian whisky for posting here in the future.

      As far as drinking it goes, as long as the seals are intact, the fill level is high and it’s not cloudy (very unlikely) it should be just fine to drink. Often the best thing to do with an old bottle is just to enjoy it at a special occasion.

    • Shelly Smith:

      Claire, if you still have this unopened bottle of Schenley’s “Spirit of 86″ I am Very interested in speaking to you as I would like to buy it. Please contact me at
      Thank You

  7. Connor:

    Hey, Does anyone know the 3 different types of whiskey that Gibsons Finest makes?? please help me!

    • Davin:

      Hi Connor,
      Yes, there are three different versions of Gibson’s Finest on the market today. The entry level is called Sterling and has a silver foil label. It is a great mixing whisky. Gibson’s Finest 12 year old is very popular in Canada and is much-sought-after as a sipper/mixer by U.S. whisky aficionados when they visit Canada. It has a gold foil label. Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 year old is the top of the line and a clear favourite with Canadian whisky connoisseurs. It has a cream-coloured paper label. There were also two special releases, Gibson’s Finest Rare New Oak, and Gibsons’s Finest Bourbon Cask, but these have pretty much sold out now, although I did see a few bottles in a store in Alberta a few months ago.
      Hope this helps.

  8. Connor:

    Thanks so much Davin. It is a big help. And by any chance do you know what whiskys “nickname” is in canada?

  9. Davin:

    Glad that helped.
    Well, for more than 200 years we’ve just been calling it “rye.” If you ask for Gibson’s rye in a Canadian liquor store they’ll know exactly what you’re looking for.

  10. Deschenes Serge:

    Je ne trouve pas de wiskey gibson 18 ans au Québec pourquoi,je dois aller en Ontaroi pour me le procurer

    • Davin:

      [tr. Why can I not find Gibson 18 year old in Quebec? I have to go to Ontario to buy it. Thank you.]

      C’est la SAQ qui décide de la sélection de whiskies au Québec. Donc peut-être que ce serait une bonne idée que vous posiez la question directement à la SAQ. Bien sûr que Gibson 18 est un très bon whisky et est fait des whiskies distillé au Québec.

      [tr. The SAQ decides the selection of whiskies in Quebec. So maybe it would be a good idea if someone asked that question directly to the SAQ. For sure Gibson 18 is a very good whisky and is blended from whiskies distilled in Quebec.]

  11. Terry:

    When will Gibson’s ever be marketed in the U.S.? This needs to happen as I am a big fan.

    • Davin:

      Hi Terry,
      I’m just not sure when Gibson’s will be in the U.S. I know they are talking about it and given the number of enquiries I get I’m sure it will do well.

  12. Jim Thompson:

    I have an original 1976 bottle of Gibson’s Olympic whiskey
    with the serial number ets. it is still in the brown fabric bag can you advise where there is a market for this item thanks Jim

    • Davin:

      Hi Jim,
      You have a very interesting bottle. It is one of the earliest Gibson whiskies. Without seeing it, I would guess it was distilled in 1960 as it was released as a 16 year old. It was distilled in Valleyfield Quebec at the Schenley distillery. Last year during the run-up to the Vancouver Olympics quite a few of these bottles surfaced. Again, without seeing it, I would estimate its value, if it is in relatively good condition, at between $75.00 and $100.00. If it is pristine and still has the price tag maybe a little bit more. You could try auctioning it on e-Bay, but prices this year have been terrible (low) for Canadian whisky. Maybe a little closer to Christmas they will get back to normal. I hope that helps.

      • Randy:

        I have a full unopened bottle of Gibson’s Olympic Canadian Whiskey numbered 2388. It is still in its brown tote bag and sealed in 1960 with number A0047607. Does anyone know its value?

        • Davin:

          Nice bottle but not particularly valuable. You might get $100 but more likely in the $50 to $75 range. It tastes good so why not open it and enjoy with friends on a special occasion.

          • shirley beemer:

            Gibson Olympic limited edition limitee with no 5491
            made for 3 co in 1976 but made in 1960 seal aged 16 yrs
            before they turn it over to 3M

          • shirley beemer:

            Gibson Olympic limited edition limitee with no 5491
            made for 3 co in 1976 but made in 1960 seal aged 16 yrs
            before they turn it over to 3M

  13. Jim Thompson:

    Hi Davin! Thanks for your help, I somehow thought it would
    be more valuable Jim

  14. Davin:

    Hi Jim,
    Well it should be more valuable, but old Canadian whisky is quite undervalued these days. I hope that will change as more people learn about it.

  15. Ann:

    Where is Gibson’s Finest Bottled?

    • Davin:

      Hi Ann,

      Last I heard the 18 year old was still being bottled in Valleyfield, Quebec. The Sterling and the 12 year old are bottled in Windsor, Ontario.


      • Ann:

        thanks Davin!

  16. T.G. Fisher:

    I can get Wiser’s Canadian rye in Texas but I have been unable to find any Gibson’s. Can you direct me to a website where I can inquire about he locations of American distributors?

    • Davin:

      I wish I could help you, but, sad to say, Gibson’s whiskies are not distributed in the U.S. There just isn’t enough to go around. I know they are working on getting enough supply to enter the U.S. market, but it takes 12 years to make a 12-year-old whisky, so I wouldn’t hold my breath. They ran out here in Canada last year and they had to ration it. If you know anyone coming to Canada I’d highly recommend you ask them to bring you back a bottle of the Gibson’s 12 year old or the Gibson’s Rare 18 year old.

      • Craig:

        Hey T.G., I have been looking for months until 1 of my friends directed me here. I’m glad my job carries me to go across the border and I take full advantage of it. I’m on my heels as well waiting for it to come south.


    Gibson’s Finest Rare, in my opinion, is one of the best Whiskey’s, in the world, for around 40 bucks. I would highly recommend Gibson’s Finest Rare to anyone I know and would give this fine whiskey as a gift. This is to show how greatly I believe in the product. There is no better way to enjoy this fine, premium whiskey served neat.

    There is nothing bad I can say of this whiskey and have been a die-hard, return customer for Gibson’s!

    Keep up the good work, boys! And all you American’s.. I wish we could help you out to experience a truly superb whiskey. Once you try it, you’ll never regret it and go for it over any other whiskey.

  18. Mike:

    It’s a real shame that this stuff used to go for $40 and is now up to $65 in Ontario. Wiser’s 18 has followed suit, to a point.

  19. Jason:

    Where can I buy Gibson Rye in the States?

    • Davin:

      I don’t think Gibson’s is availablein the U.S. yet, but it’s coming. Best thing to do is to follow their facebook page. U.S. release seems to come up there from time to time.

    • Phil in KC:

      I have a 710 ml bottle of Gibsons 1976 Montreal Olympic Edition 80 proof Whisky. It was Bottled in 1960 and aged 16 years. Marked as No 0035. It was bought by my sister in Montreal. Excellent condition and includes the brown felt bag with the Olympic logo. Wondering if it is worth much.

      • Davin:

        These are common and not worth much. Less than $100. It was distilled in 1960 and bottled in 1976.

  20. Jason:

    Lived in Alberta for 2 years and got hooked. I am a big Rye fan over bourbon, but the CC and VO sold in the states is no substitute for Gibson or even Wiser’s or Alberta Springs.

  21. Kala delorme:

    I have looked every where and on hoping some one wl be able to help me I am looking to find a Texas Micky of gibsons whisky! Please e mail me if some one can find one

  22. sam k:


    Can you explain the Canadian fixation on 80 proof whiskies? I think that’s one of the main reasons that your brown spirits are not as well-regarded elsewhere. I know there are exceptions, but they are extremely few and far between.

    There’s no question in my mind that respect for the category would flourish with the introduction of 86, 90, 100, or even (gasp!) barrel proof bottlings.

    Are the distillers just trying to squeeze every dollar they can from each barrel, or does the Canadian drinker blanch at a bigger flavor profile?

    I just don’t get it, but I still like your blog!


    • Davin:

      Thanks Sam. I’m glad you like the blog.

      I have to say you have made an excellent point there, and slowly some of the distillers seem to be agreeing with you. Wiser’s Legacy, for example, at 45% abv really delivers huge flavour and I love it. Similarly, in the U.S. WhistlePig shows the kind of punch high abv Canadian whisky really can deliver.

      On the other hand, there is also something to be said for elegance, refinement and nuance. When I first started getting serious about whisky I used to love the big peaty Islay malts. Now, for the most part I find them boring, dull, and one-dimensional. On the other hand, I can sit for ages with a Gibson’s or a Wiser’s 18 or an Alberta Springs and just feel the delicate clean crisp wood unfolding. Only Canadian whisky has this huge clean woodiness without getting dry or bitter. I have to admit that I am not and never have been a fan of the big fruity New World wines. I find them unrefined, simple, overly sweet, and just too easy to “get.” and to some degree I feel the same way about some ‘monster’ whiskies.

      I may have over-stated my case when I reviewed Century Reserve 21 year old but I still have the sentiment that led me to say “If you are from the “bigger-is-better” school of rye whisky, and your brain’s rye-drenched pleasure centres require extraordinarily intense stimulation to be activated, then – despite this laudatory review – Century Reserve 21 is not the whisky for you.” But let me add, that it is a whisky that I really get a lot of pleasure from (and the latest batch is just sublime.)

      Don’t get me wrong, I still love cask strength whiskies, but more and more I also seek out nuance and refinement.

      That said, I still think you make an excellent point and I am delighted to see some Canadian distillers beginning to toy with higher abvs.

    • portwood:

      I asked John Hall of Forty Creek that very question recently. His answer (paraphrased) “high alcohol content holds too much of the flavours in, the dilution to 40% opens up the whisky”!!! LOL

      • DANNYD:

        Maybe you should listen to the master distiller then. yanks talking about our whiskey like they’ve got more than sour mashed corn swill to offer.

  23. Brian:

    I have a bottle of 1966 Gibson’s Finest 12yr old. The bottle still has the factory seal and has a excellent fill level and is clear. What would the value of the bottle be and is anyone interested in purchasing it?

    Provide me with any details needed to accurately date and price.

    Thank You

  24. hi i have a bottle of spirit86 rye for sale .it has never been open and still in original cedar wood box . it is a numbered and limited edition . if intrested call ken a 204 669 4713 in manitoba canada

  25. Renegade:

    Love Gibby’s 18 yr rare. Have not been able to buy it in Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Alberta for the last 5 months. Why is that?

  26. Davin:

    I think Gibson’s 18 year old has moved beyond the cognoscente and they are seeing much higher demand. The trouble with 18-year-old whisky is that it takes so long to make it and there are no short cuts.

  27. Daniwl:

    I just found an unopened bottle of Gibson’s Finest 12 year old dated 1968. Any idea if it would be worth anything or if it would be OK to drink?

  28. john mac lean:

    i cannot find gibson 18 year old anymore in brampton stores,. is there any store that you are aware of where i can still buy this no. 1 drink thanks very much john.

  29. nik:

    GOOD NEWS !!!!!

  30. nik:

    GOOD NEWS !!!!!

    CALL ME @ 403 804 6727

    • Davin:

      Thanks Nik. Gibson’s 18 has been is short supply. -

  31. Yello to Mello:

    Short supply is correct and explains the $10 price increase in Ontario with the new supply. $75 puts me out as a buyer, not that its not a good whisky…a very good one and unique but there are several good premium Canadian whiskies on the market right now that are cheaper.

  32. Paul:

    I was given a bottle many years ago and have just broken the seal for our son’s wedding and would like to replace this.. Is there anywhere in Australia that we can purchase this.
    Our original bottle was in the early numbers

    • Davin:

      Hi Paul, as far as i know you can only get this in Canada. Nice idea to open it for your son’s wedding.

  33. Did Gibson’s have a previous special release called platinum? 20 something years

    • Davin:

      Not sure. I’ll check and get back to you.

  34. Maureen:

    Where can we buy Gibsons Rare in B.C. It’s not in any liquor store or is it being sold under a new name?

    • Davin:

      I am sorry, I do not know which stores carry it. It’s probably best to ask someone at BC Liquors.

  35. Fred:

    When my daughter was born I was working at a distillery that has since left Canada.I purchased a Canidian Clun Expo 86 gold bottle,excise stamp date 1980,excise stamp number A51984047. I plan to drink it at her wedding next year but have considerd selling the bottle and giving her the money.I drink nothing but Gibson’s 18 as I was a blender in the day and appreciate whiskey.Any idea of value?

    • Davin:

      Hi Fred,
      I know the bottle but not its value. That depends on a willing buyer and a willing seller. However, these commemorative bottlings rarely sell for very much. I have seen this bottle advertised on e-Bay with an exorbitant price tag, but I have never seen one sell. I think you would be very lucky to get $200 for it. But since you bought it when your daughter was born, why not crack it open at her wedding and make it part of a very special occasion. Think the the stories she’ll be able to tell your grandchildren.

  36. Matt D.:

    I have a bottle still in the original case inside of the original Box of Grand Award 15 year old Canadian whiskey with tax stamp from 1951, my question is : does this 110% perfectly kept bottle hold any value ?
    thank you, Matt D.

    • Davin:

      Hi Matt,
      Canadian whisky does not appreciate much in value. Check e-Bay for a better idea but I think you’d be lucky to get $100 for it. Sorry not to be more hopeful. Why not open it and enjoy it with some friends? Then you can talk about it for years to come.

  37. Steve1907:

    I love Gibson’s 12 year rye, very smooth, I use to drink Segrams VO, but after you’ve been away from it for awhile, then try it again, it burns my throat, seems very harsh. Reguardles, my question is, when Giboon’s or any other company says a whiskey a “suberb blend of fine aged” whiskeys, are all of the whiskeys in the blend aged 12 years, or a mix of various years, but the greater portion of the blend being 12 years, with others being 3, 5, 6 years, etc.

    • Davin:

      Hi Steve,
      You can be sure that if the label says 12 years old then every whisky in the bottle is at least 12 years old. The age stated on the label is always the age of the youngest whisky used to make the blend.

  38. Craig:

    FYI: Gibson’s in Texas? Here is a snippet from an email response I received last year.

    “Thank you for the support on Gibson’s, especially coming from Texas. I will place your email in my March ’12 calendar and let you know our progress in getting product to Texas Q-1 next year.. Not sure where you live but every chance you get when shopping your other spirit needs I would ask the favor of requesting Gibson’s from the local liquor store manager!!

    I will let you know in March ’12 our Texas Gibson’s progress.”

    I will continue to dance in one spot waiting to see it on my local shelves.

    • Craig:

      UPDATE: Gibson’s is available in Texas. I can get it from Specs and another smaller local vendor. It was worth the wait.

      Contact Gibson’s via their website to see about getting product locally to you.

  39. [...] Gibson’s Finest Rare [...]

  40. Sandra:

    I am gluten intolerate so I was wondering if any of you products are gluten-free.

    • Davin:

      Sorry, I do not know. Best to ask your doctor.

  41. I started drinking this in 92-93 visiting for opening walleye season. This is my 21st year coming up and ABSOLUTELY it always includes Gibson’s. Being from the states and it is not available, you can imagine my anticipation each year. I started buying a case (12) a few years ago each visit. This year I ran out in February…. Walleye season doesn’t open until the third Saturday in May…C’mon guys send me a case in Florida! Please!!!!!

  42. nik:


  43. chris burtchett:

    is there anywhere in the USA wher Gibson’s can be bought or ordered? Please let me know.

    • Davin:

      I understand it is in at least one state – perhapsMinnesota. I am not sure though.

      • David Worzalla:

        I bought a 12 year old bottle at Rays Liquor in Wauwatosa, WI

  44. Austin:

    I was wondering if anyone knows where I can purchase the 18 year now?? I’m living In Edmonton Ab.

    • nik:


  45. Rob:

    Great stuff, I’m glad I went for it. Nice mix of sweet and spice with an excellent smell to it.

  46. Ross:

    Thanks for the great info. I’m visiting family in Scotland, and they claim only theirs (I’ve tried some great ones here) are whisky. Gets annoying, as I’ve loved Gibsons for many years. Any help? Thanks from Calgary.

    • Davin:

      As my father used to say “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” If your family wants to stick with their local whisky that’s up to them. You and I know there’s a lot of other good stuff out there too for us to enjoy.

  47. Contact me in Florida I’d like to distribute Gibson’s here.

    • Davin:

      Brian, I write about whisky but I do not make or sell it. So sorry, I cannot help you. Davin

  48. Ryan:

    Does gibson’s make a Texas mickey. If so where can I get one or order one. Very interested in getting my hands on one

    • Davin:

      We do not do mail order here in Canada. Best to check on-line stores on the web.

  49. Tony:

    Hullo Davin,

    A few years ago we visited Canada and just before I left I bought a bottle of Gibson’s 18yo – which I still have, just waiting for the right moment to open it. From reading your blog it sounds like I am going to enjoy it. I enjoy a variety of single malts so this is going to be something very different. The wait is going to make it more enjoyable!! I cannot find the year of bottling but it does have a serial number on it – 156896. Can you give me an idea from that number or is there somewhere on the bottle I should have another look?

    • Davin:

      Hi Tony. This is very difficult. I don’t think anyone keeps track of those numbers after the bottles are gone. If you look VERY carefully, there may be a code etched into the glass on the bottom rim of the bottle. It starts with an L. The number after that is the last number of the year of bottling. I am not sure though that Gibson’s actually uses that coding. The best way is to guess that it was bottled the year you bought it. They don’t make much of the 18 year old and it often runs out long before a new batch is ready.

  50. Tony:

    Thanks Davin. I just checked, and nothing that I can see that looks like it may refer to a date/year. There is a ’12′ over what looks like ’34 CD (or CO or similar) followed by a mark I cannot identify then a 0 and a smaller 2′. Not a very good description I know, but that is all that I can make of it. We were there in 2005 so nothing appears to match that date or earlier unless it is the 02. Who knows… I don’t, but I am looking forward to the event when I open it (whatever that may be) and tasting it. My three boys are getting a taste for scotch these days so I may not be alone when I do open it!! In the meantime I shall begin looking around to see what we have here in Aussie from the land of Maple Syrup and wide open spaces! Enjoy your tasting, as I do. Tony

    • Brian:

      Just drink it for God’s sake…you’re making my mouth water. It is so frickin good. Have had it off and on for 21 years. We’ve had none in fish camp now for at least 3 – 4 years. So drink it!

  51. Bill:


    With you being the contact or spokesperson for the company one would expect a better response to Sandra’s March 12 question:
    Sandra:March 2, 2012 at 4:58 pm
    I am gluten intolerate so I was wondering if any of you products are gluten-free.
    March 2, 2012 at 5:09 pm
    Sorry, I do not know. Best to ask your doctor.

    How would a doctor know if your whiskey is gluten free? It would be a question to ask your distillers – do they know if their distillation process removes 100% of the gluten (Do they run it to complete distillation)? Do they add caramel coloring that contains gluten? Do they add any of the undistilled grain mash back after the distilling process? Take a minute and ask your distillers, they may tell you they try to make it gluten free but cannot guarantee it, or they may tell you that one of the process steps guarantees it is not gluten free.
    Regards, Bill

    • Davin:

      Thank you for your comment. I am a whisky writer and I do not make or sell whisky, nor do I work for any company that makes or sells whisky. I have no medical or nutritional training and I am completely unqualified to advise people on issues that may affect their health. I am neither a contact person nor a spokesperson for any whisky or whisky company.

  52. So nice to see this being reviewed! Gibson’s is a staple in my whisky collection and the 18 is my absolute favorite. I think it encompasses everything that is the definition of a great Canadian whisky. It has a fresh sawed pine tree smell and a delicious spicy rye bread meets sticky toffee pudding. What could be more Canadian than that!

    Thanks Davin!


  53. Chad:

    How often is the 18 year bottled? I’ve noticed that it doesn’t hit the shelves as frequently as it used to.

    • Davin:

      Not sure but just once a year if I remember correctly.

  54. CBrown:

    Wouldn’t you know it. I should have picked up a bottle last year when I had the chance.
    The BC liquor board computer shows one bottle in the whole province -way out in the boonies.
    They’ve been out of stock since October with no re-order in the works for time being.
    Oh well, at least I’ve got the well-stocked Wiser’s 18 to play with…

    • Chad:

      Check in Alberta. I know there was at least 1 store in Calgary with 14 bottles 2 weeks ago.

      • CBrown:

        Thanks, I had checked as well and it’s all over the place in Alberta. Guess I’ll get a family member to pick up a bottle for my next visit.

  55. Chad:

    A friend of mine has a bottle of Rare from about 2 years ago with a 6 digit number on the label; much like the one at the top of this page (Example: No 425301). The bottle I just purchased 2 weeks ago has a 5 digit number with a letter before it (Example: No A.21330). Does anyone know what the significance of the numbering system is?

  56. beau:

    I have 3 bottles of pendleton 20 year old directors reserve, 100th anniversary edition bottles for Pendleton Roundup. I was wondering what the value might be on these and where a guy can legally sell these? They have seals intact, in wooden boxes in perfect shape. Not a ding or scratch. Been in bubble wrap since i bought them. Appreciate any info, thanks!

    • Davin:

      The value is the same as what you paid. Not sure where you can sell them though.

      • beau:

        Seriously? Limited edition collectors bottles that i havent been able to find anywhere else and they arent worth a dime more than the pusrchase price? How can that be? The last edition of collectors bottles from Pendleton was fetching 1000-1500 a bottle off of ebay before they changed their policies on alcohol bottles. And those were only aged 8 years. So my question is how can you say they are worth so little?

        • Davin:

          Years of buying old whisky. Yes, there are a few people who will pay more but that is because they don’t know the market. I expect that if they go to sell them later they will be very disappointed.

          Perhaps you are looking at asking price, not selling price. For years there were people putting whisky on e-Bay at very high prices just in case they might get a buyer, but I never saw any of these over-priced bottles actually sell.

    • Heidi:

      Any chance you still have those bottles of Pendleton 20?

    • Lester:

      I want your Pendleton Wiskey. Call me 436-705-0471

  57. Marcel Carpentier:

    I have an unopened bottle of Canadian Club Hiram Walker
    (40 ounce) Bottle is Gold, Marked 1970,

    Made specially for 1976 Olympic games,held in Montreal.

    Any idea fo is value at thie time.

    Thank you in advance

    • Davin:

      Probably in the $30 range. Maybe slightly more.

  58. Paul Martin:

    Hi I live in Wales,United Kingdom.I wish to purchase a bottle of your 18 year old Gibson,for my father in law.Where can I buy it in the U.K.

    All the best,Paul F Martin.

    • Davin:

      You could try a specialty shop such as The Whisky Exchange, but I really doubt you will find it in Great Britain. Good luck, it is great whisky.

  59. Cara:

    I have a bottle of Olympic 1976 gold label Canadian club whiskey limited edition unopened do you have an idea of the value

    • Davin:

      Less than $100. It’s good whisky so why not crack it open and enjoy it?


    I just noticed gibsons only has three products available in the lcbo. Do you have a line on any new exciting gibson products?

    • Davin:

      Nothing on my radar. The big excitement is expansion into the U.S.

  61. [...] . If you do want more information and background on this one , you need to check out Davin’s Excellent site, which is indeed the best resource for any Canadian [...]

  62. Jimmyhat:

    I purchashed a Canadian Club Expo 86 Gold bottle back in 1986 when I was but a wee lad. Unopened Limited edition #13627 Canada Excise sticker 1980 still intact.

    I was wondering if there is any value in the bottle to collectors or should I just crack it open an enjoy.

    Appreciate you thoughts you’d have.

    Thank You Jim

    • Davin:

      There is no collectors market for Canadian whisky. You have found a real treasure but it has no real value. I’d suggest you open it on a special occasion and enjoy it.

  63. shirley beemer:

    I have Gibson Olympic Canadian Whisky limited edition limitee made for 3M in 1976 with no 5491 it aged 16 for 3M for the Olympic. What would it be worth? 864-787-2880

    • Davin:

      Less than $100. Probably a lot less. It’s nice whisky. Why not just open and share with friends?


    I have 2 bottles of Canadian SCHENLEY ORDER OF MERIT RYE WHISKEY Full bottles. This was aged for 15 years. The first one is dated 1961 and the other is dated 1962. Just wondered if there is a value for them. Government seal #D1086879 1962, and the bottle batch number is V207015.

    • Davin:

      This is very nice whisky but not particularly valuable. Certainly less than $100.

  65. Alan Bain:

    Hi i am from Scotland and i wonder if you can help me out here please i have a bottle of whisky that was giving to me about 15 years ago from a friend! whom he got from a friend years before me the name of the whisky is “Nordingle”. What it is i have been trying to find out some info about it i have even Goolged it & to no joy can i find out were it came from? It was Distilled & Blended by Herblay & Duvallon. Ltd & i look forward to hearing from you of any info with thank.

    • Davin:

      Sorry, that is a new one for me too. Perhaps a small private bottling for a retailer. There were and are hundreds of those.

      • Alan Bain:

        Thanks Davin i’ll just have to keep trying i have been asking around about this one & no one seems to have an answer? thanks again my friend

  66. Lisa:

    My question is to Davin.
    Davin I was wondering if you could help me with a little info and prices on a bottle of Ten year old Canada cup canadian whiskey 1972 on the seal with ser# A5213247. I got it from my father in law which passed away last year.
    Thank you kindly in advance.

    • Davin:

      Hi Lisa,
      I am not familiar with Canadian Cup. In general though I can tell you that these old bottles of Canadian whisky do not go up much in price, especially for the lesser known ones. You might get somewhere in the $30 to $60 range. I know that is not what most people expect. I always tell them to crack it open on a special occasion and toast the person from whom they inherited it.

  67. Scott:

    Was given a bottle last year from a friend and finally opened the 18 yr old Rare last night with family over for dinner. WOW! Simply amazing whiskey. I usually drink bourbon (Maker’s and Maker’s 42) from Kentucky or Crown Reserve or Limited Edition but I now have a new FAVORITE whiskey.

    Main problem is now I want MORE but living in Texas presents issues. Anybody know of an online store that sells and ships to the States? Any suggestions would help a thirsty whiskey drinker.

    • Davin:

      It’s great whisky. Unfortunately, Canadian liquor stores are not allowed to ship. All purchases must be picked up in person.

  68. Omineca Greg!:

    Hi Davin,

    Back available in BC, after being out of stock for a year, maybe a year and a half. I missed it the last time round, so I didn’t make that mistake again…


  69. Dave:

    Wondering if anyone would be interested in an unopened bottle of Gibsons finest 12 year with a seal marked 1981. fill level is 1 inch below cork label.

  70. I have an unopened bottle of Schenley Order Of Merit Canadian Whiskey with the unbroken Canada Stamp #19188246 dated 1949. It is Bottle No R474399. Does it have any value?

    • Davin:

      Beyond very good drinking, not a whole lot of monetary value. Sorry.

  71. Elena Carbajal:

    Hi just curious about Canadian Schenley O.F.C whiskey bottle. Aged 8 years with a Certificate in the back dated Nov. 1966 and was bottled in Nov. 1974.
    S 98777 F
    C4823657 1966

    Thank you for your response.

    • Davin:

      Quite common. $30.00

  72. Jon cousins:

    I have a bottle of gibbson 18 year old rare.where it should say rare it say venerable could u tell me why.

    Thanks Jon cousins

    • Davin:

      Sorry, I do not know. Perhaps it is a label variant. Sometimes when they print new labels they make little changes to update them.

  73. Phil:

    I checked this site because I saw this question but cannot find the answer. Just bought 3 bottles of Gibson’s Finest Venerable thinking it was Gibson’s Finest Rare…they look identical. is there any difference?

    • Davin:

      Hi Phil,

      Sorry, I thought I had replied to your e-mail. Venerable is the new name for Gibson’s 18 year old. Same juice, new name.


  74. matt:

    i live in Prince George, BC i was wondering where a guy could pick up a couple bottles of the Gibson’s Finest rare(venerable)

  75. Kurt:

    Wot? Super hard to find at most LCBOs and no reason why…what a shame. Really…get in on LCBOS. This is one one the very finest Canadian products and should be a staple in any urban LCBOO.

  76. Rick:

    Hey Davin,

    Do you know how to tell the valleyfield bottles from the newer ones? I have started collecting whiskey from the now defunct distilleries, and would like to add this to my collection…

    I have a feeling, the new bottles with a letter at the start are from new stock….


    • Davin:

      Not certain, but as far as I know they are still using Valleyfield whisky for the 18 and will for some time to come.

      • Rick:

        Thanks muchly, Davin. into the bunker that goes :D

  77. Thanks for the review Davin. I agree with Kurt, this remains difficult to find at the LCBO. I recently posted an analysis of LCBO inventory on my website, and found that only ~1% of Gibson’s inventory (by volume) was the 18 year old – everything else is the 12 yo or the Sterling.
    Incidentally, they have changed the label on these to “Gibson’s Finest Venerable 18″ from the old “Finest Rare” label. From discussion on my site and others, it seems like most agree this is just a marketing change, and they are still using the old Valleyfield stock.
    Either way, my “Venerable” bottle is a lovely expression. A fabulous whisky from the first sip (which is something rare). Thanks again!

    • Davin:

      Yes, it is a limited release. They don’t have the volumes for more, and yes, it’s still the same great whisky as ever, with a face lift on the package.

  78. bryon asher:

    mom just passed away, and my brother and I were going through her stuff and found 2 limited edition olympic aged 16 years gibson 40% montreal 24 fluid oz. in a nice brown velvet and gold marble bag. still perfect shape. and of course, being there were 2 of them,,,and being 2 sons in the family, and one daughter,,,,,they must have been meant for me and my brother, being the only two of the same gender. Elimination,,,,anyway,,,,it says,,mom paid 9.70 for them each,,,the number on the back is o/g 2290 it says that the bottled 1960 edition, and released in 1976 when the montreal olympics were held, will not be remade,,,do you know how much each bottle would be worth? don’t know if I will keep it or let it go,,,,me and my brother do not drink very much, as old dad, did for all of us. Not sure how mom could hide it from him,,,his breath was sometimes sweet with aftershave lotion. if you get my drift,,,,,If anyone has an idea, or where I can find out, please let me know and I will let my brother know….thanks a bunch.the paper seal over the top of the screw on lid is A0110133 1960 thanks again, bryon

    • paddockjudge:

      Bryon, normally I would suggest you should enjoy them for what they are because Canadian whisky does not command a high price at auction, but since it is not likely that you or your brother will be drinking them, I would be interested in talking to you about them.

    • Peter:

      I also would like to talk to you regarding these bottles.

  79. Alberto:

    Hola!! Tengo una botella Gibson Finest de 1,14l embotellado en 1972, no soy bebedor de Whisky y no se si tiene algún valor especial, agradecería algo de información.

    • Davin:

      Ningún valor especial. Vaya por delante y abrirlo.

  80. Chalie:

    I just bought a bottle of the Gibsons 12 year old Rare. I was disappointed with it as compared to the 12 year old Gold bottle. Where did the 12 year old gold go?

    • Davin:

      They changed the name but not the whisky.

  81. Angie:

    Why did they put a cork in the bottle I hate the cork…..I have been drinking this rye for over 25 years and now they cork it and every time my cork breaks inside

  82. Kenneth:

    LCBO currently lists this as discontinued, and it’s not included on Gibson’s website. Is this really the end of the road for this most amazing whisky? I surely hope not.

  83. jai une bouteille de gibson finest de 1965 veillie 12 ans quel prix elle peut valoire

    • Davin:

      Environs de $65.

  84. Toronto Tim:

    Yup, de-listed, make no more – or reborn at double the price. Some LCBO has -30%off now June 2016 for 52$CAD. Perhaps making room for Gibson 8yo 46% …. (samples given out as samples…). Good hunting.

  85. Felix:

    Do you know which stores are currently offering the discount?

    • Davin:

      Sorry, no idea.

  86. Jonas:

    I have a rare I think bottle of Gibsons Finest 12 year with a label covering the unopened lid from 1972. Just wondering what something like this might be worth?

    • Davin:

      $65 or so. Old Canadian whisky does not go up much in value. Sorry to disappoint you.

  87. Sam:

    is there anywhere to purchase in Australia or have shipped here??

    • Davin:

      To my knowledge, no. Too bad; it is great whisky.

  88. Toronto Tim:

    Interesting, now in Dec 2016, relisted for . . . 90$CAD !

  89. Rory:

    Have enjoyed Gibson “rare” for many years….now called venerable. My dear colllegue and I refer to it as “serial” aka cereal…..not on your corn flakes. Purchased a bottle yesterday….last one in stock with a serial number….. new bottles no numbers….store clerk advises the 18 year old may be in very short supply?? Anyone have more details

    • Davin:

      Yes, the 18 year old is in short supply. I think they track them with a laser code now so no need for serial numbers.

  90. Sarah:

    I want to purchase a bottle of Gibson’s for my fiance as it’s his favorite brand. Price isn’t an issue. Any suggestions?

    • Davin:

      Ask at a liquor store. Don’t wait. It is in short supply.

  91. Just purchased a whole case of he bottled Gibson’s Rare (12y) in Dallas, TX.

  92. I live in Ottawa Ontario Canada, i was @ the LCBO trying to buy Gibson 18 years old no dice why? and in Fort McMurray Alberta Canada i’m able to buy one.

    • Davin:

      Buy Gibson’s Venerable. It is the same whisky.

  93. Davin:

    Same whisky, different packaging.

  94. Paul Comeau:

    I have a bottle of 18 I bought a year ago and it went down in bottle about 1/2oz and it wasn’t opened. Does it evaporate over time and does is that normal?

    • Davin:

      Normally it does not evaporate, or if so, jut a little bit.

  95. Joseph:

    Hi there I have a 12 aged Gibsons finest made in 1980 how much would that be retail?? Never been opened I think its 49 years old

    • Davin:

      Same value as a new one today. Sorry.

  96. Sam:

    I have an unopened Gibsons finest 18 year old Rare whisky purchased in the 90′s and the serial number is 100
    Would that be of value to a collector? or should a person just enjoy it?

    • Davin:

      Enjoy it.

  97. [...] Pennsylvania distiller who started up in the 1830s, and by 1856, according to Canadian whisky guru Davin de Kergommeaux, his operation spanned 40 acres alongside the Monongahela. Once Prohibition rolled around, though, [...]

  98. ron miller:

    I bought a 66oz.of Gibson’s Gold and when I opened it, it had a very bad musty taste. I returned it to the liquor store where I did receive a new bottle. This was when it still was gov’t owned and they knew me as a good customer. I have now opened another bottle that is worse than the first one and the new Sobey’s store will not take it back without a receipt. Who keeps their receipt? This could be because of the change to the corks or just a problem that will never happen again. All I know is that I am a frequent customer, that is all I drink and it is a huge problem to not be able to return it to the liquor store. I am hoping you can rectify this problem

    • Davin:

      Sorry, I do not make whisky, I just write about it. I am a huge Gibson’s fan too, and I have had no problems with off flavours. I wonder if there is a contact form on their website.

  99. Lesley:

    I have an unopened numbered bottle of Gibson 18 yr old rare and it has evaporated the first 1/4 way down. I am looking for contact information to let them know.

  100. Michael:

    I have a 1978 Gibsons 12yr old not opened yet so aged in barrel(1966). Has the receipe changed from then compared to the current one?

    • Davin:

      Not really. The grain changes every year depending on the weather.

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