JP Wisers Last Barrels 45%

May 8, 2016


Floral fruity esters with bushel baskets of Granny Smith apples – reminiscent of Wiser’s 18. Sweet butterscotch with piney notes and hints of Canada Balsam. Crisp, clean wood, like faded barn boards, Virginia pipe tobacco fresh from the humidor. Vanilla, ripe dark fruits, the silkiness of corn and lively peppery spices in a finish that just goes on and on. The glories of masterfully made spirit matured slowly. ★★★★★

Last Barrels Canadian Whisky fromJP Wiser 2016

They really were his Last Barrels. In May, 2001, Jim Stanski left his position as a distiller to move into management at Hiram Walker distillery where he is now vice-president of production. His final distillation before moving up? Something unusual among Canadian whiskies.

Unlike most Canadians, in which the grains are distilled individually first, then blended later, he blended the grains before mashing them. Using 80% corn grist, 11% rye and 9% barley malt he made a bourbon-style mash. This mix of grains was chosen to match one used by J.P. Wiser himself in a recipe dating from 1869.

And that’s not the only thing Stanski did differently. Sour mash too, has fallen out of favour in Canada, having been replaced by rigourous sanitation. But he wanted a sour ferment. So, he relied on the kind of ingenuity only someone with in-depth knowledge of the ins and outs of making whisky would think of.

He bought a carton of milk and set it out on a counter in the lab to go sour then used it to sour the mash. People working in the lab at Hiram Walker today, still chuckle when reminded about Stanski’s sour milk. And they are quick to acknowledge the contributions to the final flavour made by the milk-souring bacteria, Lactobacillus sp. The result, after 14 years maturation in used bourbon barrels is simply stunning.

J.P. Wiser’s Last Barrels is the most interesting new whisky to come along in ages. With only 132 barrels of spirit in that final run, the result is a very limited release. When LCBO sent word they were looking for an exclusive Canadian whisky for Father’s Day (kudos to LCBO, by the way), current master blender, Don Livermore remembered Stanski’s “science experiment.”

Tasters all round agreed it was a stellar whisky and LCBO bought all 2,000 cases. So, ladies and gentlemen, we’re keeping this one at home. If you don’t live in Ontario, start your engines.

J.P. Wiser’s Last Barrels is just beginning to trickle into stores now. Priced at $65, this once-in-a-lifetime whisky is not to be missed and it will not last long.

Very Highly Recommended. ★★★★★


20 Responses to “JP Wisers Last Barrels 45%”

  1. sounds very nice. I would love to get my hands on this one. will it be available before Father’s Day or right on Father’s day?

    • Davin:

      As far as I know it is “in the system” at LCBO right now and should be in stores soon.

  2. Toronto Tim:

    5/5 eh ? I ‘m gonna hog ALL bottles I can from LCBO yo’ll. (LOL). Great review Mr. KD, i was dying to get some info on this Bottle. Thanks.

  3. they are starting to trickle in the LCBO now. I have two on hold for me. do you know how old it is?

    • Davin:

      Distilled May 2001, bottled winter 2016 so 14 years.

  4. B.Law:

    I just picked up two bottles of this from the LCBO today and I’m drinking it right now. Being a huge bourbon fan, this is right up my alley. I wish more Canadian companies would experiment with different styles like J.P. Wiser’s has done here. I agree with the review above. 5/5.

    • does it taste similar to Wiser’s Legacy?

      • Davin:

        No, not really.

      • B.Law:

        No, this is very different. More like Dickel Tennessee Whiskey or an American Bourbon. Both Legacy and Last Barrels are great, but the latter is by far my favourite release so far from J.P. Wiser’s collection. There are about 400 bottles left at LCBO, according to their online inventory. Inter-store transfers are free as well. Easiest way to get them is just to have it transferred to you. Enjoy!

  5. Douglas Sick:

    Hi, I’d like to ask a question for my clarity. You mention “Unlike most Canadians, in which the grains are distilled individually first, then blended later, he blended the grains before mashing them.” I think I read before that one of the difference between American and Canadian whiskies was the fact that “all” Canadian whiskies “must”(?)distill first and then blend, while American whiskeys blend first and then distill. Id this true? If it is, can Wiser’s Last Barrels still be called Canadian Whiskie?

    • Davin:

      No, that is not true. Yes, it is Canadian whisky.

      • Douglas Sick:

        Many thanks.

  6. Eric:

    Outstanding, worldclass whisky. Hopefully Wiser’s will keep a whisky similar on tap.

  7. Paul McMillan:

    I would love to get a bottle or two to collect and drink. Does anyone know if there is any chance of getting it out here in B.C. ?

    • Davin:

      It is for Ontario only. LCBO exclusive.

  8. chris:

    finish that just goes on ?wow i sure do not get that.i gethardly any finish .now i am a bourbon drinker so i thought i would try this .it is a total let down .wonder if the fact that they are re-used bourbon barrels that does it?but this is to bourbon like a light beer is to real beer.
    “Bourbon light ”
    sorry tried to like it but cannot .

    • Davin:

      To each, his own. At least you were willing to try it.

      • Chris:

        Ok i have to say it sat on my shelf for a “few” months .it is interesting in that it seemed to get alot better after it had a chance to sit and open up .with the exception of the used Barrels, it does seem the closest thing to bourbon that i have found in canadian Whiskey this far . i wonder how much better it would have been if he tried new Barrels?

  9. Mike:

    Tried a bottle this weekend and loved it,will be buying a few to put away for later.

  10. [...] it was also made with a sour mash like bourbon, but it was soured in an unconventional way. According to Canadian whisky sage Davin de Kergommeaux,  master distiller Jim Stanski placed a carton of milk on the counter in the lab at Hiram Walker [...]

Leave a Reply