Maker: Corby, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Pernod Ricard)
Distilled: Hiram Walker, Windsor, Ontario, Canada (Pernod Ricard)
Style: Unblended sour mash Canadian whisky
Age: 14 y/o
Price: $65, Canadian ($48.50 US; Ontario only)
Thanks to Andrew for helping me acquire this bottle!
Appearance: Medium copper with long clingy legs.
Nose: Sharp young oak, black walnut, old oak, grape soda, alcohol.
Palate: Full bodied and silky. Dark chocolate covered caramels, caramel corn, bubble gum.
Finish: Plum juice, chopped walnuts, alcohol
Parting words: This whisky is weird. It’s made from a bourbon-like recipe of 80% corn , 11% rye and 9% malt (similar proportions to Early Times or Buffalo Trace) all mixed together before fermentation (unusual for a Canadian). Unlike most Canadian whiskies, 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 and allowed it it to sour. He then poured it into the mash to lower the Ph. The idea seems insane but it’s hard to argue with the results.
This limited run (2,000 cases) whisky is called Last Barrels because it made up of the last barrels filled at Hiram Walker during Jim Stanski’s tenure as master distiller. Fear not, Jim didn’t leave the distillery, he just moved up the corporate ladder. The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) was looking for a special release for Father’s Day 2016 and the folks at Corby thought Jim’s wacky last batch would be a perfect fit.
I was not a fan of the nose at first, but it has mellowed since I first opened (that or my nose got used to it). It is too sharply woody, like craft bourbons aged in small barrels. It’s wonderful on the palate, though. Full bodied and lucious, it’s like cuddling up in a soft blanket with a soft friend on a warm winter night. It’s stupid cheap too, probably too cheap for how few barrels there are. I’m not complaining, though. There are a few still kicking around the LCBO system, but with the limited number of bottles and a strike looming, act fast. Wiser’s Last Barrels is highly recommended.