Wiser's whisky

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J.P. Wiser's Whisky
Wiser's De Luxe.jpg
A bottle of Wiser's De Luxe, the flagship brand
Type Canadian whisky
Manufacturer Corby Spirit and Wine
Country of origin Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Alcohol by volume 40.00%
Proof 80

Established in 1857, J.P. Wiser’s is Canada’s oldest continuously produced Canadian whisky. Hiram-Walker & Sons Limited produces J.P. Wiser’s at their Windsor, ON distillery. Hiram Walker & Sons has been the majority shareholder of Corby Spirit & Wine since 1935. Both companies came into ownership of international liquor company Pernod Ricard in 2005. The J.P. Wiser’s family of whiskies is the number one Canadian whisky brand in Canada, based on volume sales.

Early history[edit]

John Philip (J.P.) Wiser was born in 1825 in New York, the son of Isaac J. Wiser and Mary Egert. In 1857, Wiser began running the Charles Payne Distillery and Farm in Prescott, Ontario, which was owned by his uncle, Charles Egert, and his uncle’s business partner, Amos Averell.

Five years after starting as manager of the distillery, Wiser bought out Egert and Averell to become its sole owner, which was producing 116,500 gallons of whisky a year. Wiser introduced his first bottles of whisky at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. Prior to this time, whisky was only sold in casks or barrels. By the time of the Civil War, Wiser’s Red Letter Rye was sold in Canada and Wiser’s Canada Whisky was for export. Wiser’s son, Harlow, operated the distillery to an output of 500,000 gallons a year, but he died in 1895 at the age of 36 from a heart attack.

By the early 1900s, Wiser was exporting whisky around the world and his distillery in Prescott became the third largest in Canada behind Hiram Walker’s in Windsor and Gooderham & Worts’ in Toronto. Wiser died in 1911 and the distillery was taken over by Albert Whitney, a treasurer who worked at the distillery for over 50 years.

The company struggled after the death of J.P Wiser, and at the end of World War I, J.P. Wiser’s was sold and merged with Corby, J.M. Douglas and Company Limited and Robert MacNish and Co. Limited of Scotland.

Recent history[edit]

Newest Label Launches

In keeping with market trends, Wiser’s Spiced was launched in fall 2012. Wiser’s Small Batch was also launched to replace Wiser’s Reserve, with upgraded packaging and advertising. In September 20132013, Wiser’s Red Letter was re-introduced after the success of the 2008 limited edition, which was released to celebrate J.P. Wiser’s 150th anniversary.

J.P. Wiser’s in U.S.A

J.P. Wiser’s Rye and J.P. Wiser’s Spiced whisky were introduced to the U.S. market in October 2013 and supported by TV advertising, geo-targeted digital media, trade advertising, retail and on-premise activation and trade education.

Brand[edit]

The J.P. Wiser’s brand revolves around tradition, quality and prestige, based on the quote from J.P. Wiser, “Quality is something you just can’t rush. Horses should hurry, but whisky must take its time.”

Awards and accolades[edit]

2014

  • BEST CANADIAN WHISKY, DOUBLE GOLD Medal, J.P. Wiser's 18 Years Old
  • GOLD Medal, J.P. Wiser's Red Letter
  • SILVER Medal, J.P. Wiser's Legacy
  • SILVER Medal, J.P. Wiser's Spiced
  • BRONZE Medal, J.P. Wiser's Small Batch
  • Gold, Best Blended Canadian Whisky 13 – 20 Years Old, J.P. Wiser’s 18 Years Old

2013

  • Canadian Whisky of the Year: Wiser’s Legacy – The Whisky Advocate
  • Canadian Whisky of the Year: Wiser’s Red Label – Jim Murray Whisky
  • Flavoured Whisky of the Year Export Market: Wiser’s Spiced No. 5 – Canadian Whisky Awards
  • Gold Medal: Wiser’s Red Letter – Canadian Whisky Awards
  • Gold Medal: Wiser’s Legacy – Canadian Whisky Awards – Canadian Whisky Awards
  • Silver Medal: Wiser’s 18 – Canadian Whisky Awards
  • Silver Medal: Wiser’s Small Batch – Canadian Whisky Awards
  • Silver Medal: Wiser’s Deluxe – Canadian Whisky Awards
  • Silver Medal: J.P. Wiser’s Spiced No. 5 – Canadian Whisky Awards
  • Bronze Medal: J.P. Wiser’s Rye – Canadian Whisky Awards
  • Bronze Medal: J Wiser’s Spiced Whisky – Canadian Whisky Awards

2012

  • Double Gold Medal: Wiser’s Small Batch – San Francisco World Spirits Competition
  • Silver Medal: Wiser’s 18 – San Francisco World Spirits Competition
  • Best Canadian Blend: Wiser’s 18 – World Whiskies Awards

2011

  • Gold Medal, Sippin’ Whisky of the Year: Wiser’s Small Batch – Canadian Whisky Awards
  • Gold Medal, Connoisseur Whisky of the Year: Wiser’s Legacy – Canadian Whisky Awards
  • Silver Medal, Connoisseur Whisky of the Year: Wiser’s 18 – Canadian Whisky Awards
  • Gold Medal: Wiser’s Legacy – Beverage Testing Institute
  • Best Canadian Blend: Wiser’s Legacy – World Whiskies Awards
  • Canadian Whisky of the Year: Wiser’s 18 – Whisky Advocate
  • Best Canadian Blended Whisky: Wiser’s 18 – World Whisky Awards

Marketing[edit]

Wiserhood Campaign

In 2008, Wiser’s introduced the award-winning “Wiserhood” campaign created by john st. advertising from Toronto. The campaign focuses on The Wiserhood, the “Society of Uncompromising Men,” represented by a group of dapper men who recognize a small victory for men everywhere.

The campaign resumed in 2010, introducing a “Slow Clap App” and more TV spots. After three years, the Wiserhood took a hiatus.

In 2013, Wiser’s launched an evolved version of the campaign with social media components. “Wiser’s Wants You!” is a Facebook-hosted contest that encouraged entrants to audition for a role in a Wiserhood TV spot.

Controversy

The Wiserhood campaign has been met with some backlash.

An article published by The Globe and Mail on April 7, 2011 described a back-and-forth between Michael Bliss (Order of Canada, Royal Society of Canada) and Corby Spirit & Wine president, Patrick O’Driscoll. Allegedly, Bliss said a Wiserhood commercial (in which a bored man on a date at an art gallery begins touching fine art in order to get kicked out of the gallery) was tasteless and suggested it contravened the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards by encouraging the desecration of art. O’Driscoll replied it was intended to be humorous and outlined Corby’s support of Canada’s artistic community.

The Wiserhood campaign has also raised concerns of sexism, especially within feminist communities. Topics that gained attention are men “outsmarting” women to get their way and conflicting gender roles, including misrepresentation of manhood and the downplay of whisky-drinking women (which makes up 32.5% of the Canadian whisky category).

Distillery[edit]

Hiram Walker & Sons Distillery

Since at least the 1980s, J.P. Wiser's Whisky has been distilled and bottled at the Hiram-Walker & Sons distillery in Windsor, ON (now owned by the French firm Pernod Ricard, a part-owner of Corby), and aged in the Pike Creek area of Lakeshore, Hiram Walker & Sons has the largest distillery capacity in North America with 37 fermenters, producing approximately 60 - 70% of all Canadian whisky. About 75% of this whisky is sold to independent bottlers in Canada and abroad.

The manufacturing process distills 180,000 litres of alcohol every 24 hours and operates 24 hours a day, five days a week and every second weeknd to produce a variety of alcohol products. In a year, the facilities handle more than four million cases of spirits. Hiram Walker & Sons holds 1.3 million barrels of spirits in their maturing warehouse, which are blended and eventually bottled on four high-speed lines. The distillery is the only “grain to glass” distillery in Ontario, with over 50 bottle molds available.

In recent years, the distillery has launched environmental initiatives, including reducing the amount of water diverted to waste by 60%, reducing wastewater contaminant by 90% and reducing overall energy consumption by 40%.

Labels[edit]

  • J.P. Wiser’s Deluxe – Wiser’s signature blend. Oak, toasted grains and toffee flavours. Five to nine-year-old whiskies in blend. 40% abv.
  • J.P. Wiser’s Spiced – 100% corn grain. Canadian spiced whisky with a hint of vanilla. 43% abv.
  • Wiser’s Special Blend – Number one economy whisky in Canada. Fresh wood, spice and vanilla flavours. Three-year-old whiskies in blend. 40% abv.
  • Wiser’s Small Batch – Canadian whisky using traditional methods. Rich oak, vanilla and spice flavours. 43.4% abv.
  • J.P. Wiser’s Rye – Developed from the Canadian whisky mash recipe used in 1869. Caramel, honeycomb toffee, vanilla, dried fruits, rye spices, green apple and pear drops flavours. 40% abv.
  • J.P. Wiser’s 18 Years Old – Blended Canadian whisky aged for minimum 18 years. Mature oak, baked apples, spice, caramel, fresh pine and autumn floral flavours. 40% abv.
  • J.P. Wiser’s Legacy – Most whiskies in blend are aged 10 years. 33% of the blend is Lot 40. Rich oak, apple, toffee, vanilla, spice and red apple flavours. 45% abv.
  • J.P. Wiser’s Red Letter – Tribute whisky to J.P.Wiser’s 150th anniversary. Aged 10 or more years. Oak, vanilla, toffee, wood spice and dried fruits flavours. 40% abv.

Production[edit]

Canada’s Food and Drugs Act requires whisky labeled as “Canadian Whisky” be mashed, distilled and aged three years in Canada in wooden barrels not greater than 700 L, with the final whisky containing at least 40% alcohol by volume. Because of the openness of the definition, the Master Blender is free to be innovative in comparison to other whiskies in the world. J.P. Wiser’s follows a process similar in tradition to that established with J.P. Wiser’s original whiskies:

  1. Wiser’s production begins with grains sourced from the Great Lakes Region.
  2. Using malt purchased from a supplier, Wiser’s cooks, ferments, distills and ages all grains—corn, ryle, barley and wheat—separately in a variety of casks, including virgin oak or once-used AB casks, used wine casks or multiple-used Canadian whisky casks. Wisers’ then blends the components at the end using recipes created by the Master Blender. Canadian whisky is a blended product.
  3. Flours are combined and mixed into a pre-mix tank along with cold water, back stillage and nitrogen to make the mash.
  4. Mash is cooked at 72 °C or higher using steam to release enzymes that break the starch down into sugar units. Enzymes from the malt help convert the starch to sugar.
  5. Using a non-contact method that utilizes plates, mash is cooled with water from the Great Lakes Water Shed to a fermentation temperature of 32 °C — the optimum temperature for yeast.
  6. Yeast is added, which converts sugar into equal parts alcohol and carbon dioxide.
  7. Mash enters the top of the distillation column and flavour compounds are separated by boiling points to create high wines. High wines can be further distilled using the pot still (batch process) for concentrated flavours, or double distilled in a column still to strip out flavours and create a base whisky.
  8. J.P. Wiser’s uses white oak American Bourbon, once-used AB casks, or port casks, wine casks or multiple-used casks (depending on the recipe) that have been charred on the inside to age whisky for a minimum of three years. The temperature extremes of the Great Lakes Region have a unique effect on the aging of Canadian whiskies not found anywhere else in the world.
  9. Depending on the desired whisky, the solution may be filtered chilled, non-chilled or remain unfiltered.

Master Blender: Dr. Don Livermore[edit]

Dr. Don Livermore has been Wiser’s Master Blender since 1996, taking over from his mentor, former Master Blender David Doyle — with whom he helped influenced Wiser’s Legacy label. Livermore worked under the tutelage of two Master Blenders over a span of 15 years. Doyle was Master Blender from 2005 to 2012. Michael Booth, who designed Lot 40 rye,was Master Blender in the 1990s, retiring in 2005 following the acquisition of Pernod Ricard. After beginning his career with Hiram-Walker and Sons Ltd. as a microbiologist in quality assurance, Livermore worked in research and product development for 11 years. He obtained his BSC in microbiology at the University of Waterloo and, after 15 years as a blender, completed a MSC and a PhD in Brewing and Distilling at Heriot Watt University.

Popular culture[edit]

Wiser’s has used actors in their Wiserhood campaign who have gone on to become celebrities in other roles, including Canadian comedian Gerry Dee (Mr. D, Last Comic Standing, Just For Laughs) and English actor Charles Dance (HBO’s Game of Thrones, The Last Action Hero, Alien 3).

Further reading[edit]

References

External links[edit]