Nose: Berries, dark chocolate, rye spices, oak, sultanas, caramel apples, ginger, and cinnamon.
Taste: Hot rye and baking spices, caramel, chocolate, berries, and cloves.
Finish: Long and warm.
We humans are funny. We don’t see someone for a couple of days then when we do, we ask them “What’s new?” and the conversation takes off. We don’t see someone for a few years, ask them the same “What’s new?” and the conversations starts and ends with “Meh, nothing much.” So, Imagine bumping into someone you haven’t seen for 22 years. That’s over 8,000 days. Surely, with over 693 million seconds in between first and last contact, I’m thinking there must be something that’s a little more elaborative than “Meh.”
Anyway, the above Seinfeldian observation leads me to recall to a recent encounter. A fortnight ago, I happened to bump into J.P. Wiser’s 22 Year Old Cask Strength Blend. Past experiences notwithstanding, I small-talkingly opened with: “Twenty two years, where does the time go?” Followed immediately by: “So, what’s new?” Well, the conversation that followed was certainly not meh-like.
I immediately noticed the tawny colour of this blended whisky. I thought perhaps it was a sojourn in the south of France? “Well, close… “ as I was explained to. This blend had spent it’s 22nd year soaking in French Oak casks that were seasoned with Tawny Port. Looking poised relaxed in the glass, surely the whisky had a bit more to say. And did it. It was a speech peppered with all kinds of notes coming to the nose like anise, berries, dark chocolate, sultanas, rye spices, ginger and caramel covered apples. The conversation though wasn’t like listening to the Micro Machine Man yammering on. While the 22 Year Old had a lot to say, the elocution was clear. And even though this 22 year old is cask strength at 59.7%, it was firm but not brash. While this whisky wasn’t literally basking in the Mediterranean, it does come with a bit of heat. Again, it’s not whisky sunblock time but if you want, a few drops of water are welcome. On the palate, the dialogue continues and, dare I say, stays spicy with the rye, cloves and baking spices. But I can assure you, it’s not just “des mots épicées”. Again, notes like caramel chocolate and berries are still there having their delicious say. For the finish, it’s as if you just drank a liquid sunset. It’s warm, long and takes its time getting under the horizon.
There may be some whiskies that don’t have a lot to say. Some may like to blurt everything out at once. This one loves to share where it was, what it did and how it grew up. And it says it all eloquently, firmly and deliciously. Oh, and just before we parted, this 22 Year Old whisky did share with me that it did win Best Cask Strength Whisky at this year’s Canadian Whisky Awards. And there’s nothing wrong with saying that more than once. Cheers.