J.P. Wiser's NHL Alumni Whisky Series

I was able to try each of these through the Toronto Whisky Society, which was given the chance to try them by Wiser’s themselves.

Special commemorative editions of things, especially mashups of two different fandoms, are always something to question before buying: Why are you buying it?

For the Wiser’s Alumni Whisky Series, you could tell me you purchased any of these to go on a hockey shrine of your favourite sport star, besides various hockey cards, pucks, sticks, and perhaps even hockey-related children’s cartoon shows and I’d be fine with it.

It’s there to show your level of fandom.

I, on the other hand, am not a sports guy. I’ve tried. I’d rather be playing the sport (badly I might add) then watch them. I can see the appeal in stats and sports and tribalistic superiority. I can see how it forms people’s feeling of belonging. Just not for me. That’s okay: One less guy taking up a seat at the games.

I am a whisky guy. So I drank these, seeing how they taste. For that rare group that will want the bottle in the shrine and the whisky in the stomach.

So let’s see how these taste, shall we?


Lanny McDonald, based on my googling, was a Right Wing who played over 1,100 games, scored over 500 goals, and got over 1000 points, playing from 1973 to 1989.

Played for the Maple Leafs, Colorado Rockies, and the Calgary Flames.

He also has one hell of a badass mustache. But can that mustache help him pick a whisky?

This is a 9-year-old wheat forward blend. Interesting pick, with the words “well-rounded and wheat forward” on it. The idea being that Lanny was well-rounded, so why not the whisky do that too?

Does it live up to all those points and a 16-year well-rounded career? Let’s see, shall we?

Price: $44.95 CAD at the LCBO

Region: Canada

Abv: 40%

Colour: 5Y 8/8

Nose: Coconut, alcohol, gravel, maple

Some nice coconut notes kick the nose off. Which I think is a thing in hockey.

Some rougher alcohol and earth/gravel notes. Typical maple. It doesn’t really give much more than that.

Taste: Maple, vanilla, caramel, orange

So good news: Less rough notes on the taste. Goes to a sweet driven typical Canadian dram, though less harsh and no real rough aspects.

But I’d recommend you like sweets for the taste. The orange can only balance so much.

Finish: Oak, smoke, birch sap, cloves (light)

Oak continues through, some smoke, some mineral/bitter aspect, some light spice, light sweets. This is where I’d say it balances out and shows off the aforementioned wheat. Balances against the taste at least.

Conclusion: This is a young grain whisky blend that tries to grow in some well-balanced directions however it ultimately ends up very rough. The nose being light and rough hurts it quite a bit. The taste is pretty standard for a Canadian whisky, and the finish is where I started to see the idea.

All in all, I’d prefer a bit more interesting grain barrels in this one. It’s hard to do that with a younger whisky, so kudos there, but it didn’t quite live up to the stache.

63/100


Guy Lafleur played for 17 seasons, on teams such as the Montreal Canadiens, the New York Rangers, and the Quebec Nordiques. He ended up winning the Stanley Cup five times and was named one of the best playings in NHL history. Like Lanny above, he played Right Wing.

I may know more about him because I used to eat at his chain of poutine restaurants…. Wait, he has nothing to do with those? Quelle surprise for me, I know nothing.

The whisky is a 10-year 100% corn whisky blend with elements aged in Speyside, Bourbon, and Rum barrels. Well that’s interesting. Let’s see how it tastes, shall we? 

Price: $45.15 CAD at the LCBO

Region: Canada

Abv: 40%

Colour: 10YR 6/10

Nose: Dusty, passionfruit, oak, weak grass

Rum elements and ex-Speyside elements are the first things you’ll note. Given the type of whisky, not surprising. A lot of grain/corn whiskies take to their finishes well, so not a surprise, however, it’s created an interesting mix.

That said, it doesn’t really go beyond the musty and tropical aspect.

Taste: Honey, brown sugar, nutmeg, earthy

Very sweet taste. Honey forward, spice and earth. Really sweet, almost too much. That said, I do enjoy sweets, so I kept going back for more.

Finish: Lemon flesh, cinnamon, floral

Acidic, spicy, and floral on the finish. Sadly quickly ended. I do wish this was at 46%, as I feel we’re missing something here on the finish.

Conclusion: Hey Quebec didn’t get screwed, how novel. Jokes that will get me angry comments aside, I really was surprised by this. 100% Corn whisky isn’t easy to tease out flavours, both from the malt and the finish and the low abv. They did a really good job given all of that.

So yeah, open this one up.

73/100


In the second episode of the second season of Corner Gas, due to a dispute over a trading card we hear the main character state “Curse you Darryl Sittler!”

That’s as far as my own knowledge goes. Turns out he’s done more than just show up on one of the greatest Canadian comedy series ever as a running gag.

Darryl Sittler played from 1970 to 1985 in the NHL, elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989, the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2003, and the Canadian Walk of Fame in 2016, and was voted one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in History.

He still holds the most points scored in one game.

His whisky is a 4-grain blend that was aged in ex-Bourbon and ex-Canadian whisky barrels for 10 years. Thus we have another well-rounded player and what should be a well-rounded whisky.

Let’s see, shall we?

Price: $44.95 CAD at the LCBO

Region: Canada

Abv: 40%

Colour: 10YR 6/8

Nose: Melon, ginger, cream

Some generic fruit/melon notes, some spice, followed by a bit of cream. No harsh alcohol, so that’s nice. Takes awhile to really pick it apart.

Taste: Oak, brown sugar, caramel

Sweeter notes with some wood to balance it out.

Finish: Maple, grass, margarine, cereal

Maple, grass, bit of lighter, light buttery/margarine note. Which I never know if that’s different or if people view it poorly. Like I enjoy butter, and margarine is still good, but it’s not butter so should it compare itself? Who knows.

Conclusion: Curse you Darryl Sittler! Ahem, I mean… it’s okay, just nothing too out there. It is balanced, it does lean into the nice oak driven, spirit balanced dram. Personally if you’re looking for something to drink that’s similar and better IMHO, it’s the Gooderham & Worts Four Grain over this. Keep this as your fandom piece on the shelf.

67/100


Larry Robinson is both known for his coaching days on the New Jersey Devils and LA Kings and his playing days with the Montreal Canadiens (17 seasons) and LA Kings (3 seasons).

He also had a love of horse racing and polo. Given all of that, and ten Stanley Cups under his belt, he’s well known for multiple roles. Well what goes with multiple roles? Why a 2-grain whisky aged for six years in six different barrels.

Why six? Well he has 6 championship wins. As in winning the cup six times. The other three times he’s on there is as a coach and once as a scout.

What casks? Canadian, double charred, bourbon, rum, port, and French oak. But how did it turn out? Let’s see, shall we?

Price: $44.95 CAD at the LCBO

Region: Canada

Abv: 40%

Colour: 2.5Y 7/8

Nose: Floral, vanilla, musty, cinnamon

Good floral and vanilla notes, some dusty and spice on the nose. Stronger than the alcohol would denote.

Taste: Cola candy, oak, grape, cinnamon, vanilla galore

Wow cola candy. You know when you taste a bit of grape with cola notes? That’s there too. Tons of vanilla, bunch of spice. It’s a bit strong, but interesting.

Finish: Yeast, cinnamon, cola, mint, maple

Oddly yeast and spice to pair with the really sweet cola note. I’m digging the cola note, though I have a sweet tooth.

Conclusion: Interesting cola forward note. Lots of interesting elements on it. This is quite an interesting whisky, and something I wish there was more of. That said, the lower abv., some of the sweet heavy elements, and the yeast finish which I assume is due to the youth cut you off at the pass.

What I’m saying is: Yes, this is good to drink, and yes, Wiser’s should put out a better, higher end version of this at a higher abv after another decade in a cask.

74/100


Wendel Clark is basically an icon here in Toronto, where fans of the Maple Leafs will hate you forever if you even hint at making fun of their team.

Ahem… not bitter at all. During his career Wendel Clark played for the Leafs, the Nordiques, the Islanders, the Lightning, the Red Wings, and the Blackhawks. He’s best known as a boyhood idol for many NHL players. Suffice to say, he’s kinda a big deal.

So how do you honour him? With an eleven year, 100% rye aged in ex-bourbon casks. Then you bring it down to 41.6%, to honour the cantankerous rabid fans of the city I call home.

Let’s see if I can say something to anger the white and blue fans even more, shall we?

Price: $44.95 CAD at the LCBO

Region: Canada

Abv: 41.6%

Colour: 10Y 6/8

Nose: Fruit juice, rye bread, maple, turnip, clovers

Interesting fruit note, some rye yeast/spice, and a bit of maple. Time brings out wood and some more floral notes. So in other words: One of those nice, calm ryes.

Taste: Raisin, dill, brown sugar, cassia buds, vanilla

Fruit and then… dill. Too bad, really, because the rest is like raisin bread. And I tend to not like dill on my raisin bread, but… if you do, more power to you.

Finish: Green banana, oat muffins, grassy, mint

Nice funkiness, good cereal note, and some nice grassy/mint notes. I wish there was more to it. You know, 647 is an area code in Toronto too… just saying.

Conclusion: Fruity interesting rye. Nice to sip on, wish it was a bit stronger. Really wish it was. That dill note threw me off some, but the sweets around it were nice.

Rye is always fun because it can be bold and spicy, but also fruity and floral. I just really, really prefer these at a stronger strength.

So drink one of these to the Wedigo… He was called that, right? Uh oh, here comes an angry mob.

73/100


Paul Coffey is the second all-time NHL defence-men in goals, assists, and points. He’s the top goal scorer in one season, with 48 in the 1985-86 season.

So how do you celebrate such a defence-man? With a seven-year whisky aged in four different barrels. What barrels? Virgin oak, ex-Speyside, ex-Bourbon, and ex-Canadian Rye.

Damn Coffey, here I thought they would have just given you the still that someone who has nothing to do with you and left it at that. But no, they didn’t just given him a Coffey still and a day off at the spa.

Let’s see how it turned out?

Price: $44.95 CAD at the LCBO

Region: Canada

Abv: 48% (GET IT!)

Colour: 10YR 6/8

Nose: Ethanol, oak, marshmallow

Wow, that’s boozy. Damn man, that’s… uh, that needs some more time in the cask. And probably not the virgin oak cask. Let’s say that one got a bit up in my grill if you will.

Taste: Grass, anise, caramel, stone fruit

Good news, less strong. Lots of grass, it’s taken some of that stone fruit from the ex-Speyside, and some sweets and spice.

Still feels like being hit by a large man who was born 3,000 years too late to be a caveman.

Finish: Marshmallow, cinnamon, cigarette

The finish is burnt, sweet, and spicy. And ashy, mercifully short.

Conclusion: Too many burnt and sweet elements. This one is the roughest of the bunch. I get the idea behind it, and I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad one. I just really, really wish they had taken a lot longer to mellow it out and develop more.

This one should stay on the bench some more.

60/100

World Whisky reviews #375-380, Canada reviews #120-125, Whisky Network reviews #1801-1806

2 thoughts on “J.P. Wiser's NHL Alumni Whisky Series

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