Hold it High – A visit to J.P. Wiser’s

Thank you to Wiser’s for inviting a member of the Toronto Whisky Society to tour their distillery in Windsor in celebration of the new Hold it High Campaign. Please visit holdithigh.ca to toast your friends, and if you’re lucky enough, your toasts will appear on billboard ads for Wiser’s across the country. On our visit, J.P. Wiser’s Whisky brought together both sides of the Detroit River to toast their historic friendship and the connection that both cities have. We were pleased to toast the ongoing friendship between Windsor and Detroit, and hope to have many more.

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Spencer Gooderham, Canadian Whisky Ambassador, leading us in our toast.

What did we toast with? Why J.P. Wiser’s 35 Year Whisky (the upcoming 2018 release), of course! Stay tuned for an upcoming review of it in the next few weeks.

It was a rainy day in Toronto when I left out for Windsor. The kind of day that drives you out of the city. Upon reaching Windsor, it was sunny, warm, and all the things Windsor is best known for in the summer.

The new Wiser’s Experience showroom is a mix between a nice, cool lounge and a museum. It’s the kind of space that a lot of hard work went into. The very walls are ex-whisky casks! (see the featured image above)

Greeting us at the tour’s start was their own master blender, Dr Don Livermore, one of the few master blenders who also has his doctorate in distilling and brewing in the world. Our tour started with learning about the high quality of grains that J.P. Wiser’s takes in and then seeing the mountain of spent rye and grains from all of the amazing whisky.

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Spent grain

Look, perhaps I’m not doing it justice, but the sheer size of the mountains of spent grain is bigger than we, the non-distilling public, ever see. Imagine a small child’s toboggan hill. You have to see it to believe it.

At this point, we visited the best view in Windsor, the top of the grain silo. A spectacular view of the river, looking directly into Detroit and seeing all of the vast distillery grounds.

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At this point, we get right to where the magic starts happening. I could write for hours about the amazing things you learn on the tour. I could list just how into whisky Don is, however it won’t do it justice.

For instance, I was able to try the beer mash from fermenters at different points, with different grains. We witnessed the many stills at Wiser’s, with each one being different. We learned how Wiser’s ensures the specific grain flavours are kept, ensuring their ryes still have rye spice, their corn still has sweetness, and their barley still has maltiness. They make sure not to over distill it and keep those characters they want.


And if there’s one thing I learned from the entire tour, it’s these points: Fruity, floral, soapy, sour, sulfur, and green grass. You’ll have to take the tour to find out what I’m talking about, but if you remember those, then you’ll be ahead of the game.


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