Windsor home to Canadian Whisky of the Year, Distillery of the Year
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
The Windsor Star/Brian Cross
Windsor can boast being the home of Canada’s Whisky of the Year and of the Canadian Distillery of the Year.
At the Canadian Whisky Awards announced last week at the Victoria Whisky Festival, Corby Spirit and Wine, the company that makes the J.P. Wiser brand and manages Windsor’s Hiram Walker and Sons distillery, hauled in awards for 21 of its products. J.P. Wiser’s 35 Year Old, one of the oldest Canadian whiskies ever made, was awarded the Canadian Whisky of the Year. And Hiram Walker, where J.P. Wiser’s 35 Year Old is made, was named Canadian Distillery of the Year.
The whisky was launched last year. “It represents a traditional blended rye whisky that has experienced 35 harsh Canadian winters and 35 hot summers throughout its ageing period, while housed in oak barrels in Hiram Walker’s maturation facility in Windsor, Ont.,” J.P. Wiser’s says in a Tuesday news release, referring to the Hiram Walker storage facility near Pike Creek in Lakeshore. Within three months of its launch in the fall of 2017, the whisky was sold out in nearly all of its markets.
Officials from the company were “ecstatic” about the multiple awards, including the big one for J.P. Wiser’s 35 Year Old, according to spokesman Chris Bhowmik.
“It demonstrates Corby and Hiram Walker’s commitment to producing quality whisky, and to continue innovating diverse products for an ever-changing market.”
The whisky was also named the domestic Connoisseur Whisky of the Year.
Hiram Walker’s Windsor operation is the only “grain-to-glass” distillery in Ontario and has the largest capacity of any distillery in North America. With 37 fermenters, it distills 180,000 litres of alcohol every 24 hours, producing whisky, rum and vodka. Most of Corby’s products are bottled and blended there.
“We absolutely could not be prouder to take home the title of Distillery of the Year,” master blender Dr. Don Livermore said in the news release. While Hiram Walker is known as one of the largest distilleries in North America, the size isn’t what makes it exceptional, he said.
“It’s the fact that each and every one of our employees is passionate and dedicated to creating the very best whisky that Canada has to offer, and sharing that spirit from coast to coast and beyond.”
Corby and Hiram Walker are both owned by liquor giant Pernod Ricard, with Corby managing the Hiram Walker operation in Windsor. Among the other awards won by Corby’s products were gold medals for Cooderham & Worts Four Grain, Lot No. 40, Lot No 40 Cask Strength 12 year old, J.P. Wiser’s 150th Commemorative, J.P. Wiser’s Dissertation, J.P. Wiser’s Last Barrels, J.P. Wiser’s Triple Barrel Rye, J.P. Wiser’s Union 52 and J.P. Wiser’s Vanilla.
In addition, Corby’s vice-president of production Jim Stanski, who runs the Windsor operation, received a lifetime achievement award.