Tag Archives: Blend

#86 – Blended Scotch Whisky #3 23 Year Old

Bottler: That Boutique-y Whisky Company
Name: Blended Whisky #3 Batch 1
Age: 23
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 48.2%
Bottle Size: 50cl
Price: £80 (Master of Malt)
Bottle: 119 of 463
Nose: Rich, dark toffee, sherry, summer fruits
Taste: Rich, sherry, oily, spicy
Finish: Long, sherry, spicy
Rating: 6/10

You can’t go wrong with a TBWC dram, every one I have tried has been exceptional, will this 23 year old blend stand up to such a reputation? Lets see.

The nose is rich with a good amount of dark toffee going on but without the sweetness. There is also a well balanced sherry note there too. Given a little time it briefly hints at some metallic qualities but this disappears and some summer fruits begin coming through and settles with some marzipan too.

The palate is predominantly sherry for me, lovely and oily with a good spice kick mid through to end palate. Think of a good quality sherry finished whisky, just with a little less complexity. It’s just that nothing else quite stands out enough, maybe some chocolate notes but that’s about it.

This has a complex, developing nose to it. Plenty going on and strangely I find it keeps toing and froing with the sherry notes, very interesting. The palate is less complex, more balanced. There are not really any stand out notes, just a balanced sherry heavy blend. As a result it’s a strange one, a savouring dram for it’s nose but just an enjoyable dram on the palate.

#74 – Tweeddale 14 Year Old Batch 4

Distillery: Tweeddale
Name: N/A
Age: 14
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 46%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £38 (Master of Malt)
Nose: Sugar sweetness, grass, apple pie
Taste: Smooth, light, smokey, spice
Finish: Long, spicy
Rating: 6/10

The Tweeddale is a blended whisky and something I am looking forward to. I have not had the chance to try any of the previous batches, they started at the 10 year old, so I have nothing to compare it to, Batch 5 is now out however so I may need to try that. Blends are something I steered clear of for many years, until I tried some Compass Box offerings that is. I have since matured and accepted that good blends do exist, here’s hoping this is one of them.

The nose has a very sugary sweetness to it at first, kind of sponge cake qualities. There are also some subtle notes of baked apples too, with that sweetness it reminds me a little of apple pie. Strangely there is also a slight grassy note to it too which seems a little out of place.

Smoothness, a quality I expect from a blend and the Tweeddale does not disappoint. It is light and smooth initially with a very unexpected smokey quality that I did not get on the nose, but it works. This then develops into a lovely spice which continues onto the long finish.

Really not what I was expecting, the nose and palate do not line up for me, I was totally thrown when I first tasted it, but not disappointing which is important.

Canadian Whisky Comparison

It’s been a while since my last whisky review I know, sorry about that, but I’m back now and hopefully able to start doing my Whisky Wednesday reviews more regularly again. Up this week is a couple of Canadian whiskies. So without further ado…

Distillery: Seagram’s
Name: VO
Region: Canada
Age: N/A
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 40%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £26 (Master of Malt)
Nose: Grain, sweetness, slightly metallic, subtle spice
Taste: Grain, spicy, creamy
Finish: Long, warm, spicy
Rating: 4/10

Canadian whisky, not something I have tried before to be honest as I’ve never really heard many good things said about it. I’m all about new experiences though so I’m happy to give it chance.

First up is Seagram’s VO blended whisky and “Canada’s Finest” if the bottle is to be believed. Well with a statement like that it has a lot to live up to, after all Avril Lavigne is Canadian and she’s pretty damn fine 🙂

So what does the nose serve up. Well…grain. Initial nose is just a basic grain whisky, with that slight sugar sweetness that goes with one. After a bit there comes a slight metallic note but this seems short lived before returning to a basic grain nose again. It does begin to develop a bit more of a spice to it after a while though.

Onto the palate and it is predominately a grain whisky just like the nose. It does have a real spicy kick to it which is good, nothing distinct, just a spicy warmth that continues to the quite long finish. It does have good body to it, quite creamy and smooth which is an interesting combination with the spicy burn.

Overall I’m not hugely impressed though. I enjoy a grain whisky don’t get me wrong, but I want more than just a generic grain whisky taste, something like the Compass Box Hedonism (yes I know it’s twice the price but it shows what can be done with one). If you are after a cheap, spicy drinking whisky then it is okay but do not expect any form of complexity with it.

Distillery: Crown Royal
Name: Deluxe
Region: Canada
Age: N/A
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 40%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £26 (Master of Malt)
Nose: Medium richness, slight spice, sweet
Taste: Rich, creamy, spicy
Finish: Medium, warm, spicy
Rating: 5/10

Onto Canada’s most famous whisky, Crown Royal. First created as a gift for King George VI to celebrate the Royal visit to Canada in 1939, it is a blend of 50 Canadian whiskies according their website.

Well the nose is an improvement on the Seagram’s in my opinion. It has a medium richness to it with a slight spice present also. It does have a sugar sweetness to it to go with the slight grain notes, but much better balanced. That sugar sweetness softens into a slightly more fruity sweetness after a bit and the grain notes lessen.

Onto the palate and it has a lovely rich and creamy feel to it followed by that spice from the nose, not as overpowering spice as the Seagram’s however. When held in the mouth for a bit you begin to get some oak coming through that is not initially present. The finish is of medium length but with a lovely spicy, slightly dry, warmness to it.

Definitely the better of the 2 Canadian options for me. There is slightly more depth to it so it can be enjoyed as part of a quiet evening in but it is still cheap enough and easy enough to drink for when some friends come around. Good entry level whisky that would tempt me into trying some of their other range.

The Forgotten Blend…My Blend

I was going through my whisky collection last night and found a bottle of  Auchentoshan Three Wood which got me all excited because I didn’t know I had any. Then I though ‘that’s strange, I’m sure we polished that off months ago on one of our whisky club meets’. Then I remembered, it is not Auchentoshan Three Wood in the bottle (I was a little disappointed at this point), it was in fact my very own Blend that I started back in January 2014.

I had a quick look through my blog and found my original post detailing it’s contents, at this point it had the following in it:

  1. Cardhu 12 year old
  2. Clynelish 14 year old
  3. Dalmore 12 Year Old
  4. Edradour 10 year old
  5. Edradour 13 year old Natural Cask Strength
  6. Jura Superstition
  7. Jura Diurachs’ Own
  8. Mackmyra The 1st Edition
  9. St George’s Chapter 11
  10. Talisker Storm
  11. Tomintoul 12 Year Old Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish

That’s not a bad blend, 11 single malts from 9 distilleries and 3 countries. Since I have quite a few new additions to my collection since this was started it though, I thought it time to top the bottle up so I grabbed the following and added to the blend:

  1. Talisker 10 Year Old
  2. Talisker 57° North
  3. Talisker 6 Year Old from the Douglas Laing Provenance collection
  4. Hyde 10 Year Old Irish whiskey
  5. Old Pulteney 12 Year Old
  6. Paul John Brilliance
  7. Glenlivet The French Oak Reserve 15 Year Old

At this point I was quite happy with what my blend consisted of, 18 different single malts from 13 different distilleries and from 5 countries, so I was about to leave it there, but then I thought ‘actually I could make this an exceptional blend’ (potentially at least).

I thought in order to make this an exceptional blend I need to add some exceptional malts, so I went rummaging through my whisky collection again and dug out the following in an attempt to make this blend something even more special:

  1. Bowmore Darkest 15 Year Old
  2. Bowmore 15 Year Old from the Douglas Laing Old Particular collection
  3. Caol Ila 18 Year Old from the Hunter Laing The Old Malt Cask collection
  4. Clynelish 17 Year Old from The Creative Whisky Co Ltd
  5. GlenDronach 15 Year Old
  6. Glenallachie Cask Strength Edition 15 Year Old
  7. Glenburgie 26 Year Old
  8. Highland Park 18 Year Old
  9. Lagavulin The Distillers Edition 1995 Double Matured 16 Year Old
  10. Macallan Fine Oak 18 Year Old
  11. Mortlach 20 Year Old from the Hunter Laing The Old Malt Cask collection
  12. Old Pulteney Cask Strength 1993 13 Year Old from Gordon & MacPhail

Now I have a full bottle of a blend consisting of 30 different single malts from 22 distilleries and 5 countries. I will leave this a little while all in the same bottle before tasting, I don’t actually know if it will make a difference, if anyone knows then I would be interested to find out.

I have done a previous tasting and review of the original blend back in February 2014 and I am so looking forward to doing another now, a post will be sure to follow.

Mackinlay’s Shackleton Rare Old Highland Malt – The Discovery

Distillery: Mackinlay’s
Name: Shackleton Rare Old Highland Malt – The Discovery
Region: Scotland
Age: NAS
Strength: 47.3%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £98 (70cl from Master of Malt)
Nose: Delicate, citrus, fruity, caramelised sugar, honey, marmalade, smoke
Taste: Slight smoke, orange zest, spice, oak, caramel
Finish: Medium, oaky dryness, subtle smoke
Rating: 7/10

Limited to 50000 bottles, this is as close a replica as is possible to the whisky that Sir Ernest Shackleton took to the Antarctic during his 1907 attempt to reach the South Pole, since the distillery that originally produced it no longer exists, Glen Mhor.

Whyte and Mackay’s master blender Richard Paterson was asked to create this replica, and he did so using malts from Speyside, including Glen Mhor and Dalmore, as well as Island and Highland malts.

The nose starts of reasonably delicate with a slightly citrus note to it along with just a subtle vanilla sweetness, but with orchard fruits note slightly overpowering it. There is also a hint of caramelised sugar coming through as well as heavier hit of marmalade all finishing with just a hint of smoke. It is complex that’s for sure but remains delicate throughout with is nice.

The palate also has a lot going on, an initial hit of smoke quickly gives way to fresh orange zest and then onto a spicy oaky edge, leading back to a hint of smoke again. Get a bit of air around it and the caramel notes come through. This leads onto a medium length finish with a real oaky dryness to it and that subtle smoke lingering around also.

Overall it is a nice dram, develops well with time and has a decent amount of complexity. Works well neat and with water due to the strength, with the water bring some cereal notes and the smoke out more.

Monde Shuzo Isawa Blend

Distillery: Monde Shuzo
Name: Isawa Blend
Region: Japan
Age: NAS
Strength: 40%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £39 (50cl from Master of Malt)
Nose: Earthy, sake, spice, metallic
Taste: Light, earthy, sake, dry
Finish: Short, dry
Rating: 3/10

The nose is most unusual, like no whisky I have smelt before. It reminds me a little of sake (I’ve only ever had one bottle of sake though so I’m no expert) but with a slight spice to it. Once the air has gotten around it, it becomes a little metallic for me.

The palate is light and reasonably complex, with a lot of the earthiness following on from the nose. I can’t help but think of sake again on the palate, just a hint of it, with a real dry edge to the fairly short finish. That metallic quality is also present a little on the palate after aerating.

Well I have to be honest, I have not had a whisky like this before, not exactly struck on it I’m afraid, but it was interesting to try it. A 3cl sample is easy enough to drink but I would not fancy a full bottle, I would find it hard work I think.

White Oak – Akashi Blended Whisky

Distillery: White Oak
Name: Akashi Blended Whisky
Region: Japan
Age: NAS
Strength: 40%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £34 (50cl from Master of Malt)
Nose: Fruity, slightly sweet, vanilla, citrus
Taste: Fresh, spice, oaky, creamy
Finish: Medium, spicy, woody
Rating: 5/10

Continuing my blended whisky journey I have a couple of Japanese blends to try. I have tried a few Japanese whiskies in the past, some blends and some single malts, at whisky festivals I have attended, but never done proper tasting as of yet.

First up is a blend from the White Oak distillery called Akashi Blended Whisky. It is a NAS whisky that is a blend of malt and grain whiskies.

The nose starts of with a slight sweetness and fruitiness to it, quite delicate but pleasant. It opens up a little into a light citrusy aroma, still with a little sweetness, but very refreshing. Once aired it begins to open up a lot more, you can detect just a hint of vanilla coming through and a more intense fruitiness also develops. I left the last bit for about 40 minutes and the nose really opened up, lots of dark fruit going on in there now, lovely.

On the palate it is light and fresh initially with the citrus notes coming through from the nose. This moves onto a palate with a good level of spice and oak on offer, with a subtle sweetness that develops into a slightly creamy body. The spice and woody notes continue onto a medium length finish.

Overall I am actually impressed with one, it is a light and refreshing dram that has a nice balance of complexity and ease of drinking. I prefer the nose to the palate as it has a lot to offer given time. I would say that to get the most out of this dram you need to leave it to aerate for 10-15 minutes (same as most drams to be fair).

Compass Box The Peat Monster

Distillery: Compass Box
Name: The Peat Monster
Region: Highland
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 46%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 5cl
Price: £37 (70cl)
Nose: Iodine, salty, sweet, orchard fruits
Taste: Peaty, smoky, light, salty, floral, spice
Finish: Long, peaty, oak, light, spicy
Rating: 5/10
Lastly I move onto Peat Monster, a blend of an Islay malt, Isle of Mull malt and a slightly peated Speyside malt to give “a balanced, highly drinkable peaty blended malt Scotch whisky”. I’m partial to peated whiskies, both highly peated Islay drams as well as other more subtle offerings from various distilleries, so this one should be interesting to try.
Well unsurprisingly it hits you with iodine initially but also with a refreshing salty note to it and a sweetness, a little too much for me at first but it does lessen are the air gets around it. As it aerates, hidden behind the iodine which also begins to lessens, you can get the orchard fruit notes coming through. The 46% ABV is also apparent on the nose.
The palate is predominately peaty as you would expect but it does have a lovely smoky note to it as well. The peat dies down some leading into a more delicate palate, a slightly coastal saltiness maybe followed by a soft floral note and a little spice. This leads on to the inevitably long peaty finish which is still light and spicy with an oaky dryness present also.
Yet another light and easy drinking dram from Compass Box. For the peat heads amongst us, this is a well balanced and easily approached dram suitable for both summer evenings due to it’s lightness, but also as a winter warmer due to it’s warm and spicy characters. I’m not sure I’m struck on the nose as such to be honest but the palate is certainly pleasant enough.
Thanks to Compass Box for the sample.

Compass Box Hedonism

Distillery: Compass Box
Name: Hedonism
Region: Highland
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 43%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 5cl
Price: £54 (70cl)
Nose: Light, sweet, light fruits, herbal, spicy, sponge cake
Taste: Creamy, vanilla, bourbon, toffee, sponge cake
Finish: Medium, well rounded, warm, sweet, spicy
Rating: 7/10
The second one I’m trying is Hedonism, a blended grain whisky, which is an unusual thing to come across for a Scottish whisky. I have only had one grain whisky before, Invergordon – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company), and it was lovely, so when I saw this was made from 100% grain whiskies I started to look forward to it.
The nose is slow to open up at first, initially not lost going on and like the Great King Street, Hedonism is light, refreshing and sweet on the nose. It does however begin to open up wonderfully, moving onto the light fruits and a spicy finish. Once aerated a little longer the fruity notes lessen a little and are replaced with more herbal notes which in turn give way to the sponge cake finish, all the time becoming thicker and creamier.
Onto the palate and you are hit with a lovely creamy mouth-feel, with a slight vanilla note and a definite bourbon edge coming through before the toffee takes over mid palate, giving way to the sponge cake finish. This all leads on to the medium length, full-bodied finish that is warm, slightly sweet and just a nice amount of spice.
Overall I am impressed with the Hedonism. The nose just kept on giving as it was left to aerate and the palate also lived up to this, which is unfortunately where Great King Street fell just a little short (unless you leave it for 10-15 minutes). As only my second grain whisky I am beginning to question why they fell out of favour, it’s bloody lovely stuff.
Thanks to Compass Box for the sample.

Compass Box Great King Street – Artist’s Blend

Distillery: Compass Box
Name: Great King Street – Artist’s Blend
Region: Highland
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 43%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 5cl
Price: £40 (70cl)
Nose: Light, sweet, vanilla, pear drops, apple strudel
Taste: Creamy, light, subtle spice, apple strudel
Finish: Medium, well rounded, slight oakiness
Rating: 6/10
Following my review of Spice Tree, Compass Box were kind enough to send me 3 samples from their range,  all different styles, to help me better understand blended whiskies and hopefully to convert me towards blends a little more, the Spice Tree gave me a hefty shove over to the world of blends though to be honest 🙂
First off we have a blend of Grain and Malt whiskies in the form of Great King Street – Artist’s Blend. It consists of 46% Lowland grain, 45% Highland malt and 9% Speyside malt that have various wood finishes, First Fill American Oak, New French Oak and First Fill Sherry Butt.
So onto the nose, and I am impressed straight away, it has a refreshing, citrus nose but with the sweet, vanilla notes hitting first, then giving way to pear drops and then apple strudel, which I love.
The palate is light and refreshing yet with a creamy body to it and just a slight spice present, beside the ABV heat. There is also just a hint of the apple strudel there again. The finish is a little plain and short but it does have good body and just a slight oaky dryness at the end.
The palate is relatively simple compared to the lovely nose but it is a very pleasant, easy drinking dram. It does open up quite a bit once left to aerate for 15 minutes for so and then greater resembles the nose. It is a great summer dram to sit and relax with, maybe whilst chatting with a few fiends.
Thanks to Compass Box for the sample.