Archive for the ‘Blended Scotch Whisky’ Category

House of Hazelwood 21 year old 40%

William Grant & Sons

Tasted: Feb 2017

Nose: Mature Speyside fruit to begin with, followed by barley malt, coffee and luxuriously creamy American oak and subtle grain. In fact the vanillins are quite floral and with time the oak becomes very dominant.

Palate: Full, rich, fruity (mature) and malty but the grain pushes through rather quickly and gives it a very austere middle.

Finish: Long, spicy and grain dominated, which isn’t a surprise. Those spices have an almost Irish pot still feel to them.

Conclusion: Very entertaining!

Dalriada Blended Scotch 40%

Tasted: Sept 2016

Nose: Opens with the malt, dusty barley and vanilla, along with a touch of sherried dried fruit, earth and spice. With time the floral and botanical grain notes begin to dominate.

Palate: Shows more creamy oak and makes it feel fuller. Quite oily too with subtle barley and sherried notes. The crisp grain comes in quickly but brings some pleasant spice notes.

Finish: Pretty chewy as the malt reasserts itself.

Conclusion: A pleasant, relatively straightforward blend, which shows a good malt/ grain balance.

Ballaglass Blended Scotch Whisky 40%

Tasted: Sept 2016

Nose: Plenty of almost saline fresh grain with some sweet, dried fruit underpinning. A touch of estery apricot and banana follows along with sweet vanilla, toffee and herbal rye-like notes.

Palate: Opens with the lightly oiled but spicy grain with the malt coming through on the middle. Subtly oaked with hints of barley, but the grain is the dominating factor.

Finish: Long and grainy with a touch of coffee and sweet grain notes.

Conclusion: It feels like a grain heavy blend which has a lovely vibrancy and just enough malt character to add depth.

HE8 His Excellency 8 year old Blended Scotch 40%

A blend of 8 to 10 year old Tullibardine (40%) & North British (60%)

Tasted: June 2016

Aromas of sweet nougat, light honey, barley and white fruit. Slightly herbal with some crisp grain notes.

The palate is fresh and citric with sweet grain, honey and oak. A touch of barley sugar comes through on the middle along with hints of soft spice, toffee and a little Tulli character! Medium length with a slightly bitter finish. Conclusion: Given that the malt component is renowned for its industrial character, it’s surprisingly good!

The Exceptional Blend by Sutcliffe & Son, 1st Edition 43%

North British, Strathclyde, Cameronbridge grain with Glenfarclas, Ben Nevis, Balvenie, Kininivie, Glenfiddich, Allt-A-Bhannie, Aucroisk, Glenallachie, Westport (Glenmorangie), Speyside and Macallan malts.

Blended and married in first fill Oloroso butts

Btl: 2016/ Tasted: May 2016

The nose is mellow and luscious, lightly honeyed apricot and barley is speckled with hints of coriander, cumin and rye-like herbal sherry notes. A touch of gentle peat emerges along with a touch of vanilla, white fruit, greengage and creamy oak and later hints of mature grain.

The palate opens with the nippy grain, followed by slightly more dominant sherry. Treacle, liquorice, sandalwood, orange and a touch of herbal notes. Beautifully balanced and complex with the herbal notes intensifying and some subtle spices coming through on the middle. Long and remaining herbal with dark chocolate, liquorice, malt, a wisp of smoke and a little bitter oak on the finish.

Sutcliffe & Sons The Exceptional Blend 2nd Edition? 43%

Tasted: Sept 2016

Nose: The oak is focal point here with vanilla, wheat flakes and rye-like herbal notes. The grain component adds a little freshness and allows a light apricot and sweet apple note to appear.

Palate: Oak, oak, oak and yet more oak! Buttery and creamy with no shortage of Bourbony/ rye-like character. The grain fights its way through eventually.

Finish: Long and guess what. Yes. Remaining oaky! A little grainy spice at the very end.

Conclusion: There appears to be a lot of first fill American oak here and is a salutary lesion in how (over) influencing it can be.

The Blended Whisky Company, The Golden Age Blend 46.4%

Tasted: Feb 2016

Nose: Slightly meaty, but gentle and mature with a lovely balance of mature malt and grain. Gentle Oloroso notes rift in along with hints of tea, tobacco and dusty sherry spices.

Palate: A real mouthful of dusty, mature sherry with hints of violets and a whiff of peat. Develops pruney dark fruit and treacle on the middle. Wonderfully effortless and complex.

Finish: Long, mature and spicy.

Conclusion: A simply gorgeous mouthful of whisky!

The Blended Whisky Company Half Century Blend 45.5%

Tasted: Nov 2016

Very mature aromas which display a succulent dried fruit rancio and dusty sherry wood notes. Hints of violets, chocolate orange, raisin, barley, banana, golden syrup and gorgeously chocolaty spices follow. Seriously complex wit late crisp but sweet grain and dusty vanilla oak.

Full and rich on the palate with delicate dried, mature fruit and oak. Subtly spiced with hints of banana, coconutty grain and dusty vanilla oak. The grain really comes through on the middle to imbue it with a lovely vibrancy. Long and remaining grainy with a slight mouth-watering but oily finish. Toasty oak after-taste.

Queen Margot 3 year old 40%

Tasted: Feb 2016

Nose: Full and intense with apricot, barley and hints of herbal grain. Pleasantly balanced with a touch of vanilla and toffee’d oak.

Palate: Full and soft with apricot and light honey. Relatively straightforward with the grain coming through on the middle.

Finish: Good length with the crisp grain dominating.

Conclusion: A pleasant, well balanced blend. Nothing exciting though. Has an Irish feel to it.

Glen Alba Sherry Cask Finish 22 year old 40%

Clydesdale Scotch Whisky Company for Lidl

Tasted: Feb 2016

Nose: A gorgeously honeyed nose which shows some maturity, certainly with its Cognac-esque rancio and sawdusty oak. With time the oak becomes pleasantly buttery.

Palate: Crisper as more grain is apparent, but its pleasantly mature grain. Again a touch of Cognac-esque dried fruit, barley and subtle honey. The dried fruit really picks up the intensity towards the middle.

Finish: Lightly smoked with lingering honey.

Conclusion: Wonderfully balanced and mature blend.


Douglas Laing Syndicate 12 year old Blended Scotch 40%

Code: SYN001/ Tasted: Jun 2015

Intense, gritty oak tannins and vanilla on the nose with hints of oxidised fruit and big, Bourbony notes. Damn, this is a serious oak monster with late grainy coffee’d spices.

No surprises as the palate mirrors the nose with plenty of toffee’d/ coffee’d oak, gritty vanillins and dried, oxidised fruit. Very oak dominated. Medium length with the dried fruit and light wood spice lingering.

Douglas Laing Syndicate 58/6 12 year old 40%

Tasted: Mar 2016

Nose: Crisp almost tart citrus, crunchy barley and minerals to begin with. Lightly honeyed, tropical honeydew melon and dusty American oak add body and weight. Late hints of coffee and herbal grain.

Palate: Crisp, mineral and citric. Quite a bracing character but it fleshes out when the mature fruit and oak arrive. Hints of coffee, dried fruit and malt on the middle.

Finish: Good length, if a little dry and austere with lingering grain, dusty spice, citrus and mineral notes.

Conclusion: Ooh, now that has a beautiful palate cleansing finish!

Maverick Drinks Reference Series I 47.5%

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Gorgeously tropical with squish banana, pineapple, cantaloupe and gala melon. Gently honeyed with some dusty, mature oak. With time some light grain notes appear along with hints of toffee. Water makes it more oiler and mutes the tropical fruit while emphasising the barley and herbal grain

Palate: Less tropical than the nose with more barley character. Quite intense and mineral with the alcohol masking. Dilution makes it watery and unfocused.

Finish: Long and spicy with hints of chilli pepper and coriander along with the lightly herbal grain nibbling.

Conclusion: A lovely nose and finish it’s the bit in-between that is the disappointing bit.

Maverick Drinks Reference Series I.1 47.5%

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Dusty barley with hints of lemon, thyme, burnt earth and cold tea leaves along with hints of menthol. A curious mix of aromas.

Palate: Soft and dusty. Quite herbal with heather and thyme. Again that burnt earth-like note is prevalent and a touch of industrial spirit character and caramel comes through.

Finish: Medium length. A little hot and bitter.

Conclusion: Some very odd aromas/ flavours going on here. 

Maverick Drinks Reference Series II 47.5%

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Hard barley with lightly cardboard spice. There’s a hint of honey but it’s quite bland.

Palate: A little bitter and gently woody with barley and cardboard spices. With time it becomes harder and more industrial in character.

Finish: Hot, grainy and bitter too!

Conclusion: Hard work!

Maverick Drinks Reference Series II.1 47.5%

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Gently phenolic and briny with smoky peat and juicy, honey coated fruit. Some lightly buttery oak appears, but the spices have a sort of Ledaig-like cardboardy character. With time hints of gooseberry and under ripe apple become apparent.

Palate: Woody and grainy to begin with. Hints of toffee mingle with barley, green fruit and lightly phenolic peat. The grain nips and becomes a little overt.

Finish: Good spicy finish with the herbal grain in the ascendancy. The combination of alcohol and salt makes the finish quite dry.

Conclusion: Pleasant enough, if a little too drying on the finish.

Maverick Drinks Reference Series III 47.5%

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Hard barley and hard grain with hints of oily dried fruit – prune, sultana and apricot. Plenty of wood spice emerges along with some lightly fragrant barley and a touch of tropical fruit. This appears to have some serious age. With time the buttery oak comes through along with hints of gooseberry.

Palate: Opens with the mature grain. A plethora of dried fruit mingles with a touch of wood spice and violets. The malt comes through on the middle bringing some mature tropical fruit and the oak becomes wonderfully dusty and spicy.

Finish: Long and luxuriously honeyed. Quite violety with cinnamon, marzipan and a beautiful oily dried fruit fade.

Conclusion: Now, that is what I call a blend!

Maverick Drinks Reference Series III.2 47.5%

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Pollen laden flowers and barley. Lightly spiced with hints of baked herbs, menthol and some late toffee’d oak and grain notes.

Palate: Soft and straightforward but deeply honeyed. Hints of baked fruit and herbs appear along with a touch of spice and creamy toffee.

Finish: Good length with lingering spice, toffee and grain

Conclusion: Pleasant enough, although the finish is a little hard.

Maverick Drinks Reference Series III.2 47.5%

Best Scotch No – Age Statement

Tasted: Feb 2016

Nose: Oily apricot and unsweetened pineapple to begin with. The vanilla oak is beautifully integrated and the nose hints at some age with a good dollop of mature honey, minerals and soft spice.

Palate: Gorgeously mature with honey, barley and hints of roasted coffee bean. Hints of oxidised fruit and malt come through on the middle, carried on a wave of deliciously gentle spices and almost imperceptible peat.

Finish: Lovely, spicy, dried fruit finish. Very vibrant and intense with a touch of dusty violets and salt.

Conclusion: It was going to take something special to beat the Japanese blended whisky, but this did it for me!

Maverick Drinks Reference Series III.2 47.5%

Re-Tasted: Apr 2016

Lovely aromas of sweet barley, dusty oak and stewed fruit along with a touch of vanilla and very light, duty peat, violets, toffee, coffee and herbs.

The palate opens with barley, apricot and sweet, dusty American oak followed by malt, treacle, liquorice, dried, spicy fruit, nuts and vanilla. Long, with lingering baked fruit, vanilla, malt. Lightly smoky after-taste. Elegant and wonderfully balanced.

Master of Malt 10 year old Blended Whisky 47.5%

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Gristy, fragrant barley with hints of summer meadows. A touch of toffee appears along with some sharp grain notes.

Palate: Flat with bitter, burnt caramel.

Finish: Bitter, caramel biting spices and grain.

Conclusion: Pleasant nose but it has been ruined by the heavy-handed use of caramel.