Grand Old Parr 12 Years Review

Country: Scotland
Brand: Grand Old Parr
Bottled by MacDonald Greenlees, Edinburgh
Type: Blended Whisky
Age: 12 Y
Alcohol: 40%

Colour: Golden Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: First impressions are Malt, Oak, Toffee, Orange and a tad (Peat) Smoke. There is a light sour Rubber-like off-note suggesting the use of some Refill Ex- Sherry casks. In the background some Leather, Raisins, Pineapple and spices like Clove and Cinnamon.

Taste: Sweet Cereals, Malt, Brown Sugar, Pepper, Oak, Tobacco and Cinnamon.

Finish: Initially Sweet but Quite Dry in the end. Malt, light Peat, Pepper and a bit of Honey and Lemon. Licorice after a couple of minutes.

When adding a couple of drops of water you get more Malt, Toffee and Peat on the Nose. The Palate gets a little watery. The Finish starts sweet but some Licorice pops up and it ends up dry. You can experiment a bit with a few drops of water.

Rating: 79  

Nose: 20 – Taste: 20 – Finish: 19 – Overall: 20

General Remarks: This blend is named after Thomas Parr, an Englishman said to have died at the age of 152 years and nine months. Thomas was renowned during his lifetime for his wisdom and maturity. He was interred at Westminster Abbey in the year 1635. The Blend was introduced by the Greenlees brothers in 1871. Today, the two main suppliers of Malt whisky for this Blend are owned by Diageo, namely Cragganmore and Glendullan. The packaging is very retro and the bottle is quite old-fashioned as well. South America has always been one of the main markets for Old Parr. In Western Europe this Blend disappeared in the 80's. The average price is around 35 US Dollars (April 2017)

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay (Score: Parr)

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good

Conclusion: Well, I’m afraid you’ve heard and read this story before. It’s not a bad Blend but it’s a bit boring and utterly forgettable. It's quite inoffensive but I can’t really recommend it either. When you get a bottle, best drink it on the Rocks!

Jan van den Ende                                                                   June 17, 2012



Country: Scotland
Brand: Grand Old Parr
Bottled by MacDonald Greenlees, Edinburgh
Type: Blended Whisky
Age: 12 Y
Alcohol: 43%
Miniature received as a gift from my parents in law. Thanks a lot! According to them it was purchased somewhere in the late 1970's or early 1980's.

Colour: Dark Ember/Copper (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Barley and Sherry are the main drivers on the Nose. This Old Parr needs a bit of air contact by the way as it only shows its deeper Aromas after a while in the glass. I find Cake baked using first class Butter, Straw, Sweet Cereals, Dried Fruit like Sultanas and Raisins, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Pepper, Clove, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Toasted Oak and hints of Leather and tinned Pineapple. The Alcohol is not entirely integrated.   

Taste: Sweet, Pleasant and Malty with Toasted Cereals, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Toffee, Dried Fruit (Sultanas, Raisins, Figs), Straw, Honey, Toasted Oak, Orange, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and a hint of Tobacco. The ABV of 43% gives it just enough weight.

Finish: Middle-Long. Sweet at first. A little Dry and Oaky towards the end. I find Sweet Barley, Toffee, Dried Fruits, Honey, Orange - and Lemon- Peel, Toasted Oak, Menthol, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger and light Licorice.

This expression does not improve with added Water. Sip it neat. 

Rating: 83.5  

Nose: 21 – Taste: 21 – Finish: 20.5 – Overall: 21

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: When comparing these two expressions of the Old Parr 12 years I found that the basic Aromas and Flavours are not that different. The older expression benefits from the more adequate ABV of 43%. Still, there is one big difference between the two. The bottle that I bought in 2012 in Brazil is not bad but hopelessly boring and is better enjoyed over Ice. The old Expression that was bottled in the 70's/80's however is perfectly enjoyable when sipped Neat. I am fully convinced that the difference comes from the casks. In the new version I got Rubber and it probably had Sulphur as well but my Nose wasn't quite that experienced back in 2012. The result of indifferent casks. The old expression however probably used good quality 2nd Refill Ex-Bourbon - and Ex-Oloroso casks. As a result this 1970's/1980's Grand Old Parr 12 years is a very pleasant Blend. I've looked at some prices on line and you must expect to pay at least 250 US Dollar for a full bottle (April 2017). That's too expensive for what it offers of course. But without any doubt the Grand Old Parr 12 Years would have been one of my to-go-to Blends in the 70's. My score is 4 under Parr!  I was only drinking Beer and Wine at that time however! Isn't it a pity!

Stills at Cragganmore


Anonymous said...

"All of them were positive and suggested to start a blog. And here it is, the start of my Whisky Paradise."
And after you have tasted and noted another 3ooo, perhaps someone will suggest that you put those thoughts in a book. Then you too may be accused of being too close to the industry to write your opinion.

Jan van den Ende said...

It's a pity you wish to remain anonymous. Because you certainly got a point there. I don't think I will ever get to 3000 and I don't think I will write a book. But I will need to make certain to remain independent and I hear what you say. It won't always be easy. But I can only say I will give it my best.

Annie said...

To be quite honest..I tried to reply several different ways to post with my name ..I'm not very blogger savy!
We all have our personal preferences, if we didn't perhaps there would only be one SMW. Good Luck with the blog. Annie

Jan van den Ende said...

Thanks for your reaction Annie. Much appreciated. Yeah, you're quite right,Tasting whisky (or anything else for that matter) will always remain very personal. But that's what makes it so fascinating at the same time!
Take care and thanks for you good wishes,