Catto's 12 Years Deluxe Review

“Catto’s 12 Years beaten by its Younger Brother NAS in the Price Vs Quality Ratio“  

Country: Scotland 
Brand: Catto's Deluxe 
Produced by: James Catto & Co Ltd, Airdrie
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky 
Age: 12 Years
ABV: 40 %

Colour: Straw

Nose: Sweet and less aggressive when compared to the NAS. The probable higher Malt content and the longer maturation did their job. I find Citrus Fruit, Peach, Pineapple, Fresh Herbs like Parsley, Malt, Breakfast Cereals, Buttered Toast, Wax, light Wood, Coconut Shells, Toffee and light Vanilla. The Alcohol is hardly noticeable.

Palate: Light and Sweet Delivery with Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Nut Shells, Refill Oak, Straw, Grass, light Honey, light Vanilla, Lemon Zest and Wood Spices. This is quite a deception after the promising Nose.

Finish: Middle-Long and Sugary Sweet with Fruit Candies, Breakfast Cereals, light Vanilla, Toffee, Butter Biscuits, light Oak and a sprinkle of Pepper & Salt. 

Catto's 12 Years does not benefit from added Water. 

Rating: 79.5

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 19.5 - Finish: 19.5 - Overall: 20

Picture Credit: Catto's

General Remarks: The Brand can be traced back to 1861 when James Catto started blending Highland Malt - and Lowland Grain Whiskies in Aberdeen. It's still around and is nicknamed "The Artisan Blend". Today the Blend is created by Catto's Master Blender Stuart Harvey. The 12 Years is a Mature Version of the NAS Rare Old Blend and contains Malt - and Grain Whiskies from the Highlands, Speyside and the Lowlands that matured at least for 12 Years before being married. As we know, the heart of the NAS Rare Old Blend is formed by Single Malt Whisky from Balblair, Balmenach, Knockdhu, Pulteney & Speyburn. In all, the NAS Blend is said to contain 18 Single Malt - and 3 Grain Whiskies. Catto also produces a 25 Years. The 12 Years is sold at around 32 US Dollars. In the year 1990, Inver House Distillers bought the Brand Name but were not given the Recipe. 

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Conclusion: Catto's 12 Years Blended Scotch is not an expensive Whisky. But it's twice the price of the NAS Rare & Old Blend. Therefore I had expected more of it. It's starts off well enough with a Nose that is slightly better than the NAS. Quite Fruity, lots of Cereals and a nicely restrained Alcohol. But on the Palate and in the Finish it's Light, Thin and Sugary Sweet and simply misses Flavour. At this price level you will certainly find weaker whiskies than Catto's 12 Years. But I don't find sufficient Flavours and Aromas that would warrant Catto's 12 years a permanent place in my whisky cabinet. In fact, the NAS has a better Price Quality ratio. And that comes as a bit of a surprise!

Jan van den Ende                                                             January 27, 2015

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