Teacher's Golden Thistle

”There’s No Thistle Without Thorns”

Whisky Review # 927

Country: Scotland
Brand: Teacher's Golden Thistle
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
Age: 12 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Mix of American & European Oak with Islay Cask Finish (Laphroaig)
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range : US$ 17-23 (August 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👍 Very competitive at this Price Level
Buying Advice: 😐 If you like Teacher's you should surely give this one a try. 


Amber (Artificially Colored)


The Nose is mainly Sweet and on the Thin side. The Grain Alcohol is noticeable but not in an aggressive way. I can't find any disturbing off-notes. We can safely state that the Islay Finish must have been short and that 3rd and/or 4th refill casks were used as the coastal peat element is basically non-existing. There is a very faint hint of Peatsmoke but it's of the earthy Ardmore variety. Still, I have nosed far worse at this price level.

Main Aromas:

Malted Cereals, Toast & Margarine, Caramel, Sugar, Grain Alcohol, Unripe Orchard Fruit, Peanuts, (Dried) Red Fruit and Leather.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Sweet Barley, Treacle, Citrus, Peat/Smoke, Cocoa Powder, Straw, Mint, Licorice and hints of Cooked Vegetables/Potatoes.


Rather Thin. A mix of Sugary Sweet, Sour and lightly Bitter notes. The Alcohol is more noticeable now but given its price class it stays within reason. The overall picture is less aggressive when compared to the Highland Cream and the Clan.

Main Flavours:

Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Caramel, Grain Alcohol, Peatsmoke, (Dried) Red Fruit, Green Apple, Lemon, Nut Shells, Pepper, Licorice and Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:
Vanilla, Toffee, Syrup, Straw, Sweet Barley, Cocoa Powder, Peanuts and Leather.


Short/Middle-Long, rather Thin and mainly (Sugary) Sweet. A few Bitter notes from the casks and a little Heat caused by the Grain Alcohol. This is easily the worst part of this Blend. I find some Sugared Grains, Grain Alcohol, Toffee, Caramel, Wax, Refill Oak, Peatsmoke, Nut Shells, Menthol, Pepper, Licorice and Leather.

Drinking Advice:

A little Water enhances the Fruit on the Nose but totally kills Palate and Finish. I will finish this bottle on the Rocks as it's the most agreeable way to enjoy this Thistle.

Rating: 76.5

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 19.5 - Finish: 17.5 - Overall: 19

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Drinking Experience On the Rocks: Good


When William Teacher commisioned his new Office in Glasgow in 1875 he used the national flower of Glasgow, the Thistle as a key design element on the front of the building symbolizing strength & beauty. The building, made with Golden Sandstone is still a very recognizable Glasgow icon and a long standing tribute to W. Teacher's famous blend. Teacher's Highland Cream is one of the best selling blends in Brazil, especially in the North-East. Brazil and India are two of the main markets for the Golden Thistle 12 Years. The Grain Whisky and the Malt Whisky with Ardmore and Auchentoshan as the main ingredients are matured, blended & finished in Scotland before being shipped in bulk to Brazil where the blend is diluted to 40% and bottled.

Let me start by saying that the presentation of this Thistle is quite nice. Box, Bottle and Label are all a big step up when compared to the standard Teacher's. The 2nd positive thing to mention is its price. Quite competitive in the battle with JW Red and the likes. And quality wise it's a little step up when compared to the Clan and the Highland Cream. Quite enjoyable on the Rocks as well. But still too Thin, too Bland and too Edgy to enjoy as a sipping Whisky. I'm not a huge fan of Teacher's in general but this is the way forward in my opinion! Let's see if the sales figures confirm my view!


Jan van den Ende                                                                        August 26, 2021

Ardmore, the spiritual Home of Teacher's

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