Showing posts with label Best Shot Whisky Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Best Shot Whisky Review. Show all posts

John Barr Red Blended Scotch Review

Country: Scotland 
Brand: John Barr Red
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS 
ABV: 40 %

Colour: Golden Amber

Nose: The usual - and not very attractive Nose you will find so often in Bottom Shelf Blends. Lots of sharp Grain Alcohol, Toasted Grain, Wood Shavings, Malt, not quite so fresh Vegetables, Fruit and (Shell) Fish, Soap, Aniseed, Toffee and unidentified Spices.

Palate: Watery and Bitter-Sweet with Sugary Sweet Grains, Pepper, Green Oak, Nut Casks, Malt, Alcohol, Industrial Honey and Licorice.

Finish: Short with Sugared Grains, Wood, Licorice and Pepper.

With some added Water you remove most of the Sharp Alcohol and the off-notes from the Nose. However, not much else is left as well. On the Palate and in the Finish John Barr Red hardly tastes like whisky anymore. 

Rating: 68.5

Nose: 17.5 - Taste: 17 - Finish: 17 - Overall: 17

General Remarks: John Barr Cumming was a whisky trader from yesteryear. His family background dates back to the Speyside region in the 19th century. The Brand became known in 1977/1978 when it replaced Johnnie Walker Red Label  in the UK following the EEC ruling on pricing and taxes. At that time the EEC ruled in favour of the free flows of goods and JW's owners at the time (Distillers Co.Ltd) decided to vastly increase the JW prices, effectively pricing itself out of the market for a while. Almost immediately, Distillers Co.Ltd introduced John Barr Blends with very similar quality, packaging and bottles in order to keep their customers satisfied. Eventually, the Brand name was acquired in 1986 by John Barr & Company of Glasgow, part of the Whyte & Mackay Group. The John Barr Blend was created by Richard Paterson, W&M's Master Blender. Speyside Malts are said to be at the heart of this Blend of 40 Grain - and Malt whiskies. John Barr Red sells at between 15 and 30 US Dollars. There are also Gold, Black and Blue versions of this Blend.

Drinking Experience Neat: Below Average.

Drinking Experience On the Rocks: Below Average/Okay.

Conclusion: I usually buy a bottle of cheap blended whisky every once in a while because I need to refill my empty miniature bottles after having tasted the original contents. After refilling they are then carefully placed in my nice wooden cabinet that decorates one of the walls of my little whisky corner. I believe the John Barr Red is very suitable for that purpose. And that purpose alone!

Jan van den Ende                                                                    April 4, 2013

Oban 14 Years Review

Country: Scotland 
Region: Highland (West)
Brand: Oban
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 14 Years
ABV:  43 %

Colour: Golden

Nose: Give the Oban ample time to open up. Initially I get Malt -, Earth - and Farm aromas like Grains, Hay, Grass, Heather, light Peat and Butter. All covered with a fine film of Salt and distant impressions of Brine and Tar. Later on I find Mineral tones, Oak, Orange Liqueur, Well-Integrated Sherry, Lemon, Honey, Leather and Sweet Fruits like Pear and Peach. But be patient as many of the individual flavours will only present themselves after quite a while.

Palate: Slightly Thin and Bitter-Sweet delivery with Citrus, Oak, Malt, Pepper, Toffee, Tobacco, Honey, Aniseed, Menthol and Licorice.

Finish: Medium Dry and on the short side with Licorice, Pepper, Nuts, Leather, Honey, a bit of Fruit and Ashes and a pinch of Salt. 

I added a bit of Water and the Nose of this dram seems to relax if you can say that about Whisky. If not, I have just invented that! The Grain, Flora and Fruit come together in a subdued but balanced fashion. On the Palate I do get some extra Marzipan and Chocolate but in general things water down too much for my liking. However, it's certainly worthwhile to experiment with a couple of drops.

Rating: 82.5

Nose:  21.5 - Taste: 20.5- Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5

General Remarks: The Oban distillery is one of the smallest in Scotland and was founded in 1794. It is located in the seaport of the same name on the frontier between the Western Highlands and the Isles. This is where Peat and Heather meet Salt and Seaweed! Oban is now owned by the Diageo Group and the 14 Years is part of the Classic Malt series. In the old days, lots of Oban spirit used to disappear in Blends like Bell's. The 14 Years is sold at around 60 US Dollars. One of the reasons for the high price seems to be the limited water supply to the distillery from Loch Gleann and Loch Bhearraidh. Another one is that the Distillery can't expand as it's located in the middle of the town and completely surrounded by other buildings.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: I like the Nose of the Oban 14. The distillery is located in the small seaport of Oban on the border between the Western Highlands and the Isles. And you can find evidence of all these regions on the Nose, albeit in a subdued manner. But on the Palate I find this dram a bit too Herbal while the Finish is saved from being rather unnoticeable by a last minute appearance of Ashes. It's certainly worthwhile to taste this whisky via sample or miniature. And it's not at all a bad Highlander. But I wouldn't spend an average 60 US Dollars on a full bottle of the Oban 14. That's simply too expensive for what it offers.

Jan van den Ende                                                                       April 2, 2013

King Edward I Blended Scotch Whisky Review

Country: Scotland 
Brand: King Edward I 
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS 
ABV: 40 %
Date: 25/03/2013

Colour: Dark Reddish Amber. It's one of the darkest whiskies I've tasted so far.

Nose: Not unpleasant but a bit Musty, slightly Metallic and Inexpressive. Cereals, Oak, Demerara Sugar, chopped Walnuts and Dried Fruits like Apple, Apricot, Currants and Raisins are the main components. I also get hints of Old Leather Upholstery, Honey, Sherry, Heather and other Floral - and Earthy Tones. I wouldn't be surprised if this Blend would contain some Central Highland - and Speyside Malts and perhaps a sprinkle of Islay. Good balance between Malt and Grain. 

Palate: Quite Thin with Grain, Malt, Orange and Lemon Peel, Earth, Pepper, Nutmeg and Cloves. Not much of interest going on here.

Finish: Middle-Long with some Fruit, Licorice, slightly Bitter Oak, Honey and light Spices like Pepper, Ginger and Nutmeg.

With some Water, the Fruity tones on the Nose become clearer and the Grains withdraw a bit. The Palate and Finish become more smooth although naturally a bit watered down. But despite the low ABV you can experiment with a few drops of Water.

Rating: 78
Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 19 - Finish: 19 - Overall: 19.5

The King Edward I is the third bottle from the left.

General Remarks: The whisky I'm tasting today is part of a box containing six Blended Scotch Whisky samples produced somewhere between 1955 and 1965. They are all named after English and Scottish royalties. This box-set is sold by the Dutch based Rare Whisky Site The King Edward I is still for sale. On the site of the Whisky Exchange it costs around 190 US Dollars. The owners of the Brand seem to be John Dewar & Sons Ltd of Glasgow.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good.

Conclusion: No way I would spend 190 US Dollars for a bottle of the King Edward I. This Blend, though a bit Musty, is well-balanced on the Nose but does not show any interesting characteristics on the Palate and in the Finish. It's perfectly drinkable of course but I want my whisky to be more than just that!

Jan van den Ende                                                                       March 2013