Showing posts with label Blended Scotch Whisky Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blended Scotch Whisky Review. Show all posts

Glen Calder Review - The Naked Grouse Review, Rock Oyster Review - Big Peat Christmas Edition 2013 Review - Big Peat 25 Years Review


“Blended Scotch Whisky Special”

Introduction:

Most of you know that I mainly use samples and miniatures when preparing my Reviews. I usually buy these in Holland and sometimes in Germany or the UK. Sometimes I receive samples from friends or readers or independent bottlers. In only two cases I received a few samples directly from distilleries. When planning my reviews I always try to give attention to all Scottish Whisky regions as well as most of the other Whisky/Whiskey/Bourbon producing regions all over the world with special attention to the USA, Ireland and Japan. And last but not least the blends. At the request of many readers I give preference to more recent expressions. As a result my backlog of older samples has increased quite a bit. To do justice to those samples I will review them in the format of Specials. These specials will deal with Blended Whisky like today or with specific bottlers, countries, regions or distilleries. The reviews in these Specials will concentrate more on the Whisky and won't go into details about distilleries, maturation etc. I do hope you will like these Specials just as much as my regular reviews and I look forward to your reactions and suggestions. In today's special I will review a mixed bag of 5 Blended Scotch Whiskies. Enjoy!
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Image result for Glen Calder Blended whisky

Whisky Review # 707

Country: Scotland
Region: Glenlivet District/Mainly Speyside
Brand: Glen Calder
Bottled by: Gordon & MacPhail, Elgin
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky - Mix of Grain & Malt Whiskies
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Information not available. Probably mostly Refill Bourbon casks.    
Chill Filtration: Yes         
Price Range: US$ 30-35 (April 2018) 
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ At US$ 30 it's an okay Blend. Don't expect miracles though!

Colour:

Dark Gold (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Light but without the Aggressive Grain Note that I dislike in most Bottom Shelf Blends. The same goes for the Alcohol. It's there of course but it doesn't really spoil the Nosing party. The Nose is Sweet with Fruity, Grassy and Cereal notes.

Main Aromas:

Soft Grain, Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Toasted Barley, slightly Burnt Toast with a Butter/Margarine mix, Toffee, Vanilla, Orange, Straw/Grass, Apple and Green Coffee Beans.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Brown Sugar, Caramel, Yeast, Nuts and Nutshells, Heather-Honey, Dusty Earth, Fresh Herbs, Cinnamon, Oak, Lemon, Grapefruit Juice, Cocoa Powder and a few Green notes that I can't put my fingers on.

Palate:

Relatively Weak delivery. Light, Dry and Sweet. The Alcohol and Refill Oak are more noticeable by now.

Main Flavours:

Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Toffee, Caramel, Resin, Apple, Cinnamon, Refill Oak, Pepper, Cloves and Licorice.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Plum Jam, Caffe Latte, Dusty Earth, Heather-Honey, Cocoa Powder, Caffe Latte  and Menthol.

Finish:

Light, Short, Sweet and a little Harsh. A couple of slightly Bitter notes towards the Dry end. I find Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Caramel, light Spices like Pepper and Nutmeg, Nutshells, Refill Oak, Licorice and hints of Caffe Latte, Menthol, Licorice, Dusty Earth, Apple, Milk Chocolate and Soy Sauce.

Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and the Nose gets very Weak. I do pick up a light Peach note on the Palate but all in all you better sip this Glen Calder neat.

Rating: 79

Nose: 21 - Taste: 19.5 - Finish: 19 - Overall: 19.5

Drinking Experience:

Okay 

Conclusion:

The Glen Calder is one of the older Blends in the Gordon & MacPhail portfolio. I even saw a 40 Year Old on the Internet. Apparently it was initially released on the Italian market only but nowadays it is available in most European countries and also in the USA. There is isn't a lot of information available for this Blend with respect to contents and maturation. I think it most likely matured in Refill Bourbon casks. It's a mixture of Grain and Malt Whiskies and most likely those Malt Whiskies are from Speyside. At around US$ 30 the Glen Calder is not a bad option if you're looking for a Blended Whisky. It's quite Light and Sugary Sweet but also less aggressive and more friendly than a lot of its peers. Don't expect miracles though. It is what it is!

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Image result for the naked grouse

Whisky Review # 708

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands/Speyside
Brand: The Naked Grouse
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: First Fill European Oak Sherry Casks are used in this Blend.
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 35-40 (April 2018).
Buying Advice:๐Ÿ˜€ Excellent P/Q Ratio. If you like Sherried Whisky, go for it!  

Colour:

Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

The Sherry Cask influence is very clear. I pick up a little Sulphur but it stays well within acceptable limits. The Nose is Thick, Sweet and Malty and most of the usual Sherry cask Aromas are also to be found.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Apricot, Figs and Plums, Caramel, Vanilla, Walnuts, Orange, Peach-Jam, Cherries, Charred Oak, Nutmeg Cinnamon and Milk Chocolate.       

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Polished Leather, Mint, Licorice, Old Books, Smoke, Ashes and Cooked Rhubarb.  


Palate:

The delivery is a little Thin. The ABV is simply too low. On the Palate, the Naked  Grouse is Sweet with a few Sour notes as well. Quite Dry towards the end. I must admit I hardly notice any aggressive Grain components.    

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Dried Fruit like Apricot, Figs, Apple and Raisins, Caramel, Vanilla, Toffee, Sour Cherries, X-Mas Cake, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg, Chocolate, Nuts  and Charred Oak.   

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Raspberry, Resin, Orange, Herbs, Tobacco, Leather, Aniseed, Licorice, Espresso , Tobacco and Ashes. 

Finish:

Middle-Long, Dry and a bit Light. The ABV could have been slightly higher. Quite Sweet and Spicy. I get in the mood for Christmas! I find Sweet Barley, Caramel, Toffee, X-mas Cake, Chocolate, Nuts, Orange, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Oak, Espresso and hints of Tobacco, Leather and Cigar Ashes.

Drinking Advice:

No need to add Water to the Naked Grouse. It's already sufficiently "Naked".

Rating: 85 

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21  

Drinking Experience:

Good. The ABV is a tad too low. 

Conclusion:

The Naked Grouse I'm tasting today was one of the last creations of Master Blender John Ramsay who recently retired after having worked for the company for 40 years. His successor, Gordon Motion was also involved in the process. The Single Malts Macallan and Highland Park are at the heart of this Blend that might also contain Glenturret and Glenrothes Malt along with the Grain Whisky. It is said that the components for this Blend matured in First Fill Sherry casks. I think that's likely as far as Macallan and Highland Park are concerned. But I find it hard to believe that Grain Whisky matured in Sherry casks as well. A Finish in Sherry casks might be more likely. If anybody has complete knowledge in this matter, please let me know.

Just very recently this Naked Grouse has been replaced by a new version. This new version is a Blended Malt Whisky and is said to contain Single Malt from the Macallan, Highland Park and Glenturret. The components matured in a mix of First-Fill and Refill Bourbon and Sherry casks and were married for six months in First-Fill Oloroso Sherry Butts. Will try go get a sample as soon as possible.

Back to the "old" Blended Naked Grouse. It's not perfect but it offers a lot of Aromas and Flavours for its Price despite the too low ABV. Okay, there's a little Sulphur and a few slightly Sour notes but if you like the general Sherry Flavour profile you can't go wrong with the Naked Grouse. It's a pity it was discontinued but I'm already looking forward picking up a sample of the new vatted/blended All-Malt version. Cheers! 


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Image result for rock oyster blended whisky

Whisky Review # 709

Country: Scotland
Region: Islands (Orkney, Arran, Jura and Islay) 
Brand: Rock Oyster - Small Batch
Bottled By: Douglas Laing
Type: Blended Scotch Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46.8%
Maturation: Information not available. Most likely Refill Bourbon Casks.  
Chill Filtration: No          
Price Range: US$ 50-60 (April 2018).
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜’ Too Young for me. Too expensive for what it offers.    

Colour

Pale Straw/White Wine (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Young, Yeasty, Grassy and Salty. Some Sour, Sweet, Mineral and Peaty notes as well. There is a certain New Make feeling to the Nose. Young Arran, Caol Ila and Jura spring to my mind. 

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Toast and Margarine, Yeast, Wet Rock and Sand, Grass, Brine, Smoked Fish/Shellfish, Sour Apple, Pear, Lemon, Coastal Peat and Ashes.  

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Iodine, Band-Aid, Tar, Heather-Honey, Dried Herbs, Grappa, Pepper, Licorice, Oak, Pineapple and Cooked Vegetables.     


Palate:

Bitter-Sweet, Salty, Grassy, Young, a little Hot, Herbal and slightly Metallic.   

Main Flavours:

Toasted Cereals, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Grass, Green Apple, Pear, Coal, Ashes, Coastal Peat, Tar, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Pepper and Aniseed.  

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Milk Chocolate, Heather-Honey, Dried Herbs, Leather, Tobacco, Cocoa Powder, Lemon, Grapefruit, Menthol, Cloves and Nutmeg.     

Finish:

Middle-Long, Hot, Bitter-Sweet, Salty and Herbal. A few Metallic and Medicinal notes towards the end. I find Wet Stone, Coastal Peat, Iodine, Cold Smoke, Licorice, Ashes, Green Apple, Pear, Dried Herbs, Pepper, Cinnamon, Menthol, (Shell) Fish, Lemon, Grapefruit and Cocoa Powder.         

Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and on the Nose I get a waft of Citronella Insect Repellent and some slightly Burnt Cereals. The Palate becomes more friendly as the Alcohol retreats but the Metallic notes in the Finish increase. I would suggest to try out a few drops at the time.

Rating: 80   

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

Drinking Experience:

Average. Too Young and Edgy for my taste.

Conclusion:

Rock Oyster was launched in 2015 and is part of Laing's range of Blended Malt Whiskies each honouring a specific Sottish Whisky Region. The others are Big Peat (Islay), Scallywag (Speyside), Timorous Beastie (Highlands) and Epicurean (Lowlands). There are lots of people that love Young, Hot Peated Islay Whisky but in general I'm not one of them. Not enough balance for my taste. And too much of a New Make feeling to it. It lacks proper maturation. Therefore the Rock Oyster does not work for me, more so because of the Metallic off-notes. If you love Young, Medium-Peated Whisky however, by all means give it try. Although it is a tad too expensive for what it offers! I would pay maximum US$ 40 for this.


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Image result for big peat christmas edition 2013

Whisky Review # 710

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay 
Brand: Big Peat - Christmas Edition 2013 (A Real Cracker) 
Bottled by: Douglas Laing
Type: Blended Scotch Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 54.9% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: No Information available. Probably mainly Refill Bourbon casks    
Chill Filtration: No         
Price Range: Around US$ 70 (April 2018) - Discontinued
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ Neutral. Nice Whisky. Quite expensive though.   

Colour

Pale Straw/White Wine (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Young but less Aggressive than the Rock Oyster above. Dry, Smoky and Grassy. A few Sour, Salty and New Make Spirit notes as well. There is a bit of Fruit but it smells slightly Artificial.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Slightly Burnt Toast, Cold Smoke, Wet Peat, Iodine, Ashes, Fish and Shellfish on the BBQ, Brine, Soot, Tar, Lemon, Green Apple, Sour Cherries, Pear, Grass and Fresh Espresso.            

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Leather, Floral Soap, Almond-Chocolate, Herbs (Mint), Aniseed, Pepper, Unripe Banana and Tea.  


Palate:

Bitter-Sweet, Salty, Grassy, Dry, Young, slightly Medicinal and quite Oily. 

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Cold Smoke, Wet Earth, Iodine, Grass, Tar, Soot, Brine, Ashes, Smoked Fish & Shellfish, Pear drops, Heather-Honey, Charred Oak, Grapefruit, Lemon, Pepper, Espresso, Salted Caramel and Almonds.               

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Rubber, Plastic, Green Apple, Herbal Tea, Licorice, Aniseed, Tobacco, Chocolate and Ginger.           

Finish:

Middle-Long, Young, a little Edgy, Bitter Sweet and quite Dry. I find Salty Toffee, Sweet Barley, Almonds, Milk Chocolate, Cold Smoke, Wet Earth, Ashes, Soot, Tar, Lemon, Fish & Shellfish on the BBQ, Fatty Bacon, Pepper, Aniseed, Licorice, light Plastic, light Oak, light Rubber and Herbal Tea.       

Drinking Advice:

The Big Peat does not improve with added Water  

Rating: 83.5   

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 21  

Drinking Experience:

Good.

Conclusion:

Big Peat is a quite popular heavily peated Blend, made with Malt from Caol Ila, Ardbeg, Bowmore, Laphroaig, Lagavulin and a touch of the closed Port Ellen that gives it extra Sales Power. A Limited Special Edition is traditionally launched around Christmas Time. I'm tasting the 2013 edition today. Despite the fact that this Big Peat is quite Young, it has sufficient Aromas and Flavours to keep you busy for a while. It works much more balanced and less immature than the Rock Oyster for instance. It's a nice dram to enjoy after a walk from Port Ellen to say Laphroaig and Lagavulin. Although the character is slightly more Caol Ila in my opinion. My main problem is the price. You can buy most entry Islay malts for a lot less. So that's what I would do although you can't deny the slick marketing of the Big Peat series.


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Whisky Review # 711

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Bottled by: Douglas Laing - Limited Edition (3000 Bottles) -Bottled 2017
Brand: Big Peat (The Gold Edition)
Type: Blended Scotch Malt Whisky
Age: 25 Years (Distilled 1992)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 52.1% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Info not available. Probably Refill Bourbon Casks.    
Chill Filtration: No         
Price Range: US$ 200-250 (April 2018).
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜‹ Simply Delicious. Must buy if you can spare the cash!    

Colour

Golden Amber (Natural Colour)

Nose:

I really love the smell of fully-matured Islay. Great balance between the peaty elements and the other Aromas. Sweet but in a pleasant way. Nice interplay between Spirit and Wood. The Alcohol is nicely integrated. Not very complex but simply delicious Nose. 

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Burnt Caramel, Hay, Vanilla, Wet Rock, Wet Sand, Fish and Shellfish on the BBQ, light Smoke, Tar, Ripe Bananas and Nuts.            

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather Honey, Lemon, Mandarin, Pineapple, Aniseed, Pepper, Cinnamon, Brine, Peach, Charred Oak, Brine, Iodine and Cured Ham.
     

Palate:

The delivery is not quite as strong as I expected but adequate nevertheless. A nice balance between Sweet, Salty, Peaty, Fruity and Spicy notes. The Oak is more noticeable by now but in a good way. Quite Dry! I'm pretty sure Caol Ila, Laphroaig and Bunnahabhain are part of the Blend. 

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Salty Caramel, Brine, Coastal Peat, light Smoke, Ashes, Smoked Fish, Cured Ham, Pepper, Nutmeg, Apple, Charred Oak, Roasted Nuts, Licorice and Espresso.         

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Soot, Iodine, Seaweed, Pear, Lemon, Orange and ripe Bananas.         

Finish:

Long, Sweet, Fruity, Mineral and Spicy. A light Bitterness towards the very Dry  end. I find Sweet Toasted Barley, Coastal Peat, light Smoke, Ashes, Soot, Salty Caramel, Apple, Pear, Toasted Nuts, Meat on the BBQ, Lemon, Pepper, Cloves, Licorice, Menthol, Aniseed, Dark Chocolate and Strong Espresso.       

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and the Peat/Smoke retreats even more. It becomes more Fruity but the magical balance is gone. Palate and Finish do not improve with the added Water but you can certainly experiment with a few drops. I prefer to sip it Neat though.


Rating: 90   

Nose: 23 - Taste: 22.5 - Finish: 22 - Overall: 22.5   

Drinking Experience:

Very Good

Conclusion:

At the end of 2017, Douglas Laing released the first of a three part Blended Malt Series called The Gold Edition. The Big Peat 25 years is composed of Islay Malts. Most likely Caol Ila, Bunnahabhain, Ardbeg, Laphroaig and Bowmore are part of this Blend.

I thoroughly enjoyed this Big Peat 25 Years. It's not overly complicated for a 25 Years but it's perfectly Balanced and simply Delicious. It's a Whisky I could sip all day and you can wake me up at night to have another sip! Well-Matured Islay Whisky is without any doubt one of the great Whiskies on Earth. I love the way the distant Smoke and Peat weave their spell around the other Flavour and Aroma components. Big Peat is a good name for Young Islay Malt but not really  for this Limited Edition. It's so much more than just Peat. It's total Islay Heaven. It's not cheap of course but if you have the cash, go for it. You won't regret it. This Big 25 Years is one of the best Whiskies I've tasted so far!   

Jan van den Ende                                                                    April 1, 2018

Chivas Regal Extra Review


“A Blend With a Mission”

Whisky Review # 678

Country: Scotland
Brand: Chivas Regal Extra
Type: Blended Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: A mix of Refill Bourbon- and Oloroso casks.
Chill Filtration: Yes  
Price Range: On average US$ 40 (January 2018)
Buying Advice:๐Ÿ˜€ Good Price/Quality Ratio. Very mainstream though!

Colour: Light Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: My first impressions are Fresh Wood, Grain Alcohol and Vanilla. The Extra is a blend of Grain Whiskies (Around 70%) and Single Malts (Around 30%). A substantial part of the Single Malt content matured in Ex-Sherry casks. I also think some first fill Ex-Bourbon casks were used to compensate for some of the very young whiskies that are part of this Blend. The Sherry casks are noticeable via rather discrete notes of Dried Fruit (Raisin, Apricot), Dairy and Chocolate. I also find Cereals, Buttered Toast, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Banana, Orange Peel, Apple, Honey-Melon, Pepper, Cinnamon and a few Herbs. On the Nose, the Extra is Sweet, Thin and slightly Boring. No Off-Notes though.  

Palate: Quite Thin and Mainly Sweet with a few Bitter Oak notes. I find Toasted Cereals, Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Caramel, Toffee, Marzipan, Dried Fruit, Nuts, Apple, Banana, Grain Alcohol, Refill Oak, Dried Herbs, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger and Milk Chocolate.    

Finish: Thin, Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet and Dry. The Bitterness of the Oak is more noticeable towards the end. I find Grain Alcohol, Refill Oak, Orange Peel, Grapefruit, Caramel, Marzipan, Cereals, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Chocolate and Nutella.     

Drinking Advice:

The Chivas Regal Extra does not improve with added Water. 

Rating: 78  

Nose: 20 - Taste: 19.5 - Finish: 19 - Overall: 19.5

Image result for chivas regal extra

General Remarks:

The Chivas Regal Extra was launched in 2015, at first as Travel Retail only. In the meantime it is widely available around the world. Price wise it is positioned between the 12 and the 18 Years. Taste wise it's better than the 12 Years in my opinion. The NAS Spirit is compensated with more Sherry casks and some Fresh Wood. The resulting Blend with Strathisla and Aberlour as the most important Single Malts in the mix is a bit boring and extremely Middle of the Road. At the same time it's inoffensive, without off-notes and reasonably priced. Perfect for beginning Whisky drinkers. A Party Whisky!   

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good 

Conclusion: It's interesting to see how a better quality Wood and the addition of extra Sherry casks can enhance the quality of NAS Spirit. In fact, the Extra is more pleasant than the regular Chivas Regal 12 Years. It's also more expensive but in this case I think both producers and consumers will benefit from this new twist to an old story. The Price/Quality ratio is quite reasonable. The new Chivas Regal Extra is not interesting enough as a sipping Whisky as the Grain Alcohol keeps calling the shots. But it should do well as a Party Whisky and it might inspire a lot of beginning Whisky fans to have a closer look at the wonderful world of Whisky! A Blend with a mission!

Jan van den Ende                                                                 January 18, 2018

Strathisla the Heart of Chivas

Cutty Sark 12 Years (1980's) Review


“Cutty Sark Special”

A Bit of History.

On January 1, 2012, I reviewed the Cutty Sark Original bottled in the same year. Here are the Tasting Notes I wrote back then:

Colour: Pale Gold 

Nose: As always give your whisky sufficient time to open up before nosing. I recommend at least 20 minutes. The Cutty Sark certainly does not present an impressive nose with Malt, Sweet Grain (Breakfast Cereals), Citrus and Oak. There is Alcohol but not as much of it when compared to various other blends in the same price range. At some point I thought I nosed Apple Pie with Raisins and Cream but it’s not consistently there. There’s also something nasty that I can only describe as morning sickness after a stiff night on the town if you know what I mean. Quite a mixed bag that we have here!

Taste: Delivery is a bit thin. Sweet, Simple but Drinkable with some Light Spices, Honeyed Grains, Extra Sweet Toffee and Apple.

Finish: The honey/sugar sticks to the palate for a while followed by Oak and the unpleasant Nutty Bitterness that is so common in Standard Blends and for which I have deducted a full point.

I would not recommend adding water to the Cutty Sark although you get a little bit more fruit (Melon) on the nose. But you completely destroy the  taste.


Rating: 76 

Nose: 19,5 – Taste: 19,5–  Finish: 18 – Overall: 19

Conclusion: Cutty Sark is not an expensive whisky and as such it holds its ground when compared to direct competitors such as Dewar’s White Label, Grant’s Family Reserve, Ballantine’s Finest, Chivas Regal 12 Years, White Horse, the Famous Grouse and Johnnie Walker Red Label. Still it’s depressing when you realise that 90% of all whiskies sold worldwide are blends, many of them of comparable quality, quite a few of them better but lots of them worse as the subject of this review. Anyway, Cutty Sark is an acceptable blend given its competitive pricing. It has some Speyside-like sweetness on the palate and some citrus on the nose. There are some off-notes as well, respectively on the nose (Morning Sickness) and in the Finish (Nutty Bitterness). If you go for cheap and reasonable, Cutty Sark could be your blended whisky of choice. Or you could save a bit longer and buy yourself a Deluxe blend or a Single Malt. Guess what I would do!!!

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On February 2, 2017, I reviewed the Cutty Sark Storm bottled in the same year. Here are the Tasting Notes I wrote back then:

Colour: Light Golden (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Mainly Sweet with some Sour and Salty accents. The Grain Alcohol is very present. A tiny bit of Smoke and Sherry in the background. I also find Toasted Cereals, Toast and Margarine, Earth and Grass, Brown Sugar, Treacle, Caramel, Butterscotch, some Nuts and Dried Fruits (Sultanas and Hazelnut), a little Fruit (Pineapple or perhaps Mango and overripe Bananas), light Citrus, Refill Wood, light Spices (Cinnamon and Nutmeg) and a hint of Tobacco. I can't get excited about this. It's still quite similar to the standard Cutty Sark I reviewed earlier. A bit more Fruit perhaps.     

Palate: Slightly Thin delivery. Light, Bitter Sweet and mildly Spicy. On the Palate and in the Finish, the Single Malt component is more noticeable. I find Toasted Cereals, light Honey, Brown Sugar, Corn Syrup, Caramel, Dried Fruit (Apricot and Sultanas), Pear, slightly Bitter Orange, Vanilla, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Mint, light Licorice, Charred Oak and a hint of Tobacco. The faintest puff of Smoke from a very distant fire.  

Finish: Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet and mildly Spicy. Dry towards the end. I find Sugared Cereals, Vanilla, Charred Oak, slightly Bitter Orange Juice, Menthol, light Licorice, Caramel, Corn Syrup, Sultanas, Pepper, light Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger and a hint of Tobacco. On the Palate and in the Finish the Storm clearly beats the standard Cutty Sark.

Due to the fact that I merely had a small sample at my disposal, I only tasted this Blend neat.


Rating: 79.5

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

Conclusion: The Storm is indeed an improvement over the regular Cutty Sark. Not so much on the Nose but certainly on the Palate and in the Finish where the higher Malt content is noticeable. I also didn't find any off notes in the Storm. At an average 25 US Dollars, the Storm has an excellent Price/Quality ratio and it easily beats most of the Bottom Shelf Blends. It's one of the few cheaper blends that you can actually enjoy neat although it's a bit Thin on the Palate. Don't expect Whisky Heaven when you buy the Storm because that's impossible at this price level. But it's an acceptable Blend with an excellent P/Q ratio. Enjoy it while it lasts!

Very recently I received a 5 CL miniature bottle of the Cutty Sark 12 Years from my parents in law. They already had it in their possession for quite some time and their educated guess is that they most likely bought it in the early 1980's. Although the miniature was unopened, I observed that around 15% of the Whisky/Water combination had evaporated over time. I'm really curious to find out if the Blend is still drinkable and, if so, how it compares to the Original and Storm. Let's go!

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Whisky Review # 662 

Country: Scotland
Brand: Cutty Sark 
Type: Blended Whisky
Bottled: 1980's (Emerald Series)
Age: 12 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Mostly American Oak. Probably a few Refill Sherry Casks as well. 
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 60-180 on the Internet (November 2017)
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜• Negative. Too Expensive. Go for the Storm!

Colour: Golden (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Very Light. The Grain Alcohol is quite noticeable. And so are the Refill casks. There's not a whole lot going on here I'm afraid. I find Toasted Cereals,  Salted Caramel, Buttered Toast, Brown Sugar, Hay, Heather-Honey, Nutshells, Toffee, Dried Fruit (Sultanas, Banana), Apple, Orange, Lemon, Peach Jam, Dusty Attic, light Spices (Cinnamon, Nutmeg), Tobacco and Floral Soap. Most of these Aromas are just hints. There are no off-notes. I get a hint of Cooked Vegetables as well as some extremely faint notes of Smoke and Sherry. I had expected a bit more to be honest.    

Palate: Light Delivery. Mostly Bitter-Sweet. I find Toasted Sugared Cereals, Salted Caramel, Brown Sugar, Toffee, Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Orange, Lemon, Apple, Pear, Dried Fruit like Raisins and Sultanas, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Menthol, Licorice, Tobacco, Charred Oak and the faintest hint of Smoke.   

Finish: Middle-Long and mostly Bitter-Sweet. A few Sour notes towards the dry end. I find Toasted Sugared Cereals, Heather-Honey, Salted Caramel, Grain Alcohol, Vanilla, Orange, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Licorice, Menthol, Tobacco, Nuts and Charred Refill Oak.  

Drinking Advice:
Due to the small size of the sample, I only tasted this Cutty Sark 12 Years neat.

Rating: 78.5  

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


General Remarks:

Cutty Sark was launched in 1923 by Berry Bros & Rudd, only three years after the introduction of Prohibition in the USA. Coincidence or not, the Cutty Sark Blend became the best selling Scotch in the States in 1961. On April 1st 2010, the Brand was bought by the Edrington Group. I don't know exactly when the 12 Years was launched but it most likely was in the 1980's. The 12 Years I'm reviewing today was a special release named "Out By The Cape, Home By The Horn". The unique multi-sided Emerald-like bottle has a special label that marks the historical destinations of the ship that gave this Whisky its name. The Heart of Cutty Sark is the Speyside Glenrothes distillery. It usually also contains small quantities of Glengoyne, Macallan, Highland Park and Bunnahabhain.

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay. I had expected a bit more.

Conclusion: "In the old days the Whiskies were better". I've heard that a lot since I started writing about Whisky. Unfortunately I haven't been able to taste a lot of older whiskies so I can't give you my opinion. In any case I was slightly disappointed by today's Cutty Sark back from the 1980's. Or maybe I was just expecting too much! It's quite similar to the Cutty Sark Original and Storm of today and that's good in a way as well. Apparently the producers did not change the formula a whole lot during all those years. My favourite remains the Storm as it has the better Price/Quality ratio coupled to a better Wood management.

Jan van den Ende                                                             November 25, 2017

Glenrothes