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

Glen Deer 30 Years Review

“Herbal Tea”

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Glen Deer Special Reserve
Distilled, Blended and Matured by: William Grant & Sons
Type: Blended Malt Whisky
Contains Single Malt from: Glenfiddich and The Balvenie
Age: 30 Years 
ABV: 40% 
Chill-Filtration: Likely
Buying Advice: 😷 Negative. Tastes like Medicinal Herbal Tea. Good Nose though. It's not expensive.

“Whisky Review # 600”

Colour: Golden Amber (Probably Artificially Coloured)

Nose: The Ex-Sherry Cask influence is quite clear. My first impression is that this Blended Malt probably contains more Glenfiddich than Balvenie. I do get a bit of Sulphur as well but nothing serious. The Nose is basically Sweet and Medium Full. This Malt should probably have been bottled at Cask-Strength to enhance the Aromas. On the Nose, this Glen Deer 30 Years has all the characteristics of a Single Malt that you would appreciate around Christmas time or after a nice dinner in combination with a Medium-Strong Cigar. I find Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Dusty Straw, X-mas Cake, a Mix of Dried Fruits (like Raisins and Apricot) and Nuts, Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Honey, Orange, Strawberry, slightly Sour Apples, Wood Shavings, Cinnamon, Ginger, Mint and hints of Furniture Polish and Dusty Road.

Palate: Slightly Thin Delivery on account of the low ABV. On the Palate, the Glen Deer is mainly Sweet with some Oaky, Herbal and Sour notes as well. It's quite disappointing after the good enough Nose. I find Toasted Barley, Toffee, Raisins, slightly Bitter Almonds, Vanilla, Honey, Orange, Strawberry, Herbal Tea, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Aniseed, Ginger, Clove, Licorice and stale Coffee.

Finish: Not very Long, slightly Spicy, Bitter-Sweet, Herbal and Oaky. Quite Dry in the end with a strange Off-Note I can't quite place. An odd mixture of Oak, Metal, Herbal Tea and Green notes. This does not work for me at all. I also find Toasted Barley, Nuts, Orange, Honey, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Licorice, Aniseed and Cocoa Powder.  

Added Water does not improve this Glen Deer. On the Palate and in the Finish I keep on being punished with this Herbal Tea Flavour. You know, the one that people use to lose weight.

Rating: 81.5   

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 19 - Overall: 20.5

General Remarks:

The Glen Deer 30 Years is a special expression made by William Grant & Sons for the French market. In the meantime you can buy it elsewhere as well. Glen Deer is a Blend of Single Malts from Glenfiddich and the Balvenie. The Malts for this Blend were distilled in May, 1980. They matured in a mix of Ex-Bourbon and Ex-Sherry casks before being married and bottled in 2012. Therefore this Glen Deer has in fact over 30 Years. It's still available in places. Prices are likely to be in the 80-100 US Dollar range (March 2017). Quite cheap for a whisky of this age. 

The Glenfiddich (Gaelic for Valley of the Deer) Distillery was founded in 1886 by William Grant. It's still owned by the Grant Family today and Glenfiddich is the world's best selling Single Malt. The standard distillery range consists of the 12, 15 and 18 Years.

Glenfiddich (May 2014)

The Balvenie distillery was founded in Dufftown in 1892 by William Grant. It is still in the hands of the Grant family. The Balvenie lies at the heart of the Grant's Family Reserve Blend.

Drinking Experience Neat: The Nose is okay but Palate and Finish are quite disappointing.

Conclusion: I choose this 30 Year Old blended Malt to be my 600th Review as I expected something special. It is special but not entirely in a positive way. The Nose is quite okay and suggests your typical sherried Speysider. The Palate and Finish however are quite disappointing. I suspect indifferent cask-management. I am constantly reminded of Herbal Tea that is used to help people lose weight. A worthy cause certainly but not a Flavour I want to encounter in my Malt. Based on the Nose alone, this Glen Deer has an excellent Price/Quality ratio. Based on Palate and Finish however there is no way I can recommend this Blended Malt. Unless of course you got hooked on this Flavour in your latest effort to fight the extra kilos.                      
Jan van den Ende                                                                      March 6, 2017

The Balvenie (May 2014)

Famous Grouse 12 Years Review

“This Bird Has Flown”

Country: Scotland
Brand: The Famous Grouse
Type: Blended Malt Whisky
Age: 12 Years
ABV: 40%
Chill-Filtration: Yes
Whisky Review # 550

Colour: Deep Gold (Artificially Coloured) 

Nose: Just like in the 15 Years that I reviewed earlier I find a peculiar Aroma in the 12 Years that I can't quite place. It's something that reminds me of Cooked Vegetables with a little added Sulphur but that doesn't make a lot of sense, does it. Anyway, it's clear that there are some Refill Macallan Ex-Sherry casks in the mix. The rest is mostly Glenrothes I think while it's very hard or even almost impossible to detect Highland Park. Is there the faintest puff of Smoke in the background? It could be but I'm not gonna put a lot of money on that. On the Nose, this Famous Grouse has Sweet notes but there's a slightly Sour touch to it as well. I find Toasted Barley, Toast with a mix of Butter and Margarine, light Honey, Toffee, Caramel, Hay, Dried Apricot, Apples, Plums, Nuts, light Vanilla, Orange, Nougat and hints of Espresso and Milk Chocolate. The Alcohol is not fully integrated. At this price level, it's not at all bad but objectively speaking there's not too much of interest going on.

Taste: Not unpleasant but slightly on the Thin Side. The Oak, Spices and Alcohol are more noticeable now. I find Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Oak, Toffee, Caramel, Cocoa Powder, Dried Fruit (Apricots and Raisins), light Sherry, Apples, Tutti Frutti Bubble-Gum, Orange, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon and traces of Chocolate and Sulphur.      

Finish: Middle Long and Bitter Sweet with Oak and Spices leading the way. I find Toasted Barley, Dried Fruit, Walnuts, Oak, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, light Honey, Toffee, a little Sherry, Vanilla and traces of Aniseed, Licorice, Cocoa Powder, Tutti Frutti Bubble Gum, Orange and Rum. 

I added a bit of Water and you get more Barley, Vanilla and Apples on the Nose. Palate and Finish become too Thin. Better sip it neat.

Rating: 81 

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

General Remarks: The Famous Grouse 12 Years Blended Malt was a limited Travel Retail edition at first. Today you can buy bottles in other places as well but the number is dwindling as the Edrington Group discontinued the Famous Grouse Expressions with Age-Statement. 

It is said to contain Malt Whisky from a/o Glenrothes, Macallan, Glenturret and Highland Park. These are all distilleries owned by the Edrington Group. The price can vary depending on where you live but it's usually around 30 US Dollars. (June 2016).

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good  

Conclusion: It's a pity for us consumers that the Edrington Group discontinued this Blended Malt with Age-Statement as the Price/Quality ratio is excellent. I would prefer this Famous Grouse 12 years over most of the well-known Blended Whiskies anytime. It's a very easy going Blended Malt that reminds me mostly of Glenrothes. A little Macallan is there as well but its hard to detect Highland Park. It's quite similar to some of the recent mainstream NAS Single Malts from the Speyside area. But with a much better Price/Quality ratio! What a pity this Grouse won't fly anymore! You should not expect a very complex Whisky but if you find it at around 30 Dollars just buy it!

Jan van den Ende                                                                      June 30, 2016


Big Peat Limited Edition 50% ABV Review

“Let’s Forget the 46%”

Country: Scotland 
Region: Islay
Brand: Big Peat Small Batch Limited Edition (Batch # 45 )
Bottled by/for: Douglas Laing, Glasgow
Type: Blended Malt Whisky
Age: NAS 
ABV: 50 %

Colour: Very Pale White Wine 

Nose: Quite similar to the standard Big Peat. But the slightly higher ABV gives this Limited Edition an extra punch that's worth the money. I also find that it's a little Sweeter than the 46%. And this Sweetness smells less Artificial. Still, we are talking about a Young Islay with an ample presence of Caol Ila and Ardbeg. I find Wet Mud, Cold Smoke, Brine, Ashes, Tar, Soot, Iodine, Fish on the BBQ, Leather, Rubber, Mineral - and Medicinal notes. Like in the 46%, they are not as fiery as the name and the package of Big Peat are suggesting. This is much closer to Caol Ila than Laphroaig. I also find Fruity Aromas like Pear, Apple, Pineapple, and Lemon. And, finally, some Buttered Toast, light Vanilla, Toffee, Pepper, Mint, Aniseed, Herbal Tea and Ginger. The Alcohol is present but does not significantly interfere with the Nosing.

Palate: Good delivery thanks to the ABV of 50%. Again, it's Sweeter than the 46% and it has more Fruity flavours. It's also substantially less Raw and Edgy although there's still a Young feel to it. I also encounter less Artificial - and Plastic notes. I find Wet Mud, Cold Smoke, Tar, Soot, light Rubber, Leather, Ashes, Charred Oak, Salmon Sushi, Lemon, Apple, Pear, Barley, light Vanilla, Heather Honey, Toffee, Pepper, Licorice, Ginger and hints of Espresso and Dark Chocolate. 

Finish: Quite Long with Earthy Peat, Wet Grass, Brine, Cold Smoke, Ashes, Soot, Tar, Fish, Shellfish and Bacon on the BBQ, Vanilla, Toffee, Apple, Heather Honey, Lemon Peel, Menthol, Salt, Licorice and Pepper. Dry towards the end. I find a faint Plastic note but it's much more subtle than the one I noticed in the 46%. 

No need to add Water to this Big Peat. It's perfect to sip neat.

Rating: 86

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 21.5

General Remarks: Big Peat was launched in 2009 by Douglas Laing as the first in their Remarkable Regional Malts series. It contains Single Malts from Caol Ila, Bowmore, Ardbeg, Port Ellen and one or two others. In 2013, a limited Big Peat edition with an ABV of 50% was released. Only 250 (50 CL) bottles were for sale and only through the company's website at the price of around 65 US Dollars. All Big Peats are naturally coloured and Non Chill-Filtered. You can also find a special annual Christmas Edition, bottled at around 53%. I will review that one in a month or so.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: This is certainly a step up from the Standard Big Peat. First of all the higher ABV gives the Blend a much needed Punch. I also find a lot less Artificial Sweetness and Plastic notes. It's Sweeter than the 46% and it's got more Fruit as well. It's still Young Islay of course but there is a better balance between the Smoky and Fruity flavours when compared to the 46%. I like this Limited Edition a lot better and I think it can hold its ground when compared to the Standard Malts of the main Distilleries that are part of this Blend. If I were Douglas Laing this would be the Standard Big Peat from now on! 

Jan van den Ende                                                                October 29, 2015

Six Isles Review

“Affordable Gateway to Island Whiskies”

Country: Scotland 
Region: Islands
Brand: The Six Isles 
Type: Blended Malt Whisky
Age: NAS 
ABV: 43 %

Colour: Pale Straw/White Wine

Nose: Light Cold Smoke, light Rubber, Wet Clay, light Tar, Salted Pork Meat on the BBQ, light Iodine, Brine, Lime, Pizza Dough, Buttered Toast and Honey, Malt, Heather and Toffee. There's a Young feel to the spirit, yet the Aromas are quite inoffensive. It's all very laid-back and even a little Dusty. Ideal if you are just starting to sniff and taste Smoky whiskies. It's difficult to ascertain the Islay component on the Nose. The Wet Clay reminds me more of a Ledaig really. And finally, after a while in the glass, I'm getting a light Cooked Vegetables/Potatoes Aroma that instantly reminds me of Jura. The Alcohol is nicely integrated.

Palate: Young and Sweet with a touch of Talisker Pepper. I find light Iodine, Campfire Smoke, Wet Clay, Tar, light Rubber, Salted Pork, Saw Dust, Ashes, Burnt Grain, Toffee, Honey and Lemon. 

Finish: Middle-Long. Sweet at first but Dry and slightly Bitter in the end with Cold Smoke, Ashes, Salted Pork and Fish, light Iodine, light Oak, light Vanilla and a sprinkle of Lemon and Mint.     

With added Water it gets a bit Sweeter but it loses balance. Better sip it neat.

Rating: 84  

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

General Remarks: The Six Isles is a Blended Malt Whisky from Ian Macleod and bottled by William Maxwell & Co.Ltd. It contains six Single Malts, one from each of the Scottish islands that produce Whisky namely Islay, Skye, Orkney, Arran, Jura and Mull. The Six Isles is Naturally Coloured, has a decent ABV and is Not Chill-Filtered. All of that is positive and it's still pleasantly priced at around 45 US Dollars (March 2015).

Drinking Experience Neat: Good   

Conclusion: An interesting and Well-Balanced Blended Malt that seems perfect for those of you who start exploring Smoky Whiskies. It's a very easy ride from Nose to Finish. As for the components I would say that there's very little Islay influence to be noted as far as the Peat is concerned. In fact, the Clay reminds me more of Ledaig. There's certainly some Arran, Jura and Highland Park in the mix as well as a touch of Talisker. I've tasted quite some Smoky Blends in the last couple of months and I didn't find any of them really convincing. But this Blended Malt is really well-balanced even being young and without significant Wood contact. Nice combination of the Young Sweet Spirit, the Sea, the Honey, the Clay, the Smoke and just enough Pepper and Wood for balance. It's too light for die-hard Smoke fans but a great way to discover Scottish Island whiskies. As such I recommend it.

Jan van den Ende                                                                      March 5, 2015

Wemyss Peat Chimney Review

“More Peat Than Chimney”

Country: Scotland 
Brand: Wemyss Peat Chimney
Bottler: Wemyss Malts, Edinburgh
Type: Blended Malt Whisky
Age: 12 Years
ABV: 40 %

Colour: Bronze

Nose: Soft Sweet Earthy Peat and a little Brine, Ash and Leather are the first impressions followed by hints of Salted Meat and Fish or Shell Fish on the BBQ. I also find some Marzipan, Honey, Sugared Tea, Vanilla, Grapefruit Juice, Malt, Pear, Nuts, Ginger Ale and Nutmeg. It's rather simple but at the same time quite Smooth and Laid-Back.

Palate: Thin and Watery Delivery with Sweet Peat, Licorice, Anise, Lemon Zest,
light Smoke, Orange Juice, Sour Apples, Ginger, Pepper, Cinnamon, Clove, Nutmeg and Menthol.

Finish: Middle-Long but Thin with Sweet Peat, Ashes, light Smoke, Orange, Sour Apples, Lemon, Toffee, Nuts, Black Coffee, light Oak, Licorice, Nutmeg, Pepper   Cinnamon and light Vanilla. 

The Peat Chimney does not accept added Water. It's already too Thin as it is.

Rating: 82

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 20.5

General Remarks: The Peat Chimney is part of a recent range by Wemyss of Edinburgh, next to The Hive and Spice King. Each represents one of the three main Scottish production areas, respectively Islay, Speyside and Highlands. The Peat Chimney is a Blend of up to 16 Single Malts. The heart is formed by an Islay distillery. By the way, Wemyss is the old Gaelic word for Caves. The Whiskies for the Wemyss Blends are chosen by a Panel, chaired by the well-known whisky writer Charles MacLean. This Peat Chimney is usually sold at around 50 US Dollars. A cheaper 8 year version is also available. Wemyss did a very nice job on Packaging and Presentation!

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good 

Conclusion: Peat Chimney is not a bad blended Malt, especially on the Nose. On the Palate and in the Finish it is a little on the Thin side. But it offers people the chance to get acquainted with the Islay Aroma and Flavour profile. As such it works as it's all quite smooth and gentle. The people who like Islay Single Malt however will notice that the Peat Chimney brings sufficient Peat but clearly lacks Smoke. No Chimney to be smelled or tasted! It would also benefit from a slightly higher ABV but then we enter again into the eternal struggle between a reasonable price and a sufficient ABV. And now the 1 Million US Dollar question: What Distillery could have produced the leading Islay Malt in this Blend? Based on the Sweetness of the Peat and the Sourness of the Apples I suspect it could be Bunnahabhain but my guess is as good as yours!

Jan van den Ende                                                             January 16, 2015