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

Glen Rosa Blended Scotch Review

          “Not Easy to Find, Thanks God for That"  

Country: Scotland 
Brand: Glen Rosa
Bottler: Isle of Arran Distillers Ltd, Arran
Type: Blended Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
ABV: 40 %

Colour: Light Gold  

Nose: My son Marco said it smelled like entering a Brazilian Bakery (Padaria) where it always smells of Toasted Buttered Bread and Coffee. He is right in a way, although I am going to play it down quite a bit! I find lots of Young Grain Alcohol, Buttered Burnt Toast, Green Coffee Beans, Cocoa Powder, Refill Oak, Nut Shells, Straw, Raisins, light Honey, light Citrus and Sugared Breakfast Cereals. It's all very Light and Thin and it smells like your typical Bottom Shelf Blended Scotch. The Alcohol is not at all integrated and it stings quite a bit.

Palate: Not at all pleasant I'm afraid. Industrial Alcohol of Low Quality with a bit of Refill Oak, Pepper, Sugared Cereals and Nut Shells.

Finish: Thin and Short with Stinging Young Grain Alcohol, Pepper, Sugared Cereals and light Licorice. Maybe hints of Citrus and Nutmeg. Quite Bitter in the end.

I added some Water but that makes it almost undrinkable. 

Rating: 64.5 

Nose: 17.5 - Taste: 15 - Finish: 16 - Overall: 16 

I Bought A Miniature Just Like This in a Whisky Shop in Oban

General Remarks: Glen Rosa is a Glen near Goat Fell on the Isle of Arran in the Firth of Clyde in Western Scotland. The Blended Whisky named after this Glen is or was produced by the Isle of Arran Distillers Ltd. I couldn't find anything very important about this Blend on the Internet and it's not mentioned anymore on the Arran Distillery Site. So it's quite possible it's out of production although you can still buy the Miniatures via some Internet shops. There are/were also some other Glen Rosa expressions in the market like the NAS -, 8 - and 15 Year Old Pure Malt. If anybody can give some additional information on Glen Rosa Blends please leave a message in the Comments section. Thanks! Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention that you can find the Glen Rosa NAS Blend for around 60 US Dollars on the Internet. It's becoming a collectors item!  

Drinking Experience Neat: Unpleasant  

Conclusion: It's been a while since I tasted a Whisky that scores below the 70 Points Barrier. Any Whisky that scores that low should be avoided at all times. In this case that won't be hard as it's difficult to find. But that's okay! Don't look for it and don't ever pay 60 US Dollars for this Blend. The Nose is still quite comparable to its Bottom Shelf peers but on the Palate it's quite unpleasant. I managed to finish off the whole miniature but it wasn't a pleasure. My personal "Call of Duty". I really like Arran and the Single Malts they are producing but they should not bother to produce this sort of stuff that hardly deserves the name Whisky. Enough said!  

Jan van den Ende                                                           November 9, 2014

Glen Rosa at Arran

Buchanan's De Luxe 12 Years Review

Country: Scotland
Brand: Buchanan’s De Luxe
Bottled by James Buchanan & Company
Type: Blended Whisky
Age: 12 Years
Alcohol: 40%

Colour: Light Golden (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Toasted Cereals, Grain Alcohol, Toffee, Caramel, Vanilla, Toast, Toasted Oak, Straw, Grass, Heather-Honey, Cocoa Powder, Salted Almonds, Citrus Peel, Ginger and the faintest hint of Smoke. 

Taste: Thin and slightly Watery Delivery. Quite Sweet with Toasted Cereals, light Vanilla, Caramel, Toffee, Orange-Peel, Green Apple, Straw, Grass, Cocoa Powder, Sugared Tea, Pepper, Salt, Ginger and hints of Tobacco and Smoke. 

Finish: On the short side. Sugary Sweet at first but Dry towards the end with Toasted Cereals, slightly Bitter Nutshells, Toasted Refill Oak, Heather-Honey, Black Pepper, Salt, Caramel, Mandarin, Cocoa Powder and hints of Tobacco and Smoke from a distant fire.

When adding a few drops of Water you get some Fruit on the nose. Think of Pear and Apricots. Bit of Lemon as well and some extra Honey. On the Palate it almost becomes Ice Tea Lemon. The Finish gets more Sugary. You can certainly experiment with a few drops. The Nose opens up quite a bit and the Ice Tea Lemon feeling on the Palate is remarkable.

Rating: 79 

Nose: 20,5 – Taste: 20 – Finish: 19 – Overall: 19,5

General Remarks:
I can’t tell you a lot about this Blend I’m afraid. It was created in 1884 by one James Buchanan in London. Today, the company belongs to the Diageo Group. At the heart of this Blend lays the Dalwhinnie Distillery (Highlands). It is Scotland’s highest Distillery. Only 10% of its production is sold as Single Malt. The rest goes into Blends like Buchanan’s and Black & White. Buchanan's 12 Years its very popular in South America.

Drinking Experience Neat: Average/Okay

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good

Conclusion: It’s not an expensive Blend at US$ 30/35. But it’s yet another of those Blends of which 13 are found in a dozen. There’s no real character, no adventure, no challenge. It’s sugary and a bit boring. And it doesn’t inspire me to write more about it.

Jan van den Ende                                    March 8, 2012 and August 16,2017

Johnnie Walker Swing Review

Country: Scotland
Brand: Johnnie Walker Swing
Type: Blended Whisky
Age: Not stated but I would put it at around 15 Years
Alcohol: 43,4% (2011) 40% (2017)
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Level: An average 50 US Dollars (June 2017)

Colour: Full Gold (Artificially Coloured)

Nose 2011: Lovely nose without any sharp alcohol. The Sherry (Speyside) combines well with the Peat and light Smoke from Islay. I find dried fruit (Raisins and Apricot), light Oak, toasted Barley and lightly salted Peanuts. It’s not a very complicated nose but it’s quite pleasant.

Nose 2017: It goes without saying that I'm much better prepared to Nose and Taste Whisky now than I was back in 2011. Still, I do wonder what happened to this Swing. I still get some light Sherry influence but it is accompanied by some Sulphur. I still find some Barley as well but the Grain Alcohol is dominant as are the Refill casks. The Dried Fruits are still there but I also get some Citrus now (Lemon and Mandarin). I also find Vanilla, Pepper and Ginger and some Floral, Herbal and Grassy notes. The Peanuts are still there but I can only find a very light Smoke in the background that reminds me of Caol Ila. I really liked the Nose in 2011 but I find it pretty standard in 2017. The lower ABV certainly plays a part but you might wonder if Diageo changed the Blend during the last 6 years.   

Taste 2011: Very smooth delivery of Smoke, Peat and Sherry with a bite of White Pepper. Black Coffee. Simple but very much to the point.

Taste 2017: The delivery is rather Thin and I would have to blame the lower ABV here. I find Grain Alcohol, Toasted Refill Oak, slightly Burnt Toast and Orange Marmalade, Vanilla, Toffee, Nut Shells, very light Sherry, very light Smoke, Pepper, Ginger and a hint of Raspberries.  

Finish 2011: Short and Dry. Some Oak and, again, Black Coffee. The finish is rather disappointing just as was the case with the JW Black Label.

Finish 2017: Quite short indeed with some Toasted Refill Oak, Grain Alcohol, Toast and Orange Marmalade, Nut Shells, very light Smoke, light Pepper, light Ginger and a hint of Cigar Ashes.  

Rating 2011: 87 

Nose: 22.5 – Taste: 22.5 – Finish: 20 – Overall: 22

Rating 2017: 83  

Nose: 21.5 – Taste: 20.5 – Finish: 20 – Overall: 21 

General Remarks: This blend was first produced in 1932, especially for bars on ocean liners. Thanks to the special rounded base, the bottle can swing backwards and forwards without tipping over. It is said to contain around 35 different whiskies, including Single Malts. The latter ones are mainly from the Speyside next to some Highlands and Islay. Bottled at an adequate 43,6%. Because of that you can experiment with a little bit of water if you like. JW Swing has been in – and out of the market for the last 75 years or so. The current owners, Diageo, are rumoured to take it out of the market once again. 

Drinking Experience Neat: Very Good (2011) - Good (2017)

Drinking Experience on the Rocks (2017): Very Nice.

Conclusion 2011: In comparison to for instance the Ballantine’s 17 years, the JW Swing is not a very complicated blend. But it succeeds in combining the main characteristics of Speyside (Sherry) and Islay (Peat and Smoke) in a very smooth way. This could have been a great blended whisky if it wasn’t for the lack luster finish. Still, the JW Swing is a very good dram that I can safely recommend.

Conclusion 2017: The Johnnie Walker Swing is not a bad blend and you can still enjoy it neat although I prefer it on the Rocks. But the 40% version I tasted in 2017 can't hold a candle to the 43.6% expression I tasted in 2011. Plus, and I have to be honest here, I'm much better prepared to judge any Whisky than I was back in 2011. Still, I can't shake off the feeling that younger and less expressive Malts are part of the Blend today. I would not be surprised if Cardhu would be a part of today's Swing as I get a similar Barley Juice feeling. As a result of it all, my 2017 score, unfortunately, is significantly lower. It can be me, it can be the blend, it can be both! At 50 US Dollars, the Price/Quality ratio isn't too bad.    

Jan van den Ende                                 December 19, 2011 and June 21, 2017

Ballantine's 12 Years Review

Country: Scotland
Brand: Ballantine’s
Type: Blended Whisky
Age: 12 Years
ABV: 40%
Chill-Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 30-40 ( August 2018)
Buying Advice: 😐 Reasonable Blend with an okay P/Q ratio. Best over Ice!


Golden Honey (Artificially Coloured)


Grain Alcohol, Toasted Grain, Butter Kekse (German Butter Biscuits), Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Dried Fruit, Honey, Nuts, Refill Wood, light Sherry, Marzipan and Lemon-Pepper. Sweet. A very faint hint of Smoke.    


Bitter-Sweet and Thin. I find Toasted Cereals, Grain Alcohol, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Honey, Nuts, Dried Fruit, Herbs, Caffe Latte, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Refill Wood and a faint hint of Smoke. 


On the Short side, Bitter-Sweet and a little Thin. I find Caramel, Toffee, Grain Alcohol, Vanilla, Honey, Dried Fruit, Nuts, Orange Peel, Refill Wood, Milk Chocolate, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Menthol and a very faint hint of Smoke. 

Rating: 79.5

Nose: 21 – Taste: 20.5 – Finish: 19 – Overall: 20

General Remarks:

The key Malt components of this Blend are Miltonduff and Glenburgie. 

Drinking Advice: 

I added a few drops of water and that takes away a good deal of the heat. But it also becomes really Thin. The best way to enjoy this Ballantine's is over Ice.

Drinking Experience On the Rocks: Good

Drinking Experience Neat: Just Okay.


It's not bad and it's got a reasonable P/Q ratio. But it's not interesting enough to  sip neat. Better enjoy it over ice.

Jan van den Ende                                     August 5, 2011 and August 10, 2018