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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

January 5, 2017


A gang of four blended malts

More bast… I mean, vatt… I mean, blended malts. There are more and more of them around, it doesn’t seem like the ‘blended malt’ appellation did any harm to the category. And between us, they’re often very good, and fairly priced, at that.

Blue Hanger ‘13th Release’ (45.6%, Berry Bros & Rudd, Taiwan exclusive, blended malt, +/-2016)

Blue Hanger ‘13th Release’ (45.6%, Berry Bros & Rudd, Taiwan exclusive, blended malt, +/-2016) Four stars Recent Blue Hangers have displayed various styles, while earlier versions had often been quite sherried and ‘Speysidy’. Let’s check this brand new 13th edition… Colour: deep gold. Nose: malt whisky à l’ancienne, as we say over here. I’m finding apple pies, earl grey tea, pear peelings, then an obvious floral side, including rose petals, as well as whiffs of seaweed and oysters. It’s a very subtle composition, probably just a few casks, which wouldn’t blur all details while adding much complexity. Mouth: some peat for sure, I’ve actually known some Taliskers that had been less peaty than this. Smoked seashells, tobacco, green spices, bitter oranges, touches of star anise, red apples (Gravenstein?), touches of pepper and ginger, cloves… It’s all fresh, well-defined, and pretty spicy. Finish: medium, with even more spices. Pepper and ginger. Earthier aftertaste. Comments: excellently composed, and rather old-school. SGP:554 - 87 points.

Since we were having spices…

Spice King ‘Batch Strength’ (56%, Wemyss Malts, batch #1, blended malt, 6000 bottles, 2016)

Spice King ‘Batch Strength’ (56%, Wemyss Malts, batch #1, blended malt, 6000 bottles, 2016) Three stars and a half I would have gone to 56.9 and label it ‘100 proof’ but that’s just me. Colour: gold. Nose: we’re a bit in the same territories, with a mild smoke, but this one feels younger and more porridge-y. Some leather, grass, old walnuts… With water: some damp earth and a farminess. A grassy peatiness. Mouth (neat): oily, sweet, and seemingly young. When you find this much pears and pineapples, the whisky’s young. Green spices, capsicum, cloves, green pepper… Very creamy mouth feel. With water: more pears! I’ve know some very young peated Bunnahabhain that had some flavours that are also to be found in this King of Spices. Finish: quite long, good, refreshing. Smoky spices. Comments: the smoky side never stopped growing. I like this one better than The Hive, but I haven’t tasted the Peat Chimney yet. SGP:553 - 83 points.

The Tweeddale ‘The Last Centennial’ (52.1%, Tweeddale, blended malt, 2016)

The Tweeddale ‘The Last Centennial’ (52.1%, Tweeddale, blended malt, 2016) Four stars This is ‘a blend of 4 single cask single malts predominantly from Islay, with plenty of Highland and a dash of Speyside’ so I’m expecting a similar style again. I had found the 10yo excellent six years ago (WF 85) but that one had an age statement – and, granted, a lower strength. Colour: gold. Nose: definitely a peaty whisky. Very nice freshness ala Islay East Coast, with something medicinal, balms, hessian, tarry ropes, seawater… Not sure the Speysider has much to say here. With water: an old hessian bag forgotten in a working kiln. Mouth (neat): smoky pear eau-de-vie! Feels young again, but that works nicely. Lemons, more seawater, some iodine, a little wax…  Didn’t they hire John Glaser? With water: more fresh fruits coming out, especially grapefruits. Gets then greener and spicier. Well, yeah, there are green spices. Finish: medium, well balanced, young, fruity, and smoky. Comments: simply great work. One to sip ad libitum SGP:555 - 86 points.

Timorous Beastie 21 yo (46.8%, Douglas Laing, blended malt, 2718 bottles, 2016)

Timorous Beastie 21 yo (46.8%, Douglas Laing, blended malt, 2718 bottles, 2016) Four stars and a half Well, the 40 yo has certainly been one of 2016’s F-F-Y-B whiskies! I find all these funny series by DL very smart. They do not take themselves too seriously, which is actually very serious. Quite a few bragging brands should draw inspiration from them, if you ask me. Colour: gold. Nose: raisins, roasted nuts, brioche, panettone, earl grey tea, maple syrup, drops of ginger liqueur, honey, a little tobacco, a little earth… All that is very smart indeed. Very very smart. Mouth: some kind of Glenlivet with much more oomph. Overripe apples, honeydew, cider, raisins, walnut wine, toasted bread and pastries, marmalade… And then cloves and cinnamon, with a little mulled wine. Finish: quite long, sweet and spicy. Spicy herbal tea – or isn’t that mulled wine again? Mulled white wine? Oranges in the aftertaste. Comments: perhaps not the sheer complexity of the 40, but it’s still superbly composed. SGP:651 - 89 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all blended malts I've tasted so far







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