Google More blends, young and very old

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

December 14, 2017


More blends, young and very old

Cutty Black (40%, OB, blend, +/-2016)

Because what’s really cool with blends, is that they’re made by masters.

Cutty Black (40%, OB, blend, +/-2016) Two stars and a half This is Cutty’s version of Johnnie Black, meaning that it’s a touch older and smokier. We had tried it when it came out, around 2009, and thought it was very okay (WF 78). Colour: gold. Nose: not much smoke I’m afraid, rather a tea-ish apple juice and notes of soft leather, gooseberries, and just a large apple pie. Mouth: indeed, its pleasant, a tad cardboardy like many blends, and perhaps a notch too caramely, but there’s some depth to it, a little chocolate, some malt, café latte…  Loses its momentum after ten seconds, but that doesn’t come unexpected. Finish: short, dry, a tad roasted. Comments: a fine blend indeed. Didn’t quite get the supplemental peatiness, having said that. SGP:331 - 77 points.

The Tweeddale ‘The Evolution’ (52%, OB, blend, 2017)

The Tweeddale ‘The Evolution’ (52%, OB, blend, 2017) Three starsHold on, we’re going too fast, this is actually 28 years old! Now I remember The Tweeddale 10 yo had been much to my liking quite some years ago (WF 85). Colour: gold. Nose: apples in all their forms, as cakes, tartes, pies, juice, cider … I’ll add that I love apples (and a glass of this a day will keep the doctor away.) I also love plums, which is very fitting since I’m finding many plums as well, from greengages to damsons. With water: warm brioche, vanilla, coconut. Mouth (neat): very good, on fresh and stewed fruits plus a little coconut. I’m thinking Glentauchers, Miltonduff, Glen Keith… And approx twenty other fruity Speysiders. The grain adds notes of bubblegum and vanilla – well I wouldn’t have added any grain, even old grain. The coconut may have come from the grain as well. With water: butterscotch. The grain speaking. Finish: medium, with quite a lot of vanilla. Comments: the grain whisky(ies) feel a bit too much for me, but other than that, this is a very fine old blend. Now I liked the older 10 better… SGP:541 - 82 points.

Sansibar 19 yo (45.2%, Sansibar, blend, 2017) Four stars Even Sansibar are doing blends! Now I haven’t found a picture of this new baby yet… Colour: gold. Nose: nice buttery start, with a warm apple pie, some stewed rhubarb with meringue (right, that would be a fine rhubarb tarte), then a little fudge and a wee hint of rum. Was this baby blended in a rum cask? Some raisins macerated in Kirschenwasser. Mouth: it’s rather soft, there are funny notes of dried porcinis, then some dry apples and again, a touch of rum. Perhaps even Jamaican rum. I’m serious! Finish: medium, slightly brine-y, with a touch of smoke, rather Islay-style this time, not too sure. Comments: it’s not your usual blend for sure. Singular and echt gut, I think. SGP:552 - 85 points.

Didn’t we say we’d add a few older bottles?...

White Heather (70° proof, OB, blend, 1960s)

White Heather (70° proof, OB, blend, 1960s) Four stars An old brand that’s gathered a fairly high reputation… once it was discontinued. You’ll also find some bearing age statements – always more prestigious, eh. Colour: pale gold. Nose: very meaty, bacony, smoky, with some rusty nails and assorted old bits of copper and iron. There’s a great sourness in the background, notes of miso soup, umami, chives, bouillons… A style that you’ll only find in very old bottles of whisky. Mouth: oh so very good! Rich, with raisins, and salty, bouillony, meaty… Love this bittersweet profile, these notes of fig wine, proper PX, beef stock, chicken soup… A full-bodied blend that rather feels like 45% vol. than 40. Finish: long, wonderfully vegetal and ‘soupy’, with raisins brining more roundness and sweetness. Salty aftertaste, ala old White Horse. Comments: an amazing blend from when blends were amazing (there, very well said, S.) SGP:462 - 87 points.

Justerini & Brooks 20 yo (45.5%, OB, blend, ‘Choicest Liqueur’, 1960s)

Justerini & Brooks 20 yo (45.5%, OB, blend, ‘Choicest Liqueur’, 1960s) Two stars Probably not the usual, rather girly and Ibiza-ish rendition of J&B, let’s see… Colour: gold. Nose: this one’s soupy too, but it’s rather going towards marzipan, Italian chocolate liqueur (our friends are making liqueurs out of just anything, aren’t they), Nutella, fig cake, and then cooked seashells, clams, cockles… Mouth: it’s much smokier than today’s J&Bs, but it’s also a little too drying, and that may come from OBE. Inky, cardboardy… But the background remains nice, bouillony, meaty… Don’t I find some kind of notes of stewed leek? Finish: long – and that’s the higher strength – but too much on dry vegetables. Spinach? Comments: you never know with these old bottles, it was probably easier and rounder forty or fifty years ago. But it’s still got something to say… SGP:262 - 72 points.

Old Rarity 12 yo (40%, OB, Bulloch & Lade, ceramic jug, Italy, Claretta Import, 1970s)

Old Rarity 12 yo (40%, OB, Bulloch & Lade, ceramic jug, Italy, Claretta Import, 1970s) Four stars Bulloch & Lade a.k.a. B&L suggest Caol Ila, as that company was holding the licence. Old Rarity was their ‘deluxe’ brand. Colour: gold. Nose: not particularly smoky, and rather cake-y. Fig cake again, cinnamon cake, hints of cured ham, then quite a lot of moist tobacco, old books and magazines, a touch of mint water… I wouldn’t say anything stands out, it’s akin to many an old blend from an old bottle. So far… And please remember that this was a ceramic jug, they were not always totally airtight… Mouth: it’s soft and light, but it still roars, with some peaters (old Coal Ila, probably), some biscuits, a salty side, those cooked clams, and more generally, a rather fantastic coastal profile, too bad it went a little flat(tish). Finish: relatively short, but oranges are arriving, together with smoked meats. Comments: this, from a proper bottle and at 45% vol.! In fact, it’s brilliant once you’ve managed to ‘intellectualise’ it a bit. A bit like listening to an old 78rpm by Coleman Hawkins. Or by The Duke. SGP:363 - 86 points.

Logan’s ‘Extra Age’ (OB, White Horse, blend, 1940s)

Logan’s ‘Extra Age’ (OB, White Horse, blend, 1940s) Five stars This is the King’s Special mind you. No age stated, but it does say that ‘extra age’ is ‘superb’. No ABV stated either… I’ve tried a few old Logans in the past and thought they were sitting somewhere between White Horse and Mackie’s Ancient Blend/Brand. There might be some Malt Mill inside… In short, get prepared… Colour: gold. Nose: holy featherless crow! This is astounding, with whiffs of old Montrachet, some butterscotch made with Demerara sugar, proper milk chocolate, figs for sure, overripe apples, Cuban cigars… Now I don’t find much smoke, but smoke may have vanished in the air during these seventy years or more in the famous square tortoise-like brown bottle… Mouth: a.m.a.z.i.n.g. Salty, gamy, meaty, still fruity, with some tobaccos, Grisons meat, beef jerky, oyster water, brine, smoked mussels, raisins, quinces, even mead, honey… As they used to say on Instagram, OMG! Finish: long (imagine!), salty, sappy, smoky, almost thick… Comments: we were totally on Islay’s south shore, during or even a little before WWII. What a moving and fabulous whisky! SGP:365 - 93 points.

Should we stop here? Or do some more wee comparison, WF-style?...

Logan 12 yo ‘De Luxe’ (40%, OB, White Horse, Italy, Carpano, 1970s)

Logan 12 yo ‘De Luxe’ (40%, OB, White Horse, Italy, Carpano, 1970s) Four stars So a more modern version of Logan. Wait, the 1970s, a 12 yo… yes there still could be some Malt Mill inside! By the way, they’re still ùaking Logan De Luxe, you’ll easily find it on Amazon or Ali Baba. Gee… As for Carpano, you’ll remember that they used to have those fabulous Lagavulins… Oh and they also had a ‘Laird O’ Logan 12’, but I never tried that one. Colour: full gold. Nose: more modern already, with more caramel, café latte, chocolate, raisins, and only then a wee smoky coastal note. Much softer, and much more ‘commercial’ than the old Extra Age. Mouth: certainly good, even very good, with a perfect phenolic profile, some smoke, some kippers, some dried meat, a little brine, drops of miso soup (always welcome)… It’s just the body that’s a little thin. How I wish they would have done some of this at 100° proof! Finish: nah, it gets too dry, it lost all the steam and stamina, but the bouillony aftertaste remains most pleasant. Comments: those Logans remain some of the best blends ever made by some Scotsmen, if you ask me, but as usual the older ones were better. I’ll have to try to try some contemporary versions, for the sake of research… SGP:342 - 85 points.

See you!

(Thank you Angus, Jens, Morten)

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






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