Google A few Scottish blends just for fun

Serge whiskyfun
Thousands of tastings,
all the music,
all the rambligs
and all the fun


Facebook Twitter Logo
Guaranteed ad-free
copyright 2002-2017


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

May 10, 2018


A few Scottish blends just for fun

Just a random selection of what we have in the library. I do like blends when they shelter high malt contents, or when they are very old, naturally… After all and anyway, the major players keep claiming that the whisky industry’s all about blends… (not too sure the official figures do confirm that, having said that)…

Johnnie Walker ‘Red Label’ (40%, OB, blend, +/-2018)

Johnnie Walker ‘Red Label’ (40%, OB, blend, +/-2018) Two stars and a half
THE blend, the one that got us all into whisky, for good and worse reasons. A brand that we ought to respect against all odds, even if they’re selling millions of cases per year. Colour: gold. Nose: flat apples. Not that that exists, but it’s a feeling. Cider, caramel, butter pears, ripe plums. There isn’t much happening in there, but there are no foul notes either. Mouth: surprisingly good. Say goodish. There is the usual peatiness, and sure it tends to become rather too cardboardy and flabby, but I had thought it would have been much worse. Puréed onions, apple crumble, caramel, overripe pears, and guess what, m.a.l.t.. Really, m.a.l.t. whisky, your honour. Surprised, really. Finish: medium, malty, not bitter, not weak, not caramely, not cardboardy, not metallic, not (too) grainy, not oaky, not vanilla-ed, not dull. Comments: I was ready to go to the mid-60s as far as points are concerned (remember, points are actually percentages) but I was too negative. The finish was really nice, mind you, exactly the opposite of what I had expected. I suppose the oceans of malt whisky that they have distilled in recent years have helped… Bravo, communist Johnnie Walker!
SGP:452 - 78 points.

Grant’s Family Reserve (40%, OB, blend, +/-2018)

Grant’s Family Reserve (40%, OB, blend, +/-2018) one star and a half
It’s a family business, so they have a family reserve. Makes sense, doesn’t it (although I’d wager the actual family reserve would rather shelter Balvenie 1970…) Colour: gold. Nose: it’s a rounder, softer, rather cakier blend, rather on brioche, soft breads, popcorn, raisin bagel, shortbread… And its certainly not un-nice. Mouth: oh, surprise surprise, this ain’t bad! Nice arrival, malty, with stewed apples and some candy sugar. But things go pear-shaped after that, with some cardboard, bitter caramel, burnt wood… A shame because it all started pretty well. It hates the distance, it seems. Finish: no. Pears and cardboard, with a little smoke in the aftertaste. Ailsa Bay? Typical entry-level Scottish blend. Comments: what we had anticipated, not more, not less.
SGP:341 - 68 points.

VAT 69 (40%, OB, blend, +/-2018)

VAT 69 (40%, OB, blend, +/-2018)
I know, I know, this is a whisky blog. Perhaps… Oh never mind, and after all, this is a 100-scale, meaning that some spirits are worth 99/100, whilst others should be worth 1/100. But hey, VAT 69 is worth approx 8.50€ a bottle in France, so only good surprises should occur… Colour: caramel gold. Nose: no no no no no. Old almonds and rotten pears, plus beetroot sugar syrup. Mouth: oh, this isn’t that bad! I mean, it’s acceptable, it’s got a wee smokiness, it’s got sour apples, some beer, mashed grains and vegetables, caramel… Really, it’s not totally unpleasant, and the proportions of cardboard are kept to a minimum. Finish: short, but rather okay. It’s even rather malty. Sadly, the aftertaste is rather horrible, bitter and drying. Comments: I’m starting to wonder if all this malt whisky they’ve been distilling since around 2012 are not already improving the blends these days. Really, this isn’t too bad.
SGP:241 - 65 points.

J&B ‘Rare’ (40%, OB, blend, +/-2018)

J&B ‘Rare’ (40%, OB, blend, +/-2018)
Indeed, in whisky's counter-dictionary, rare means very common, while old means very young. Which is actually very interesting, philosophically speaking… BTW, J&B have already been responsible for many a hangover (and accidents, marriages, births, divorces, bankruptcies, falls, decadences…) Colour: straw. Nose: very light it was and very light it is. Some syrup, some vanilla, some popcorn, last year’s apples… And, and, and… Mouth: fine, easy, very soft, undemanding. Now like most commercial blends, it tends to fall apart, getting cardboardy and, well, very vague. Finish: short but rather clean, and then vague. An odd pepperiness in the aftertaste (old pepper). Comments: as rare as assault rifles in Amerikka. We’re losing steam, aren’t we.
SGP:331 - 50 points.

Indeed, isn’t this getting worse and worse?...

Haig ‘Gold Label’ (40%, OB, blend, +/-2018)

Haig ‘Gold Label’ (40%, OB, blend, +/-2018)
They say there’s 40% malt whisky inside. Why wouldn’t we believe them? Now totally love it that they would have kept the old livery… And hey, now that they’ve put the stoopid grain into those unlikely Beckhamy blue bottles, there’s even more hope… Colour: gold. Nose: shhh, whisky sleeping… Sawn wood, perhaps… Burnt scones, perhaps… Perhaps… Perhaps… Mouth: ah, there’s life! The nose was totally absent, but this palate is a little better. Sour oranges, apples… But also burnt wood, cardboard, supermarket chocolate… Now other sides are nicer (plums) but it’s too weak… Finish: short, flat, but relatively clean. Comments: do not, ever, compare modern Haig to the older ones. It’s Koons vs. Canaletto.
SGP:331 - 55 points.

Grant’s Signature (40%, OB, blend, +/-2018)

Grant’s Signature (40%, OB, blend, +/-2018)
Signature, a brand name that’s reeking of the good old 1950s… Or of some Friday afternoon marketing meetings. Approx 15€ a bottle in France, that’s already top-shelf material (as far as cheap NAS blends are concerned). Colour: gold. Nose: shall we call it Glenfiddichy? Cakes, overripe apples, milk chocolate. Our pal Rudolf Lindt would have approved. Mouth: not bad. Some good vanilla – I mean, casks – have been in use. Some sawdust, some toasted bread, some caramel, but the backbone remains bitter and rather too leafy. Why don’t they play it totally sweet? Finish: short, cardboardy. Cinnamon and burnt sugar, sawdust in the aftertaste. Comments: I think I liked the Family Reserve better. More oak is not the way, if I humbly may…
SGP:341 - 60 points.

A pause, we need a pause! See you tomorrow…

More tasting notesCheck the index of all blends we've tasted so far






Whiskyfun's Home
Whiskyfun's Facebook page Whiskyfun's Twitter page Whiskyfun's RSS feed