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

September 25, 2018


A few blends

Indeed I haven’t racked my brain. Blends do exist, so let’s try a few until we’ve had enough. I know, very lazy writing but many blends are lazy too…

Whyte & Mackay ‘Special’ (40%, OB, blend, +/-2018)

Whyte & Mackay ‘Special’ (40%, OB, blend, +/-2018) one star and a half
Well if it says ‘special’, that would suggest there’s nothing really special inside. Remember, with Scotch, words usually mean their opposites. Old means young, rare means common, limited means widely available, by hand means from a spreadsheet, and so on. It’s an unusual language any whisky lovers should try to master. Now we’ve tried this W&M ‘Special’ back in 2009 when it used to cost £10, and thought it was rather average (WF 68, not bad for a cheap blend), but they may have improved the recipe. Oh and it’s now ‘triple matured’. LOL. Colour: gold. Nose: some butter, vanilla, custard, and flowers. Café latte, Starbuck’s stuff, etc. Fair, so far. Mouth: it’s pretty okay at first, with a blend of custard with orange syrup and toasted bread, but it tends to become bitterish and cardboardy, which is what happens with most cheap blends. Finish: short, with more caramel and supermarket fruit liqueurs. Curaçao, perhaps? Parfait Amour? Comments: very average but rather a wee bit better than I remembered. Now it’s very sad that there’s this.
SGP:331 - 69 points.

Robert Burns (40%, OB, blend, +/-2018)

Robert Burns (40%, OB, blend, +/-2018) Two stars
This is Arran’s blend, said to contain a higher proportion of malt. In general, the more malt, the better, that’s almost always a rule. Colour: pale gold. Nose: there’s less notes of stale fruits and burnt wood and cardboard than in most cheap blends, while indeed, we’re finding more malt, cereals, oatcakes, brioche, pears and of course, vanilla. A nice but rather ‘moderate’ nose that I won’t remember forever. Mouth: fine, with a little earth, more vanilla, croissants, overripe apples and pears, shortbread from a pack that you’ve opened two weeks ago… It’s okay, really. Finish: medium, rather peppery and that’s oak pepper. Some ginger too, cardboard… Burnt stuff in the aftertaste, aftertastes are rarely a blend’s best part in my experience. Comments: feeling a tad sleepy already… No, not bored to death yet…
SGP:431 - 72 points.

Aberdour Piper (40%, OB, blend, +/-2018)

Aberdour Piper (40%, OB, blend, +/-2018)
Naturally, this is ‘superior’ (remember, whisky language), but you know what? I had ordered this while believing it was Aberlour. Never order anything online while watching a movie by the Coen bros! Yeah, twenty years of whisky commenting seem to lead you nowhere…  Colour: pale gold. Nose: tinned litchis and rose petals at first, so there’s hope, but not much afterwards, just burnt cakes and more burnt cakes. Perhaps apple juice? Mouth: whacky. Tastes like some Scotch for some remote African country. Nothing against remote African countries, of course. Mint liqueur, caraway, peach syrup… You would believe that’s all well and nice, but those flavours do feel unnatural, akin to those that are to be found in some of those ugly doctored rums. Raspberry syrup. Finish: medium and unnaturally sweet. Pepper. Comments: how did they make this?
SGP:541 - 45 points.

Adelphi (40%, OB, blend, +/-2018)

Adelphi (40%, OB, blend, +/-2018) Three stars
Always liked this label, since I first stumbled upon it somewhere in Italy around the year 2000. Not that you should care, mind you… Colour: gold. Nose: higher malt proportions for sure. Fresh grass and earth, some coastal notes, a wee bit of peat smoke, some wild mushrooms perhaps, otherwise some orchard fruits including the usual apples and pears… A fine nose for sure. Mouth: indeed, nothing to do with the large-volume blends, this is really pretty nice, smoky, earthy, with touches of menthol, green tea, green bananas, fresh hazelnuts, and bonbons. Feels like there’s approximatively 10% peaty Islay malts inside. Finish: rather long, fresh, with grapefruits this time, a drop of brine, and this smoke. No, make that 15% Islay malts. Comments: clearly another dimension – I could quaff this!
SGP:452 - 80 points.

Believe me, these sessions are harder to do than you think…

House of Hazelwood 18 yo (40%, blend, +/-2018)

House of Hazelwood 18 yo (40%, blend, +/-2018) Three stars and a half
Hazelwood are William Grant’s upper-echelon blends and do come at various ages. They’re using some very special ‘art déco’ decanters that all in-laws will like a lot at Christmas time – although some might believe it’s eau-de-cologne. Colour: white wine (that’s cool!) Nose: smoked grated coconut and blossom waters, I would say, which is certainly quite unusual. Some pollen, dried pears (slices), roses, pot-pourri, butterscotch, coffee toffee, roasting coffee… It’s all rather complex, and perhaps a little feminine. Well that’s what we’d have said twenty years ago, but it’s become a sexist remark, according to some new online passionarias. But Let's not get into that... Mouth: really fine, and really floral indeed. Orange blossom water, rosewater, coconut again, tinned pineapple, custard, barley sugar, a kind of smoky pepper, a feeling of light incense… Quite curiously, had I tried this blind, I would have said it’s Japanese, honestly. Finish: medium, with some kind of fruity/spicy oakiness at first, then plain oak tannins (feeling of black tea). Comments: I think they should have bottled it at a higher strength, but I find this extremely pleasant and, above everything, pretty unusual. Funny that they would have used the same name as that of some early Kininvies. Oh and it reminds me of Hibiki, but maybe is that just the decanter.
SGP:641 - 84 points.

Good, that’s enough blends already, we’ll have more next time… Get ready for a part II, and perhaps a part III…

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






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