Google Blends until we succumb

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

July 30, 2018


Blends until we succumb

Not quite, do not worry, just a figure of speech, and one that failed, besides. Again!

Peatside 2011/2017 (45%, Golden Barley, blended malt, cask #5557, 2018)

Peatside 2011/2017 (45%, Golden Barley, blended malt, cask #5557, 2018) Three stars
Some blended malt from a single cask, that’s always pretty intriguing. A teaspooned single, I’d wager… Colour: apricot gold, some wine involved, it appears… Nose: funny, really funny. Rubbed orange skin, soot and ashes, incense, red apples and peaches, young pinot noir, sweet mustard, then rather some kind of cleaner manure, cow stable… Intriguing indeed. Mouth: a funny dram indeed, and while this style should be rather dissonant, it is not. A feeling of smoked oranges, cooked jam, amontillado, sour cream, grenadine. Unlikely, perhaps, but indeed it is funny. And this is whiskyfundotcom, you understand. Finish: medium, a tad cleaner, and smokier, and yet a tad sweetish. Banyuls wine? Comments: I don’t think you can drink a lot of this, but it’s got this funny side that works well in my book. Wine-boosted Ardmore or something?
SGP:643 - 81 points.

Seriously that one was very good, but since we’re in the midst of summer, when everything’s possible, why not rather have a few old blends?

Oxford ‘Rare Deluxe’ (43%, OB, blend, 1960s)

Oxford ‘Rare Deluxe’ (43%, OB, blend, 1960s)
A blend by Jamie Rogers & Co., but we’re seen more recent bottles by Strathdearn Distillers. Of course, ‘Rare Deluxe’ means that it’s neither rare nor deluxe – actually, most ‘square’ bottles were rather bad (except Johnnie Walker, White Hearther and a bunch of others). Colour: white wine. Nose: well, crushed chalk, vanilla, pear spirit, porridge, stale spice mix… The jury’s still out, as they say. Mouth: not too bad, thanks to, apparently, so rather solid Highland malt. Soot and gravel and things. Sadly there’s also a sweetish feeling, as if someone had added sugar cubes. Finish: surprisingly long, a tad rough, a little too spirity. Always this odd sugariness. Comments: there was some solid malt whisky inside, but the grain whiskies were really, oh well, bad.
SGP:641 - 60 points.

Big Ben (40%, Angus Dundee, blend, 50cl, +/-2015)

Big Ben (40%, Angus Dundee, blend, 50cl, +/-2015)
Exactly, this is not the first time we’re trying whisky for tourists. The bottle is shaped like… Big Ben, the good news is that there are no bells that I could see. Colour: gold. Nose: not much. Overripe apples, caramel, Golden Grahams, pancake syrup, bread, liquid soap… Mouth: kind of drinkable. Apples and cardboard… If Aldi had bottled this it would already come with many gold medals (and a best whisky in the world mention in the less-than-£10-funny-bottle category). Finish: short and sweetish. Not unpleasant. Comments: it’s rather okay -and again, it doesn’t strike. But Big Ben is not a Big Blend.
SGP:441 - 55 points.

The Lost Distilleries Blend (49.3%, The Blended Whisky Company, batch #6, 534 bottles, +/-2014)

The Lost Distilleries Blend (49.3%, The Blended Whisky Company, batch #6, 534 bottles, +/-2014) Two stars and a half
A crazy blend by the crazy people at Master of Malt, containing Mosstowie, Port Ellen, Glenisla, Imperial, Caperdonich, Glen Mhor, Brora, and Port Dundas. What, no Stromness?? Colour: straw. Nose: mainly chalk-dominated at first, then we have apple skins, grass, green tea, then rather green bananas and touches of carbon paper and new magazines. Did you say ‘sounds austere’? You’re right. With water: custard. Mouth (neat): very unusual. Some medicinal/asparagussy kind of smokiness, tequila, some green pepper, some raw alcohol, lime juice… It really is an unusual combination, as if there was some kind of randomness involved, if I humbly may… With water: more grass and cider apples. Finish: medium, raw, metallic, rather unpolished, quite bizarrely. Comments: not too sure. Batch #4, which I had tried three or four years ago, had been much, and I mean much more to my liking (WF 89!)
SGP:262 - 77 points.

Creations Blend 44 yo 1973/2018 (43.4%, Cadenhead, hogshead, 346 bottles)

Creations Blend 44 yo 1973/2018 (43.4%, Cadenhead, hogshead, 346 bottles) Four stars
Out in April, probably all downed already by the thirsty masses. Geriatric whisky? Not too sure… Colour: gold. Nose: ah! Teas and herbs plus fruit skins, that’s the name of the game here. Guavas, gooseberries, huckleberries, banana skin, honeysuckle, lime tree… This really works, but careful, when you get green bananas or banana skin on the nose, the palates may have gotten too drying and ‘green’, let’s see… Mouth: not quite, this is rather green liquorice, even liquorice allsorts, orange blossom water, oriental pastries, a feeling of incense and balsa wood, then rather fresher fruits, around blueberries again, morellos... It did not get too drying, and any excessive graininess has been kept at bay (excessive coconut, pwah!) Finish: medium, fresh, rather on mint and other herbs. Some nutty sherry in the aftertaste, as well as, indeed, a little oak, that was to be expected. Comments: a very fine old blend that managed to avoid the nursing home.
SGP:661 - 85 points.

W. Palmer Finest Scotch Whisky 14 yo (no ABV, W. Palmer & Co., Hull, 1920s?)

W. Palmer Finest Scotch Whisky 14 yo (no ABV, W. Palmer & Co., Hull, 1920s?)
A very old bottle for some long-gone wine merchants in Yorkshire. Don’t quite know what to expect, but once again, we’re noticing that age statements are not quite ‘a new thing’. Whisky revisionism, no pasaràn! Colour: light gold. Nose: but this is as fresh as if it was distilled right yesterday! Pears, apples, pineapples, fresh croissants, oatcakes, butterscotch and what’s typical in these very old Scotches with high malt content, soot, gravel, coal smoke and old copper coins. Mouth: no, it didn’t stand the distance. Soap and plastic, de profundis… Finish: same. Comments: a crying shame, the nose was really nice and even some parts of the palate were firmly ‘Highlander.’ But the cap, I suppose, got the better of this venerable old whisky.
SGP:272 – (no score) points.

V.S.O. 10 yo (90 proof, Charles Mackinlay & Co., bottled 1917)

V.S.O. 10 yo (90 proof, Charles Mackinlay & Co., bottled 1917) Four stars and a half
This ultra-rare Mackinlay was shipped from Leith to John Wagner & Sons, Philadelphia, per the S/S Tamaqua, in 1916, and then bottled in 1917. So, it was bottled more than one century ago! In theory, this should be full of Glen Mhor… Please note that this bottling did no good to the merchants, as they went bust the next year, in 1918. And did you notice the age statement? Colour: gold. Nose: once again, noses are never the problems, should there be any problems. In this case, we’re finding some lovely notes of fresh pastries (baked pineapples), apricots, then old absinth, verbena, angelica, menthol cigarettes, and should I add ‘of course’, camphor. Camphor too is often to be found in these very old whiskies. Mouth: no extreme Old Bottle Effect here, this is perfectly fresh albeit very herbal, and I just love these notes of sultanas, goji berries, dried apples, old fudge and lighter pipe tobacco. Nutshell, raisins that got a little mentholy. Finish: medium and immune to any excessive cardboard, apparently. Bravo! I even think I recognise Glen Mhor, and even the original Shackleton ‘from the hut’, which I could try at W&M’s headquarters with The Man himself (Richard, not Shackleton), a few years ago. Comments: pretty exceptional, this may/should have gone astray after so many years.
SGP:462 - 89 points.

Chivas Regal 12 yo (86° US proof, OB, USA, blend, +/-1953)

Chivas Regal 12 yo (86° US proof, OB, USA, blend, +/-1953) Five stars
Let’s be honest, it is just like with Johnnie Walker, or Cutty Sark, or Black & White, or Ballantine’s, or White Horse, old Chivasses used to be much better (indeed, better) than their contemporary counterparts, for reasons too long to discuss here and now. Colour: gold. Nose: these old Chivas Regals were always quite bouillony, meaty, or meady, and this is no exception. I’m even finding ‘ideas’ of Buckfast, and certainly quite some mead. Lovely touches of old basement, soot, old wine cellar…

Mouth: one of the best I could taste. Huge meaty honey, old Tokaji, glazed chestnuts, panettone, Stolle, fruitcake, dried apricots, a wee bit of halva or turron… This is absolutely fantastic! Finish: long, a tad salty, which is marvellous. Marrow quenelles stewed in honey and wine sauce. Killer. Comments: utterly brilliant old Chivas, these old bottles are the luck of the draw, but when you find a good one, you’re in for a total treat.
SGP:562 - 91 points.


^This ad ran right in 1953

Perhaps a last old blend, we’ll have others very soon anyway…

Haig & Haig (OB, blend, USA, late 19th century)

Haig & Haig (OB, blend, USA, late 19th century) Five stars
A fantastic old bottle, thank you Joe. Love this on the label, ‘blend of guaranteed pure barley malt’. Grain whiskies hadn’t wrecked it all yet when this was bottled (oh no, S., not again!) Also to be noticed, the Haigs were meant to have been distillers since 1679, but I think we’ve seen other dates since back then, haven’t we? What would D. Beckham say? Does that even matter? Colour: light gold. Nose: get out of here, this is as fresh as a baby’s mouth. Amazing smoke, peat, embers, sea breeze, tar, gravel, oysters, camphor, embrocations, bandages (are we safe yet?) What I cannot find is the slightest idea of some kind of fruitiness, but we just won’t care, this is fantastic. This is how they used to build brands, by making the best possible products (well, not just that, but you get the idea). Mouth: a wee taste of glass or sunlight, perhaps, but other than that, this just works. Soups, meads, wines, smoke, grapefruits (grapefruits in a 19th century whisky!), even olive oil, a touch of Worcester sauce, then probably a little too much cardboard from all those long years…  But the power and the mouth feel are totally impressive. Finish: incredibly long and spicy. Crystallised ginger, cinnamon mints, salted liquorice… Comments: big malts in there, many long-gone, I imagine. It would be great to have the old blender’s books… Would love to let the good folks who invented Haig Club taste this…
SGP:463 - 90 points (92 without the very discreet taste of light).

We’ll have more old blends later.

(Thank you Angus, Hans, Joe, Max)

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






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