Google Four blended malts

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

January 9, 2021





Angus's Corner
From our Scottish correspondent
and skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Edinburgh
Four blended malts
A few reasonably humble and harmless blended malts for a low key start to 2021. Not that 2021 itself has started in a low key fashion mind you…


Naked Grouse Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (40%, OB, -/+ 2020)

Naked Grouse Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (40%, OB, -/+ 2020)
Apparently based around sherry, Highland Park and Macallan. No real idea or preconceptions about this one at all. Let's just try it and see… Colour: amber. Nose: hey, what's this? Caramel digestives, butterscotch, cream sherry, toffee, a little milk chocolate and tiny bit of tobacco. Leafy, easy, simple, clean sherry. Mouth: here the 40% is a bit of a struggle. It feels a bit flat, sluggish and weak. Milky coffee with extra sugar, caramel latte, banana bread, some sultanas, cheap milk chocolate and praline. There's also a feeling that it's been pushed around by filtration and colouring rather aggressively. Finish: short, sweet, more caramel sauce, sweetened black tea, a little earthiness. Comments: Ok, it's nothing monumental. However, neither is it particularly problematic either, once you accept the usual limitations of 40% and pretty ruthless filtration and colour etc. Despite some rather assertive views to the contrary, I generally try not to consider price when assessing a whisky, well, most of the time anyway. But this is a snip under £24 a bottle, so probably even at this level it's a contender for some kind of bang for your buck award. Easy, nice, quaffable, harmless, mixable and inoffensive. But 46%, or even 43%, would probably propel it to 80.
SGP: 631 - 76 points.



Blended Malt No.4 6 yo 'Batch 1' (53.6%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, 625 bottles)

Blended Malt No.4 6 yo 'Batch 1' (53.6%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, 625 bottles)
Colour: pale white wine. Nose: clearly rather young, but it's a pure and celebratory expression of youthfulness in malt whisky. Lots of very natural barley eau de vie vibes going on, cut grass, nettles, light citrus teas and a few firmer aspects underneath providing body such as sunflower oil and cereals. With water: greener, more floral, some chlorophyl, daffodils, vase water, nettles and soda bread dough. Mouth: young malt whisky, lots of raw gristy barley, natural sweetness, cereal and still quite a few sharper, green notes and yeasty qualities lingering. With water: rather just simple, young, clean malt whisky. A bit boring and plain now thought I suppose. Finish: medium, nicely peppery, white flowers, cut grass and yeasty notes. Comments: It's fine, you just have to like young whiskies. Feels like it would make for a very fine highball (isn't that becoming a bit of a 'get out of jail' comment for whisky reviewers these days?)
SGP: 431 - 77 points.



Blended Malt No.1 18 yo 'Batch 3' (47.3%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, 1049)

Blended Malt No.1 18 yo 'Batch 3' (47.3%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, 1049)
Colour: pale straw. Nose: it could be the same whisky as the youngster only with 12 more years of age. There's still this generic Speyside core, however those yeasty aspects have morphed to lighter honeys, meads, pollens and richer cereals, while the greener aspects have gone from grasses to  orchard fruits such as apples, gooseberries, pears and green banana. Light, elegant and the height of easy and simple pleasure. Mouth: sweeter than expected with runny honey, baked apple crumble, custard, young sauternes and toasted cereals glazed with caramel. Also various nectars, pollens and more honey notes. Some kind of fruit scone mix in there as well adding richness. Finish: medium, lightly sweet, honeyed, cereal and with wee notes of white flowers and lemon peel. Comments: hard to see who could be against this extremely quaffable wee drop. Feels older than it is at times.
SGP: 641 - 85 points.



Vega 20 yo 2000/2020 (43.5%, North Star, American and European oak sherry casks, 600 bottles)

Vega 20 yo 2000/2020 (43.5%, North Star, American and European oak sherry casks, 600 bottles)
Another cosmic brew from Mr Croucher. Who, incidentally, is also the owner of Argyllshire's largest underground Tuk-Tuk Thunderdrome. Colour: amber. Nose: a soft, leafy and rather gooey sherry profile. Feels joyfully sticky, like dark fruit loaf, stewed fruits and plum wine. Rather nicely old school and with these earthy notes topped with sweeter honeyed aspects. Mouth: superbly rich, leafy, old school sherry. What is this? More leftover blending juice from Edrington? We demand answers! Sweet raisins, tobacco leaf, mulchy earth, dark chocolate sauce, rancio and walnut oil. Rather devastatingly gluggable really. Finish: medium, with more raisiny, almost botrytic sweetness. More tobacco, chocolate, rancio and soft earthiness in the aftertaste. Comments: Hugely pleasurable stuff, old style sherried quaffing whisky, it just feels a tad light in the mouth. A few extra degrees of alcohol and we would likely be sat giggling in the lap of 90 points.
SGP: 651 - 88 points.  



Looks like there are quite a few excellent and somewhat surprising drams out there in the world of blended malts. It's just that these are largely just designed for people who want to - get this - drink whisky (I know, I know). So, no one pays them much attention as a result, which has ever thus been the case I suppose, but I still think it's a bit of a shame.










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