Search

theScotchlife

Enjoying Scotch Whisky and a few other things

Tag

inexpensive scotch

Islay Mist Blended Scotch Whisky

IMG_2001

There is a saying, “Every now and then a blind squirrel finds a nut.” So I was a lucky squirrel the other day when I ran across this peculiar bottling of scotch whisky. I don’t recall ever seeing this and wouldn’t have if I did not stop over into the State of Maryland one day on a return from DC whisky shopping.

Islay whisky is iconic and most known these days for producing amazing single malts from Bowmore, Ardbeg, Laphroaig, and Lagavulin. Just to name a few which are my favorites. This Blended and affordable scotch whisky is marketed as a “blend of fine aged whiskies: the most distinctive of these being Laphroaig Single Islay Malt.” It is bottled by Macduff international.

Laphroaig is a favorite of mine and you can’t go too wrong starting with their spirit as the base. The marketing goes onto say it “appeals to contemporary tastes.” Nice way of saying this won’t knock your tastes buds off the way regular Laphroaig may.

It’s fairly light amber in color and gives off a very nice malt aroma with considerable depth. You do not notice the prevailing phenols that a quarter cask or ten-year Laphroaig may give you on the nose. At 40%ABV I choose to taste this neat, hold it on the tongue for a few seconds then let it go. It has a nice slightly warming presence with an excellent malt taste. It isn’t really rounded or complex and you can feel there is a predominate single malt playing nice with some other whiskies. Unfortunately, I still have a bit of a head cold so I can’t nail down everything I’m tasting but it is a decent dram. Not overly impressive but when you want some Islay malt and want something a bit different, or just cheaper this is a good route.

There is a nice oily quality and it does coat the mouth quite well. The finish is mostly clean but the oils do hang around. It’s an 8 year blended Islay that deserves a look. I’m glad I found it!

Cheers!

John Barr Blended Scotch Whisky

So today I finally got time to make a whisky run inside Washington DC and ended up close to the Maryland border so stopped in there also. My reward was picking up 4 bottles that I cannot pick up in Virginia, save one. One of these great finds was this 1.75L of Blended whisky. John Barr is new to me. Obviously it is nothing new in the UK and its story is worth mentioning.

As the story, albeit brief, goes there was a legal problem in the EU about Johnny Walker Red in 1977. While no great explanation is given, JW had to be withdrawn from a particular market. In came John Barr! It was evidently a label used for the market to fill the gap. The “brand” has been purchased by Whyte & Mackay, not sure when, who are experts in blended whisky. The very fact that W&M is involved in this endeavor made me purchase the product. If you do not know who Richard Paterson is, he is the master distiller for W&M and takes blending whisky seriously! If you don’t believe me, watch this.

John Barr, in the UK, comes in a choice of Red, Gold, or Black. What I found today just has a black label and no mention of “Black Label.” A quick Google search turned up an image of a bottle similar, yet smaller, that is described as a Reserve. This was tasted by tastings.com of Chicago and they rated it highly.

So? Is it any good? YES! A resounding yes! While I am not surprised due to W&M’s involvement I do feel some affirmation from trusting that W&M’s Paterson would never let an inferior product exist in his world. I mentioned a few posts ago that I was going to pursue less expensive yet good scotch whisky and I am so happy to report I have found one. This 1.75L cost me about $32 on sale, usually $40. At this price, you have a very nice daily drinker that you are not going to soon get tired of.

As for the particulars: Colour is Golden/Amber, Nose is malty and cries out quality malt. The taste is malty, Speyside honeyed with some crisp explosions of spice, I’m also going to guess there is some weighted Sherry Butt (cask or barrel) finishing going on here. The ABV is 43% (which I think is perfect) and I drank it neat, of course. The mouth-feel is very oily at first and it coats the palate quite well. I wanted to go eat Bacon with it!

I think that this is one of the best, if not the best 1.75L offerings I have ever tasted. I would be happy to have this in a decanter! I have asked the company to send me more information. If I receive more exact information on this product I will update this post.

UPDATE —

I haven’t heard any information back on this product so I don’t have any more to share. The only thing I would like to add is that this is about half full now and I noticed a very strong alcohol presence when I drank it today. It really came across as rubbing alcohol. I’m not sure if this was just due to me noticing it more or the chemistry is changing as air is introduced. Advice, you do not want to hold onto this one for too long.

Cheers!

20130216-165835.jpg

McClelland’s Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

To prove that I do not only drink expensive Single Malt whisky, you should know that brands like McClelland’s and others really can help me keep my spending down. McClelland’s Islay whisky is a single malt, and is a close relative to the prestigious Bowmore Single Malt whisky’s from Islay. How close? Well, you might say they share the same owner! Morrison Bowmore Distillers of Glasgow, Scotland. So you can be assured you are not purchasing some product that is not given someone’s full attention.

I’ve enjoyed this McClelland’s back to back with the Bowmore 12 and it is obvious they are related, though the Bowmore is clearly superior. With that said, the McClelland’s is fully representative of an Islay “peated” scotch. At half the cost of Bowmore 12-year-old it is worth trying. If you are into mixing scotch (with other inferior liquids) you would be well off working with this one.

While I do not get the same enjoyment out of this dram as I would a Bowmore 12 year (or lesser aged ones) I do enjoy saving a little money and its hard to appreciate different Islay offerings if you do not have something to compare them to. This would make a great addition to a bar for when you have that scotch lover show up, he/she will definitely be surprised!

Though the ABV% is 40, the Phenols are kickin! There is a wonderful oiliness on the palate also. This is a full mouth of Islay.

The Distiller’s tasting notes are as follows:

Colour:
Warm honey.
Body:
Full bodied and robust.
Nose:
Lingering wood cinders of tar and smoke, with just a trace of vanilla and a subtle citrus note.
Palate:
A strong Islay character with traces of sea salt and burnt oak chips. The smokey nature is apparent throughout; a malty vanilla flavour bringing balance to the overall taste.
Finish:
A powerful Islay aftertaste of sweet smoke with a hint of iodine.

20130105-215634.jpg

Cheers!

Grant’s Family Reserve Blended Scotch Whisky – my thoughts

So you like Scotch do you? Then I imagine you would have no reservation sharing a glass of inexpensive blended scotch whisky?

All kidding aside, I do drink inexpensive blended scotch whisky on occasion! My first whisky that I actually drank on a regular basis was Ballantine. Then I graduated all the way up to Johnny Walker Red. After a few years of drinking blended whiskies I ventured into the single malt world and I admit, I pretty much prefer single malt scotch. The thing about drinking single malt is that I tend to get my head wrapped around the spirit, trying to dissect and figure out what makes it distinguished from another single malt. So there are times when I just don’t want to think, I just want to drink.

Enter Grant’s Family Reserve Blended whisky. I first saw this whisky somewhere, not sure, but it was the only scotch they had. That will probably say something about the establishment! So, hence, not exactly memorable. I could have had Jack Daniels, or some other common whisky but thought I must know what this Grant’s is about. I do remember thinking, not bad, and I’m sure I had a couple and I did not drown it in ice! Since then I’ve learned that this is one of the most popular scotch whiskies in the world! Sold in over 180 countries! And has been around since 1898. In sales I believe it is behind Johnny Walker (Red) and I think Dewar’s. I personally think it is equal to if not better than both of those offerings.

The taste of it is complex but it should, being the result of 25 single malt and grain whiskies, the base being Girvan grain whisky. The tasting notes from the distiller highlight Pear and spring fruits. Ok, like a lot of tasting notes I find, I just nod and say, ok. Sometimes I can totally taste or nose what they are saying, the other 50% of the time I just nod. Though nosing is important and quite enjoyable on some whisky’s, this whisky is for drinking!

As you can guess, this is an affordable scotch! And if you need a house scotch you should try this one out. If you are someone who actually mixes scotch (gasp) with other items then this might be a great staple for you. I have not tried the 12 year and up on this brand because it is not available in my area and I’ve never seen it at a tasting. The Master Blender for Grant’s also, just happens to be, the Master for The Balvenie. Now that should mean something.

As an aside, this is my 100th post! Wow, a lot of typing and wondering if anyone would ever read this stuff! Well, if you are reading this I hope you enjoy!

Cheers!

20120104-233007.jpg

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

theamericanwhiskeylife

From Bourbon to Single Malts, American Style

The Malt Activist

A personal whisky journal

Buffalo Whiskey Guild

Learning, appreciating and enjoying the art of drinking whiskey

Bill Mullins' Weblog - Tech Thoughts

Security and System Tools and Tips. Software Reviews, News, Views, Downloads and Links.

9to5Mac

Apple News & Mac Rumors Breaking All Day

TED Blog

The TED Blog shares interesting news about TED, TED Talks video, the TED Prize and more.

BECKY SAYS THINGS

Becky says things about things and other things

Sadie Hasler

The multi award-winning columns of Sadie Hasler - Columnist | Playwright | Actor | Co Artistic Director of Old Trunk Theatre Company - Follow on Twitter @sadiehasler

Cask Tales

Enjoying Scotch Whisky and a few other things

%d bloggers like this: