Review: Battle of the Blends – The Judging

Whisky Mag’s Battle of the Blends
in association with Master of Malt

Battle-of-the-BlendsSo, Dave ‘The Rummager’ Broom and Neil ‘Copper Dog’ Ridley have been set a challenge by the Whisky Mag along with Master of Malt… which of the two can produce the best blend… and it’s now time for selected blaggers judges to compare, contrast and submit their favourites. Want more info on the fight? Head to Master of Malt’s blog here.

As regular readers of my blog may have noticed I’ve run a small selection of blend reviews over the last few posts, so this seems a great way to finish that round up.

Annnd it’s on to my thoughts…

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Review: Label 5 Gold Heritage

label5-800Label 5 Gold Heritage – 40% abv

Info: At the end of 2014 Label 5 (owned by La Martiniquaise who also own Glen Moray – the blend’s main component) released “Gold Heritage” to expand their range. It’s a blend containing a mix of whiskies including single malts up to 20 years old, the result being an exceptionally smooth whisky loaded with fruit, spice, warm vanilla oak and subtle smoke.
Colour: Spring sun gold.
Nose: Some grain top notes leading into a sweet fruity malt base. Touches of oak and sherry sweetness. There’s some quality malt backing this blend up for sure.
Palate: Instant honey sweetness with touches of oaky wood giving it depth to join the brown sugars and malt.
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Review: The Antiquary – Blended Scotch Whisky

the-antiquary-blended-scotch-whiskyThe Antiquary – Blended Scotch Whisky – 40% abv

Info: This is the entry level expression from the Antiquary blended Scotch whisky range, owned by the Tomatin distillery after their acquisition of J. W. Hardie in 1997.
Colour: Orangey golden.
Nose: Much more interesting than I imagined it might be, there’s a peatiness to it along with younger oak notes and lemon drop sweets. The best flavours dissipate fairly quickly in the air leaving mossy malt.
Palate: Very easy and velvet smooth although not hugely thick. It’s nicely balanced sweetness comes through along with smoky puffs.
Finish: Slight bonfire notes stick around with sweetness to give your chest a little warming hug, very pleasant indeed. At the end there’s some younger notes coming out which belies it’s price point.
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Review: The Famous Grouse Mellow Gold (vs standard)

FG_Mellow_HRThe Famous Grouse Mellow Gold – 40% abv

Info: The recipe has a higher proportion of sherry casks than standard Grouse to deliver a subtly sweeter, mellow flavour. More info here.
Colour: Autumn gold, a fair bit darker than the standard Famous Grouse blend.
Nose: Fairly sweet with quite a lot of sherry nuttiness about it. Vanilla along with red and green apples and a slight fudgeyness.
Palate: Actually a fairly thick mouthfeel leading to gently building spices, the red and green apples are there but held back somewhat.
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Review: Hyde 10yo

Hyde10yoBottleHyde ‘No. 1 President’s Cask’ 10 Year Old – 46% abv

Info: Hyde comes from Hibernia Distilleries and is a single malt Irish whiskey from West Cork. It’s made from 100% malted Irish barley and matured in first fill bourbon and then finished in Oloroso sherry casks. Non-chill filtered. 5000 bottles.
Colour: Summer gold.
Nose: A nice mix of things on the nose, great to keep you smelling. There’s almost slight peaty whiffs, malt, some mossy oak notes, slight overripe fruits, stewed autumn berries and hints of a metallic nature. There’s a creamy vanilla custard there too.
Palate: A thick oily mouthfeel which is fairly easy going on your palate, there’s a small pinch of spices, medium sweetness with those stewed berries leading the way and the cream there too.
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Review: Ledaig – Dùsgadh – 42 Year Old

Ledaig 42YO bottle onlyLedaig ‘Dùsgadh’ – 42 Year Old – 46.3%abv

Info: This contains some of the first spirit to be made at the distillery when it reopened in 1972. The old stills have since been decommissioned and used as part of the packaging. The replacement stills have now produced new spirit and in buying a bottle of this 24yo gets you a free bottle of 10yo in 2024 made from the spirit from those new stills. For the full PR info go here.
Colour: Deep and rich coppery gold. Old rusty tints.
Nose: Old and relaxed; a really smooth nasal delivery with a surprising amount of fresh papaya and tropical fruit notes coming through. There’s gentle smokey puffs and a leatheryness you get from old leather covered oak chairs. Some slight coffee notes followed by mushy plums, beeswax & honey.
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Quick Review: Ledaig 1997 – G&M

ldgg!m1997Ledaig 1997 – G&M – 56.8% abv

Info: Sherry Cask #465 TWE Exclusive. 16 years old.
Colour: Fully golden, hints of orange.
Nose: Big powerful sherry peat smoke, gentle moss.
Palate: Thick, oily and easy for the strength. Oaks, light moss, peaty puffs and sherry flavours all combine well.
Finish: Relaxed and long with a farm note, muddy, mushey fruit malt smoked goodness!
Thoughts: Really tasty and luxurious, excellent stuff.

Thanks to my friend Dave (whiskyrepublic) for the sample.

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