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Words of Wisdom?

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Words of Wisdom?

Postby Iain » Wed Nov 05, 2008 7:39 pm

In WM75, Peter Moore of Chivas/Ballantines is quoted as saying

"Malts are largely difficult to drink, individual and one-dimensional. In terms of easy drinking to enjoy and relax with, it's blended whisky that really performs."

That seems a highly peculiar statement from someone in a major whisky company who has presumably had the opportunity to sample whole ranges of sms and blends. Does he really believe that The Glenlivet 12 or Longmorn, for example, are "difficult to drink"?

There have been signs of a more aggressive "Empire Strikes Back" mood among the folks marketing blends right now? It hope that's not going to result in campaigns spreading misleading and derogatory comments about sms, aimed at scaring folks off the sms path.

I'm sure there's an apposite quote about jealous parents casting out the children that they brought into the world, but I can't quite place it right now. :?
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Re: Words of Wisdom?

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:10 am

If you re-read his statement he states 'in terms of easy drinking' and I would have say he is right .... and what is so misleading and derogatory about his statement (even though I would question the one-dimensiona bit). If anything it is the Single Malt brigade that has been misleading and derogatory for more years than I care to remember by putting down blends as inferior products. Blends in general are designed to be easy drinking and are more social drinks and therefore more popular where as you need to give a malt time and that more often than not is not a practical drink when you are out with friends.

......not everybody wants bold strong flavours like we do and that is clearly evident in the market with sales of blends far out striping malts 9-1 and this has not changed even with the resurgence of Malts in the 20 years. Think about it ... Ballantines, Chivas, Johnny Walker all massive names and probably out sell the entire malt range of most distilleries with ease. A good quality blend has for me beaten more malts than I care to remember.

I'm not having a go just trying to point out the other side. This is a classic issue of malt snobbery whether you realise it or not (seriously no offence meant).
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Re: Words of Wisdom?

Postby les taylor » Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:30 am

Adrian a point well made. I was listening to Robin Hicks yesterday on Whisky Cast talkng about Teachers Highland Cream and that there may be up to 40 different individual single malts in Highland cream, along with Laphroiag and Ardmore. It made me thinks it's years since I bought any Teachers or even tried it. And I will do again soon.
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Re: Words of Wisdom?

Postby Willie JJ » Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:27 pm

Collector57 wrote:But i agree that blends must be doing something right for the majority - sales prove it.

I believe that McDonalds sell a lot of burgers, but I dont see anyone accusing them of providing quality stuff.
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Re: Words of Wisdom?

Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Nov 11, 2008 1:00 pm

The one-dimensional comment was presumably intended to raise eyebrows and provoke a reaction. It succeeded.

But in many ways, single malts are a bit one dimensional in comparison to high quality blends. They may be smoky, fruity, sherried, spicy, creamy or whatever. But in truth, few single malts would score highly on two or more of these axes. Yet a good blens will have quite a lot going on - fruity and smoky with a strong spicy edge, perhaps.

I agree that malt drinkers often sneer at blends - and I wish they wouldn't. But as long as truly awful, cheap, mass-consumption blends exist (and I don't imagine they would stop existing), I guess blends make themselves an easy target.
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Re: Words of Wisdom?

Postby les taylor » Tue Nov 11, 2008 1:03 pm

Willie JJ wrote:
Collector57 wrote:But i agree that blends must be doing something right for the majority - sales prove it.

I believe that McDonalds sell a lot of burgers, but I dont see anyone accusing them of providing quality stuff.



Willie good point. However is there a difference between the quality of the ingerdients used in a popular burger, and a blended whisky?

I guess the question I'm asking really does populist sales relate necessarily to inferior ingredients?

Just asking the question. Or is it down to lack of opportunity and education.
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Re: Words of Wisdom?

Postby Iain » Tue Nov 11, 2008 7:12 pm

irishwhiskeychaser wrote: This is a classic issue of malt snobbery whether you realise it or not (seriously no offence meant).



From me? Can you explain how?

I made no criticism of blended Scotch or compared it unfavourably to sms in my post - only pointed out that Mr M was being rude and (imo) making misleading statements about single malt whiskies. For the record, I drink as much blended whisky as single malt these days, and appreciate them both.

Personally, I don't believe that (good) single malts or (good) blends are one dimensional as Mr Moore asserts re the former, and I think it's a ridiculous generalisation to state that "malts are largely difficult to drink". That's not snobbery - to me, it just seems fair comment!

But of course you're at liberty to disagree :thumbsup:
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Re: Words of Wisdom?

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:38 pm

Iain wrote:
irishwhiskeychaser wrote: This is a classic issue of malt snobbery whether you realise it or not (seriously no offence meant).



From me? Can you explain how?

I made no criticism of blended Scotch or compared it unfavourably to sms in my post - only pointed out that Mr M was being rude and (imo) making misleading statements about single malt whiskies. For the record, I drink as much blended whisky as single malt these days, and appreciate them both.


I knew how my post looked but never meant it to be anyway derogatory and maybe I was wrong to say it. Take it this way, I too suffer from whiskey snobbery in ways and I reckon if we are honest we all do but just don't realise and I did not mean it in bad way. But there is a huge gulf between attitudes between Single malts and blends which I feel is unbalanced. And that is the point, people dismiss blends too easily. That is why I personally feel there is nothing rude about his comment, and anyway why can't someone be negative about Single malts it's not like it's the underdog. This man's business is selling Blended whisky and he wants people to buy his blend before any malt. So totally within his rights to down Single Malts imo ... it's the name of the game really.

I as a person who is surrounded by people who do not 'get' whisk(e)y am constantly trying people out with different whiskies ..... Blends by far are more approachable for occasional and non whisky drinkers and the only single malts I have come across which the majority of non whiskey drinkers find okay is Balvennie (but I find bland and boring) and possibly Dalwhinnie but I even know people who could not palate that either.

Just to place these whisky drinkers in context ... this to me includes a person who has only one basic blended whisky in their home and it's main use if for hot whiskies or Irish/Gaelic coffee. There is also the person who only drinks the one brand (usually a blend) in the pub with a mixer. This is a huge market and it is dismissed by more serious drinkers like us but the fact is unless you are into whisky or spend time developing your palate single malts are more often than not too much for the majority.

However there are a raft of cheap blends out there which will never amount to anything but affronts to the palate :headbang: but who am I to say that well the whisky snob in me says it.
I can remember my missus coming home from a trip abroad with a bottle of Old Smuggler that she got for €7Euro .... it was bland and sweet and not my cup of tea. But obviousky there is a market for it and I can see why a person who likes that recoils from even the lightest single malt.

As you say it is only an opinion and I take your point that you are a balanced whisky malt and blend drinker. I did not mean to be insulting to you or anybody else and if I came across that way I apologies.

But we can still agree to disagree :wink: :P
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Re: Words of Wisdom?

Postby Reggaeblues » Thu Nov 20, 2008 3:00 pm

Out and about as I am a lot in the course of my work, when offered a drink i usually plump for the best whisky in the house. :iwbrnt: if I'm lucky, this might mean Lagavulin, say, chosen from half a dozen or so quality OB malts.

What languishes at the low end of the selection in such a bar, might be at the high end of another, in which case i'll end up enjoying a Grouse, a JW Black etc.

But given the choice... I know what I'd choose. well, you would too!

I could NEVER choose the Grouse over the Laga, anymore than I'd choose a new Mini over a vintage Ferrari. And that's not to say the Mini ain't fun

But to call malts "one-dimensional" really is a misnomer. Whilst i can enjoy a pleasant blend, which usually has a sweet and easy landing on the palate, i'm not exctly gobsmacked by its complexity, or inspired to sit back, close my eyes, and meditate upon the cavalcade of clean flavours that dance across my palate on the "finish".

Unless of course it's something really special like the Compass Box Asyla. But who ever saw that in a pub?

I think this guy needs a toungue transplant! :P

And to say that malts are "difficult to drink!!"

Must be why my Glenlivet Nadurra Cask Strength took a whole damn week to finish, whereas the bottle of Bells given me two years ago is largely untouched!
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Re: Words of Wisdom?

Postby Iain » Thu Nov 20, 2008 7:09 pm

irishwhiskeychaser wrote:
Iain wrote:[As you say it is only an opinion and I take your point that you are a balanced whisky malt and blend drinker. I did not mean to be insulting to you or anybody else and if I came across that way I apologies.

But we can still agree to disagree :wink: :P


Please believe me, no offence taken at all - I just wanted to point out I'm blend-friendly (and Mr M is being gratuitously, maybe fatuously, malts-unfriendly!)

So I still think Mr M is talking a load of old tosh, which means you and I can continue happily to disagree with each other on this particular thread :wink:
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Re: Words of Wisdom?

Postby brendantansey » Wed Nov 26, 2008 4:56 am

what was quite interesting is that the article on what scots taught the world is that, the writer makes no mention of the fact that the perfected column still that was patented in 1931 by Aeneas Coffey(An Irish Man). The first column still was by a scottish man called Robert Stein, but the still that became the norm column still was the Coffey Still.
This was rejected by the Irish Whiskey makers as it had less flavour and the traditionalists wanted to retain a good quality whisky). Most Scottish whisky makers took it, but most Scottish blends today mix it(1850 with a large percentage of single malt (which happens to be mostly from the traditional pot still). Most Single Malt Scottish whisky still uses the pot still that the Irish whisky makers wanted to keep.

Sottish blended whisky was able to dominate the market in the early half of the 1900's for numerous reasons, one being that they could produce this cheap and fast (and in large quantity) coffey still whisky and get it to the American market.


A good blend will still include a large portion of single malt whisky from a pot still.

So on the Article of what the Scots taught the world about whisky, was probably how to mass produce cheap and drinkable basic whisky with less flavour. But the Irish had a part to play in that as well.
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