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Is a Good Blended Scotch worth trying?

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Is a Good Blended Scotch worth trying?

Postby Jonwin » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:45 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm very much into Single malt whisky since I Backpacked through Scotland, and recently got the Lagavulin 16 (amazing!).

A friend of mine told me that trying a good blended Scotch is worth it.

I was wondering where you stand on this issue?

Can a blended Scotch really compete with a good old Single malt?
And if so, which blended Scotch?


Thanks a lot

Jonathan
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Re: Is a Good Blended Scotch worth trying?

Postby The Third Dram » Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:28 am

Jonwin wrote:Can a blended Scotch really compete with a good old Single malt?

It's perhaps best not to view this so much as a 'competition', Jonathan, as an exercise in 'whisky education'.

:wink:

A Blended Scotch Whisky can be a thing of beauty if you're looking for a combination of sheer drinkability, subtlety and complexity. Seen in this light, a blend could well offer certain characteristics you'd not expect to find in a (possibly) more characterful single malt whisky.

There's a wealth of excellent choices out there in the marketplace when it comes to blends. I'd highly recommend you read reviews on what's available, and then make a foray into this realm based upon what you may be looking for specifically (e.g. greater maturity, stylistic emphasis, etc.).

So yes... By all means, try some blends! :thumbsup:
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Re: Is a Good Blended Scotch worth trying?

Postby dramtastic » Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:10 pm

If you want to try a blend that'll smack a hell of a lot of single malts outta the ball park, try Nikka From The Barrel.
You'll never look at the blends the same way again.
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Re: Is a Good Blended Scotch worth trying?

Postby Ganga » Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:26 am

I'm with you fellers. :thumbsup:
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Thanks for the help

Postby Jonwin » Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:39 pm

Thanks. Would you drink the Nikky with a bit of water, since it's alcohol percentage is rather high?

And what about a Bourbon worth trying?

Jon
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Re: Thanks for the help

Postby The Third Dram » Fri Oct 14, 2011 6:42 pm

Jonwin wrote:Would you drink the Nikky with a bit of water, since it's alcohol percentage is rather high? ...
And what about a Bourbon worth trying?

The Nikka possesses a wonderful textural quality that makes it delicious either with or without water. Try it both ways and see what works for you.

Good Bourbons? There are tons of them.

Pappy Van Winkle (I like the 15YO) is well worth searching out (in a wheated style).
Booker's will satisfy.
George T. Stagg is an amiable monster of a Bourbon if ever there was one.
I've recently purchased and quite enjoyed Maker's 46 as well.

Might I also suggest you check out High West Rendezvous Rye... One of my best 'discoveries' last year. Sazerac Rye is another reliable one.
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Re: Is a Good Blended Scotch worth trying?

Postby Knolly » Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:49 am

Blends? Definitely!

I think the stigma with blends comes with the insane marketing of blends like Johnny Walker Blue (when we all know that the gold is the best at 40% of the cost and the black very good for little $).

Some blends can be really nice - hell. JW black is great and even regular Dewars or Famous Grouse is excellent at the right time!

And - as mentioned - Nikka from the barrel is awesome and not only will change your mind about blends, but also open up the world of Japanese whiskies.

Bourbons: as mentioned, there are some great ones: most of my favourites come from Buffalo Trace distillery: the house brand is really good value and as stated George T Stagg is a wonderful but serious ass kicker whisky. Sazerac is ridiculously good as well :)

I love my single malts but blends can definitely fit the bill at the right time and we have to remember that most single malts wouldn't exist without blended whisky!
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Re: Is a Good Blended Scotch worth trying?

Postby The Third Dram » Sun Oct 16, 2011 3:42 pm

One more thing to remember: Blended Scotch actually comes in 2 different forms... Blends that meld both malt and grain whiskies (the more common variety), and blends that comprise only malt whiskies (formerly known as 'vatted malt whiskies').

As good as many a 'regular' blended Scotch may be (one of the finest I've ever tasted was the J & B Ultima, which combined a rather astounding 128 malt and grain whiskies, and is now next to impossible to find), the blended malt whisky category includes a number of noteworthy examples.

Chivas The Century of Malts, a one-off whisky created many years ago by Colin Scott and combining 100 (naturally!) different malt whiskies, remains, for me, one of the very best interpretations of blended malt whisky. This has been followed by many others. Compass Box is a pioneer of sorts in this arena. Another I've quite enjoyed of late is Big Peat from Douglas Laing (a mix of 4 Islay malt whiskies).

Why bother bringing malt whiskies from different distilleries together? What exactly is to be gained in doing so? In a nutshell, greater complexity and a unique aromatic/flavour profile.
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A few more questions

Postby Jonwin » Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:55 pm

Hi, A few more questions since I'm on a roll :)

1.Is there a way to pin point the difference in the taste between a good American Rey Whisky and A good Malt (Blended or Single) Whisky?

2. Is the "Nikka pure Malt" also as good as the Nikka from the barrel?

3. Are Most Bourbons drank from a low ball glass in an old fashioned matter like a good scotch?
4. A recommendation for a good book on whisky in general (I have the Michael Jackson 6th Edition, but it focuses almost entirely on single malt Scotch)

Thanks a lot as usual :)

Jonathan
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Re: Is a Good Blended Scotch worth trying?

Postby The Third Dram » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:33 am

Jonwin wrote:Is there a way to pin point the difference in the taste between a good American rye whiskey and a good malt (blended or single) whisky?

Any 'real' rye whiskey worth its salt will exhibit a distinctive bittersweet 'snap' that cuts through whatever overt sweetness the whiskey (American, Canadian or perhaps from somewhere else) might otherwise display. This flavour characteristic (often somewhat analogous to a combination of fruity sweetness and gingery bite, and periodically reminiscent of cranberries) is miles from what one finds in most Scotches.

Jonwin wrote:Is the Nikka Pure Malt also as good as the Nikka From The Barrel?

Though I haven't tried the Nikka Pure Malt, I have (on many occasions) enjoyed the Nikka 12 Year Old Taketsuru (a melding of whiskies from Nikka's 2 distillery sites). This one's much less 'in your face' than the Nikka From The Barrel. However, it's still very pleasurable, and not too far off what one might expect to find in a Lowland or Southern Highland malt Scotch whisky. (The Taketsuru is still, however, rather distinctive.)

If, nonetheless, you ever have the opportunity to taste any single distillery Nikka issues (Sendai or Yoichi), don't pass it up!

Jonwin wrote:Are most Bourbons drunk from a low ball glass in an old fashioned manner like a good Scotch?

You can drink Bourbon in a lowball glass (tumbler), especially if you're doing the 'on the rocks' thing. Myself... I usually prefer to taste Bourbon in a standard (whiskey or Cognac) tasting glass, just as I would a Scotch.

Jonwin wrote:A recommendation for a good book on whisky in general (I have the Michael Jackson 6th Edition, but it focuses almost entirely on single malt Scotch)

Lately, I've been perusing the following books quite frequently, and enjoying the read:

WORLD WHISKEY by Charles MacLean - A pretty good primer that covers a vast array of whiskies from around the globe

THE WORLD ATLAS OF WHISKY by Dave Broom - Notable for its tasting notes, which include impressions of new makes (i.e. the whiskies as they taste fresh off the still)

101 WHISKIES TO TRY BEFORE YOU DIE by Ian Buxton - A fun-filled analysis of (naturally) 101 whiskies that's independently spirited (excuse the pun).
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Re: A few more questions

Postby dramtastic » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:30 am

Jonwin wrote:Hi, A few more questions since I'm on a roll :)

1.Is there a way to pin point the difference in the taste between a good American Rey Whisky and A good Malt (Blended or Single) Whisky?

2. Is the "Nikka pure Malt" also as good as the Nikka from the barrel?

3. Are Most Bourbons drank from a low ball glass in an old fashioned matter like a good scotch?
4. A recommendation for a good book on whisky in general (I have the Michael Jackson 6th Edition, but it focuses almost entirely on single malt Scotch)

Thanks a lot as usual :)

Jonathan



My question is which Pure Malt
There is Red, White, Black in the 500ml bottles
All the Taketsuru's, 12, 17 and 21 are Pure Malts.
There is also Nikka's All Malt which is a Pure Malt

Red- Light style for easy going drinking- closer to Miyagiyo in style
White- For a peat hit. Is a mix of Yoichi and an Islay malt(distillery is a closely guarded secret).
Black- The best balanced of the 3- Closer to Yoichi in style with nice wisps of smoke
Taketsuru 12- never had it, see TTD's notes
Taketsuru 17- excellent robust whisky
Taketsuru 21- A slightly more rounded version of the 17
Nikka All Malt- I call this the Old Pulteney of Japanese whiskys, cheap, reliable and tasty.

I have reviewed all except the Pure Malt Red and Taketsuru 12 here

http://nonjatta.blogspot.com/
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Re: Is a Good Blended Scotch worth trying?

Postby Alzarius » Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:28 am

Just to add another amazing blended scotch, and one that was released not too long ago at a great price:

Compass Box Great King Street Artist's Blend.

It's so good I've been drinking it almost every night.
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Re: Is a Good Blended Scotch worth trying?

Postby JMW » Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:41 pm

Agree with Alzarius, Great King Street is superb, as are Black Bull 12 year old and Monkey Shoulder (though this is a blended malt)

All nice and affordable too! :thumbsup:
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Re: Is a Good Blended Scotch worth trying?

Postby Onefortheditch » Sun Oct 30, 2011 11:53 pm

In answer to your question - yes - sometimes its the only one you'll want. Avoid the dross though!
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Re: Is a Good Blended Scotch worth trying?

Postby t-man 33 » Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:50 am

pure bred animals have exacting qualities that separate and distinguish them from other breeds, but so called mixed breeds or heinz 57's, or mutts are often, if not always healthier, happier and more interesting than pure breeds. They embody multiple and discernible qualities.Just sayin'.
Is it worth it? I would say it is imperative. If for no other reason, you may uncover the reason blends exist.
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Re: Is a Good Blended Scotch worth trying?

Postby bredman » Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:47 am

wtf
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Re: Is a Good Blended Scotch worth trying?

Postby opelfruit » Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:13 am

well done for resurrecting a post from almost 18 months ago...


:roll:
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Re: Is a Good Blended Scotch worth trying?

Postby Ganga » Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:31 pm

The question is "how do you know if it is good or not until you have tried it?" :D

I think that you need experience that runs the gamut. This gives you the experience to know what is at the bottom, the middle and the top. I'd also suggest that it isn't a bad thing to go out and explore some of the other whiskies such as bourbon and Japanese.
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Re: Is a Good Blended Scotch worth trying?

Postby bscepter » Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:45 pm

i got back into scotch via johnnie walker black, which i still find quite nice.
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Re: Is a Good Blended Scotch worth trying?

Postby sinclair » Tue May 07, 2013 10:38 am

JW Black,JW Green,Big Peat (my current favourite),Nikka from the Barrell,Nikka Pure Malt,Ballantines 17,TheTweedale Blend.All good choices.
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Re: Is a Good Blended Scotch worth trying?

Postby The Third Dram » Wed May 08, 2013 3:54 pm

Alzarius wrote:...Compass Box Great King Street Artist's Blend...

Another 'thumbs up' for this tasty and all-too-drinkable whisky. :thumbsup:
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Re: Is a Good Blended Scotch worth trying?

Postby bscepter » Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:32 pm

btw, the latest whisky advocate gives a cutty sark blend 90 points.
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