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Why do we hate BLENDS

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Why do we hate BLENDS

Postby Durttbeag » Tue Mar 29, 2005 4:50 pm

Hello to all.

I would love to hear all your opinions regarding the taste and quality of blends.
I am no expert here, but it would appear many hard core single malt lovers hate them.

I keep a few bottles in my bar for comparing.

Te beag (sp?) This is a decend blend, non chillfiltered, no color added.
Chivas Regal (for the folks with a sweet tooth)
Johnnie Walker Blue (for good friends)
Johnnie walker Gold (this is a nice one in my opinion)
Johnnie walker Black (for visitors who have no taste)
Johnnie walker Red (for people I DISLIKE)

I also keep a few bottles of Woodford reserve Kentucky bourbon (Hard core stuff for the big boys)
Don't smoke and drink this or you may experience spontaneous combustion.

Cheers
Durttbeag :D
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Postby Lawrence » Tue Mar 29, 2005 5:20 pm

It's funny what you say about JW Red. I had some at a friends house on Sunday before Easter lunch, in a cut crystal snifter with a little cool water. As I always do when it's served in a snifter I find JW Red to be quite enjoyable with a good nose. It's not a single malt to be sure but I'm not expecting that.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Tue Mar 29, 2005 5:21 pm

I can only answer for myself of course but I don't hate blends. I seldom drink them nowadays but I have a bottle of Famous Grouse mostly for friends and for the odd Scottish coffee.
I used to like Chivas Regal a lot several years ago and wouldn't be surprised if I still do had I given it a go.
I cannot say I like Johnny Walker though - any of them - although I'm not sure which one I've tried before (red label maybe? )
Apart from that I can't really see the point in hating blends as they are the financial backbone of our beloved single malt as well as being rather inoffensive.

Skål
Christian
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Postby hpulley » Tue Mar 29, 2005 5:29 pm

I generally dislike blends because they blend what are, to me, two very different products. The stronger flavored malt whisky is supposed to be rounded out and supported by the lesser flavored grain whisky but IMO both can be quite flavorful and not in an interchangable fashion. A master blender can do the best he can to mix them but I can still tell it is made up of several components. IMO, the sum is less than its parts with many blends as grain whisky and malt whisky don't really go together that well. I enjoy grain whisky and malt whisky but I prefer them in separate glasses.

If they just want cheaper malt whisky then perhaps they should cut it with ethanol, flavorless vodka or something like that. In many ways I feel blended whisky is no different from pre-mixed martini, black russian and other "no bartender required" products. I prefer to buy my own vodka, vermouth, Khalhua, malt whisky and grain whisky rather than blends if I can help it.

I don't mind Te Bheag, JW Red, Teacher's or other cheap blends but I don't drink them often. I don't drink that much really and if I'm going to be using my liver I might as well enjoy it!

Harry
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Postby Gerald Ford » Tue Mar 29, 2005 5:55 pm

I really do not hate blends at all. Some I find a bit boringly 'smooth' (recent bottlings of Johnnie Walker Black, actually), lacking good grain (Dewar's is the prime offender), or those that just taste bad (Inver House). But good blends like Teacher's and Compass Box Asyla have a quality that single malts do not--a finish that I would describe as something like a firecracker--the explosion of great grain whiskey that frames the malts and helps define them, while simultaneously providing some wonderful flavor on their own behalf. While single malt finishes can be good and often better, they are different. And sometimes I want that particular finish that only comes in the blends. Moreover, good blends have a 'gulpable' quality, which make them a lot of fun. They are great when my mood is light (which is often).
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Postby Durttbeag » Tue Mar 29, 2005 7:30 pm

Wow, some great responses here. Thanks

I was told recently that you have a greater change of feeling hung over when drinking blends as opposed to Singles. Is there any truth
to this?

:?
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Postby Aidan » Tue Mar 29, 2005 7:30 pm

Many people say they dislike blends because they sound more worldly and sophisticated when they say they confine them selves to single malt. That's the main barrier anyway, I believe. I have heard a lot of pompous nonsense in this regard. Not pointing the finger at anyone here.

I have tasted some absolutely excellent scotch blends.

Of course, there are a lot of bad blends and many people who genuinely dislke them.
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Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Tue Mar 29, 2005 11:42 pm

There are enough single malts that do not make any particularly unique statement of flavor and all blends fit into that category, middle of the road, to find the broadest appeal and following. You sell more that way i guess.
There are on the other hand a great number of wonderfull singles, so why waste your tastebuds on swill when you can be sippin a fine dram?
Life is to short to be seeking mediocrity, Carpe dium !
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Mar 30, 2005 1:42 am

My attitude toward blends is fairly benign, I think--I'm not much interested in them, but if you are, then good on ya. (Bonzer, mate! --It's dialect day.) I think my disinterest in blends is rooted in my belief (right or wrong) that blends developed for much the same reason as American lager--mixing in cheaper grains kept costs down. I thus tend to think of those as ersatz products. Barley only for me, please. It doesn't really mean that they can't be interesting in their own right. Just not to me. Is that snobbery? I don't spend any time worrying about it.

That said, I don't mind a Grouse now and then if that's what there is.
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Postby Aidan » Wed Mar 30, 2005 3:38 am

Necessity is the mother of invention, don't you know.
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Postby Crispy Critter » Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:03 am

So far, I've avoided the cheap Scotch blends, but I've had some of the good midrange blends like Chivas Regal 12 and Johnnie Walker Black, and liked them quite a lot. I'm tempted to pick up a cheap Scotch blend just to see what I'm (not?) missing. :)

The only "cheap" blends I've tried have been the Forty Creek Canadian whiskies - and they are mighty good. From a quality vs. price standpoint, they're the best bang-for-the-buck of any whisky I've tried, bar none. (For single malts, my QPR champs are Ardbeg 10, Aberlour 10, and Yamazaki 12).

The only premium blend I've had has been Campbeltown Loch 25yo - and it is stunningly good (and quite a bit less expensive than JW Blue). Unfortunately, it's an endangered species. :(
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Postby Admiral » Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:30 am

It's not that I dislike blends....I'd just rather have a single malt anyday.

I've yet to taste a blend that knocked my socks off. I've yet to taste one that exploded with complexity, that was so rich and scrumptious, so sublime that my nose and tastebuds just reeled in respect and admiration.

And yet plenty of single malts do this for me. (To be fair, there are plenty that don't, but - as I say - all the blends I've tried don't even come close).

It's not for want of trying, either. I've tried Johnnie Walker Red, Black, Gold & Green; Famous Grouse, Chivas Regal 12, Chivas Regal 18, Campbelltown Loch, Black Bottle 10, Teachers, Old Smuggler, McCallums Perfection, Dimple 15, 100 Pipers, The Black Douglas, White Heather, and probably 5 to 10 others that I could remember if I spent 5 minutes thinking about it.

All these blends lack any decent sparkle. They are so well rounded & balanced that nothing actually stands out and grabs your attention! I agree with the comment above that the sum is not better than the parts.

Oh, and Mr T.....bonzer has not been used in these parts for at least 25 years!! :D

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Admiral » Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:31 am

It's not that I dislike blends....I'd just rather have a single malt anyday.

I've yet to taste a blend that knocked my socks off. I've yet to taste one that exploded with complexity, that was so rich and scrumptious, so sublime that my nose and tastebuds just reeled in respect and admiration.

And yet plenty of single malts do this for me. (To be fair, there are plenty that don't, but - as I say - all the blends I've tried don't even come close).

It's not for want of trying, either. I've tried Johnnie Walker Red, Black, Gold & Green; Famous Grouse, Chivas Regal 12, Chivas Regal 18, Campbelltown Loch, Black Bottle 10, Teachers, Old Smuggler, McCallums Perfection, Dimple 15, 100 Pipers, The Black Douglas, White Heather, and probably 5 to 10 others that I could remember if I spent 5 minutes thinking about it.

All these blends lack any decent sparkle. They are so well rounded & balanced that nothing actually stands out and grabs your attention! I agree with the comment above that the sum is not better than the parts.

Oh, and Mr T.....bonzer has not been used in these parts for at least 25 years!! :D

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:42 am

Admiral wrote:Oh, and Mr T.....bonzer has not been used in these parts for at least 25 years!! :D

Cheers,
Admiral


Okay...so it's archaic dialect.
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Postby hpulley » Wed Mar 30, 2005 5:10 am

Forty Creek offers Barrel Select which is a single grain and Three Grain which is a blend of malt, maize and rye whisky. They are very good and well priced. Pot still too! Made just down the QEW Niagara from here.

Of the two I prefer the Barrel Select but I much prefer scotch to either :)

Harry
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Postby rthomson » Wed Mar 30, 2005 5:13 am

I'm not against blends but I'd rather spend my money on a single malt. I'd rather spend my time enjoying a single malt for that matter. It's the complexities and idiosyncrasies of the single malts that really grab me. Blends don't offer that to me.

On the other hand, as posted on another thread, I do truly enjoy Tullamore Dew, 12 yo. But we're talking about an Irish whiskey blend with that one.

Ron
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Postby bamber » Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:33 am

I prefer SMS to blends, but blends make a nice change. Jameson's is a blend, which I am growing to like more and more everytime I drink it. Ditto Teacher's. Ballantines 17YO is an excellent whisky.

Personally I think blends are more challenging than SMS in many ways. Different SMS are so distinctive and lip-smackingly good, that they just leap put and you and demand to be loved. Bladnoch 10YO ff vs. Ardbeg 10YO. Almost completely different drinks but both so delicious.

Now you sit down with a couple of good (but cheap) blends some Grant's Family Reserve and Teacher's say. Picking out the flavours is much harder (for me anyway), but there's a lot in there if you show them respect.
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Postby Aidan » Wed Mar 30, 2005 12:29 pm

Jameson is a very different blend to the usualy scotch ones, as it is a blend of very few whiskeys, and all from the same distillery. Also, very high quality casks are used in the maturation.

Unfortunately, the main problem with some blends for me is that they often don't use the best of ingredients or good casks.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Mar 30, 2005 1:12 pm

I tried a bottle of Black Bottle (the standard blend, not the ten year old) on the strength of the Jim Murray rating. It is really very good, but there is something about it that doesn't feel quite right. I think it just tastes a bit too smooth although the actual flavour is very complex and full. I thought it was a bit like Jura Superstition but when I tried the two together, the Black Bottle won through hands down.

I also tried Teachers and BNJ on the back of JM, but found them both a bit too subtle (especially BNJ). Teachers seemed better when I came back to it after a few weeks.

Jameson's standard blend was wonderful when I got a bottle of it from my offie in January - very sharp, tangy, fruity and metallic - but I tried it in a bar a few days ago and it was not the same. Perhaps I just got lucky at my offie.
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Postby hpulley » Wed Mar 30, 2005 1:14 pm

I used to dislike the Jameson standard but a recent bottle grew on me. The 18yo I used to really like but my current bottle is not as good to me right now for some reason. I think I may need to give it a break as I might have some palate fatigue at the moment...

Harry
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Wed Mar 30, 2005 1:21 pm

Hi!
About the Jameson mentioned in the recent posts; it's available where I live but there's a choice between the standard, a 12yo, an 18yo and one called "Limited Edition 15 y.O. "

Any recomendations - is it worth paying for the more expensive 12/15/Limited Edition?

Skål!
Christian
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Postby Aidan » Wed Mar 30, 2005 2:38 pm

Mr Fjeld wrote:Hi!
About the Jameson mentioned in the recent posts; it's available where I live but there's a choice between the standard, a 12yo, an 18yo and one called "Limited Edition 15 y.O. "

Any recomendations - is it worth paying for the more expensive 12/15/Limited Edition?

Skål!
Christian


I think Jameson standard is quite nice, but all the other ones you listed are better by a long way, in my opinion. If you can get the Jameson 15 yr old, you should grab it, assuming it's the pure pot still version. It may not be a drink for everyone, but I really think it's superb - a more old fashioned Irish whiskey. Not that much of it around.

I would also recommend the other two, but the 12 yr old is much better value. Quite a strong sherry influence, if you like that. As mentioned above, the 18 yr old does vary from batch to batch.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Wed Mar 30, 2005 2:52 pm

Thanks Aidan - I'll try it out (the 15yo) soon!

Skål!
Christian
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Postby bamber » Thu Mar 31, 2005 9:19 am

I have very little experience in Irish whisky, but I prefer the the normal Jameson's to the 12YO. The 12YO had some 'gluey' smell to it that I could not get on with and nor could any of my friends who shared it with me. I would not be surprised if it grows on me over time however.

The Jameson Gold I opened the other day just gets better and better every time I try it. Get some next time you fly :) (It's duty free only).
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Postby JimHall » Thu Mar 31, 2005 10:56 pm

C_I wrote:I am still trying to buy a bottle of Teachers, yet the distraction of malts make it hard for me to buy it. Basically (I think I said this already before) blends can be made quite nicely (JW Blue) yet the price tag is just way over. Also exeptions: CL25, Black Bottle 10 yo. Like Harry said, single malts show a more distinct character rather than a complex blend of different flavours. And personally I prefer the character, so single malts are the first to buy on my list. So no hate, yet a difference in priority.



Do n't rubbish Teachers.... have you read what Jim Murray says about it in the Whisky bible 2005. I have to drink a cheaper whisky cos i can't afford to drink single malts 7 days a week ... Teachers is a lovely dram and can put some single malts to shame.
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Postby patrick dicaprio » Fri Apr 01, 2005 3:23 am

i dont hate blends. there are a few that are as good as many single malts. granted it is a few but thats why they make chocolate and vanilla ice cream.

Pat
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Postby Crispy Critter » Fri Apr 01, 2005 4:15 am

That's a good way of putting it... and I've found that I like both. (in terms of whisky and in terms of ice cream) :)

That being said, Scotch grain whisky needs plenty of time in a good cask to really bring out its best. A well-aged blend like Campbeltown Loch 25 is quite a treat, and Compass Box Hedonism, while a bit on the expensive side, is well worth it, IMHO.
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Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Fri Apr 01, 2005 10:56 am

Oh Crispy, you are so right the Campbeltown Loch 25, it is quite outstanding, but at $90cdn per bottle (ouch!). Grabbed the Lediag 18 yr old right next to it for the same price could also had the Lagavulin 16yr. :lol:
Last edited by Lord_Pfaffin on Sat Apr 02, 2005 4:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Crispy Critter » Fri Apr 01, 2005 2:51 pm

re: CL 25

$90 in US, Canadian, or Australian dollars? If US especially, ouch!

I can get it for US $50 (less than the price of JW Gold).
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Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Sun Apr 03, 2005 4:44 am

As close as you can get to being a blend but not quite?
A Vatted Malt (Different from a blend, which is often predominantly grain whisky mixed with asplash of malt) uses select single malts create the flavourful expression of defined character. Jon, Mark and Robbo's Easy Drinking Whisky "The Smokey Peaty One" is an astounding value considering it's refined character, mimicing that of a single at a price of $40cdn, witch is pocket change. The list of malts Robbo used to create a style ala the islands of Orkney, Mull and Islay are as follows :
Caol Ila 5% refill casks - ex American oak bourbon barrels
Laphroaig 12% refill casks - ex American oak bourbon barrels
Bunnahabhain 17% American oak sherry
Bunnahabhain 9% refill casks - ex American oak bourbon barrels
Highland Park 26% Spanish Oak Sherry butts
Highland Park 14% American oak hogsheads
Ledaig 9% refill casks - ex American oak bourbon barrels
Bowmore 8% refill casks - ex American oak bourbon barrels
Jon, Mark and Robbo's Easy Drinking Whisky Co. is part of the Edrington Group, owners of The Macallan and Highland Park.
The finish is a tad short. Did i mention its only $40 cdn ?
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Postby Frodo » Sun Apr 03, 2005 6:40 am

For C$43 you can get 8yr old Dun Bheagan Islay (Lagavulin or Bowmore I think) at the LCBO. Between this and the Peaty Smokey One, I would get the Dun Bheagan hands down. I would also consider the Balvinnie 10yr for C$43 or Abelour 10yr for C$40 based on reputation (I've never had it).

Agreed the last two won't satisfy a craving for peat, and so aren't in direct competition with the Peaty Smokey One. I'm just identifying other options at your price range. If this one really turns your crank, then have at it with a will, say I. :wink:

As a brief aside, the Summerhill/Yonge store has minis of Balvinnie Doublewood for C$3.50 each. If you bought 15 of them (750ml total) it would be less than a full bottle of the stuff for C$60. Again, it wouldn't satisfy a craving for peat.

I tried the Smokey Peaty One, and what I remember about it most was the aftertaste (good and strong). It wasn't the smoothest stuff I've ever had. I did like the Smooth Sweet One.

Just my take on things.
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Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Sun Apr 03, 2005 7:54 am

Quite right indeed Frodo, good sippin whisky bargains to be sure.
By the by;" the smoother sweeter one" is an Irish 8yr single from Cooley's and a more pleasant tasting dram.
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Postby woodhill » Sun Apr 03, 2005 9:14 pm

i enjoy the J+B 15 yr old as a blend its intruiging
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Postby Admiral » Mon Apr 04, 2005 4:26 am

Lord_Pfaffin,

Before you get too excited about the "bargain" value of the Jon Mark & Robbo whiskies, keep in mind that the bottles are only 500ml.

To me, they don't seem great value at all once you factor this in.

Cheers,
Admiral
Last edited by Admiral on Tue Apr 05, 2005 4:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Mon Apr 04, 2005 5:22 pm

Amiral:
Sorry sir but i have killed a few 750ml bottles of the stuff and have a newly opened one here in front of me and i assure you it is 750 ml and it was only $40 cdn a usual. The only thing that i find that misses the mark with any one of the three JMR's is they aren't at 43% abv.
By the way the last time i checked "The Smooth Sweeter One"is now on sale at LCBO for $ 38cdn (750ml bottle) and being 40% abv is just about the only thing that separates it from Locke's 8yr old witch sells for about $55 cdn. and considering the current trend of bottling at 700ml this is an even better bargain.
Excuse me but im off to the store to catch the sale!
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