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Vatted Malts

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Vatted Malts

Postby BruceCrichton » Fri Nov 18, 2005 1:24 am

A topic that comes up occasionally here is vatted malts and I decided I'd like to revisit it.

Anyone have any favourites? Any stinkers? Any somewhere in between?

A couple of favourites of mine are Gordon and Macphail's Pride of Orkney and Carme by the Creative Whisky company. Another goodie is Poit Dubh.
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Postby Frodo » Fri Nov 18, 2005 1:27 am

Duncan Taylor's Regional Islay!!! For C$50 it can't be beat for value!!! But when discussing quality keeping in mind value, I just can't get exited over what's at the LCBO. JW Green isn't bad as a dram, but the price doesn't strike me as a great deal. Eluthera is much better quality but IMHO overpriced at C$80.

Too bad I didn't try other DT regional expressions. I regret missing the Speyside one.
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Postby BruceCrichton » Fri Nov 18, 2005 1:37 am

Carme was £20 and Poit Dubh is £25 for the 12 year old and £50 for the 21.

G&M are about £22 and cheaper if you go to their shop in elgin so all are great value.

Any stinkers?
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Postby Admiral » Fri Nov 18, 2005 3:07 am

I'm quite partial to all three of the JMR range.

Johnnie Walker Green Label is quite disappointing.

The Cardhu Pure Malt was pretty anonymous when I tried it.
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Postby MGillespie » Fri Nov 18, 2005 3:21 am

Admiral, I agree with you on the JMR range and the pedestrian quality of the JW Green Label. It's not bad, but it's not what I had hoped it would be.

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Postby The Dazzler » Fri Nov 18, 2005 5:05 am

JMR are fine whiskies although I think compas box have the edge here. Peat Monster and Eulethera are good vatted malts. Some of the grouses have been nice, Though I rate Six isles, Poit Dhubh 12yo and spice tree just as highly.

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Postby BruceCrichton » Fri Nov 18, 2005 12:40 pm

I forgot '6 isles' by Ian Macleod.

That's a great whisky.

Cardhu was crap. It wasn't smooth! What's the point of Cardhu if it isn't smooth? It's about as much use a David Beckham that misses penalties?

What is meant by JMR whiskies?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Nov 18, 2005 1:08 pm

BruceCrichton wrote:It's about as much use a David Beckham that misses penalties?


At least England can beat Argentina. And with a round ball at that.
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Postby bamber » Fri Nov 18, 2005 2:48 pm

Nikka pure malts are nice - I've had the black and the white.
Serendipity - I like it - not as much as Jim Murray though.
JMR - my favourite is the 'Rich Spicy One'
JW Green - nothing wrong with it but not very exciting
Sainsbury's Islay - sweet, smokey and smooth - probably my favourite of this list.
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Postby BruceCrichton » Fri Nov 18, 2005 2:56 pm

Nick Brown wrote:
BruceCrichton wrote:It's about as much use a David Beckham that misses penalties


At least England can beat Argentina. And with a round ball at that.


I wasn't slagging England, just David Beckham who, let's face it, if he can't score from the penalty spot, is as much use as a bottling of Cardhu that isn't smooth.

Using my analogy, Carme is Wayne Rooney and Pride of Orkney is Michael Owen. Six isles is probably John Terry.

Might go and grab some of Sainsbury's Islay. Asda's Islay used to be a vatted malt, don't know if it still is.
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Postby bamber » Fri Nov 18, 2005 3:55 pm

Beware Bruce, their are two versions - Jim Murray rates them both very differently.

The one I have says: "PURE ISLAY MALT SCOTCH WHISKY" and is stated 10 years old. (Actually I think this is the one he doesn't like, but I'm not sure !).

Anyone everyone in my office loves the bottle that sits in my draw :)
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Postby BruceCrichton » Fri Nov 18, 2005 4:10 pm

bamber wrote:Beware Bruce, their are two versions - Jim Murray rates them both very differently.

The one I have says: "PURE ISLAY MALT SCOTCH WHISKY" and is stated 10 years old. (Actually I think this is the one he doesn't like, but I'm not sure !).



What is the difference between the two of them?

And where does JM rate them?
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Postby bamber » Fri Nov 18, 2005 4:40 pm

It's in his whisky bible 2006. I don't have it to hand so I'm afraid I cannot answer that right now.
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Postby MGillespie » Fri Nov 18, 2005 5:39 pm

BruceCrichton wrote:What is meant by JMR whiskies?


Bruce, JMR is short for Jon, Mark, & Robbo's Easy Drinking Whisky Company...

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Postby Tyson » Fri Nov 18, 2005 6:22 pm

Agreed on the JMR malts, the Rich Spicy one is a terrific sherry dram, and the Smokey Peaty one is also very nice in the Caol Ila style.
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Postby bamber » Fri Nov 18, 2005 7:24 pm

BruceCrichton wrote:
bamber wrote:Beware Bruce, their are two versions - Jim Murray rates them both very differently.

The one I have says: "PURE ISLAY MALT SCOTCH WHISKY" and is stated 10 years old. (Actually I think this is the one he doesn't like, but I'm not sure !).



What is the difference between the two of them?

And where does JM rate them?


Ok one is called "PURE ISLAY MALT SCOTCH WHISKY" the other "ISLAY PURE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY" (sic) the former, which I have tried, is said to be peatier and ranks higher (90 vs. 87).
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Postby patrick dicaprio » Sat Nov 19, 2005 3:32 am

not that i have tremendous experience. on long island new york it is tough to find a decent liquor store much less a good selection of whisky. but two that i really enjoy are Dewars 12yo and Compass Box Eleuthera.

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Postby MGillespie » Sat Nov 19, 2005 4:17 am

By the way, I changed my podcast publishing schedule because of this discussion...Episode 3 features an interview with "Robbo" Robertson of JMR discussing the idea behind his vatted malts.
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Postby Malcolm John Andrews » Sat Nov 19, 2005 1:43 pm

Yes, Pride of Islay is a pleasant balance, I admire G&M for it. I am most interested in the history of vatting. At a guess, before 1830 when grain whisky paved the way to the astonishing popularity of blends, someone probably tried vatting as a way of attenuating the power of single malts with a view to the export market. I mean if "pure malt" (as some call it) was laced with Lowland and mild Highland malts, perhaps that heralded the start of the production of a lighter beverage for the US, etc. markets. Any truth in that?

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Postby Ed » Sat Nov 19, 2005 3:56 pm

Hi Bamber,

Nikka pure malts are nice - I've had the black and the white.


I am so pleased to hear that you have had these two Nikka expressions. They are both favorites of mine. The red label is nice too, kind of the sherried one of the Pure Malt line. I am drinking a bit of it now. I can't say that it is standing up to the sherry monsters I have been sipping. Well, it is trailing the pack but hanging in there!
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Postby Iain » Sat Nov 19, 2005 4:16 pm

Malcolm, vatting was very common prior to (and after) 1830. Not least in the home, the shop or the pub, where folks, or shopkeepers or publicans would simply top up an old cask with the contents of a new one.
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Postby bamber » Sat Nov 19, 2005 5:03 pm

Hi Ed,
They are good and quite reasonably priced. The white definitely tastes like it has some Bowmore in there to me. The back is my favourite of the 2. I'll check out red soon.

I am on day 21 of a 30 day drying out month :(
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Postby MGillespie » Sat Nov 19, 2005 5:28 pm

Well done, Bamber...only nine days to go!

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Postby bamber » Sat Nov 19, 2005 9:37 pm

Thanks Mark, malted milk drinks and tea are just not cuttig it :(
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Postby MGillespie » Sat Nov 19, 2005 10:11 pm

Think of it this way...at least you'll be in peak condition for the holidays...

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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Nov 20, 2005 4:03 am

Hey, Ed! I was just thinking the other day that I hadn't seen you around much lately. Or am I just unobservant? Anyway, good to see you.
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Postby Ed » Sun Nov 20, 2005 5:02 am

Hi Bamber,
Drying out, huh? Last night I would have pitied you. This morning, well and truly hung-over, I rather envy you.
Ed :lol:
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Postby BruceCrichton » Sun Nov 20, 2005 6:44 pm

Anyone ever make up a vatted malt of their own?

I made up one from Tomintoul 10 and G&M's 12 year old Longmorn and it was rather pleasant although An Cnoc 12 didn't complement it.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Nov 20, 2005 7:10 pm

"Serendipity" is pretty good value, but I agree that Jim Murray's rating was a bit high. Mind you, he's score any Ardbeg as 90+.

"JMR" are nice.
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Postby JWFokker » Mon Nov 21, 2005 3:52 am

Now, I may be confused, but I thought vatted scotch was malt only, with no grain alcohol. If this is correct, I was also under the impression Dewars only produced blended scotches, not vatted. Perusing their website indicates both their 12 year olds are malt and grain based, the 'Signature' blend doesn't indicate whether it includes grain or not. So is Dewars vatted or not?

That said, the only 'malt whisky only' blends I've ever seen are Johnnie Walker Green and Blue. But that may be largely due to the appalling selection of scotch the shops in my area stock. I may have to order a bottle of the Rich Spicy One. It sounds quite good.
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Postby Ed » Mon Nov 21, 2005 7:14 am

Hi TattieHeid,
I haven't been very active on this board lately. I do pop in and read a bit now and then. I have been posting over on StraightBourbon.com. Plus a number of other non-whisk(e)y groups that I belong to. I have had some really nice single malts lately, maybe the change of season has something to do with that. Of course, this is a thread on vatted malts so I will have to talk about that elsewhere.

I have been thinking about it and, you know, I don't think I have ever had a vatted malt that wasn't made by a Japanese company. The Nikka Pure Malt series, Black, White and Red labels I have already talked about here.

Nikka makes Takatsuru. I have had the 12 year old and it is very nice. I just realized that I haven't opened the bottle that I have of this. I have only had it in bars, not the best way to judge a whiskey, at least for me. Right now all I can recall is a nice smokiness. It is early in the day, too early to drink, but I thought I would have a tiny pour to refresh my memory, I measured out 15 ml into my favorite glass and tried it. The smoke is there, not overpowering, not just a hint, but a pleasant presence. It is sweeter than I remember, vanilla, brown sugar with a hint of honey. There is a light fruitiness that I didn't remember. Very nice dram, some night when I feel like a malt I ought to pour myself a triple and give it a more through investigation.

Another fine vatted malt is Suntory's Hokuto 12. A lot fruiter that the Takatsuru, rather like a speyside.

By the Way, both of these come in older expressions, but I haven't tried anything but the 12 yo.
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Postby BruceCrichton » Mon Nov 21, 2005 8:16 am

JW Green is a 'pure malt', an ambiguous term which can mean a vatted malt.

JW Blue is blended and contains grain whisky.
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Postby Malcolm John Andrews » Mon Nov 21, 2005 10:11 am

BruceCrichton wrote:Anyone ever make up a vatted malt of their own?

I made up one from Tomintoul 10 and G&M's 12 year old Longmorn and it was rather pleasant although An Cnoc 12 didn't complement it.


Bruce, did you never hear of Haffenden's Master Blender Pack? I sold it in the Benelux in the seventies. There were 4 malts and a grain so one good make up either a vatted malt or blend. The whisky industry hated Haffenden for this monstrosity and it soon folded.

In fact I "vat" quite often. I give nosings & tastings in Benelux (à la Jim Murray, but who I disapprove of; in Ghent he condemned adding a splash of water to a malt). Most often there are are some malts left after my session and I try a few together, not with much success. But over 15 years I have some "recipes" which I like. Will inform you if you wish.
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Postby bamber » Mon Nov 21, 2005 11:27 am

George T. Stagg bourbon and Aberlour a’bunadh - dee-licious :)
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Postby Ed » Mon Nov 21, 2005 3:04 pm

Hi Bamber,
I tried adding a trickle of Stagg in the Elmer T Lee I was drinking. The ETL that I have open is way heavy on the cookie spices and very sweet as well. A little one dimensional. I thought that the Stagg would add some complexity and up the proof a little to around 50% abv while cutting the nutmeg/cinnamon to a more sophisticated level. My impression at the time was, "Wonderful! Perhaps better than the component parts, good as they are straight out of the bottle." I had had quite a bit to drink at that point in the evening so I can't be sure of my impressions, but I will definitely give this more study. With more careful measurements next time around as well.

What proportions did you use with the George T. Stagg bourbon and Aberlour a’bunadh? I tried Macallan CS 10 yo with a bit of the Elmer T Lee. Interesting but not better than the ingredients on their own.
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