Whisky Magazine Issue 134
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Neil Ridley, current champion, takes on the new challenger George Keeble
With the enormous success of the Battle of the Blends Challenge No. 1, coupled with the positive feedback, we decided that it was really worthwhile continuing the challenge. To this purpose, our Editor at Large and current champion Neil Ridley takes on a new challenger, George Keeble who is the manager at The Soho Whisky Club.
The casks (kindly supplied by Master of Malt) are first-fill 20 litre American Oak which have been toasted and are at present full of high strength neutral spirit. These casks will be delivered in mid-March where each contender will take on the task of creating their own master blend.
Before they can start the blend they will need to season their casks with whatever they feel will give their resulting blend that ultimate edge.
This could be sherry, port, wine – or something completely different and unusual like rum. The rules do not cover this area but it's a very important part of the stage development.
The rules of engagement are very similar to last year, so to begin with the foundation will be the same – Clynelish 14 Years Old – this classic Highland distillery, an absolute favourite for many blenders due to its well-rounded maltiness and balance.
Over the course of the year the two contenders will build their blend and report on each stage starting in Issue 135 which publishes on 22 April. However, this year we intend to have a half-way stage where both contenders will come together to discuss their blend. This will be held on 31 Aug...