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bourbonmed
08-18-2003, 16:56
Johnny Walker, famous for its Red, Black, Gold and Blue label blends has broken tradition. They've released a Green label Single Malt, priced around $50.

My local liquor store had a tasting of the single malt but I missed it. The manager says it's selling nicely and saved an empty bottle with a few drops so people could get an idea of its nose. It has a nice, subtly floral aroma.

I wonder if other established Scotch blends, (i.e. Chivas), will follow suit with single malts.

Omar

OneCubeOnly
08-18-2003, 17:20
If it had a green label, are you sure this wasn't their "PureMalt" bottling, which is all malt, but vatted? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif

OneCubeOnly
08-18-2003, 17:27
Just another quick followup with a URL--did it look like this?

http://www.johnniewalker.com.au/products_details.cfm?product=5

bourbonmed
08-18-2003, 21:23
Yes, I'm pretty sure that's it, 15 yrs old. But this is no duty free shop. It's my local liquor store. What do you think? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif

Omar

Blackkeno
08-18-2003, 22:10
JW Green has definately been a duty free vatted malt. It would be nice if it were available in the US. It seems much more natural to me that the major blends would introduce vats rather than singles. Chivas also has their centenial of malts.

OneCubeOnly
08-19-2003, 06:39
That's awesome that you might be able to get some in a non-duty-free setting! What do I think? I think it's definitely your responsibility to DRINK IT MAN, DRINK IT!!! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

The only other time I've heard of being able to buy this in a traditional store was a while back in the thread about JW Blue--there must've been a 200ml 4-pack available with Black, Gold, Blue, and Green at Costco(?)

bourbonmed
08-19-2003, 11:33
Yes, I saw the 4-pack also and was tempted to buy it just to try the Blue.
Maybe the duty free shops didn't sell as projected and they're moving this stuff out to retailers?

Omar

OneCubeOnly
09-07-2003, 07:38
Omar--

Did you ever get yourself a bottle of Green Label? I'd really be interested in your impressions!
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

Paradox
09-07-2003, 08:44
When I went to Canada in February of 2002, I picked up a Johnny Walker Collection only because it had this Pure Malt bottle in it. I had never seen it in the states so I said what the hell, let me grab it. I got the whole set with all 4 bottles for something like $70 bucks. It has 4 200ml bottles of Black, Gold and Blue label and a bottle of the Pure Malt 15 YO. I'll include pics of it. On the inside it describes each bottle and gives character notes. I am not sure if you will be able to read them from the pic but for the pure malt it says:

Character: Beautifully balanced , smooth highland malt.
Colour: Bright mild-gold with bright amber lights.
Nose: Fresh, Heavy honey and salty.
Palate: Smooth and well balanced. Fruity with hints of orange, sandalwood and sherry-wood.
Finish: Swift and clean with a pleasant, light toffee aroma.

As you can see I have never opened them since I'm not really a scotch fan, but I'm sure one day in my old age they'll get popped. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

Oh, and I have seen and still see the 4 packs sold here in the US but the Pure Malt is replaced with Red Label... And the set goes for almost $100

mickblueeyes
10-14-2003, 21:59
IMHO, Johnnie Walker is swill. No offense to those that like it, but if you are going to drink that, there are tons of fantastic single malts on the market.

Instead of the Black label, drink Laphroaig, Johnnie Black's primary ingredient. Instead of the Gold, treat yourself to any number of fantastic 21-30 year old single malts. Drink Dalmore 21, 30, Highland Park 18, Laphroaig 15, Bomore 22 yr, Macallan 18 yr, etc, etc.

If you are going to drink the Blue, skip it and try Laphoraig 30 year, Macallan 25 yr, Auchentoshan 31 yr, Balvenie 25 yr or 30 yr, Bowmore 30 yr, Glen Moray 1964, Glenmorangie Cotes de Nuit, Claret wood, 1971, Highland Park 25 yr, or Springbank 30 yr. These are all better IMO.

Speedy_John
10-15-2003, 06:26
No offense taken, MickB. But, I believe the base malt in the Johnnie Walker blends is Cardhu. If it were Laphroaig, the peat and medicinal notes would be much more prominent.

I, too, in general prefer single malts to blends, but do enjoy blends--particularly JW Black--on occasion. The single malts you mention are excellent, each in their own way. Yet, sometimes I want something a bit more mellow yet still flavorful. Single malts by their nature are intensely flavorful, but are often one or two dimensional. A blend can offer a more rounded, multi-dimensional, less intense taste experience. Single malts are not necessarily better than blends; they're just different.

If someone gave me the choice of JWBlack or the single malts you mention, I most likely would choose one of the malts. But, if all he had to offer was a dram of JWBlack, I would happily accept.

SpeedyJohn

mickblueeyes
10-15-2003, 06:34
John, Cardu is also involved in the making of JWB. Laphroaig has claimed that it is more involved in the Black and less in the red. I however must respectfully disagree that single malt is more intense. You need to drink more single malt. There are just as many mellow, round and soft single malts are there are blends, if not more. There are single malts for every occasion ranging from peaty and medicinal to soft and floral. One sip of Mortlach will tell you all you need to know about lavender, rose petals, sweet barley and soft fields of heather. IMO, people who feel the need to drink blends, haven't fully experienced single malt.

You certainly wouldn't waste your time on McCormick, Barton Canadian and Mount Royal Light to fully experience "whiskey" would you? Like Canadian whiskey has soiled the name of Bourbon among the unknowing masses, Blended scotch has sullied the name of Scotch almost beyond repair. I can't fathom why any whisk(e)y connoisseur would consider a product blended with vodka (grain spirits) to be tasty.

OneCubeOnly
10-15-2003, 10:33
Cardu is also involved in the making of JWB. Laphroaig has claimed that it is more involved in the Black and less in the red.



Are you sure about that? I've always understood that Talisker was one of the primary components of Black Label.

OneCubeOnly
10-15-2003, 10:36
If you are going to drink the Blue, skip it and try....Auchentoshan 31 yr...



I'm a HUGE fan of Auchentoshan 10, and to a lesser extent the Three Wood, but have never had the 31yo. Is it worth the extra expense?

Dave_in_Canada
10-15-2003, 10:57
Blended scotch has sullied the name of Scotch almost beyond repair.



mick, with all due respect, that's simply not the way the history of Scotch Whisky played out. To quote Charles MacLean in his fine book "malt whisky":

"Until the 1980s single malt whiskies remained scarce outside of Scotland, and many were only available in the district of their manufacture."

1980 was only 23 years ago. Most of the single malts you see on the shelf today were simply not in existance 20 years ago. And many of the ones you earlier mention were the brainchilds of marketing and international distribution, not connoisseur's choices. To say that the blended Scotches have sullied the Scotch name is putting the cart before the horse.

While I agree that single malt is a connoisseur's choice, there would be NO single malts without the HUGE success of scotch blends (which, today, far outsell single malts).

Gillman
10-15-2003, 11:10
Never tried the 31 year old but Auchtentoshan 10 year old is very good, likely the best of the surviving Lowlanders. Back to Johnny Walker Blue, this is a good whisky but in my opinion, the price is high for what is offered. Likely the price relates to the elaborate packaging and the stocks of very old whiskies in the blend (up to 60 years old or more). The palate is subtle though, and the grain whisky component is quite noticeable. The long age of those doesn't seem to diminish their "cut" much. I would prefer a whisky composed like Blue (that is, the same basic elements of flavor) but "bigger", i.e., in body, taste, nose and finish. Grand Old Parr (although I haven't had it lately) is such a big-bodied blend but of course with a taste profile of its own (very cereal-malty).

I would build a good blend by using about 60% Speysiders and other Highlands, 20% Islays, and 20% Lowlanders. That would be a vatting, of course. The perms and combs are infinite, if grain whisky is felt necessary to "display" the malts, one could go with 35% grain (old North British and some younger ones) and the rest a combination of aged and younger Highlands, Lowlands and some Campbelltowns (for a change of pace from Islay). I think even the good blends are relatively unassertive today because modern taste so dictates; also, the aged whiskies are perhaps not always that assertive themselves. I once read that The Macallan is prized for blending but the one sold into the blending trade is not the heavy-bodied sherry cask version famously sold as The Macallan by the house but rather a bourbon-cask, or second fill sherry cask, version. I once tried such a Macallan and it was good and interesting but hardly resembled the one put out by The Macallan under its own name, whoch is of course 100% first fill sherry cask-aged. So a lot of the malts used in blending (not all, but many) may themselves not be all that rich tasting or distinctive on their own. Of course, the whisky companies can make anything they want.

If the current trend to vatting (e.g. Cardhu I understand) continues, this should bode well for the development of good-tasting vattings. Back to Johnny Walker, the marque is justly renowned for quality but I'd say the Gold gives the best price-to-quality ratio and not only that, the Gold is simply the best in the current JW range (their vatted included, in this case). It is a rich, full-bodied, malty whisky with a briny edge that suggests some good aged Orkney, Campbelltown and Islay in there. A very adroit blend in any case, worthy of the history and fame of the marque.

Gary

Gillman
10-15-2003, 11:28
I agree fully. Blended scotch made scotch what it is today. I doubt the malts would have taken the world by storm. They could not have offered the consistency and balanced, complex, "house" taste which the great blends introduced. "Scotch" became a different article from the malts and eclipsed them, even in Scotland, until recently and even now it is only in connoisseur circles that malts are really admired (i.e., most whisky sold today is still blended). That said, I would agree that too many blends (and I just posted re some of the JW range) are, today, too light or bland. Almost certainly the classic blends had much more character two generations ago and further back from then. Charles Maclean or Philip Hills (I cannot recall who, it was one of them) wrote of tasting wartime blends that drank like "old brandy". I think slowly the blends were lightened over the years, no doubt to move them closer to the Cutty Sark-type lightness of colour and body that became very popular after World War II. Some blends of today (Johnny Walker Gold, 30 year old Ballantine's, 25 year old Cutty, etc.) are rich-tasting and excellent. It is my sense that probably, most decent blends of 60 years ago tasted like that select group. Today, there are just a few of those around and they are quite costly to buy. Mmuch as I like a well-tuned malt, I feel a luxury blend such as I mentioned probably is closer to the type of whisky that (until the 1960's or so) conquered the world market for spirits rather than a 20 or 30 year old single malt.

Gary

DavidNelson
10-15-2003, 14:03
Another blend fan here, although I probably drink more single malts.

For those who are interested in blends, I can not recommend Jim Murray's fine book Classic Blended Scotch highly enough. Lots of history on each of the currently available blends, insight into the characteristics of the grain distilleries themselves and the identity of the grain/malt distilleries that contribute significantly to a lot of the blends. I got mine from amazon.co.uk, from which its still available (published in 1999). I don't think it was ever released in the U.S.

I've discovered quite a few interesting blends I was not previously aware of through the book, and have been able to pick up while in the U.K. like Old Parr, Black Bottle, Islay Mist, and others.

Cheers,

Dave

Blackkeno
10-15-2003, 22:53
Although I drink many more malts than blends, that is primariy because of the larger number of malts. IMHO, Chivas 18yo (and even Royal Salute), Campbeltown Loch 25, JW Black, and Black Bottle are better than average single malts at their respective price points--even though there are many malts at those price points I do prefer. The art of the blender is quite different from the art of the distiller and I appreciate both.

FWIW, Most of the older single grains I've tasted have been better than average also!

mickblueeyes
10-16-2003, 05:19
Hmmm. . .where to begin. Scotch history played out a little different than many of you indicate.

Distilleries don't produce blends. Whisky survived as single malt for several hundred years, in fact, the first recorded distillation (though it certainly occured earlier) in Scotland was 1494. It wasn't until the invention of the Coffey still in 1826 that blends forced any kind of presence. Additionally, until the Royal Commission was convened in 1909 to officially declare blended scotch legal (due to the Pattison's fiasco) it had only enjoyed relatively modest fame in Frace and England. However, post 1909 it hit is boom.

However, to assert that single malt couldn't survive without blends is, frankly, ridiculous. Single malt did just that for 332 years until the Coffey still, then another 83 years until blended Scotch was written as allowable into the law. So, at best, one could say that Scotch's international appeal came from blends, but certainly not its survival. As I can tell, there were only 70+ years that single malt was not at the forefront of production since 1494.

You have to realize the sacrilege you are portraying to scotch fans. I know this is a bourbon site, so Scotch is not at the forefront of your minds. That is fine. However, for me, working in the liquor business and being the director of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society for East Tennessee, Scotch is a big deal to me. Bourbon is my second great love (though I actually own more bourbon than Scotch LOL).

Would you frown if I lumped Early Times and McCormick whiskey in with quality bourbon and said "I prefer its lighter taste sometimes"? Of course you would. You would do what I am doing now, try to dissuade me from drinking it.

Blended Scotch is the reason that people come into my shop everyday and say "I like everything but Scotch". That sharp alcohol finish on all but the best and heavily aged blends is very evident and distasteful to most. Frankly, I don't want scotch represented by blends, as no connoisseur does.

To hear some of you state that you are "blends guys" is unfortunate. Next time, buy cheap single malt and have your vodka on the side. Its a shame that among such connisseurs of bourbon, some could have such poor taste is Scotch.

OneCubeOnly
10-16-2003, 06:03
Next time, buy cheap single malt and have your vodka on the side.



I couldn't agree more!! Actually, I think I've voiced my opinions about blends before:

http://tinyurl.com/r50b

I don't understand why people are so passionate about blends. Why contaminate good malt with grain whisky!?

Speedy_John
10-16-2003, 07:27
"The undisputed king of whiskies and my favourite of all listed on this web site. The orchestration and depth of this whisky defies every competitor. If Talisker is like 'Won't Get Fooled Again,' this is 'Who's Next,' the entire album. Ace." -- Richard Joynson, owner of Loch Fyne Whiskies, on Johnnie Walker Black Label.

"Is Black Label a great whisky? Was Dizzie Gillespie a great musician?" -- Michael Jackson.

Geez, I never realized these guys had such "poor taste." They have probably forgotten more about whisky that any of us will ever know, including you, Brent. While I wouldn't praise JW Black the way Joynson does (I think it is a very good whisky at a reasonable price), the point is clear that you can not dismiss a whisky simply because it is a blend.

There are a number of reasons why many alcohol consumers do not drink Scotch whisky. One of the most frequent I hear--as the spirits specialist and purchaser for the largest liquor store in Pennsylvania--is that "only snobs drink it." After reading your condescending posts, Brent, I can understand where folks get that idea.

SpeedyJohn

DavidNelson
10-16-2003, 08:40
To hear some of you state that you are "blends guys" is unfortunate. Next time, buy cheap single malt and have your vodka on the side. Its a shame that among such connisseurs of bourbon, some could have such poor taste is Scotch.



Shouldn't surprise you at all if you think about it. Scotch grain whisky is distilled from a grist consisting largely of corn in continuous stills and aged in oak casks for at least three years. Sounds a lot more like bourbon to me than vodka. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif

Cheers,

Dave

bourbonv
10-16-2003, 09:06
When I worked for U.D. I went to Scotland to visit their archive. My boss invited me to his house for dinner the night before I left and we sampled many products from his large collection of Single Malt and Blended scotch whisky. One of the best things I drank that night was the aged "blending spirit" he had - a corn based product aged in barrels. I forget how old it was (this was after a half dozen single malts after all) but it was more than 4 years and very flavorfull. Definitely not vodka. I still prefered the Talisker, but I would rank this blending product very high.
Mike Veach

mickblueeyes
10-16-2003, 10:15
I don't mean to be condescending guys, I am just relaying my feelings on the matter. I am aware that the grain whiskies are aged in oak prior to blending (as required by law). I simply took exception with the notion that blends have supported single malt since the inception of Scotch.

I apologize if I came off as condescending, but I don't think that blends of any sort (whether whisky or whiskey) have a place on the shelves of the dedicated spirits fan.

Gillman
10-16-2003, 10:54
As for the personal aspect (what we should like or should not like), one can't gainsay the old phrase, "de gustibus non est disputandum", i.e, taste is personal. I have been studying (as a pastime) spirits for 30 years. I have tasted widely amongst the blends and single malts. I enjoy the complexity of a good blend, the "symphony" of flavours rather than the "soloist" (to borrow a metaphor from Michael Jackson). The best blends out there today are very good and are something different (in kind from malts. Grain whisky is just another form of whisky on the continuum of whisky viewed historically. I doubt single malt in 1800 tasted like, say, Glenlivet, or any other malt for that matter, tastes today. Do we exclude long-aged malts from appreciation because malt was not aged very long in 1800, or 1600? So that is the personal angle for me. I blend (in the glass and small quantities) my own scotch whiskies. Most are vatteds but some are true blends because the blend may be built on a foundation of, say, Grant's 15 year old. I don't need the support of the great whisky writers like Michael Jackson to say blended whisky can be a fine product with its own merits; that such support exists hardly detracts from my opinion, however.

On the business side, I never said malt whisky would not exist but for the blends. I said that in my view, malt whisky would not have achieved the success the blends did as the world's leading spirit drink (until recently). Teacher's, Ballantine's, JW and hundreds of blends captured the attention and respect of people around the world. Scotch became a byword for a quality spirit, e.g. it enjoyed huge gains even in France well before the current malt whisky craze. Scotch whisky became associated with Britain and its culture - it achieved a status which reflected numerous cultural specificities of both Scotland and England. This could not have happened (even in an era of automatic "respect" for Britain, its civilisation and values) had the product not been fundamentally superior. I believe single malt whisky would never have achieved such success. The malts would not have appealed to a broad taste. They are too assertive, (neccessarily) multifarious and lack consistency, and (not least) they would have been too costly for most people. Even in Scotland the blends have enjoyed hegemony since the 1800's (Glasgow was and still is the great blending centre). Only "critically" have malts eclipsed blends even on their home turf; in financial/market terms blends are still way ahead. Most scotch whisky sold in the world today is blended, so people clearly like it and the makers are doing something right.

Anyway, I believe in the theory of blending. I don't cotton to most of the current blends, but the theory has a logic I find appealing.

Blending, in short, is in need of a revival.

Gary

OneCubeOnly
10-16-2003, 11:13
Call it snobbery or whatever, but I have yet to taste a blend that is any better than an entry-level single-malt.

As for citing popularity, absolutely--Americans originally embraced Scotch whisky only after it had been 'dumbed-down' into largely characterless blends. But I certainly wouldn't use that to argue the merits of blending! We Americans aren't exactly known for our exceptional tastes. (Heck, look at our beer!) That's like saying Jack Daniels must be exceptional quality because it sells here.

Are there some fascinating blends, and is JWB one of them? Yes. Do blends rank up there with singles? No.

Gillman
10-16-2003, 12:16
My point is they are different. Horses for courses, as the British would say.. Saveur magazine has a cover story on tinned tuna, pointing out that the tinned version (of which there are famous types in Europe using special olive oils, for example) has become a product different from the fresh article that inspired it. Blended scotch whisky is a variant of whisky that took the world by storm and really became a separate category. It would have been impossible (in my view) to sell pot still whisky on the scale - and the price - that scotch whisky was merchandised at from the late 1800's to this day. The best international brands, e.g. Famous Grouse, Johnnie Walker, Teacher's, have an excellent reputaion amongst whisky specialists such as Michael Jackson, Philip Hills, Charles Maclean, David Broome and numerous others. Malt whisky's revival is to be welcomed but it came about partly as a result of a re-evaluation of traditional Scottish culture that started in the 1960's, ie. these things are always part of a larger picture. Whisky in Scotland until the 1970's meant virtually only blended whisky except in a very few circles.

Also, based again on much reading, I believe the average quality of the big names in scotch was far higher in the past than at the present. Scotch was rich-tasting and had character. Today, only a few aged blends meet those criteria. Maybe had the product not gotten as dumbed down as it did people wouldn't have transferred (as many did) their allegiance over to gin and vodka.. That is something for the big concerns to ponder but it doesn't for me change the merits of properly blending (and vatting) whisky.

As for what people like, personally I don't agree that something stronger in flavour is necessarily better. To me it is all whisky - I like some blends and vattings, I like some malts, and I like my own vattings and blends. I like some for some occasions, others at different times. Recently I bought a merchant's bottling of an Ardbeg from the 1970's. I think it isn't very good (tastes to me like stale cigarets macerated in sharp spirit). I'll choose a good blend (e.g. Famous Grouse) over that any day. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif As someone pointed out on these boards, many of the specialty malts are creations of inventive marketing departments. Some of their ideas are great (e.g. I think cask-finishing did a lot for Glenmorangie) and some are not so great. Thus, I find drinking 30+ year old whiskies that are often too woody generally an uninspiring experience.

Nor do I apply different standards to bourbon and the North American whiskey family. I find American blended whisky an interesting category, for example, as is Canadian whisky. It is all one big family to me and there are interesting relations to meet in the various branches.. That doesn't mean they are equal in value to me, but I approach each product on its own merits.

Gary

Speedy_John
10-16-2003, 12:24
Amen, brother!

SJ

Speedy_John
10-16-2003, 12:28
You'd rather drink Old Fetter-fartin 10, Speyburn 10 or one of the McClelland sisters than JW Black, Black Bottle 10 or Campbeltown Loch 25? WOW!! God luv ya', laddie.

SpeedyJohn

bourbonv
10-16-2003, 13:30
Gary,
Some very interesting points. I have to agree with you that different people like different things - neither of them are wrong, just different. As for the dumbing down of blends - I like your point about this may have led to the growth of vodka and gin at the cost of whiskies (I may steal this example for some discussions I have been having with other people, if you don't mind). American blends used be much better products than they are today. In the 1940's and 50's Glenmore used to bottle Old Thompson blended whiskey. It was advertised as being "Wed in the Wood" since they would take their whiskies and blend them, and then put them back into the barrel for a year before bottling the whiskey. This shows the care they had for producing a quality product.
Mike Veach

mickblueeyes
10-16-2003, 13:45
LOL Speedy John, Those barely qualify for single malts to my taste buds http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Gillman
10-16-2003, 13:49
Hey I don't mind, more "grist for the mill".

I think a tasting of 1930's-1950's American blended whiskeys would be most instructive. I believe as you say that current versions would be less interesting overall although some are still quite good, e.g. I like Barton's blended whiskeys.

mickblueeyes
10-16-2003, 14:58
I agree with the general consensus that modern blends are far worse than their previous counterparts, in general.

However, shortly after the invention of the Coffey still in 1826, Pattison Bros began marketing their own blended whiskies. It is rumored they were using as little as 2% malt whiskies in the blend. Clearly this was a problem and when they went defunct the 1909 orders were set in place.

I still remain stoic on the point that single malt flourished throughout Scotland and England without the help of blends. International success came through blends, though not necessary, IMO. Look at very regional products like Pisco, tequila, mezcal and Cachaca which have been recently catapulted into the limelight. Eventually, the same would have happened to Scotch and probably in a similar timeframe.

MurphyDawg
10-18-2003, 00:23
Would you frown if I lumped Early Times and McCormick whiskey in with quality bourbon and said "I prefer its lighter taste sometimes"?


Naw man you got us all wrong. You wanna drink early times (which isnt a bourbon stateside last time I checked) go ahead. Ten High? sure! Fighting Cock?? Even Old Dan Tucker if you want to. (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Number=6718&page=&view=&sb=5 &o=) Thats the joy of this site, you can drink whatever you want and we wont shoot you down... BTW one of the only two scotch's I can even stomach is a blend ("Dimple" Pinch 15 year).


TomC

MurphyDawg
10-18-2003, 00:36
Why contaminate good malt with grain whisky!?





I love that comment I keep hearing!! LOL isnt "grain whiskey" not all that far removed from the basic concept of bourbon?? (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Number=22087&page=0&view=col lapsed&sb=5&o=&vc=1) I cant see much harm in adding a bourbon like product to scotch, personally.


Tom (maybe I am a little biased) C

OneCubeOnly
10-18-2003, 05:28
Why contaminate good malt with grain whisky!?





I love that comment I keep hearing!! LOL isnt "grain whiskey" not all that far removed from the basic concept of bourbon?? (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Number=22087&page=0&view=col lapsed&sb=5&o=&vc=1) I cant see much harm in adding a bourbon like product to scotch, personally.



So corn grist white dog thrown into uncharred barrels makes bourbon now!? Gosh, I'm glad I read this forum to become so enlightened! Is that why Georgia Moon is next to the bourbon at ABC? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/skep.gif

mickblueeyes
10-18-2003, 08:05
Murph, I think you fail to understad some simple concepts here. First, it is like asking Bourbon drinkers to like blends. Perfectly good corn or rye based whiskies with "grain whiskies or grain neutral spirits" added.

Secondly, when refering to grain whiskies, you are talking about a product that comes of the still at 95.5% EtOH, not less than 80% as US law dictates. That 15.5% contains many flavor elements. So no, it isn't like using bourbon, it is like adding Tvarski 100 proof to barrels and then blending with perfectly good single malt.

Also, who said it was corn based? To my knowledge, corn isn't used in distillation much in Europe, as corn is viewed as "feed" for animals. They don't even eat much corn there. I am pretty sure the grain whiskies are wheat or barley based, unless someone can definitively tell me otherwise.

MurphyDawg
10-18-2003, 09:42
I would just like to mention I said bourbon-like (sorry I forgot the hyphen in previous post), not bourbon and yes georgia moon would be considered a bourbon-like in my opinion, so I would have to say that the comparison still rings true. There have been questions raised from the standpoint that corn whiskey is actually the blending whiskey standpoint, but lets say they are. What I was trying to get to is that even unaged corn whiskey bears some similarities to the aged bourbon we know and love. And coming to scotch from a bourbon whiskey enthusiasts standpoint I may be drawn to characteristics I find familiar initially. So I would think that I (like many other of the "blends guys" on the forum) might be drawn to blends first for this reason.


Just a hypothesis.

TomC

Tom (Pardon me if I came off sounding confrontational last post. . .) C

MurphyDawg
10-18-2003, 09:45
Murph, I think you fail to understad some simple concepts here.






Those are all great points kiddo. I am glad you enlightned me a litte. My turn now to enlighten you to someting. Dont EVER insult my intelligence again. From what I had read previously blending grain whiskey was largely corn based, if its not, oh well, my mistake. My small sample section of information would have very little to do with how well I understand it.

TomC

mickblueeyes
10-18-2003, 10:04
Murph, I wasn't insulting your intelligence. Lighten up.

There is a big difference between distillation to 80% and 95.5%, regardless of starting mash. One can be called bourbon if aged in wood, the other cannot. It is this difference I refered to when I said you didn't understand.

bourbonv
10-18-2003, 10:14
The aged blending agent I had in Scotland was the product that is used in United Distillers blends of the time. This included, Johnny Walker, Dewers, Black and White, Teachers, White Horse and many more than I have time to name. It was aged in used barrels, was made from maize (Brit term for American CORN) and had a very nice red color, was bottled at about 120 proof and tasted very borbon-like. You could even buy it in some specialty stores. It was not a neutral spirit or vodka. Maybe for the cheaper blends they use a neutral spirit, but not for their real money makers.
Mike Veach

MurphyDawg
10-18-2003, 10:15
Well heres the thing if you read my response to OneCube I knew exactly what you were talking about. I was referring to a bourbon like whiskey say like the white dog off the still at Buffalo Trace I got to try last year. So I understood exactly what you are referring to. I would venture to bet that if you gave me a single malt and a blend with say Rain Vodka a the "grain "whiskey" (BT's 100% organic corn vodka), I would take the blend. there are some attribute of the corn in the mash that are already noticable at the white dog stage that I am drawn to, I was just hypothesising that maybe that is why so many of the forum guys are "blends guys".


Do I think you were really insyulting my intelligence. No. Do I think you response was worded with very little tact. Yes. I dont fee like lightening up quite yet, thanx.


TomC

OneCubeOnly
10-18-2003, 10:18
The basic argument for blends is that the grain whisky will somehow accentuate or complement the characteristics of the malts. Using the Georgia Moon analogy, it'd be like doing a vatting of Julian's whiskies and then diluting them with a healthy dose of Georgia Moon or Everclear. Do you really think it'll enhance the experience!?

Again, I still say, why contaminate good malt with grain? The distilleries do it because it does a certain dumbing-down, and it's WAAAAY cheaper than vatting.

SteveZZZ
10-18-2003, 10:52
I agree that for the most part a single malt is superior to a blend. But I don't consider them the same drink... there are single malts to be enjoyed, and there are blends to be enjoyed, both because of their own merits. Sometimes I drink Lagavuilin, Bowmore, Macallan, Dalwhinnie, etc, but sometimes I want JW blue or gold, or some other blend. There's nothing inherently wrong with a blend. If you're a purist and don't like the idea of it, don't drink it. Whether you like it or not, there are a large number of scotch enthusiasts who do enjoy blends on occasion.

Steve

MurphyDawg
10-18-2003, 10:58
From the point of view of someone who love single malt scotch I would agree completly with what you say. I guess what I was trying to bring forth was the idea that since we are in the foriegn whiskey section of a bourbon forum, that the one thing we all have in common is a love for a corn based whiskey (bourbon). And that maybe many of these folks are drawn to blends because of the 1similarities imparted by using something like corn whiskey in it. It provides a common ground in which to start delving into the world of single malts. A good blend in this aspect can be likened to what I think of Makers Mark. It tastes like the whiskey that it represents, but not overwhelmingly so enough to put you off. Once you are used to said whiskey, then you can start the real adventure. And once you either decide you like or dislike the genre in question, it seems the majority of folks leave the whiskey that initiated them behind in favor of the riches they have in store.


TomC


TomC

Gillman
10-18-2003, 11:32
The industry uses either corn, called maize in some parts of Europe, or wheat. Generally market price dictates the choice. Yes, grain whisky is brought off the still at about 95% abv. However, as Mike says, its flavour contribution is far from neutral. Read any grain whisky taste notes and you read: vanilla (a hallmark of bourbon and American blended whiskey), melon, honeysuckle, and/or caramel. Although grain whisky is distilled to a high proof, some flavour is left in, the process is not taken as far as for neutral spirits or vodka. As an example, there generally are three distillations done for Canadian whisky, one of which is extractive, designed to remove flavours felt not suitable for the final product that would otherwise remain even in the high-test distillate. These flavours are (it is my understanding) often left in the Scottish continuous grain distillate. When you age grain spirit for years in ex-bourbon casks, it can acquire a bourbon-like taste. We read often that the taste of any whisky is 75-80% from the barrel. If a Scots grain whisky is aged, say, 8, 10 or 12 years in ex-bourbon casks (as is almost invariably the case), it will acquire much of its flavour from the cask. Why is 15 year old bourbon much darker than 4 year old? It had all those extra years to take more from the cask. The cask keeps giving; it gives American charred oak ("bourbon", in part) character to some grain whiskies no less (and not only that to some malts but there the barley base will turn the profile away from corn-based bourbon). Here is how this can be tested. Recently I bought a bottle of Black Velvet. It was aged 8 years, almost certainly in ex-bourbon barrels (this being a frequent practice in Canada). It is made much like a grain whisky in Scotland, because continuous spirits distilled at over 180 proof from corn, aged in the same kind of barrel, should have a similar (not identical) taste, and they do. So the flavour of aged blended Scotch does, in my view, partly connect to the taste of bourbon whiskey not to mention other types of American whskey. If you compare Black Velvet, and no doubt the aged blending agent Mike mentioned that was red in colour, to say, one of the less costly bourbons out there, one can see they are connected - not the same drink of course, but related. It works the other way too. I added some of that Black Velvet to a (personal) vatting I had of malt whiskies. The result is like a luxury blended scotch whisky. I would defy anyone who did not know to tell me this isn't "scotch" (and very good "scotch"). Sure, it isn't real scotch, and this was an experiment only, but it shows by the converse case the close relationship between American whiskey and blended scotch whisky.

Gary

mickblueeyes
10-18-2003, 11:38
You make an excellent point Murph.

mickblueeyes
10-18-2003, 11:39
Gilman, if you are stating that distillation to 95.5% abv isn't neutral, what is "neutral" in your opinion?

Gillman
10-18-2003, 12:07
It isn't only the alcohol content. It is the type and amount of congenerics that are removed, or not, and of course the length and type of cask aging. Recently I was reading taste notes on grain whiskies in issue 25 of Whisky Magazine. Here is what Jackson says of Black Barrel: "... smoky ... syrupy ... spicy (cinammon?) ... good full gold ... barrel may have been well-charred .. plenty of juicy wood extract". That is a bourbon-like description (to me). Some of the whiskies in that tasting disclose more the citric, honeysuckle side of grain whisky, so there the barrel effect was different.

Some of this has to do with aging the product but unquestionably the new product is far from denuded of all whisky taste (else aged grain whisky would taste like woody vodka, which it generally does not). I have a book by Philip Hills where he explains in more detail the taste characteristics of grain whisky. I will try to locate this and quote pertinent extracts.

Gary

mickblueeyes
10-18-2003, 12:23
Actually, Gillman, 95.5% is as high as consumable EtOH distillation can go. You can add organic acids to make it go higher, but then it is unconsumable. By law, all vodka made in the US has to be distilled to that proof. Would you assert that Tvarski 100 proof has admirable qualities? Or Skyy vodka? Or any other US distilled vodka.

95.5% is considered by everyone in the whisky industry to be neutral (just as a sidenote). With any type of post distillation filtration, you are looking at 8-10 ppm (parts per million) of congeners. That is not really enough to make discernable differences in taste from pure EtOH.

Technically, this is called an water-ethanol azeotrope (the remaining 4.5%). This is a mixture with a constant boiling point, so it becomes cohesive and cannot be separated. SO, all that remains is that 4.5% is water and EtOH--not congeners. Anything distilled to that proof is neutral--lack and devoid of flavor.

After three years of aging, the EtOH has been able to remove enough flavor from the oak to yeild the flavors you described, though that process is highly debatable. Does EtOH break down lignins which ligate the cellulose structure? Something does, as lignins deteriorate into vannillins and tannins. No one is quite sure of that yet--it is a hot research topic.

Gillman
10-18-2003, 12:29
This is good tech data, to be sure. Let me check some references and see if I can't add more to the discussion.

Gary

Gillman
10-18-2003, 13:27
Okay here is what I can add as a non-scientist. In Charles MacLean's "Scotch Whisky" (Mitchell Beazley, 1993-2001), the author says, speaking of patent stills, ".. Copper lining had been found essential to achieve the flavour profile of grain whisky, although it may be dispensed with when producing plain spirit for gin or vodka".

He also says patent spirit is taken off the still at a strength not higher than 94.8% abv. Even if this is the same or essentially the same level as used for vodka or neutral spirits, his comment above shows that spirit to be aged for grain whisky has a flavour profile that is different, intentionally, from that used as the base for gin or vodka. Copper tubing in the equipment is one element, but I believe there is more, as follows.

I have notes based on an article by T.P. Lyons, written about 10 years ago, on Scotch and Irish Whisky Production. This person is a distillery scientist. He wrote that the alcohol concentration of spirit taken from the rectifier tray is not less than 94.17% GL. He also said how the still is operated can affect the concentration of congeners which has a consequential result on product "quality" (i.e., purity which affects taste of course). It has to do with the trays in the columns and the concentrations of furfural, aldehydes, tetranols and other congeners in the vapour between each tray. The concentrations can be changed depending how the equipment is operated. Initially (hence my earlier post), I thought he meant that even though the alcohol level is drawn at least at the percentage he indicated (94.17% GL), by manipulating the stills and trays - the perforated trays in the column on which vaporisation occurs as the wash comes down and steam rises - one can change the congeners in the final product and therefore the taste. I don't know if he meant that to leave a higher concentration of congeners in the spirit one must distill at a lower proof than is usual for neutral spirit. Let's assume that is what he meant. Then clearly, the grain distillers of Scotland must be doing that to impart, as Maclean (and others) have said, a character to their grain distillate different from the neutral palate intended for white goods production. If MacLean is right that spirit for whisky is never drawn off at lower than 94.8%, maybe there is a margin between that number and the figure (slightly higher, but not by much, I assume) used for production of the purer neutral spirit. Either that or it is possible to distill alcohols of the same, very high proof but containing different congenerics or levels thereof. I would have thought the latter possible because one may want to remove certain congeners through methods other than vaporising the alcohol. Some unwanted congeners are volatile up to or at the boiling point of alcohol, for example, so increasing alcoholic concentration will not of itself ensure these are removed from the distillate.

Either way, it is clear to me new grain spirit used for whisky is made to taste different from new spirit used for gin or vodka. The spirit designed for whisky won't taste like the white dog that one day will become bourbon; nor however does it taste like the liquor destined to be sold the following week as triple-distilled vodka..

That is all I can add, as a non-scientist, to this discussion. I welcome all commets.

Blackkeno
10-18-2003, 23:36
I still don't think it is reasonable to imply that most people who like single malt Scotch should not like (waste time) with blended Scotch.

Almost all spirits writers include almost as many blends as single malts in their top tier relative to the total number of offerings. (Of course there are many more single malts than blends)

I have about 20 single malt Scotch friends. We average over 100 bottles of single malt each. Some guys have over 1000 bottles. Almost all of them RAVE about a particular blend occasionally (Campbeltown Loch 25 is a great recent example). I don't mean this to shock my fellow bourbon lovers but, almost all of them would pick a Scotch blend over a bourbon if they were not having a single malt. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif I did turn a lot of heads by bringing Stagg to a recent get together though! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif

Grain whiskies very greatly one from another. I currently have on hand the following single grains: Invergorden 10, Black Barrel, Cambus 31yo CS (Cadenhead), Caledonian 21yo (Cadenhead), '63 North of Scotland CS 36yo (Scott's), Greenore 8yo(Irish), Shannon CS 9yo (Limerick, Irish). They are VERY different from each other. To my palate at least as different a various non-wheater bourbons. The idea that these "neutral" spirits have a neutral impact on a blends is hard for me to imagine. By the way, many of these are excititng in their own right. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif

I love whisk(e)y. IMHO almost all of the various national styles have great expressions. In my top tier, I would have to include bourbons, straight ryes, Irish (pure pot still, blend and single malts), Single malt Scotches, and blended Scotches and even a couple Canadians. The only major category I have not found anything exceptional in is American blends. I'm not sure why, but I would certainly not include American blends in the same category as the blends of Scotland, Ireland, or Canada. I think comparing top blends to non blends in other countries like Chivas 18 to Springbank 15, Jameson Gold to Redbreast, or Crown Royal limited edition to Century Reserve 13, is in the same ballpark. Ancient Age Prefered is probably the best US blend I have, and wouldn't compare it to any decent straight American whisky.

ratcheer
10-19-2003, 07:40
I agree about American (i.e., U.S.) blends. They are not about being excellent drinking whiskey. Their main purpose is to be a cheap base for mixed whiskey drinks. I suppose they serve that purpose, but that is just not the purpose most of us here on sb.com are interested in.

Tim

OneCubeOnly
10-27-2003, 12:22
Mark-

I was just reexamining your JW Collection pictures--does the Blue Label have an age statement?

Paradox
10-27-2003, 12:42
Nope, no age statement on that bottle like the rest. In the description for it on the flap it says "...it includes some malt whiskies of over 50 years in age..." That's the only thing I saw about any age for the Blue.

SteveZZZ
10-27-2003, 15:06
I've been told by a few different people that the whiskes (malt and grain) in JW Blue range from 25-60 years old. No guarantee of the truth there, but seems to me that it'd be more 25 and less 60 for sure.

Steve

Paradox
10-27-2003, 15:15
I'm not a scocth guy at all, but that would sound about right jsut from what I know... The gold I think is 18 years so it'd make sense to be around 25 with some 'old stuff' thrown in there to make descriptions of it sound more appealing.

I did a quick search and here is a review I found on it. In it, the reviewer claims it is also comprised mostly of 25 year whiskey. Review:

<font color="blue"> In the world of Scotch, JW Blue is the clear winner for carrying the image of the most popular, well known, top-of-the-line Scotches. Most people think of it as the rarest, most expensive and probably least-likely-to-drink scotches around. I'm writing this review to dispell a few myths -- For while Blue Label might appear to be the Lamborghini Countach of Scotches, while most of us won't drive a Countach in our lifetimes, JW Blue is QUITE within our reach! Despite being the rarest of the Johnny Walker line of Scotch, it is amazing how readily available something "rare" becomes when it fetches between 165 and 180 dollars per bottle!

Blue Label is Johnny Walker's current attempt to recreate the finest scotch from the original Walker recipes. Back in the 19th century, Johnny Walker blended an ultra fine, flavorful exclusive scotch and ONLY offered it to friends, family and those closest to him. The scotch was peaty, malty, yet because of the blend, very complex and lasting in the finish. The Blue Label offerred today certainly accomplishes the complexity part -- Sure, there are infinte flavors which dance across you palate. However, ironically, while I myself love complexity in a cigar, often times, I prefer the directness and consistency of a single malt scotch, especially when an exclusive and even esoteric Single can be had for 1/4 to 1/3 the price of a bottle of Blue! SO the real question becomes "Is This STuff REALLY Worth It???" WIth this review I intend to answer that question AND offer some hints of how to get Blue at a more reasonable price so perhaps you can actually drink this scotch and answer the original question for yourself -- This review is only intended to be a guideline, and hopefully, upon reading it, YOU can answer the question!

The recipe for Blue Label originated from the 19th century from Johnnie and son, Alexander, Walkers' search for the finest and scarcest highlands Scotch Whiskeys avaialable. Johnie Walker's master blenders created Blue label in celebration of the Walkers' relentless and uncompromising quest to blend the most balanced and flavorful Scotch. Today, Blue labeled is package beautifully, in original form, bottled in handsome blue flint glass. The bottle wears a handsome hinged Blue-Label box, with delicate silk on the inside. Each bottle is indivudally numbered with a guarentee of authenticty from the Walker distillery, including a well written booklet on the painstaking efforts that went into developing this fine blend and recreating a classic. Since the inception of Blue Label, the Scotch has gathered numberous awards and accolades, the most prestigious of which being the International Wine and Spirit Competition's award; Gold Medal for the Best Blended Whisky. The blend consists of only 16 of the scarcest Scotch Highlands whiskeys and Speyside malts, which is essential to keeping avid scotch drinkers interest, because it maintains the dark undertones and richness usually only found in a single malt.

Flavor wise, Blue Label is an instant classic from the first warm taste -- The blend has a wonderfully sweet aroma, very toasty and aged on the nose, the scotch drinks with a wide open bouquet of flavors, starting with a peaty and warm spicy body which developes into a very oaky and chocolaty body boasting fruity and almost chewy undertones. You can just taste the slightly buttery oak aging on the finish along with a delicate hint of sherry and fruitiness. All throughout the taste, the scotch goes from oaky and dry texture wise, to warm and moist, though unlike a cigar, the scotch maintains the same flavor, unlike a cigar which developes into different bodies and flavors along the way...What a shame, if this Scotch developed during the drink, like a cigar does throughout a smoking session, god only knows what flavors would come out!

I write tons of cigar reviews: While I typically don't offer advice pertaining to accompanying drinks to cigars, in this case, I WILL advise on cigars-to-drinks, or at least Blue label. Before I mentioned the notion of directness and consistency compared between single-malt and blended Scotch. The same kind of notion applies to cigars (although cigars aren't malted! Though if you're lucky you'll find some rare flavor-bombs which have a malty body!~) While I myself prefer a complex cigar and more direct single-malt scotch (like combining the yin and the yang) I also like to do the opposite. When I drink Blue Label, since it is so complex, I prefer a very direct cigar - sometyhing flavorful and powerful BUT not overly complex! Without going into Cubans, in terms of top-notch domestic cigars which fit this profile, my choice is the Oliva "O" series Omni. The Oliva "O" cigars are potent - packed with flavor, BUT because they're rolled puro style with all Habanos tobacco, the flavor remains very consistent, perhaps even almost monotone. I find combining complexity on top of complexity can be too chaotic to your palate, just a bit too much -- This destroys your ability to search for flavors and to appreciate the superb hand-craftsmanship and work that went into both Scotch AND cigar.

Bottom line, Blue Label is a serious Scotch, with a serious price. Sadly, sometimes I'm convined that alot of that price has more to do with the packaging and preparation, as opposed to the actual whiskey spirit itself! Compare JW Gold Label, it is aged 18 years (as opposed to Blue Label's 25 years) and while it's more of a straight highlands blend of only a hanful of whiskeys, it shares a similar body to the Blue, except less toasty and alot less fruity, though still very complex. So is Blue Label really worth this price??? 180 a bottle is no joke - However I can offer the following advice to buyers: Check out the market when you are OUT OF THE COUNTRY! Especially in the Islands - typically I make a trip to Bermuda every year or two. I buy Blue Label in Bermuda for 105 to 115 per bottle, depending on time of year. This is VERY fair, and at this price, the Scotch clearly becomes worth every penny, even as a blend. You can also find Blue at alot of duty-free shops at 125-130 per bottle. This is also substantially cheaper than 180! And since not everyone gets to Bermuda, if you happen to be going to Europe, you can find these prices at Heathrow, Charles De Gaulle, Milan, Rome, Ferihegy (Budapest) and many other hot-spots in Europe. So before you plunge almost 2 bills on a bottle of Scotch, talk to friends or family traveling to Europe or to the Islands, or if you're planning a trip yourself, remember to leave enough time to stop at a liquor store and/or duty free, to pick up a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label. Bottom line, while I typically prefer a single-malt scotch (where I pay good money ONLY for Scotch, and NOT on packaging or marketing), Blue Label is a wonderful blended scotch AND becomes even more wonderful at 105 a bottle! </font>

bourbonmed
10-27-2003, 16:21
Mark,

I do seem to remember reading that the Blue contains a small percent of super old/rare whiskeys, (40-60 yrs). Perhaps our scotch pros like Blackkeno can confirm or dismiss this claim.

Omar

Paradox
10-27-2003, 16:42
Yeah, in the description on the package I have it does say "...it includes some malt whiskies of over 50 years in age..." Hmmm, I wonder just what percentage that really is especially for the price the blue fetches...

OneCubeOnly
10-27-2003, 20:19
It's interesting that this review calls Gold Label a blend of highland malts--because I finally broke down and got a bottle, and to my palate it's absolutely SCREAMING Islay. And I mean a serious Islay like Laphroig or Lagavulin.

I just can't bring myself to invest in the Blue. I don't want to resurrect the discussion of malt vs. blends, but I just can't imagine ANY blend being worth it.

Nokia
10-27-2003, 22:08
I just can't bring myself to invest in the Blue. I don't want to resurrect the discussion of malt vs. blends, but I just can't imagine ANY blend being worth it.




I have had the Gold and the Blue and many other blends and while some are quite excellent(the Cutty Sark 25 for example), when you get to that amount of money($185 for Blue), I think you hit it right on, it's not worth it. If you were to try the Blue along with some very good single malts, as I have done, it just can't stand up to them. On it's own it is a very good dram to contemplate, but for the price you could get many single malts that will really blow you away(and a whole lot of bourbons). When you get to the Campbeltown Loch 25 at $50-70, or the Gold, then you have a blend that is worth it's price.

MurphyDawg
10-27-2003, 23:32
that will really blow you away(and a whole lot of bourbons)



http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gifBLASPHEMY!! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif



when you get to that amount of money($185 for Blue),




Hmmm does it really though. I mean for $185 I can get 4 bottles of Kentucky Spirit, 3 Bottles of George T. Stagg or Eagle Rare 17, or almost 1/2 a case of Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. No matter how good the single malt, thats gonna be a tough sell. If you are comparing 1 bottle to 1 bottle though the only bourbons I know that even get up there are Distillers Masterpiece &amp; Hirsch 20 year, and you probably could find a malt better than those. . .


Tom (Glad Bourbon is more budget friendly. . .)C

mitchshrader
06-14-2006, 13:25
Macallan 18 is better booze if you're NOT a peat lover, JW Gold is better booze if you just want classy and smooth, it's both. I just finished a bottle in less time than any other since my youth.. Smooth is the word. Evaporation factor was incredible, I don't recommend it for hoarding. It is EASY to drink. :)

But, the JW Blue? Ha. There's many better ways to spend your money. At that price, there's world class cognacs, single malts, and bourbons to choose from.

It's to impress those who are impressed by price, and no other excuse fits its manufacture.

Good Booze, it AIN'T, for the dollars it costs.

The JW Gold, is in fact, a much much better value.

If you want to taste what GOOD liquour tastes like, Van Winkle 20 yr old, or Daniel Bouju Brut De Fut Royal, or Old Hotalings, (ALL of which you can buy for about the same price as a bottle of JW Blue, considering store prices) ..

provide great examples of styles NOT scotch. For Scotch Single Malt, Laphroaig 10 yr Cask Strength (Islay) and Macallan 18 (Sherried), and Balvenie Single Barrel (bourbon casked) .. are all three available for not MUCH more'n one bottle of the JW Blue..

And a heck of a lot better deal. Don't be fooled by hype. You don't make good whisky by blending. You make bad whisky better, and you STRETCH good whisky.

Best.. is handmade, one batch at a time, by somebody who cares more about the result, than the money it'll make.

No other way works.

CrispyCritter
06-17-2006, 23:29
I'm of two minds regarding blending. On one side, it's hard to argue with a finely crafted "single," regardless of its origin. However, skillful blending can produce superb results (like the Compass Box Scotches, or many Irish whiskeys).

I recently gave my brother-in-law (a dyed-in-the-wool SMS drinker who usually adds ice) a sample of Compass Box's Asyla blend - and he liked it a lot. Not only that, he liked it even better neat.

Straight/single or blend? My answer is, "Yes."

AVB
06-18-2006, 20:12
Bull is just one of the words that come to mind. There are great blended whiskies and there are ones that are swill, the same as any class of drink.

You ned to find better places to shop because Blue can be found for not that much more then what Macallan 18 is bringing. I got my last one for $135 in my hands and the Mac was $114. Tell me where I can get the other 2 bottles for an extra $40 or so?

Of course, this is your opinion and you're entitled to it but don't state it as gospel.

AVB



Good Booze, it AIN'T, for the dollars it costs.

The JW Gold, is in fact, a much much better value.
For Scotch Single Malt, Laphroaig 10 yr Cask Strength (Islay) and Macallan 18 (Sherried), and Balvenie Single Barrel (bourbon casked) .. are all three available for not MUCH more'n one bottle of the JW Blue..

And a heck of a lot better deal. Don't be fooled by hype. You don't make good whisky by blending. You make bad whisky better, and you STRETCH good whisky.

Best.. is handmade, one batch at a time, by somebody who cares more about the result, than the money it'll make.

No other way works.

brockagh
06-20-2006, 00:25
I rate a geat blend alongside any great spirit.The problem with some of them isn't the corn based whisky, but the quality of the single malt put into them. A lot of the time, the best malt is saved for single malts, and elements of the blend are matured in very old worn-out barrels, especially in Scotland.