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  1. #21
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    Re: Johnny Walker breaks tradition

    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!?

  2. #22
    Advanced Taster
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    Re: Johnny Walker breaks tradition

    "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








  3. #23
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    St. Louis, MO USA
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    19

    Re: Johnny Walker breaks tradition

    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.

    Cheers,

    Dave

  4. #24
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    Re: Johnny Walker breaks tradition

    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

  5. #25
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    Oct 2003
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    95

    Re: Johnny Walker breaks tradition

    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.

  6. #26
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Johnny Walker breaks tradition

    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

  7. #27
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    Re: Johnny Walker breaks tradition

    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.

  8. #28
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Johnny Walker breaks tradition

    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. 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

  9. #29
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    Re: Johnny Walker breaks tradition

    Amen, brother!

    SJ

  10. #30
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    Re: Johnny Walker breaks tradition

    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

 

 

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