This is essentially a blend of blends from Cadenheads consisting of a vatting of two blended whiskies matured in sherry butts – each of which consists of various blends, blended malts, and blended grains all distilled in 1980. It’s bottled at 44.5% ABV.
Nose: Cinnamon and cloves with stewed fruits – vanilla peaking through a thick fog of rich oak, a hint of licorice, some cherry cobbler. Very bourbon like nose to me.
Palate: Biscuits topped with strawberry jam, fairly oak heavy, but plenty of sweet notes offsetting the tannins – caramel, black cherry, and toffee.
Finish: Nice long finish with fruit candies, cinnamon, cloves, and slightly tamed oak.
Value for the money: I bought into a bottle split of this at right around a $200 valuation, and based on how much I enjoyed it, I have no qualms with that price point.
This is a 51 year old blended grain whiskey bottled by Cooper’s Choice at 51% ABV.
Nose: Brown sugar with caramelized bananas, french vanilla, sweet grains, I almost would’ve thought I was nosing an older bourbon if this was a mystery.
Palate: Rush of anise and brown sugar up front followed by the oak punching through strongly alongside vanilla, malt chocolate, and cinnamon. Still, not nearly as heavy oak influence as I was expecting for the age.
Finish: As I would’ve guessed, oak begins to turn rather bitter here with the bourbon medley of notes still lingering.
Rating: 86/100 – Very interesting profile for something this old – was fully expecting an oak fest, but left pleasantly surprised by all the rich/sweet notes pulling ahead of the oak.
Value for the money: I bought into a bottle split at around a $250-$275 bottle valuation which is pretty great given the age. I paid $250 for the 50 year grain I have which I also though was a pretty good price given the age. Good luck finding a 50 year single malt without taking out a second mortgage.
This is a 35 year blend from Wilson & Morgan that was matured in a sherry butt. The distillieries/makeup of the blend are undisclosed, and this is bottled at 46.8% ABV.
Nose: Quite floral up front with beeswax and honey – black pepper pulling through after a bit with grapefruit, rose petals, vanilla, cinnamon sticks, and plums.
Palate: Quite dry on entry with heavy black pepper and nutmeg alongside blackberries and dry, brittle oak.
Finish: Remains dry here with faint notes of tart berries and creme fraiche.
Value for the money: Looks like this is currently retailing for around €180 which isn’t a terrible price for a 35 year blend, but not sure I’d pay that for this particular bottling.
This is a Diageo produced bottom shelf blend that’s bottled at 40% ABV.
Nose: Slight smoke, overwhelming rubber cement – burns the nose in a very unpleasant way.
Palate: Smoky malt with seawater. Vanilla with a strange chemical note creeps in – perhaps rubber cement again?
Finish: Ashy, bitter, glue.
Rating: 56/100 – Pretty terrible – even for a bottom shelf bottle.
Value for the money: Please don’t buy this.
Monkey Shoulder is an inexpensive blend comprised of Glenfiddich, Balvenie, and Kininvie and bottled at 40% ABV.
Nose: Smoky stewed fruits – black cherries and apricots. Barley is subtle, very little to no oak, and slightly salty.
Palate: Salty up front, loses a lot of sweetness from the nose as the malt becomes stronger. An ether note distracts from the rest of the palate.
Finish: Short and dry with salty malt turning bitter over time.
Rating: 82/100 – A decent blend given how inexpensive it is – nothing overly challenging here though.
Value for the money: This is usually fairly cheap – maybe around $30 retail. For that price, I’d probably look to Compass box instead e.g. Asyla, Oak Cross, etc., but hard to go wrong for only $30 either way.