Today is the first of April and, instead of the customary gag post, I’m launching a “Blended whisky month” here on dramstats. I’ve saved some reviews of blended whiskies to post, I have some sample blends to taste, and, most interestingly, I’m taking part in an online 12 day blind tasting event called #12blends (look out for us on twitter every evening from today until the 12th of April.
#12blends is the sequel to previous competition and series on here, the 12 drams of christmas. The idea is simple. 12 bloggers swap mystery blends and taste the other 11 blind. We then try to guess producer, expression and ABV and the one with the most points wins a bottle of Compass Box whisky 🙂
‘Blended whisky is the lifeblood of the scotch whisky industry’
Blended scotch whisky contains a mixture of single malt whiskies (from various distilleries) and grain whisky, matured in Scotland for at least 3 years. Blends can often have 40 or more different malts and grains inside them and, therefore, creating a good one is a genuine art.
A master blender for a particular distillery, when putting together a single malt has any number of cask types, ages and finishes to choose from when constructing his expression. If you think that’s hard, how about multiplying that by every distillery in Scotland and adding different types of whisky!
The master blenders for the main blends are under a lot of pressure too. Blended scotch whisky accounts for around 92% of the global sales of scotch whisky. That is astonishing! Though single malt fans often treat them as the poor cousin of single malts and perhaps don’t give them as much attention as then might, single malt would not exist without blended whisky. Blended whisky is the lifeblood of the scotch whisky industry! Without it, many, if not most, single malt distilleries would close as the demand for their spirit would not be enough.
So, dramstats is devoting a month to blended whisky! Hurrah!
Let’s kick off with Grants Ale Cask. This is a simple idea. The standard grants is matured as normal, then finished in an oak barrel that had contained a strong beer. Woohoo!
Here are the dramstats:
- ABV 40%
- Price £14-£17
Nose: Sweet, there seems to be a lot more Balvenie to this than the standard grants, but perhaps this is a trick of the maturation. It also seems slightly smokier than standard grants. The head of a John Smiths-style smooth bitter comes through. Nice!
Palate: Slightly fruity with pear then sweet with honey and bitter hops.
Finish: Quite a nice zing with the bitter hops and a really creamy texture like a smooth bitter and a sweet peat to end.
Verdict: Cheap as chips and definitely interesting enough to be value for money. It’s a dram I like to have around as the first dram in from work type of drink.