Malt blends or “Pure” malts as they used to be called before the term was banned contain a number of whiskies from distilleries which only produce malt whisky using pot stills and malted barley.
The Malt Blend
All hail the teaspoon!
The label on the sample today is all about the teaspoon. The teaspoon is significant because there is such a concept as the teaspooned whisky. This is a single malt whisky into which a very small amount of another distilleries spirit is added. This is done to protect brands from independent labels and blenders. Say you are Balvenie and you have spent a lot of money developing a brand which is now seen as premium and exclusive with the price points to match. One of the threats is from the small amount of stock you sold in B2B transactions coming back and undermining that exclusivity. Why would you pay the hundreds of pounds for the 21 year old Portwood at 40% ABV when you could buy a 21 year old at cask strength for £99.99? You wouldn’t so the solution is to sully the whisky and make it impossible for anyone to say this is Balvenie on the label.
Whatever this whisky is we do know its 18 years old at least and bottled at 47.3% ABV. There is still bottles available but batch 3 had 1049 bottles produced so there must be a decent profit from each one sold at just under £65. Remembering to normalise this number for comparison of course (£90.93).
Colour – light yellow
Nose – very fruity and sweet. tinned peaches in syrup with a crack of black pepper perhaps.
Palate – Thick texture which just added to the tinned fruit syrup vibe. bitter oak and more of the black peppercorns with some cloves.
Finish – A sweet and sour note of caramelised pears and then oak wood, wood sap and ginger.
This was an interesting and well aged whisky. I enjoyed the tinned fruit notes and complexity with pepper and other spices. It was something quite unusual and still available if you want a bottle yourself. It is not cheap though although a similar cheaper product doesn’t readily come to mind.