A Muddled Thought

Category: Scotch & Japanese Whisky

A look at Black Grouse Blended Whisky.

What happens if you take Famous Grouse, a blended whisky that’s made by combining whiskies such as Highland Park and Macallan and add an Islay component to the final blend? A spirit such as Black Grouse comes to life.

And comes to life it does, from that first aroma that hits you and is filled with the presence of apricots, pears, apples and cocoa it instantly grabs your attention even before you take that first sip.

Black Grouse begins with a soft feel in the mouth that’s filled touches of smoke caramelized seasalt, black pepper, coconut, vanilla, and orange cream that leads into a finish filled with brandied cherries and sweet milk chocolate and touches of cardamon basil.

As the experience of Black Grouse comes to an end it ends with it kisses your palate with touches of smoked cocoa.

Bird of Prey. A combination of Black Grouse, Ramazzotti, Bonded Apple Jack and Vanilla Syrup.

Bird of Prey
1 3/4oz Black Grouse
¾ oz Bonded Applejack
½ oz Ramazzoti Amaro
½ oz Vanilla Syrup
Shake. Serve Up
No Garnish

The Bitter Cloud. A combination of Black Grouse, Allspice Dram, Cynar, Agave Nectar and Chocolate Bitters.

The Bitter Cloud
2 oz Black Grouse
½ oz Allspice Dram
½ Cynar
2 Barspoons Agave Nectar
1 Dash The Bitter Truth Chocolate Bitters
Burnt Orange Zest

A Scotsman's Tear. A combination of Black Grouse, Leopold Brothers Cherry Tart, Laphroaig 10 Year, Pedro Ximenez Sherry and The Bitter Truth Chocolate Bitters.

A Scotsman’s Tear
1 ½ oz Black Grouse
½ oz Leopold Brothers Cherry Tart
½ oz Laphroiag 10 Year
½ oz Pedro Ximenez Hidaldgo Sherry
2 Dashes The Bitter Truth Chocolate Bitters
Serve up
Burnt Orange Peel

A look at the blend behind Chivas 18

After taking a look at Chivas 18 towards the end of last year, we decided to take another look at the blended whisky. And yes it’s actually that good, though this time we looked at it from a slightly different perspective. Being a blended whisky means that the final bottled spirit is made up of other whiskies, and in this case we decided to look at a few of these other whiskies to see how they combine to form Chivas 18.

A great blended whisky could be compared to a great meal. When a chef at an award-winning restaurant is creating that masterpiece of food your about to enjoy, they take care and pride in selecting each ingredient that goes into what your about to eat, down to the smallest detail. A master distiller is the same way, taking pride and care in hand selecting each spirit that is blended to create that final product. If either the chef or master distiller cuts even the smallest corner, the end result you’ll receive could be lacking.

Luckily in the case of Chivas 18, this isn’t the case.

Master Distiller/Blender, Colin Scott utilizes several whiskies that on their own are all equally impressive.
Once you begin to sample some of these contributing whiskies, you begin to understand and appreciate the flavor that each additional whisky imparts into the final spirit.

A sampling of these include whiskies such as:

Strathisla 18 year that begins with ripe cherries, smoked cinnamon, apricot, coconut cream melon and subtle hints of black licorice.

An unspecified grain whisky that’s been aged 18 years and is brimming with flavors such as candied apple, hazelnut, and sweet elegant milk chocolate.

Longmorn 18, a specimen of Longhorn whisky that’s currently not available on retail shelves(though a 16 year old offering is). Full of notes of banana, kitchen spices such as cardamon, allspice and cinnamon that are followed up subtle hints of cocoa with herbal notes such as lavender and grass that finishes with the presence of vanilla.

And last but definitely not least, the little guy that’s responsible for the smoky undertone that plays with all that sweetness Chivas 18 exudes, Islay 18.

Before you ask, the origin of what Islay whiskies go into this 18 year old specimen is top secret. When inquiring with the Chivas Brand Ambassador, Alex Robertson we were advised that even he isn’t told what Islay whiskies go into this, however he assured us that it’s more than just one Islay whisky.
Opening with the expected peatiness and hints of smoke, more than just this is at the heart of the Islay 18. With characters of subtle burnt orange, cocoa, pear, ripe strawberries with a finish that introduces some creme de menthe.

While these four whiskies are only a small part of what goes into the blend that is Chivas 18, as you taste through the final spirit you can detect the contribution that each one of these whiskies make.
In its simplest definition, Chivas 18 is smoked cherries, sweet milk chocolate, caramel, and hazelnut with hints of basil on the finish.

As you delve deeper into each sip you slowly unravel the complexity that is Chivas 18. Cardamon, cinnamon, allspice give way to grapefruit, touches of peaches and apricot with the occasional hint of grass.
Chivas 18 is one of those rare spirits that are so precise that every sip will introduce new flavors into the experience.

Final Score: 9.5/10

A look at Glenrothes 1994

After previously taking a look at the Glenrothes 1985 bottling and the Alba Reserve from Glenrothes, we came across their latest vintage release, Glenrothes 1994 which hit store shelves a few months ago.

With the supply of Glenrothes 1991 slowly coming to end, Master Distiller John Ramsay knew he had to create something that could live up to some of the previous Glenrothes offerings.

John’s handiwork shows itself as you take that first sip of Glenrothes 1994. The whisky leads in with subtle hints of spice, apricot, and a sweet vanilla reminiscent of a crème brulée .These flavors slowly caress your palate before it’s seduced even further by the presence of mint, barely there orange cream, and inklings of occasional basil.

These flavors lead into a finish filled with touches of milk chocolate intertwined with touches of black pepper.
Each sip of this whisky keeps playing with your palate and continuously introduces new flavors and a warming sensation that just makes you smile with glee.

Whatever John Ramsay’s been doing to create his whiskies, he continues to demonstrate that same artistry that Picasso demonstrated in his paintings, only with John it’s demonstrated through his nose and palate for picking just the right whisky to put to bottle.

Final Score 9/10