If you follow @tmaufer on twitter, you know that today I got a great deal on Johnnie Walker Green Label at the Costco in Redwood City, CA. Costco normally sells it for $40.99 but I had a $10 coupon. These coupons are available for free at the store and there is no limit…buy as many bottles as you like until Christmas Eve 2008. So for $30.99 I figured, what the heck.
I haven’t had blended whisky in quite a while. I have to say it was very drinkable. It’s 43% ABV. It was very smooth, and for someone who’s been drinking single-malts it was…different. It was still clearly a Scotch, but I’m of two minds. What I like about single-malts is the fact that they are all so different, even products from the same distillery. Plus there is a certain cachet about single-malts that makes me want to not like the blend as much. Or at least expectations may be making me inclined to look down my nose at it.
I can’t say it tasted bad. (You hear a “but” coming?) But the fact is, it was not as “interesting” as the single-malts I’ve had (I will freely admit that I am not familiar with more than 10-15 distilleries’ products…so I’m not by any means an expert).
I’m not a peat freak, but I can’t see a peat freak liking a blend at all. This would be way too tame. If the measure of a whisky is drinkability, this is a wonderful product. And on the plus side, it won’t break the bank. But it’s just not that interesting as a taste/smell experience when compared with its components. I’d much rather have a Caol Ila or a Talisker alone, than have them adulterated.
I don’t know; it’s certainly possible those are my expectations talking, borne out of some macho preference for single malts. Perhaps. But I can’t deny I like the flavors better (the single malts). I think it’s impossible to separate the mental aspect of tasting (the expectations associated with knowing what you’re about to taste) from the tastes and smells themselves.
One thing this experience has done: I am going to seek out Linkwood since I’ve never had their malt. I have had Cragganmore, and I like it (when I’m in the mood for a nice Speyside). Don’t read that as judgmental either. Even though I’ve come to appreciate peated whiskies over the last 2-3 years, I don’t like them to the exclusion of other single malts. I love the variety of the perhaps 10,000 expressions out there. The more, the merrier.