Color (5%): Lovely golden amber, copper, very clear. 4/5
Nose (10%): Delightful clean unmalted barley note, lightly toasted oak, 7/10
Palate (20%): delightfully light and fragrant. a medium sweetness appears at the tip of the tongue of honey and golden syrup. A slight bit of orange zest and oil. 17/20
Finish (10%): Any alcohol sharpness quickly fades but leaves a warmth of spice and cinnamon which lingers for a goodly long while. 8/10
Overall Impression and Harmony (30%): This is truly a fine blended whiskey. you see every component balanced and harmonized. The honey sweetness with orange oil, a kiss of smoke and lingering spice. 27/30
Retry on Ice (25%): Actually brings out a bit more woody body. weakens the finish and the opening sweetness is shortened to make way for that the richer smoke. The water dilution really does unbind the smokey oily compounds that were trapped in the bottle. Not that the released oils of this particular whisky are dominant at all, merely enhanced. This testifies to the even greater blending skills of this producer. 22/25
Total Ranking: 85% Legendary, Amazing, Great, Good, Fair, Average, Tolerable, Swill
Estimated Fair Price (per 750ml): $44
Actual Price: 38.49 (though I found a 200ml bottle for $5)
Conclusion: This is a fantastic blended whiskey which could also be a great introductory whiskey for new scotch drinkers. There is an underlying smokiness that is not overpowering. Veteran scotch drinkers may have found themselves looking for more extreme single malts that push the boundaries of smoke and sea, but most whiskey drinkers fall somewhere in the middle of the bell curve in terms of their own personal tastes and preferences and that's where blended whiskies really shine. This falls toward the top of the list in terms of blended whiskies. I've had a few that had a bit more weight that I personally like a bit better but this does shine for what it is. I'd happily buy this again for the price I got it at or at it's recommended retail. I can also easily see myself ordering a dram of this at a bar. I recommend it without hesitation.
Coming up next, I try Sheep Dip's Islay blend. That should definitely deliver on the punch.
Distillery Location: Scotland
ABV: 40% (80 proof)
Age Statement: a blend of whiskeys aged between 8 to 20 years
Ingredients: 16 different single malts,
Awards: “Great Taste” Gold - 2009, Listed in Ian Buxton’s ‘101 Whiskies to Try Before you Die’