Nose (10%): Honeyed bread predominantly. There are some medicinal oily notes and nice dry oak at the end. 8/10
Palate (20%): Lots of honey sugars coming through. Medium full-bodied. Nice dried fruits and cooked fruits and orange notes. Some baking spices and lots of Christmas cake flavors coming through. Yummy sherry cask finish notes. Only a little, if any, peat but lots of oak heat. 17/20
Finish (10%): Arid, oaky finish compared to the sweet palate. There is a bit of a bite to this. 6/10
Overall Impression and Harmony (30%): This is an oaky whiskey for the price. Possibly too oaky for some, but I like it. There's some nice complexity to this blend. Honey, cooked fruit, and oak spice. There's a nice evolution as it goes through the mouth. It's not boring, and one note, but it's not the craziest thing ever. It is a blend, but this has more character than any budget scotch in the well. 24/30
Retry on Ice (25%): Quite nice actually. The oak shrinks down a little bit, making it softer and easier. The honey strays throughout. The dried fruit gets a little muted, but it's still there. This is easy drinking for me. It's not too abrasive at all. 20/25
Total Ranking: 79% Legendary, Amazing, Great, Good, Fair, Average, Tolerable, Swill
Conclusion: This product has been around since 1909. It's owned by Diageo, and while it gets less marketing publicity than Johnnie Walker, this is a quality whiskey with quite a few loyal followers. It's widely popular in the U.S. and in Latin America, as well as some fans in Japan. I first heard about this whiskey from the anime/manga "Bartender." It's a delicious whiskey for the price. I'm curious to try the 18-year-old. Given this has so much oak, I'm curious what six more years in the wood does to it. The oak makes it a bit acrid, so I can only see it getting a little use in cocktails. A good drink would have to mute that oak character a bit, defeating the point of using this. But as a sipping whiskey, this certainly beats out a lot of other blended whiskies at this price point. Give it a go; it's worth the money. I was one point away from calling this amazing, but it's great.