Over the years it has become quite noticeable that blends are starting to be acknowledged a little more than before, they still carry the notion that they are in some way inferior to single malts and should only be drunk with a handful of ice and with a glug of soda or water but thats actually a load of, well you know what…
Blends, as i have said so many times come in all forms, from two casks from different distilleries to hundreds of casks from a multitude of distilleries and manufacturing techniques.
We also have to refer to a cask that might have had a cup full of another product or even a teaspoon of whisky added to a cask as a blend so it always amuses me as to how a distillery not on Islay for example can in-fact mature whisky within an ex Islay cask knowing there is still some liquid within and yet this is not a “teaspoon” or blend.
The loopholes are so interesting and often used but with interesting marketing techniques distilleries can easily get around such things.. So blends, they are once again sitting on my desk awaiting me to take a look.
I have today two blends made up from 14 Highland and Islay distilleries, both matured or aged and finished ( not sure if these have been re racked into new casks for a finish or this is just a confusion) within Ex American oak Bourbon barrels.
What the Company Biggar and Leith say about these two releases..
The whiskies have been carefully selected from the Highlands and Islay to create two easy-drinking smooth blends made up of 14 single malts. The whiskies were created in honour of William Gladstone by his great-great-great Grandson, Elwyn Gladstone, Founder of Biggar and Leith and Malfy Gin.
The American Oak is aged and finished in American oak Bourbon barrels, and produced with whiskies blended from 14 Highland and Islay malt distilleries. The Black Axe includes a higher proportion of Islay malts, resulting in a smokier flavour profile.
The brand pays tribute to former UK prime minister William Gladstone, and was created by Gladstone’s great-great-great grandson and founder of Biggar and Leith, Elwyn Gladstone.
Gladstone said: “We are really excited to be launching a new blended malt whisky bearing the name of my ancestor who was a great figurehead.
“In 1860, he signed the Spirits Act which allowed the blending of Scotch whisky for the first time, essentially creating the Scotch whisky industry as we know it today.
“I am proud to be able to honour him with this exciting new modern classic whisky.”
The Gladstone Axe – American Oak
This is a blend of 14 distilleries from both the Highland and Islay regions of Scotland, Bottled at 41%Abv and uses only whiskies made from 100%malted barley.
Nose.. Orchard fruits emerge first with that early morning aroma you get from walking through Apple orchards and the fresh scents of pears as they glisten with the early morning dew, orange rind is evident and along with vanilla and cinnamon this has a rather fresh feel.
Palate.. Gentle spices interact with those fruits and vanilla, a hint of oak sits in the background whilst there is a delicate coffee bean bitterness lurking.
Finish.. Gentle and unassuming
The Black Axe
Again this is a blend of 14 malt distilleries from both the Highland region and Islay but with a higher proportion of Islay malts used in order to give a little more smoke.
Again this is bottled at 41%bv
Nose.. Interestingly this has the same aromas as the previous but as mentioned this does have the gentlest of smoke mingling within.. Those fruits are there and the gentle vanilla notes to.
Palate.. The smoke is more evident on the palate but it is still rather gentle, it wraps around the apple and pear notes as softly as is possible. The fact the smoke is so gentle still allows for the fruits to be the dominant feature without taking your mind to the smoke.
Finish.. Again gentle with a delicate smoke
Thoughts.. This whisky for me is aimed at the casual drinker, it will not set your world on fire but what it will do is make a perfectly good drink for those days when all you want is a drink, any drink..
Again these are perfectly suited for those of you who want a whisky for making a tall drink or a cocktail. I can see these sitting on the side in a tall glass of ice and old fashioned lemonade or some fancy mix you want to make at home and plunge one of those tiny umbrellas and a slice of orange into..
Samples provided for review purposes only..