In this box, we’ve compiled three pairs of whiskies from three different categories of Scotch, each compelling in their own right. Challenge yourself to compare and contrast, exploring both the similarities of these sibling sippers and what sets them apart. Happy dramming!
Compare & Contrast: February 2022 Box
JG Thomson, Sweet Batch No: 01
Our first dram from brand new (and simultaneously old!) blender J.G. Thomson is their sweet blended malt Scotch. Originally a wine and spirits merchant dating from the 1700s, the brand just relaunched in their original Leith home in Edinburgh. This core range expression uses Speyside and Highland malts matured in an array of charred and toasted American oak casks to produce a lovely, sweet drop.
On the nose: toasted oak, vanilla pods and coconut. And on the palate: almonds, fudge and cinnamon custard.
JG Thomson, Smoky Batch No: 01
Our second of J.G. Thomson's core range blended malt Scotches, this Smoky edition is comprised of 100% Islay Malts, aged in a mix of American oak ex-Pedro Ximénez butts and ex-bourbon hogsheads. Unusually, it is blended using a solera method, whereby the portion of whisky removed for bottling is replaced with fresh younger spirit, which merges into the already-aging blend in an ongoing maturation cycle.
On the nose: ash, medicinal and fruity. And on the palate: smoked meats, cloves and honeycomb.
Glenrothes, 12 Years Old
Our first dram from Speyside distillery Glenrothes is aged 12 years, and matured only in sherry-seasoned oak casks (not necessarily all first-fill casks, take a mental note!) and is bottled at 40% abv - meaning the spirit will have been chill filtered to stop it being cloudy at room temperature. Glenrothes keep their tasting notes short and sweet, so put on your best detective’s hat and dive in to explore the flavours!
Character of vanilla, melon and cinnamon.
Glenrothes, Whisky Maker's Cut
Our second drop from Glenrothes is not necessarily as long-matured as the 12 year old (being a "no age statement" release, aka NAS), but, it is both matured exclusively in first-fill sherry seasoned casks and bottled at a notably higher strength - selected by their Master Whisky Maker. What differences can you detect from its older stablemate?
Creamy vanilla, orange peel and nutmeg character.
Berry Bros. & Rudd, Girvan 2006 12 Year Old
Girvan distillery is on the west coast of the Scottish Lowlands and is part of the William Grant & Sons group. It presents excellently at a young age, which combined with the credentials of the UK's oldest independent bottler means this is bound to be a great introduction to this under-appreciated category of Scotch.
Pronounced aromas of vanilla, custard creams and lively citrus on the nose. The palate is surprisingly full and oily with waves of coffee cream, spice and juicy lime. On the finish there is a delicate spicy prickle and lingering vanilla.
Berry Bros. & Rudd, Invergordon 1988 29 Year Old
Invergordon grain distillery is a ways up north in the Highlands, near its more famous Whyte & Mackay-owned stablemate Dalmore. Notoriously excellent when aged for a few decades, this is a really compelling bottling at nearly thirty years old.
The nose gives toasted oak, apple and melon skin, with a fresh menthol note. There is some honeyed depth and cinnamon spice. The palate is beautifully expansive with Bourbon cask notes, buttery vanilla and crème caramel. Graceful and lingering.
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