EZdrinking

Searching for the world's best drinks and what makes them extraordinary.

Searching for the world's best drinks and what makes them extraordinary. EZdrinking is a drinks blog by Eric Zandona that focuses on distilled spirits, wine, craft beer and specialty coffee. Here you can find reviews of drinks, drink books, articles about current & historical trends, as well as how to make liqueurs, bitters, and other spirit based drinks at home.

Filtering by Tag: Whisky

Review: J&B Rare Blended Scotch Whisky

AT A GLANCE

  • Owned by: Diageo

  • Distilled by: Multiple Scottish Distilleries

  • Still Type: Pot & Column Stills

  • Spirit Type: Blended Scotch

  • Strength: 43% ABV

  • Price: $20

In 1749, Giacomo Justerini moved to from Bologna, Italy to London and with his business partner George Johnson, they established a wine and whiskey shop in the upscale Pall Mall shopping district. Years later in 1831, Alfred Brooks purchased their company and renamed it Justerini & Brooks. During Prohibition, J&B sent Eddie Tatham to the United States to evaluate the potential market for their Scotch. On his return, Justerini & Brooks designed a new blend which they named J&B Rare and released in 1933, as soon as Prohibition was repealed. By 1963, J&B Rare sold over one million cases and by 1974 it was the number one selling Scotch in the US. Competition from Cutty Sark, Dewars and Johnnie Walker slowly chipped away at their lead and in 2018 J&B Rare was the sixth most popular Scotch Whisky in the world, selling 3.2 million cases.

J&B Rare is a Blended Scotch which means it is a mixture of both Sottish malt whisky and Sottish grain whisky. J&B claims that their Rare blend is made from 40 different whiskies and according to one source these include grain whiskies from Cameronbridge and North British distilleries as well as malt whiskies from Auchroisk, Benrinnes, Glen Spey, and Strathmill.

TASTING NOTES

Nose: Very pleasant and light aromas of red apple, malt, and a slight confectionery note like salt water taffy and a light note of smoke.

Palate: On the palate the whisky has a medium body that starts sweet and then develops a slight sharpness. The flavor has notes of oak, smoke, and malt all backed up with a corn sweetness.

Finish: The finish is medium long and semi-sweet with light flavors of malt, oak and a touch of iodine from the peat.

Conclusion: The malt madness that has overtaken many Scotch drinkers has caused them to overlook great blends like J&B and should definitely be given another chance. J&B Rare Blended Scotch Whisky is a great value blend that is a little too sharp to drink neat but works great on the rocks, or in a highball. Check this out of you are looking for a good blended Scotch with a bit more smoke and malt character then Johnnie Walker Red Label.

Review: Johnnie Walker Wine Cask Blended Scotch

Owned by Diageo, Johnnie Walker Blender's Batch Wine Cask Blend Blended Scotch Whisky was distilled and matured in Scotland and bottled at 40% ABV.

AT A GLANCE

  • Brand Owner: Diageo

  • Distillery Unknown Scottish Distilleries

  • Still Type: Column & Pot Stills

  • Spirit Type: Blend of Scottish Grain and Malt Whiskies

  • Age Statement: NAS

  • Strength: 40% ABV

  • Price: $30

For over 100 years Johnnie Walker has been making renowned Blended Scotch Whisky. For much of that time Johnnie Walker was represented by its Red and Black label expressions and in more recent years Johnnie Walker expanded their color series to include Double Black, Green, Gold, Platinum, and Blue Labels. Most of these blends played with ratios of grain and malt, more peat or less peat, and the maturity of the whisky.  While each color had a distinct flavor profile they are all basically in the same wheelhouse.

However, around 2007, Johnnie Walker's Master Blender Jim Beveridge began an experiment, maturing some of their whisky in barrels that previously held other wines and spirits. Blender Aimée Gibson, came upon some of these barrels and created a unique blend of Scottish grain and malt whiskies, some of which included whiskies aged in wine barrels. The Blender's Batch Wine Cask Blend is the sixth experiment in this series, and it was first released in September 2017.

Tasting Notes

Nose: The nose is very pleasant and inviting with notes of vanilla and marmalade with a touch of nectarines and sweet cherries.

Palate: On the palate there is an explosion of fruit with notes of sweet orange, nectarines, plum, and a hint of vanilla balance out with oak tannins.

Finish: The finish medium dry and while initially it is very warm, the warmth quickly fades and leaves the lasting notes of sweet white nectarines, with a touch of oak, vanilla, and a flavor reminiscent of a fruity Riesling. 

Conclusion: This is a really fruity and approachable Johnnie Walker that mellows out nicely with a little ice to cut the heat from the alcohol. Overall, it is a very nice addition to the traditional Johnnie Walker lineup and it demonstrates how much character can come through the cask selection. For less than $30 this is a deal and one of the best new, and affordable whiskies of 2017.

Review: Paul John Batch 2 Indian Single Malt Whisky

Paul John Batch 2 Indian Single Malt Whisky was distilled by John Distilleries in Goa, India, aged for 6 Years and bottled by That Boutique-y Whisky Company at 54.7% ABV

Price: $108.12 for 500ml

John Distilleries has been blending whisky since 1992, but in 2008 the company began producing single malt whisky. Their whisky is made with two Indian copper pot stills with a capacity of 3000 liters per day, and the whisky comes out around 63.5% ABV. Once distilled, their whisky is aged in American white oak barrels and once they reach maturity the barrels are vatted and the whisky is bottled without chill filtration. Because of the climate of Goa, the whisky barrels lose quite a to the Angel's Share and for Batch 2, That Boutique-y Whisky Company selected a barrel that came in at 54.7% ABV after 6 years.

Tasting Notes

Nose: The whisky has a strong alcohol nose that carries aromas of malt, oxidized wine, baked apples and caramel. 

Palate: The palate is smooth, round and slightly smokey. The initial taste is subtly sweet with notes of dried or candied fruit and roasted nuts. 

Finish: The finish is medium long, hot, and tastes of malt, nuts and the faintest hint of curry. 

Conclusion: Paul John is an interesting whisky that served neat is obscured by the high proof. With a little water the whisky opens up nicely and shows more of its sweetness and smoke without the burn of the alcohol. With a touch of water, the finish is also much smother and has a nutty flavor, more reminiscent of a classic single malt. While Paul John is definitely a well made spirit, for its age, I'm not sure that I would spend over $100 for this whisky. Though, if you are interested in tasting what is probably some of the best single malt whisky coming out of India, Paul John should be on your short list.

Thank you to Master of Malt and That Boutique-y Whisky Company for providing the free sample.

Review: Macallan Batch 7 Single Malt Scotch Aged 30 Years

Macallan Batch 7 Single Malt Scotch Whisky was distilled at the Macallan Distillery, aged for 30 years and bottled by That Boutique-y Whisky Company at 46.5% ABV

Price: $642.50 for 500ml

That Boutique-y Whisky Company is an independent whisky bottler who selects unique whiskies from around the world.

Tasting Notes

Nose: The nose is very complex and layered with notes of fresh summer berries, zinfandel, milk chocolate and a touch of nuttiness. 

Palate: The palate is viscus and round on the front with a well balanced sweetness. The flavor has notes of sherry, malt and roasted nuts. 

Finish: The finish is slightly hot and dry with a woody flavor and notes of cured tobacco. Lastly there is a subtle bitterness from the oak tannins. 

Conclusion: At 30 years old, this Macallan has taken on an incredibly dark color like stained mahogany that is almost completely opaque from the side. The finish is slightly bitter however, after spending 30 years in a barrel it is quite a feat that the whisky isn't completely dominated by oak. The fact that the whisky is still showing well is a testament to the quality of the barrels and the mild climate in which the spirit was aged. 

Thank you to Master of Malt and That Boutique-y Whisky Company for providing the free sample.