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Colour: deep copper. I think we can forgive blends for adding caramel colouring, largely for consistency, but interesting to note that it is darker than Bell’s or Famous Grouse.
On the nose: quite confident, creamy, vanilla custard, flashes of dried fruits. Malty. Like a bowl of porridge with a lot of heather honey stirred into it.
In the mouth: flavour! Quite a bit actually. Sweet: dried fruits, molasses or maple syrup. A little bit of woodiness in there too. Malted Milk biscuits. The burnt sugar crust on a crème brûlée There’s something very dark rum-like about it, too. Yes, it’s not complex, not even close, but there’s plenty going on. Compared to Bell’s or Famous Grouse, it’s far more flavoursome. And as with many blends, there’s good texture to the spirit.
I think because this last year I’ve become more a fan of sherried style whiskies than peated whiskies, this one ticks my box. If you’re not a fan of that sweetness then it may not be for you. I can imagine this going one of two ways. If you’re totally new to whisky, perhaps Bell’s – being more mellow and dialling down the flavours – might be the better bet. Whyte & Mackay just has far more flavour, and isn’t shy about it either.
Anyway, of the cheapest UK blended whiskies, I think this is the tastiest. Just don’t go expecting your knees to quiver and your spine to tingle when you take a sip.