Review: Old St Andrews Blended Whisky

Friday, October 17, 2014

Earlier this week I took part in a vertical tasting of the Old St. Andrews range of whiskies. This was held online via Twitter with the 4 samples being sent out in advance to those involved. Over the course of almost 2 hours we went through these whiskies starting with the youngest by discussing the nose and palate of each.
 
From my perspective these events offer new experiences concerning whiskies that I may not have tried or even considered purchasing previously. I’m always thankful for this and even if I don’t proceed to purchase a bottle, I have at least some knowledge of the contents. The leftover bottles also come in handy as if you’re a whisky enthusiast then you’ll know sharing out samples is common practice and I’m always low on suitable candidates.
The Old St Andrews range can be purchased in these uniquely shaped golf ball glasses or more easily poured options. I’ll admit I had previously dismissed such offerings as tourist fodder with a high proportion of grain content. Over the course of the evening I was pleasantly surprised by the variety and depth on display thanks to some skilled blending. It just goes to show you never judge a whisky until you’ve sampled it.
 
I have seen this range in various retailers as it is I expect very popular with tourists visiting Scotland because it combines whisky and golf. Living in Fife this is very much the home course of the blend so we kicked off with the very popular Clubhouse 3 year old blend that actually contains whiskies aged 5 years or more. All of these are bottled at 40% strength.
Dram 1 Clubhouse 3 year old
Colour: caramel
Nose: malted milk biscuits (with the cow on 'em), touch of orange zest, peaches, a sprinkling of sherbet.
Mouth: red liquorice, cereal reminds me of breadsticks, tablet, a little sea salt nr the end with a sherry caddie helping along and pepper.

Dram 2 Twilight 10 year old
Colour: Chardonnay
Nose: Chardonnay vinegar, coconut, ripe pear, heather honey, Elderflower 
Mouth: very refreshing almost a little fizz on the tongue! Sponge cake, coffee beans, white chocolate, lemon drops and white pepper.
Dram 3 Fireside 12 year old
Colour: pine
Nose: smoky embers fading into barbecued pineapple, woodchips, bit of a shy nose tbh maybe some water will help.
Taste: A little peat but not much else really, so far this one is suffering the most from the 40% strength. A watered down Coal Ila is a good summary. Probably a decent malt for something new to the peat side of the equation without scarring them for life. Vanilla, a waxy fealing here, crushed almonds, grapefruit, a creamy finish. More inoffensive peat on the second and third tasting.

Dram 4 Night cap 15yr old
European oak casks

C: butterscotch
Nose: a touch of the Caribbean rum and raisin ice cream. The theme continues with coconut milk, guava and marzipan.
Taste: a real waxy essence here; very grand and regal. The Gleneagles of the evening. Walnuts, more raisins, chinese 5 spice pork belly and ginger thins.

Generally the most popular dram amongst the attendees was the Fireside but it wasn't my favourite amongst the 4. It did have a touch of the Ardmore about it which is a thumbs up in anyone's book or at least I hope it is. Nah, my choice would be the Twilight that was very easy to appreciate and relax with. Overall the standard and skilful blending on show was an eye opener.

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