The independent bottler Alexander Murray & Co. is probably best known for its pioneering work in large-scale independent bottling for Costco (Kirkland brand) and Trader Joe’s. I’ve reviewed a number of their products before, and my impression of their work is medium-quality whisky for bottom-dollar prices. Sometimes that’s just what I’m after.
With recent releases such as Polly’s Casks and this Bon Accord, the company seems to be trying to branch out and make a standalone name for their own creative blending and barrel selection prowess, rather than riding the Kirkland/TJs coat tails. Bon Accord, here, refers to the agreement that an independent bottler sometimes has to make with a whisky producer to not disclose the distillery name. The bottle has no age statement, so all we really know is that it is a Highland single malt from an ex-bourbon barrel and that is bottled at the bare legal minimum of 40% ABV. The release is a vatting of different ages from that undisclosed distillery, so it’s not a single barrel. There is only one batch of Bon Accord (so far), but the marketing material on the website seems to be positioning it as an entire range, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see future batches from other “unnamed” distilleries.
I spent some time sleuthing online looking for guesses as to what distillery this is from, but I couldn’t find anything credible. There are so many Highland distilleries (technically could also be a Speysider). Still, it’s worth noting that the Highland town of Aberdeen has had the phrase “Bon Accord” in its coat of arms since 1672. This only narrows it down a little. Fettercairn? Royal Lochnagar? Glenglassaugh? Ardmore? Probably not Knockdhu, Glen Garioch or GlenDronach… but who knows.
Nose: Smells like a blend (it’s not). White peach, stale hay, green apple. Some banana after a rest in the glass. The rest also adds an aroma of fresh laundry, but also a sense of watery blandness that suggests a lack of potency.
Palate: Silky mouthfeel. Very light tongue burn. Bananas foster up front, with mild sweetness and a nice round cereal note. Pleasant, if unremarkable. Forgettable, even.
Finish: Short. Caramel, and then a fading hint of black licorice. Some slight oaky bitterness.
With Water: A scant few drops of water wake up the nose a little with some extra alcohol tickle, but no additional aromas. The mouthfeel is unaffected, as is the flavor. The finish might have picked up a fruity twang. Water neither helps nor hurts here, which is actually good news for those looking to drink theirs on the rocks.
Overall: A middle-of-the-road, middling malt without much to say for itself. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t exactly jump out of the glass either. It’s priced correctly under $30, but nothing about it justifies purchasing it over other options in that range. I do wish it were bottled at 46% ABV.
A solid meh.