Highland Queen, which I confess I’d never heard of before I saw this bottle on sale, is a line of blended scotch and single malts owned by Picard Vins & Spiritueux SA, a family-owned firm based in France that also owns the Tullibardine distillery. Picard acquired the brand from Glenmorangie in 2008, but the name dates back to 1893 when a blended scotch was named after…
As long-time readers will know, I do a lot of thinking (and whining) about the price of whisky. Every decision I make at the store and every review I write is influenced by the dollar amount on the bottle’s price tag. … So, when reader Tony sent me the following graphic, it resonated.
At any rate, this is an ex-bourbon single malt from the Deanston distillery. (The bottle says “Matured in Oak Casks”. Duh.) It was distilled in 2003 and bottled in 2015 at 40% ABV after 12 years of aging. Deanston’s official releases are bottled without chill-filtration, but there’s no telling what Alexander Murray chose to do when bottling this. I found it at Trader Joe’s in California for $30.
Bland, and somewhat bitter. Not a successful malt. This should probably not have been saved from the mountain of “blending fodder” barrels for which it was no doubt originally destined. There are no redeeming florals, fruits, or even cloying sweets. Instead, it mostly just tastes like insipid wood and alcohol. If you’re standing in a Trader Joe’s right now, trying to make a decision, I’ll make it for you: Get the 12 year-old Highland (psst! It’s from Deanston) instead.
…at Trader Joe’s I saw this bottle of undisclosed-distillery 10 year-old from somewhere the Highlands (which describes, like, most of them) which has been “matured in oak casks” like… all of them… It’s 10 years old, 40% ABV, and costs $20. That’s pretty much all anybody knows about it.
Giving your Dad whisky for father’s day is a time-honored tradition. Getting him to share it with you is even more time-honored! Unless you already know what he likes (in which case, why are you reading this?), you have to determine what kind of drinker he is, and what is likely to be appreciated.
…He also notes “I’d rather pay a little more for better quality, wouldn’t you?” which ordinarily I’d agree with. A large percentage of the opinions I post here on this blog are related to the value of whisky – finding better quality for a reasonable price. I’d far rather pay $45 for…
Is consistency just another whisky marketing ploy that turns out to be so much hogwash in the face of profits? Is the disappearance of available stock due to demand surge causing this severe a quality downslope, despite corresponding price increases? Is the quality degradation intentional, and being managed slowly over time in an attempt to keep consumers from noticing the “watering down” of their “consistent” products?
I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is that the statement “Older is not always better” has proven true in my own experience. Sorry. The good news is that you can take it with a grain of salt
Thoughts on whisky fanaticism and what “too far” looks like, and how to find your way back.