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Most Recent Whisky Review

Bellevoye Bleu

If you had not of heard of this French blended malt you are not alone, because it was new to me as well when I saw it in the Air France Lounge in Paris.  A little online research suggests this is a blend of 3 single malts of different regions of France and finished in new French oak casks.  It is bottled at 40% ABV but nosed like it was much stronger.  Very feisty and malty with barnyard, floral and even perfurmed notes in the nose.  Hot and sweet on the palate with some flashes of toffee which were quickly masked by pepper and even a slightly acrid smokey note.  The finish has some chilli heat with a hint of lemon peel marmalade.  A splash of water improves it greatly, smooths out the grainy mouth feel and brings out some more fruity and sweet flavours.  It is not bad but posseses little elegance or sophistication so in that respect it is not a very French French whisky.

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  • Thursday, 22 December 2011 23:31

    My Alfred Barnard Blend Project Part 1

    Written by
    Whisky buffs will know Alfred Barnard for his famous, and very collectable, book "The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom" written in the 19th century.  He also wrote another book called "How to Blend Scotch Whisky" for Mackie and Co and I found a reprint of that book in the Islay Museum of Islay Life in 2010 and it contained a recipe for blended whisky.  To quote the book: "We give an example of a blend that has been most popular both home and abroad.  Average age, seven years.  3 Glenlivets x 5 parts, 2 Islays x 3 parts, 2 Lowland malts x 3 parts, 1 Campbeltown x 1 part and 2 Grains x 4 parts".  Total = 16 parts.

    I had not thought much about this until Master of Malt began offering home blending kits and it occurred to me that I might be able to recreate this blend (or at least something close).   Rather than describe that kit in detail here is link to the webpage.... http://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/the-home-whisky-blending-kit/  I do have to make some substitutions, so I will use Speyside for Glenlivet and as there is no Campbeltown in the Master of Malt kit I will replace that with Highland malt.

    Barnard Blend Recipe:  Speyside single malt (1 ½ cl of sherry matured) and 1 cl old Speyside single malt,  1 cl of Islay single malt and ½  cl of very old Islay Single malt,  1 ½  cl of Lowland single malt, ½  cl Highland single malt, 1 ½  cl of single grain and finally ½  cl of very, very old single grain.

    If my mathematics are right that should be 8 cl (ie 16 x ½ cl parts) of blended whisky, which is enough for my wife and I to taste and write notes.  I received the blending kit (an early Christmas present to myself) this week and will make up the blend as above and review on my blog under Alfred Barnard Blend.   Happy Christmas everyone!

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    Random Whisky

    Drambuie

    Supposedly invented by Bonnie Prince Charlie while hiding from the Redcoats (ie English) on the Isle of Skye.  Quite frankly the story smacks of marketing department babble, all they needed to work into the story was a scottish terrier and some shortbread to make it perfect.  If this was an improvement on the scotch he was being given to drink then it must have been pretty rotten stuff and I am not sure he was as popular with the locals as legend suggests.  The nose has no real whisky notes, just sweet, citrus and ginger.  It smells like Drambuie.  The taste is cloyingly sweet, a bit like cough syrup as it coats the mouth.  As the sweetness fades some more familiar whisky notes appear along with some spices like ginger and clove.  With a little ice to cut it the texture becomes a little less syrupy and I could detect some oak notes.  However it was chewing a pencil that had been dipped in sugar and cough syrup.

    I much much much prefer the more subtle and whisky led Drambuie made with 15 year Speyside single malt.  All that said, since moving back to Texas I can say with certainty that there has more often than not been a bottle in my collection (and I don't mean the same one).  The reason is the fact that the only whisky cocktail I drink is the occasional Rusty Nail...  over ice.  In the heat of a Texas summer I find a Rusty Nail works well in backyard bbq scenario and also does a great job in helping me consume (and avoid wasting) any disappointing scotches I have acquired.  Hence the standby bottle of Drambuie.