First of all, when I decided to write about a Scotch variety, I knew I had a choice to make. Get hold of something decent, so I can praise it, or get something cheap and be entertaining about its crappiness. I planned to do the former. I really did. But as Christians say, God’s mysterious ways interfered. The unexpected electronic throttle issues of my car forced me to go with something very affordable indeed.
I never heard of the The Old Distillerie brand before, and on the surface things looked bleak. It comes in a generic spirit bottle, and the main selling points it advertises (3 years old, aged in oak barrels, product of Scotland) are what Scotch whisky is defined by. Proudly listing these (and ONLY these) on the label is like trying to sell a mobile phone with slogans such as „has an illuminated screen to display things” or „transmits sound during the occasion of a voice call”. We know. Say something special please, or I’ll doubt your quality!
At 3100 Ft however, it was a bargain, even for a blended malt variety. I first tested it neat. Trial by nose came, and I had fairly neutral impressions. Nothing special, just the expected smell of alcohol, with a faint scent of wood smoke. The taste is immediate, not sugarcoated for the first few seconds, as some of the blended varieties are, but rapier like in its instant hotness. After it wore off, a bit of faint caramel came, and not quite went, as it dominated the finish, which is long and dry with tannin. A peat smoke flavour is also present, just barely. It is not prominent by any means.
Next up I added a dash of cold water to the mix. A small amount of water is supposed to bring out hidden or barely noticeable aromas in fine whiskies, but as expected from a mildly characteristic blend, the only noticeable difference it produced was a decrease of the burning sensation.
One more popular method of consumption had to be tested, though. Whisky is, as I like to put it, the drink of the competent man, ready for action, armed with knowledge, sophistication and wit. But even this sort of chap occasionally blows off some steam, with a party perhaps. And when he does, he has whisky coke. On the strictly scientific term that experimentation on multiple test subjects yields more accurate results, I had some whisky cokes made with The Old Distillerie in the company of some friends this weekend, and we all liked it. It is generally agreeable that the target audience or rather target state of mind of whisky coke is not too picky, but it really was jolly good.
In conclusion, despite the price and initial expectations, The Old Distillerie Blended Scotch Whisky was really not that bad. Sure, I have tasted more memorable, more characteristic whiskies, but for non-connoisseurs, or for a simple pleasure of life, such as a party, it is a perfectly adequate and wallet-friendly choice.
by Matuz Bence