12YO blended Scotch preview

Whisky – if you’ll excuse this statement of the obvious – has been premiumising steadily in recent years.  New, expensive, lavishly packaged variants are being introduced on a weekly basis.  Older, better, more!  It’s exciting but also a little bit intimidating.  The bar is being set higher and higher, with direct impact on our daily lives.  As an example – it no longer seems enough to offer one’s guests the regular stuff.  Perhaps this is just my peculiar point of view, but I suspect that it rings true for many of us.  A 12YO blend seems to be the new minimum standard.

For this reason I’m embarking on a review of the major 12YO blended Scotches available on the South African market.  If this is the new game then I reckon someone should be carefully checking out the players and sizing them up against each other.

I’m kicking off the review with a tasting – for which I’ve enlisted some of Cape Town’s whisky luminaries to assist.  Marsh Middleton, Bernard Gutman, and Hector MacBeth will be joining me at the Bascule tonight to sample the following whiskies:

Johnnie Walker Black Label

Chivas Regal

Ballantine’s 12YO

Dewar’s 12YO

J&B Jet

Grant’s 12YO

One of the whiskies we’ll be tasting.

If you happen to be in the area please join us for a dram and a chat.  There’s nothing better than whisky and good company – generally but particularly on a miserable, stormy day like this one.

The review will be published in the September issue of Prestige Magazine, and then on this blog later in September.

May the dram be with you!

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3 responses to “12YO blended Scotch preview

  1. Looking forward to it! Bring it on.

  2. Not a lot there that appeals to me – perhaps the Grants.

    Perhaps a problem with your assumption though – I would suggest that a good Three Ships is more than equivalent in age terms due to climate and should perhaps be included.

    • There are certainly whiskies that are younger / from outside this category that are equivalent, or even better. The point I was making at the time was that people are migrating upwards. Whereas a 3YO Scotch blend was a serving standard ten years plus ago, this had now moved up to the next popular level – the 12YO Scotch blend. You obviously incline towards the smoky, so you’ll have a particular view. I still stand by my opinion from four years ago. Dewar’s is the pick of the bunch.

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