Blending and vatting your own (malt) whisky. Homeblends, tasting notes, tips, tricks and ramblings.

Month: December, 2011

Homeblend #6: The Dealish vs. The Deanfrog

Last week I tried out three possible ways to improve the fairly simple character of the Deanston Virgin Oak. Two of the three showed enough promise to warrant a second look after letting them marry for a bit. Both the Deanfrog and the Dealish have been marrying in small 5cl bottles for 8 days, which should be long enough to allow the flavour and scent of the malts to meld into each other. I´ll go a bit deeper into why and how long of marrying in a future post, but read on below to discover that (at least in these these two cases) it is an essential part of blending.

Techniques: Blending with a plan

So, you want to start blending whiskies (you do, really). Good on ya, mate. I suspect by now, however, reality is slowly sinking in and you’re realising that you have no idea where or how to start. Oh, of course you can just randomly put some whiskies together (the ‘blend-n-pray’), and while that can net surprising results at times, most of what you produce will be… not so interesting. A better way to go about it is to have some sort of plan. Decide beforehand what type of blend you want to end up with. You can opt for a single dominant taste: for instance a sherrybomb, a blend with […]

Homeblend #5: a Deanston Threesome

It’s time for the big friday post! (‘Wait, what? Is there such a thing? I don’t think I’ve ever heard you mention this?’ There is now. Why? Because I just invented it, that’s why.) Aaaaanyway, this friday it’s a three-in-one homeblend review. The style of blend is a recovery and the whisky I’ll be trying to improve is Deanston Virgin Oak. Now, this is not by any shot a bad whisky in the sense that it is undrinkable, it just a little simple for my taste: the finish in new oak casks has overpowered any other tastes, leaving the taster with an (unsurprisingly) oaky, vannilla-y taste with just faint hints of […]

Homeblend #4: the Tal’fro

Here’s one that builds on the Laphroaig+. This blend is based on a good amount of Talisker 10yo, with equal amounts of Laphroaig 10yo and Black Bottle added. My idea for this one was to create a true marriage between the harsh smoky character of the Laphroaig and the more benign maritime characteristics of the Talisker.

Homeblend #3: Craigmore

Emboldened by my relative sucess with the Black Elijah I thought I’d give the whole boursky-thing (bourbon and whisky, a variation on Ralfy’s Rumsky) another try. Here follows my thought process: I: ‘Right, so what’s a nice characteristic of this here Elijah Craig bourbon?’ Me: ‘Why, for one, it has a pleasant bitterness about it.’ I: ‘That’s right! So what whisky do I have that also has this bitter note?’ Me: ‘I think I see where I’m going with this, what about this here Ardmore?’ I: ‘Yes! I think we’ve got a winner there! These flavours must surely enhance one another in hitherto unfathomed ways!’ Both of me couldn’t have been more […]

Techniques: Living Bottle & Solera Marrying

Here’s a fun way to get into homevatting: start a living bottle. A living bottle is a bottle into which you decant small amounts of different whiskies, and in which you always leave a decent level. The nose, taste and finish of the drams you pour from it change with every new whisk(e)y you add. After a while, there may be dozens or even hundreds of different whiskies in the bottle. One of the good things about this (besides it being a hoot) is that the whiskies get the time to grow accustomed to one another, to marry together.

Homeblend #2: Black Elijah

The second blend will probably scare a few people. (Single Malt) whisky-drinkers, I’ve found, are a fairly conservative bunch. Even the topic of blending whiskies yourself is met by some with a virtual warding off of the evil spirits of non-traditionalism. Well, let me be frank: I don’t give a flying fettercairn. I like to experiment, and in this case that means blending (*sigh*) a blended whisky (*gasp*) and a bourbon (*WHOA*). It’s happening. Deal with it.

Homeblend #1: Laphroaig+

My aim with this blog is to provide ideas. I’ll try to keep things simple: basic descriptions, nonexpensive whiskies and uncomplicated blends (for the most part >:) ). Of course, this is easier because a) I don’t have the money to buy dozens of bottles and b) I’m a relative noob when it comes to whisk(e)y in general. So when I buy a new bottle, expect some new blends. And when I find something out, have a revelation or even (science forbid) an epiphany you’ll be the first to know. Anyway, without further ado, let’s get going shall we? For this, the first of my homeblends, I’ve selected a relatively […]

Reasons for Homeblending

There are a few reasons why you would want to blend your own whisky. I’ve come up with these categories as a guide: Enhancement This is adding just a touch of other whisky to a base whisky. The intent here is to subtly alter the character of the base whisky without meddling with the original taste too much. Recovery Sometimes you buy a bottle of whisky that turns out to be bad or bland. Recovery is adding other whiskies in an attempt to improve the characteristics up to the point that it either becomes drinkable (yay!) or even quite good (double yay!). Creation This is where master blenders for the […]