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

Tag: peat

TLBP #3: ‘Use the Force, Sherry’

The Living Bottle Project is slowly picking up steam. In the last iteration we ended up just a tad too much peat, as expected. This one, then, is all about bringing balance back to the Force. To this end I have chosen from among the ranks of sherried whiskies (I’ve checked, the ingredients say nothing about Midi-chlorians, but I guess it’ll have to do. Those of you who get that reference, congratulations, you are just about as nerdy as I am. Those who do not get it, you lead blessed lives). This is partly because I would like to get some of that sherried nature from the first version back and partly […]

Homeblend 21: Caol Morclas

The first Scottish blenders used peated whisky sparingly to give their mellow blends a bit of a ‘kick’ and this time I’m looking to bring this type of blended whisky into the 21st century. I’m not using grain whisky, just malts, to get a fuller taste and upping the amount of peated whisky to match. Caol Morclas is a new version of Far Mor Peaty (which only managed to get 3 drams), containing Caol Ila instead of the more powerful Laphroaig and Lagavulin. I also tweaked the ratio of Glenmorangie to Glenfarclas to allow more of the gentle sweetness in the Glenmorangie to poke through the sherried nature of the Glenfarclas. […]

Homeblend 20: Lagaton

Very early on in my whisky education I stumbled across a vlog by Ralfy, in which he described a rum tasting with the Glasgow whisky club. His own contribution was a blend of whisky and rum he called ‘rumsky‘. Intrigued, I vowed to myself to try this one day. And, as you may have guessed, that very day has at last arrived! Ralfy actually aged his rumsky for one and a half years as well as using cask strength spirits. I decided to start a little simpler by simply pouring a rum and a whisky together. Doesn’t really get much easier. Since the rum I selected (Appleton 12yo) is a […]

Homeblend 19: Rothavulin

Like the name? I think it’s a new high in my search for unpronounceable mash-ups. But anyway, to business: today’s blend is a bit of a fluke. I got a bottle of Glenrothes Select Reserve for my birthday and decided to blend it with the closest thing on my whisky-shelf. That turned out to be one of the stars amongst peated whiskies: Lagavulin 16yo. In light of previous experience I thought better of making it a 50/50 blend and instead went for 75% Glenrothes to 25% Lagavulin. It was at this point that I needed to come up with a rationale for putting these two whiskies together. You know, being a […]

Homeblend 18: Far Mor Peaty

As I have hopefully conveyed in the title of the blend, this one is supposed to be quite a bit more peaty than most of the blends on this blog. To achieve this goal I have selected two peated whiskies: Lagavulin 16yo, the sophisticated but savagely peated malt from the southern coast of Islay and, from a few kilometers along that same coast, Laphroaig Quarter Cask. This very medicinal single malt has been aged a further while on small quarter casks, which serves to couple the peat to a strong wood influence. To counterbalance the peat I based the blend on a sweet speysider: Glenfarclas 10yo. And last but not […]

Homeblend 16: Laphrelgin QC

‘Hello peatiness my old friend, I’ve come to taste of you again…’ (from ‘The Smell of Silence’ – MacSimon and McGarfunkel). It has been a little while since I tried blending with peated whisky (and those earlier attempts were… less than sucessful). This week I will present you with two quite different blends using two quite different peated whiskies. Kicking off is Laphroaig QC, which is a full-bodied and fairly complex whisky in its own right. In the past it has proven a fickle component, turning bitter easily and generally overpowering most blend-partners. For this new attempt I have selected Glen Elgin as the major component. I had good hopes […]

Homeblend #10: Glen Morpeatie

Continuing on my ‘peated’ theme this week, I present unto you: ‘Glen Morpeatie’ (pun most defnitely intended). This blend has a base of Glenmorangie, and adds Islay malts Coal Ila and Laphroaig as the peated components (Coal Ila being relatively mildly peaty and spicy and Laphroaig adding mainly powerful peat-smoke). To tone the peat back just a little bit and improve the mouth-feel, the last component is trusty old Clynelish. What I’m going for here is a whisky not unlike the Laphroaig QC itself: peated, but round. Success would be if the roundness could slightly overshadow the peat. Well, after marrying for 5 days, let’s taste it and find out!

Homeblend #9: The Clydefrog

I like peated whisky. I also like blending whiskies. So, one of the first things I did when I started blending was try out different blends containing peated whiskies. It turns out peat and smoke are flavours which are hard to work with. If you use just a little it’s not so bad: you get some smoke in the nose and finish and maybe a bit of peat and spice in the taste. Really good if you want to enhance a whisky, but not really peaty. When using larger amount of peated whisky, one of two things tends too happen: either the peated whisky completely and utterly overwhelms the other […]

Homeblend #7: Isle of Ardmore

This week I’ll be using Isle of Arran 10yo single malt as a base for blending. One thing I should tell you first, though: I’m Dutch (okay, stop gasping, it’s not as if I can help it). And one particularly Dutch foodstuff is liquorice. So you can gauge the extend of our preoccupation with this bitter-sweet candy: we tend to have a section devoted solely to liquorice in our supermarkets roughly the size of the coffee-and-tea-shelf. So you imagine my mirth when I first consumed a dram of Arran 10yo and found that it has a distinct liquorice-y taste and finish. Now, I happened to have a bottle of Ardmore Traditional Cask […]

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 […]