Haig Club Clubman

Clubman

You’ve probably noticed this one in the shops, behind the bar, the bottle stands out a mile, it’s on special offer more often than not, I’ve passed by it so many times, but I thought I’d give it a go. That was my first mistake. It really is style over content. Neat, it’s pretty bad, it’s grain rather than malt whisky, which is maybe why you could think it’s vodka 😉 If someone gave you a glass and you were blindfolded, you’d know it was alcohol, but I doubt you could tell what, even with no blindfold it’s so pale you might not know!

The text on the back of the bottle should probably be an indication that drinking it neat wouldn’t be a good idea 😉

ClubmanBack

I remember a friend went to Scotland once, and told me that in a pub he asked for a whisky and coke, the bartender replied “In my bar you’d drink your whisky neat, with ice, with water, or not at all”! Maybe that’s a slightly snobbish attitude, but I guess they didn’t serve Clubman there.

So, I tried it with coke, lemonade, ginger beer and vermouth with Angostura Bitters (to make a Rob Roy). With mixers it was just about drinkable, it made a lousy Rob Roy, waste of cheap vermouth!

I won’t buy this again, should have ordered in a pub to try it 😞

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Haig Club Clubman

Jim Beam Double Oak Twice Barreled

JimBeamDoubleOak

More expensive than the traditional white label Jim Beam, but as you can expect from me, I bought a bottle when it was heavily discounted in the supermarket, to make it same price as white label 🙂

I’m glad I did, it’s very nice, much nicer than regular Jim Beam. Similar in the difference between Gentleman Jack and Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7, i.e. Jim Beam Double oak can be drunk neat, or with ice, it does work with Coke, but doesn’t need a mixer, bit of waste if you add coke to it. Works well in a cocktail though.

It’s smooth, a bit of burn, vanilla, spice, caramel, basically everything you’d expect from a slightly more expensive bourbon. Nothing about it will set the world alight, but it’s a nice drink, especially for the right price. As often is the case, there’s the rub, RRP is more than Wild Turkey, but probably not much “better”, so not worth the extra cost, but when it’s reduced, it’s worth trying. Having said that it’s easily worth paying the extra money over white label Jim Beam.

In my mind, it’s in the same price bracket as Wild Turkey, and Buffalo Trace, and I would say of the same quality, but given the choice of all three, Wild Turkey would be my first choice, Buffalo Trace my second, and this my third. There’s not much in it, I just had a small Buffalo Trace and a small Double Oak to see which I preferred, and Buffalo Trace “won”. Usually Wild Turkey and Buffalo Trace are about £23, Jim Beam Double Oak £25, I suppose that extra £2 is for the more well known brand.

So, in short, it’s very nice, worth buying, and I may buy again when it’s on special offer, if I fancy a change, but wouldn’t be my first choice, as there’s nothing particularly special about it.
Jim Beam Double Oak Twice Barreled

Old Forester Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky

OldForester

Another bourbon I’ve seen on the shelves a few times, but waited for a “special offer” on it before purchasing. Sadly I’ll put this in the list of drinks which are OK, perfectly drinkable, but there’s nothing really special about it to make it worth buying again, especially paying a premium over other bourbons.

It’s quite smooth, spice, vanilla and caramel, but not too sweet, you can drink it neat, it works with a mixer, or in a cocktail, but in my mind it seems silly to spend £30 on a bottle of something, to then add coke or anything else to it 😉
Old Forester Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky

Abrachan – Triple Oak Matured, Blended Malt Scotch Whisky from Lidl

I had read good things about Lidl and their award winning spirits, so I thought I’d give “bargain bucket” a go, and to make another change, thought I’d give one of their award wining blends a go.

As I’ve said before about supermarket whisky, I don’t know enough to be able to guess which named distillery it comes from, what known brand it may be bottled inside, or who made the individual components to make the blend. However what I do know, is that for just under £20 this is excellent value for money.

It’s smooth, fruity, no real burn, and no particular stand out flavour.

It’s pleasant enough neat, with a mixer, or in a cocktail.

Abrachan – Triple Oak Matured, Blended Malt Scotch Whisky from Lidl

The Yamazaki Single Malt

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This is excellent. It’s been on my wishlist to try, but being about twice the price of what I normally spend, I hadn’t got round to buying it. Fortunately for me, a friend of mine brought me back a small bottle from Japan 🙂

It’s sweet, but not too sweet, it’s has some burn, but it’s not harsh, and the taste lingers nicely, with no horrible aftertaste. The sweetness is from fruit flavours, rather than honey or caramel, and it makes for a very tasty, and smooth drink. This is definitely one of my favourites, and would happily buy a full bottle, although maybe as a treat, or for a special occasion if reduced in the supermarket.

The Yamazaki Single Malt

Western Gold 6 Years Old Bourbon Whiskey

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I had read some good reviews of this award winning 6 year old bourbon, available from Lidl, and although price shouldn’t affect judgment, the £15.49 price tag, along with the recommendations persuaded me to give it a go. As the label says, it is smooth, it’s also sweet, but curiously there is no specific stand out flavour. This means that neat it’s quite nice, I certainly prefer it to Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 or Jim Beam Original White Label, which the square bottle suggests it’s being targeted against, however, there’s no real taste that would make me want to come back to it.

It’s OK neat, it’s certainly good value for money, so if you “need” or “want” a drink, then it’s worth buying, but if you fancy a “good”, rather than “nice” bourbon, then you may want to look elsewhere.

I also thought I’d give it a go with various mixers, that was a waste of time, as the whiskey has no stand out flavour, they just diluted it, rather than enhancing any particular taste.

Western Gold 6 Years Old Bourbon Whiskey

Tesco Finest 12 Year Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

FinestHighlandSmall

Like the Speyside I reviewed a while ago, this retails for £25, and now and again drops to £20. Like the Speyside, it’s been crafted by Master Blender, Richard Paterson, it’s excellent value for money, a fine whisky. It’s quite sweet, smooth, but probably slightly harsher than the Speyside.

I prefer the Speyside, I like the sweet honeyness of it, I can’t really put my finger on the flavours here, perhaps more caramel and fruit, not a bad thing necessarily, just an observation. I’ve seen other comments on the internet people comparing the two, saying they prefer the Highland to the Speyside, they’re both very good, worth buying, at full price and definitely so when reduced.

I guess these are both good “beginner’s” whiskies. They’re not too complicated, not peaty, nothing overpowering, so good while you’re beginning your journey, and still finding your feet, but maybe the whisky conoisseur would find them a bit too tame, there’s nothing to get too excited about.

Tesco Finest 12 Year Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky