Pig's Nose Scotch Whisky
Aged 5 years
Blended Scotch whisky
I'll be straight with you: I'm a single malt Scotch guy, and have been for quite some time. Bushmills Malt 10 yo is about the only exception that regularly graces my selection. But I never touched blended whiskey.
A while back, I decided I hadn't given blended Scotch a fair shake. I went down to my local liquor store and picked up a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label. I didn't know much about blended whiskey, but I knew Johnnie Walker was a very big, very popular brand; I knew Black Label was the same age and at the same price point as solid, popular single malts, like Glenfiddich 12 yo and The Glenlivet 12 yo; and I knew the Black was generally considered to be potable neat, as opposed to Red Label, which is almost universally used in mixed drinks only. I figured that if I was going to like any blended whiskey, I was going to like Black Label.
I didn't. It seemed awfully harsh and medicinal compared to even young single malts. I only really got through the bottle by mixing it with diet root beer or cola, which is actually decent...but not as good as the same drink using a single malt instead. After that, I went back to single malts exclusively.
Recently, I came across The Scotch Blog, authored by Kevin Erskine. In one post, he recommends the very peculiarly-named Pig's Nose Scotch Whisky as "the perfect introduction to the category [of blended Scotch whiskies]." I was in the mood to try something new, so I went ahead and picked up a bottle earlier today.
My tasting notes:
- Color: Russet.
- Nose: Peanut butter, leather, candy corn, and corn on the cob. A hint of that new car smell.
- Palate: Creamy, delicate, and smooth as silk. Has a wonderful mouth-feel. Is this what "chewy" means?
- Finish: Moderate, and a little bittersweet, though not unpleasantly so - like sweetened tea or coffee. Leaves me wanting another sip.
I really never would have thought I'd have enjoyed a blended whiskey so much. Not only that, but it's young, too. The only other five-year-old whiskey I've knowingly drunk is McClelland's offering...and that carries neither an age statement nor a distillery listing, to give you an idea of the quality. Pig's Nose is far superior, in my opinion, particularly if you add a bit of water to cut what little harshness is bestowed on the whiskey by its youth.
In other words, I'll enjoy finishing the bottle, and I may well replace it afterwards.
Oh, and the name? According to the label on the bottle, "In Gloucestershire 'tis said that our Scotch is 'as soft and smooth as a Pig's Nose.'" I've never felt a pig's nose, but judging from this dram, it's pretty damned smooth.