Saturday, November 17, 2007

Soft and Smooth as a Pig's Nose

Pig's Nose Scotch Whisky
Aged 5 years
Blended Scotch whisky
40% alc/vol

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.


Will said...

Commenting on my own post, just 'cause I can. I'm now noticing smoke in this dram for the first time, in the finish, mostly. It's so prominent I can't believe I missed it before. What a strange and wonderful journey this is! :)

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Power Resistors said...

This was a great review! I am definitely going to try this scotch.