Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Master of Malt Blogger's Blend > Part 3

Master of Malt, the innovative online whisky and spirits retailer, have now created each of the 10 whisky blend recipes that they received from their selected bloggers and have packaged them up in a set (pictured, left). This set, which has been named The Blogger's Blend, contains one 3cl sample of each blend and each sample is numbered 1-10. There is also a booklet that explains about each of the participating blogs. This special set is now available from and more information can been found on the Master of Malt blog. The Blogger's Blend costs £29.95 plus postage. To read our previous posts about The Blogger's Blend - click here.

We have enjoyed taking part to date and are proud of the blend that we have produced. However, the process doesn't purely revolove around sales ... within the set is also a voting form. Anyone that buys The Blogger's Blend set gets the chance to choose the winning blend from the 10 on offer. You simply pick your favourite, mark the corresponding number (1-10) on the form and send it back to Master of Malt or do the same on the voting page on their website! To remove any possible bias towards one blog or another, Master of Malt have not revealed which blog's whisky relates to which numbered sample. Voting closes soon, so if you haven't done so already - buy a set and get voting!!

Last night, we sat down with the 10 whiskies and worked our way through them - below are our tasting notes for each. We spent most of the time trying to guess which one was ours and who of our whisky friends made each of the other nine! As part of the voting, customers are asked to consider 'value for money, not just flavour', so we have included the predicted retail prices of a 70cl bottle of each blend.

Blend A > £47.95 a bottle
This has an initial sweet and quite sugary nose, with aromas of ripe banana, citrus peel and a whiff of distant peat smoke. The palate is soft and creamy with initial vanilla and sugary caramel notes. It becomes increasingly grainy and this carries through to a decently long finish, which also has the whiff of smokiness.

Blend B > £35.95
The nose is rich and sweet with a combination of cereal and toasted marshmallow aromas. This is initially very sugary and sweet on the palate with plenty of honey, toffee, tropical and dark dried fruit notes. The finish is much drier and slightly tannic with plenty of oak and wood spice character, which gives balance to the sweetness.

Blend C > £67.95
The most expensive blend by far offers a fresh, vibrant nose that is packed with subtle aromas - honey, gentle oak and wood spices, heather and ashy smokiness. On the palate, this whisky is much bolder than the nose suggests with a nice level of sweet notes combining with the woody, spicy, ashy ones. A long, delicate and well balanced finish.

Blend D > £39.95
A lovely and gentle nose with plenty of sweet caramel and toffee aromas, followed by dried fruit and a hint of distant smokiness. This is tangy on the palate and quite spirity although some delicious grassy, cereal notes come through, as does that hint of smoke. Very short finish. This smells great but the palate and finish are disappointing. Benefits from a drop of water.

Blend E > £42.95
This blend exhibits the biggest sherry cask influence of the set - the nose is packed with big caramel, dark dried fruit and distinct nutty (almond?) aromas, which makes you think of Christmas cake. The palate is rich yet soft with a lovely sweetness tempered by cereal grain and wood spice notes (especially cinnamon). A long, rich finish with a nice dryness adding balance.

Blend F > £36.95
A sweet, quite sugary nose that combines toffee, honey and green fruit (especially apple) aromas - this reminded us of toffee apples. On the palate, this is soft and gentle - initially very sweet with heavy cereals and a grassy note coming through later. This graininess increases and carries on it to the decently long finish.

Blend G > £39.95
A lovely fresh and vibrant nose which has plenty of fresh green fruit, cereal and dried grass aromas. The palate is soft and feels creamy with a pleasant combination of cereal grains, vanilla, dried grass/hay and a sugary toffee-like note right at the end. The finish is slightly short and sharp but has a pleasant woody, spicy warmth.

Blend H > £52.45
The nose has a good combination of aromas - vanilla, toffee, bittersweet cereals and hints of sultana and soft ashy smoke. The palate is creamy with plenty of notes vying for attention. These include barley grains, toffee, vanilla, baking spices (think of cinnamon and nutmeg) and a hint of background smoke. The finish has good balance and softness, being of decent length.

Blend I > £54.95
This is the smokiest of the bunch and hits you with a blast of surgical spirit and ashy, tar-like aromas. Underneath is a lovely light and delicate sweetness that hints at honey, icing sugar and cereals. On the palate, this is a mix of spicy, ashy smoke and earthy peat with the sweetness again coming through with time. A long, lingering and peppery finish. Delicious.

Blend J > £39.95
The darkest in colour of the whiskies, this has plenty of richness in the form of dried fruit, orange zest and caramel aromas on the nose. The palate is a little thinner than expected and not as rich as the nose but with a lovely combination of orange oil, chocolate, oak spice and dried fruit notes. The finish is very pleasant with more of the orange oil and wood spice.

We have now cast our votes and will await the results. It has to be said that many of the blends have numerous similar characteristics but each is subtly different. However, three or four blends really stand out. We will continue to report on the further stages of the process, which includes the selection of the winning blend plus the naming of the whisky and the designing of the label. If you buy The Blogger's Blend set, then let us know what you think and hope that you enjoy the 10 whiskies!

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