Monday, July 8, 2013
New release - The Tweeddale Batch #3
The recipe for the blend dates back to the 1820s when the previous owners of the shop, J&A Davidson, started producing their own range of blended whiskies as many such businesses did at the time. Production continued until the outbreak of World War II but was not to be created again until Alasdair gained possession of a family heirloom - a book containing the recipe for The Tweeddale Blend. This included an itinerary of the names of single malts and grain whiskies involved, the type of casks that they were matured in and the quantities of each.
Inspired by this, Alasdair set about recreating The Tweeddale Blend as closely as possible to how his great grandfather had produced it. The first two batches, released in 2010 and 2011 respectively, have gained widespread acclaim within the whisky world. The exact recipe remains a closely guarded secret but it is known that the Tweeddale has a single malt content of 50%, with the other 50% being grain whisky. We have enjoyed and reviewed both previous batches very much and our reviews can be viewed here.
The third batch comes with a few changes. The recipe is a slight departure from the original but still sees the same percentages of malt and grain whiskies included. There are some much older whiskies in the blend and the minimum age is 12 years of age, which is now marked on the bottle. The whisky is now simply called The Tweeddale and the bottle now carries an image of Alasdair's great grandfather Richard Day. It remains bottled at 46% ABV and is now available from selected specialist retailers for about £40 a bottle.
Our tasting notes
The colour is a pale golden yellow, almost straw-like, and the nose is initially light and subtle. There is an immediate aroma of sweet malty cereals and it takes time for others to begin to come through - think of lemon zest, dried grass, nutmeg and a slight earthiness. Underneath are further aromas of honey, vanilla, toffee and dried apple.
On the palate this whisky feels lively, clean and fresh but again takes time for the notes to begin revealing themselves. There are plenty of sweet barley sugars and malty cereals to begin with, and these are followed by a delicious honey-like note. There is also a distinct herbal/vegetal note which is most reminiscent of dried grass and damp leaves. Further notes follow to add depth and complexity - think of vanilla, toffee, dried coconut, stewed apples, sharp and zesty lemons, plus hints of ginger and yeast. Late woody spices come through also, especially mace and nutmeg.
The finish is of decent length for a whisky in the lighter, fresher style and is full of warming wood spices to begin with. This creates a drying effect, which works quite nicely with the tangy lemon zestiness that is never far away. Before the end, the maltiness and sweeter notes return to add balance (think of honey, vanilla and cereals especially).
What's the verdict?
Well, Alasdair seems to have come up with the goods again. This seems a different animal from the first two batches as it is lighter, fresher and crisper than we remembered the others to be. In our current mini heatwave in the UK, this makes Batch #3 extremely refreshing and perfect for the warmer weather.
It also shows how a whisky can have depth and complexity, while being in the lighter style and how good a blended whisky can be when crafted well. The Tweeddale is also positioned at a good price point and offers good value for money - it would be a great choice for a beginner to introduce them to the world of whisky. We cannot wait to see what Batch #4 will offer ...