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Tasting the Tweeddale blend batch #3

21 May 2013 1,230 views Written by: Gal Granov

Every time a new batch of Tweeddale blend is out it’s a reason to be merry. It is one of the nicest, yummiest blends out there, done with care, and simply a belter of a blend. Forget all those boring JWs and mass marketed blends, it’s nothing of the sort. You do not believe me? try one.

So batch #3 is upon us, and after tasting Batch #2 and Batch #1 Tasting #3 was inevitable right? Batches in this case do vary quite a bit and i was wondering how would #3 turn out. As for cask used for the blending:

The grain used here is from the same distillery as batch 1 & 2 but it has been matured for 18 years in two refill sherry butts this time, while The core malt is also the same but 15 years old in this release.Seven of the other malts (Highland, Speyside & Islay) are drawn from the same casks as batch 1 & 2, forming the backbone and top dressing of The Tweeddale, and this one is bottled without any artificial coloring.

The Tweeddale blend batch #3, 12 yo, 46% abv, £34.99The Tweeddale 3rd release

Nose: Lovely warming sherry notes, mixed with apple and pear drops and malty goodness, some zingy ginger and a bit of lemony touch on the edges (thing lemongrass), giving way to more biscuity notes, some maltiness and grain goodness.

Palate: Warm wood, malt, with apple crumble, wood spices,bits of dark chocolate, and raisins.

Finish: Medium long, chocolate, fruity (grape, sultana) and malty with creamy finish.

in one word: a belter. This is a true fine example how a really good blend should taste like. Great work by Alasdair.

Score: 89/100

Official sample provided by The Tweeddale

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  • http://jasonbstanding.com Jason B. Standing

    Which Johnnie Walker blends are boring, out of interest?

    • http://www.whiskyisrael.co.il Gal(WhiskyIsrael)

      Jason, I think you need to rephrase. which JW are NOT boring.
      i like the double black, and liked Green label (RIP).
      i think this one is far better than the platinum, and 18 etc.

      • http://jasonbstanding.com Jason B. Standing

        I’m not convinced I do need to rephrase – you talked about “all those boring JWs”, but the ones you’ve reviewed on your site scored 82 (Gold Route) and 85 (Double Black): both within 7 points of this whisky, which is a “belter”. You also tasted the Platinum which you appeared to like but disagreed with the price (not sure if price is factored into a scoring scenario), and the Gold Reserve didn’t invite any critical words either.

        I’m not arguing – I’m asking you to clarify your position, which at the moment is slightly confusing to me as a reader.

        • http://www.whiskyisrael.co.il Gal(WhiskyIsrael)

          7 points is a lot …
          JW DB is 85 = very good. and 82 is Good. and this one is almost a 90… so it’s significantly better.
          i think JW blends are mass market blends, and as such please a lot of people, however i think this one is much better, and it does cost a whole less than that platinum..

          • http://jasonbstanding.com Jason B. Standing

            7 points is less than 10% of the scoring margin, and you’ve gone from “good” to “belter” in that window. There’s 11 points left between 89 and 100, and you’ve already hit “belter”.

            I’m trying to understand what you mean – are you saying that Jim Beveridge is a less skilful blender than Alasdair because Jim uses a much bigger bucket and produces a much higher volume with consistency (and therefore less batch artisanal variance), or because he’s been using the same recipes for AAAAAGES now (and we’re all bored of drinking the same whisky after 200 years)?

            Does a whisky score less because it pleases more people?

            I wasn’t sure how price affects ratings, and I’m still not, because though you’re saying Platinum’s too expensive at ~£65, you’re yet to score a Karuizawa less than 92 (and the cheapest one’s been 2.5x more).


            This is all noise & distraction, when my original question was WHICH Johnnie Walker blends do you find boring? I was just curious.


          • http://www.whiskyisrael.co.il Gal(WhiskyIsrael)

            good points, as you can see nothing is “scientific” and this is one reason i have been thinking of dropping the scores altogether.
            price is not a factor in the score. so if a great K scores 92 and costs 2000 quid it will not be penalized, but BFYB factor is low.
            some blogs have a few rating scales, one for pure merit and one with price taken into consideration.

            to your original question : black,gold and platinum are nice but i like them less than this one, and i find them rather boring.
            no whisky is penalized if a lot of people drink it. and of course JW master blender is a master after all, creating consistency is very hard. but again, i think he has to keep it consistent, which allows for less flexibility. where here, Alasdair sells only a few 1000′s so he can be more experimental and batches do vary, with intent.

            Hope it’s clearer. I am enjoying this, mate ;)

          • David

            Not to mention the fact that Tweeddale is bottled at 46 %, no E-150 added, unchillfiltered and you are given information as to the age of the casks and the malt to grain ratio.
            I will take a well crafted small batch blend over a Johnny Walker any day of the week.

          • http://www.whiskyisrael.co.il Gal(WhiskyIsrael)

            well said.

          • http://jasonbstanding.com Jason B. Standing

            Hi David,

            Thanks for that – interesting stuff, and would probably be relevant if my question had been “Which do you prefer out of the Tweeddale Blend and the Johnnie Walker range, and are there any production or marketing factors which influence your decision?”.

            I’m not for one minute arguing the superiority of one of the other – I was lucky enough to try Tweeddale batches 1 & 2 at The Whisky Lounge Fest in Edinburgh recently, and enjoyed them both immensely (and can happily report that Alasdair’s a splendid fellow!).

            I was asking Gal which whiskies he meant in his statement “all those boring JWs”, and trying to get an understanding of what’s meant here by “boring”.

            I don’t really have any interest either way – other than clarity.

            Although a good question for you would be: if the natural colour of a whisky doesn’t influence your decision to buy it, what does it matter whether it’s got E150a?

            Carry on!

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