Updated: Apr 8, 2021
52.3% Blended Malt. Batch 1
Blends are fascinating. Not just from a "whisky" point of view, but from an "opinion" point of view. If I had a quid every time I heard somebody say "blends are rubbish. Single malts are much better" I'd have a healthy bank balance and possibly an island in the South Pacific.
Blends can take the excitement and journey of whisky to a new level. And when some single malt blends are bottled, they can literally make you look at your glass twice forcing you to slap yourself around the face.
This whisky is one of them.
Little Brown Dog is an independent bottler and experimental micro-distillery that's set-up shop in rural Aberdeenshire. Run by a couple of guys who clearly have a real passion for what they do - and doing what they like, they've started creating and bottling some absolutely gob-smacking things. From gin to brandy to whisky to solid oak tumblers. They're modern-day artisans and experimenters. And they've literally only just started. Hats off to them.
This review is about their "Wee Mongrel" blended malt whisky. What goes into the whisky is top secret, but (said in the voice of Jeremy Clarkson), rumour has it, the liquid is made up of Edrington stock. Some say Glenrothes. Some say a dirty old Macallan. Some say the sooty scrapings from a used spark plug off a 1960's Lamborghini Muira. And as they say on their page, it's "aged 20 years and matured in a single sherry butt, bottled at cask strength 52.3% abv"
Appearance: Deep polished oak. oily legs a-plenty running down the glass.
Nose: Fruity sherry with a bit of dusty dunnage funk. Fresh fruit salad left in the bowl for too long - heady and syrupy. Stewed apples with brown sugar. The filling from a cherry pie with some roasted nuts. There's a bit of a gravelly note as well like the whisky wants to tease you in and then punch you. It's like a diabetics party from hell.
Palate: Initially, it's quite a gentle landing on the tongue. Then the flavours unravel and blossom. That light-hearted Edirington-based comment above now starts to make sense. To me, this reeks of a lovely sherried Glenrothes with some musty Macallan? And there's the slightest far-off wisp of an earthy whisky with fungal notes that may not have had as much contact with copper as the others in the mix. It's clearly not a young whisky either and has a fantastic oily and savoury consistency that move & dance around the room in perfect harmony with the bold sherry notes. Add a fistful of sweaty raisins, nuts, cracked peppercorns, penny toffee, woody dryness, and fruit cake (sorry for dropping that one in), and a bit of grittiness, and the balance plays out really, really well.
Finish: Long, sweet, and oily. Actually, really sherry-sweet and oily.
Conclusion: I bought 4 bottles of it. 'Nuff said. Absolutely recommended whilst it's still available.
£49 (at the time of writing)