...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, May 14, 2012

NOT Single Malt Report: Lauder's Blended Scotch Whisky

I know that you've checked out those lower lower lower shelf whiskys when no one's looking --  Dunlivet, Scoresby, Clan MacGregor -- thinking, "How bad can whisky in a big green plastic bottle be?"  But you never manned-up because you value your life.

I, on the other hand......well, one thirsty afternoon I spotted a mini of a particular scotch blend for ONE DOLLAR AND FORTY-NINE CENTS.  Like I'm not going to buy that.

So when you look at the bottom whisky shelf and wonder, "What can I buy for $10???"...... Here's an answer.

Swanky-looking UK bottle
US Ad Sheet

Brand: Lauder's
Ownership: Sazerac Company (formerly Barton Imports)
Distilleries: ???
Type: Scotch Blended Whisky
Age: 36 months
Alcohol by Volume: 40%

I've combed the Internet and searched through all of my books, but I can't say I've found much on Lauder's or Barton Imports.  Sazerac Co. bought Barton's a few years back and seems to specialize in plastic-bottled booze.  See their product lineup here.

The Lauder's bottle brags about the following:
"Highest Awards, Gold Medal, Paris 1878"
"Gold Medal, Chicago 1893"
"Gold Medal, Edinburgh 1886"

Note that's 1878, 1886, and 1893.  Most of the distilleries from that era are no longer in existence, thus the current blend recipe likely doesn't resemble the one from 134 years ago.  Also the malt content in inexpensive blends is likely at an all-time low.

BUT just because they have a completely different blend now, bottled in green plastic, selling for $9.99 doesn't necessarily mean that it's terrible.  It's just not going to win any awards in Edinburgh in 2012.

Also, this is cute:

So with a lack of accessible data, I'm going to go straight to what counts.  The sensory experience.

Color -- Light Gold
Nose -- Decent, moderate molasses, vanilla, caramel sauce, a hint of spearmint
Palate -- Cheap vodka kick, must have come from some seriously overused oak, a little vanilla, angel food cake
Finish -- Quiet, furry (to use a Jim Murray adjective), sweet cream, but mostly bitter

Nose -- Muted, mellow, like over-watered Glenfiddich 12, more grains jump out
Palate -- Light vanilla & caramel, not hideous
Finish -- That kick of cheap vodka again, otherwise silent

Palate -- Buttery, some coconut

Overall, it's surprisingly harmless and better than I'd expected.  Probably better than some blends twice its price.  I'm looking at you, Cutty.  The odd Popov-Vodka-style palate characteristic and the dead finish keep it from being a surprise winner, but this is by no means crummy.  Ultimately, it's probably best for mixing since the nose is reasonable and the palate is mostly mild.  And it's $10.

Availability - Many liquor stores, often in the bad part of town
Pricing - Good at $9-$11
Rating - 70