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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Fail...er...Adventures in Blending: Trader Kirk's 10 year old blended malt

On Monday, I reviewed the 10 year old Highland single malt that bears Trader Joe's name on its label.  On Tuesday, I reviewed Kirkland's 18 year old sherry-finished Speyside.

Just gonna keep recycling the same bad picture
TJs' 10yo Highland joins the "don't buy at Trader Joe's" list, accompanying their chicken (the grisliest butchery since I, Robot and Bicentennial Man -- seriously, leave Asimov the f**k alone), their whole wheat pita (reliably covered in mold less than 24 hours after purchase), their refried beans (which taste like absolutely nothing), and the Dark Chocolate-Covered Pretzel Slims (because I will eat the entire damn bag in the car).  Meanwhile, Kirkland's 18yo Speyside is worth its $30 price tag.

TJs' single malt's weakness is its palate.  It is light on character, like a bland blend.  I was hoping that adding a little Kirkland malt would pep it up.  And by "little", I mean "a lot".  The ratio in my blend experiment was 3 parts Kirkland 18yo to 2 parts TJs 10yo.  The result?

The biggest element of the nose is a wall of charred American oak, almost like a watery bourbon.  Once that, and a big ethyl pop, wears off it gets lightly floral and grainy.  More welcome notes of halvah, cardamom, anise, and honey appear with time.  The palate is papery, bitter, and has an odd amount of heat for its 40%abv.  Tart lemons, black pepper, banana, and malt make brief appearances.  Grain, heat, caramel, and banana appear in the finish, but it's mostly black pepper and blah.

Thus, if you have a bottle of $19.99 Trader Joe's 10 year old Highland single malt that needs pepping up, you're going to need something bigger and bolder than Kirkland's 18 year old sherry-finished Speyside.  You'll need a sherry bomb or something Laphroaig-ish.  Otherwise, you shouldn't waste too much of the 18yo on it.

For this Turkey Day, I recommend not drinking.  That's right!  Whisky blog guy says don't drink on Glutton Day.  Save those calories for all the awesome food on the table.  Though, if the food sucks (and/or the company sucks) then drink something that tastes really good and isn't necessarily a bargain.  You gotta enjoy something.  May you all have a great Thanksgiving!

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