Tuesday 8 November 2016

No Pain, No Grain: A 5 Grain Whisky Comparison Review

"The greatest trick the whisky industry ever pulled was convincing the world that ‘grain whisky’ is actually whisky." - Johannes van den Heuvel

Hello everyone,

Exciting stuff here today!

Grain whisky is very different to malt but I'll refrain from giving a long intro as many people have given many great explanations already.
I bought samples from each distillery still in production, there's only 5. (Not including Loch Lomond, which does Malt and Grain). Let's try 'em!

Cameron Brig 40%
Colour: E150a
Body: Light
Nose: Light. Alcohol, vodka, column still spirit, a little toffee, a little biscuit, vanilla. After time- There's a lot of artificial toffee and caramel.
Taste: Light. Light toffee, light fudge, some spice. Then vanilla and toffee with some young lemon. Still very spirity.
Finish: Short length. Burnt toffee, harsh lemon and a little vanilla.
Notes: From Cameronbridge, Diageo owned.

The Girvan Patent Still No.4 Apps 42%
Colour: Light Straw (Good on 'em)
Body: Light
Nose: Naked grain, very clean. Young lemon all over it, cleaning fluid, sterile alcohol wipes, vanilla essence, a little artifical toffee. After a while- Sweet Haribo, Tangfastics, sour sweets, melon. Much more fruity.
Taste: Soft and smooth arrival, young lemon, a little toffee and natural vanilla, fairy cakes, a little engaging spice note. A little liquorice and aniseed note.
Finish: Short length. The spice note takes it away nicely actually.
Notes: Nose lets it down a bit, also super expensive (£45) for what it is. William Grant owned.
Image courtesy of Master of Malt

North British 2000 46%
Colour: Straw
Body: Light
Nose: Quite complex for a grain. Floral clean spirit, active barrel, vanilla pod, toffee, coconut, butter, cucumber water, perfume, men's deodorant.
Taste: Soft arrival, quite full flavoured actually. Starts with vanilla and toffee then some spice kicks up with some floral notes and again men's deodorant, clean cherry, a little chalky and dry.
Finish: Short length. Smooth and clean with some lemon and a little sweet cherry.
Notes: Bottled 2012 at 12 years, cask 4314. Joint ownership- Diageo/Edrington.

Invergordon 21 Cadenhead's Small Batch 46%
Image courtesy of Master of Malt
Colour: Straw
Body: Light
Nose: Clean as ever. Clean windows specifically, nail polish remover, surface cleaner, natural vanilla, some natural toffee, fudge, icing sugar, iced buns, vanilla ice cream.
Taste: Soft and smooth arrival, clean, vanilla, toffee, a little acetic, lovely spices going on, ginger, white pepper, star anise.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Intense flush of toffee and caramel with a creamy spiciness.
Notes: Whyte & MacKay owned I think.
Image courtesy of Master of Malt

Strathclyde 2005 Douglas Laing 56.1%
Colour: Amber (Sherry cask I believe)
Body: Medium
Nose: Clean, surface cleaner, cleaning fluid, bleach.
Water: The Sherry comes out, raisin, raisin juice, PX Sherry, prune, fig.
Taste: Rich, Sherry, raisin, then the cleaning products, more toffee and sweet fudge after a second, raisin again, creamy rum and raisin ice cream.
Water: Soft and sticky, watery raisin juice and some lemon, some young spirit.
Finish: Medium length. More creamy rum and raisin ice cream.
Notes: Bottled 2014 at 9 years. From Sherry cask 10867. Pernod Ricard owned.

Well, the grains have spoken! Doubt I'll be seeking any of these out again. I'd still like to try some older grains, 30-50 years old maybe.

Reviews #125-#129

Network Average: 75
Best Score: 91
Worst Score: 44
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

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