Bought: Gordon Highlanders Museum, 13th September 2016
86/100 – Whisky Bible 2017
79.11/100 – Whiskybase (average from 11 member votes)
2016 marks the 100-year anniversary of the battle of the Somme. This was a battle that took place between 1st July and 18th November 1916 during the First World War in the Somme region of France. The Gordon Highlanders were one of the British regiments taking part. As a mark of respect and remembrance the Gordon Highlanders museum in Aberdeen (my home town) put on a special exhibit dedicated to their involvement in the Somme. My great grandfather was a young private in the Gordon Highlanders and it was during the Somme that he was injured out of the war. He went over-the-top and was hit on the head by a bit of shrapnel, which ripped through the top of his helmet and knocked him unconscious. When he woke up he helped a fallen comrade back to the trench before realising the state of his own injuries. If he’d been an American soldier I’m sure he would have received a medal but being British he got a handshake and a cup of tea. But the main thing was he survived and many thousands didn’t. If he hadn’t made it I wouldn’t exist. When I knew him in the 1970s he still had a hole in his skull, which skin had grown over. He always wore a cloth cap, presumably to keep the chill off his brain!
Under the circumstances it made sense to buy a souvenir during my museum visit and what better than a bottle of whisky! The Gordon Highlanders ‘Rich Mellow’ blend is by Grant’s and, according to the museum website, has won four international awards. That’s always nice to know. Scoring over 79/100 on Whiskybase is a good score for a blend where one member comments, “I like it. There’s not a great deal of complexity but it’s a decent and enjoyable blend.” He’s also kind enough to leave these tasting notes:
Nose: Sweet malt with some wood and plenty of caramel and a herbal/mineral depth.
Taste: Rather an easy one as one would expect, starting off with a thick sugary spirit mouthful with ripe bananas but let down by a weak, caramel delivery. Lots of casks and ages involved here.
Finish: Dry oak, chocolate and vanilla with a nice fresh-sweet finish. Lots of activity at the end compared to the more pedestrian palate.
Scoring 86/100 in the Whisky Bible classifies this blend as “very good to excellent whisky definitely worth buying”. The author, Jim Murray, says, “lush and juicy, there is a distinctive Speysidey feel to this one with the grains doing their best to accentuate the developing spice. Plenty of feel good factor here.”