gavin smith




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Whisky connoisseurs are always on the lookout for the latest premium expression of single malt or boutique distillery single cask bottling, yet it is a fact that more than 90 per cent of all Scotch whisky consumed is blended Scotch. But then, as Whyte & Mackay's Master Blender Richard Paterson puts it, A fine, old blend can be considered in the same way as a great single malt.

'Fine old blends' are becoming increasingly popular in many international markets, with a growing trend for distillers to release 'aged' expressions of established brands. It seems high time, therefore, to select an aged blended Scotch for our 'Whisky of the Month' award, and ideally one that is readily available and unlikely to break the bank.
Whyte & Mackay, The Thirteen (Scotland)
With Richard Paterson in mind we have chosen Whyte & Mackay's The Thirteen, launched in 2006. The Thirteen replaces the company's previous 12-year-old blend, and the component malts benefit from an extra year of Sherry butt maturation prior to the final marriage of malts and grains. Referring to that additional year of ageing, the label notes contain the line 'You can't hurry love,' betraying Paterson as a closet Phil Collins fan! The nose of The Thirteen is rich, Sherried and mature, with figs and raisins to the fore. Big, yet mellow in the mouth, it offers Sherry-soaked fruit, spices and nuts. The medium length finish is redolent of Christmas cake, with a pleasantly drying final note of oak.

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