Scottish Leader (40.0%): Tire-Bouchon's blend project was on idle mode for some time and I was in desperate need for a serious nudge to get it back on its feet. And the help arrived this weekend... The one and only Stephen Mathis who is one of the ingenious brains behind the brilliant whisky blog Malt Impostor showed up in Boston with a bag of wee bottles he brought all the way from Scotland specially for the blend project..! Apparently throughout the summer he was sweeping off the bottom shelves across the ocean for me. Unbelievably cool... First bottle I pull out of the bag is Scottish Leader. Scottish Leader is a whisky blended by Burn Stewart Distillers who also releases Black Bottle. Since they have Tobermory (Ledaig), Deanston and Bunnahabhain distilleries in their portfolio it wouldn't be wrong to assume that Scottish Leader also contains malts from those distilleries. I actually remember very well how popular was this blend on Islay. I spent so many nights in The Ardview Inn in Port Ellen in front of the fire place killing a bottle of "Leader" with the locals easily within hours. Let's remember how it tasted like... Color: Polished copper, light amber. Nose: Cardboard boxes, old hardcover books in a second-hand bookstore, tobacco leaves and acetone. Surprise appearance of peat after adding a few drops of water. Lemon scented dish soap, touch of fresh peach and marzipan aromas. Like almost every bottom shelf blend it gets better with time. Just allow the young alcohol evaporate a little. Palate: Nice texture. Peat I got from the nose shows up as dusty soot and ash on the palate. Young grain whisky, pecan brittles and roasted hazelnuts. Lemon zest and caramel drops. Finish: Pretty quick with burnt caramel notes. Overall: Exactly like I remember, a great budget blend and I think I still like it! It delivers everything imaginable for the amount of the price paid. Great companion for a pint of beer... If I was asked to take a wild guess to name the dominant malt in the blend I probably would bet on Deanston. It's not an easy find in US but if you can find one, the price tag on the bottle shouldn't be more than $23 - $25. A very strong contender for the top prize of our blend project. Thanks again to Stephen Mathis for the sample.
|The Ardview Inn, Port Ellen - Islay|