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Bailie Nicol Jarvie 8 Year Old

Average score from 11 reviews and 29 ratings 85

Bailie Nicol Jarvie 8 Year Old

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Bailie Nicol Jarvie 8 Year Old

Bailie Nicol Jarvie is ‘constructed’ by the people at Glenmorangie. I suppose quite a bit of that malt went into the mix as a result, but it also contains sweet Speyside and some Islay. The blend is affectionately called BNJ and contains no less than 8 single malts and some grain, all of them at least 8 years of age. It is whispered that no less than 60% of the contents is in fact malt, making this one of the blends with the highest malt content on the market. It is named after a character in the book Roy Roy by Sir Walter Scott.

The nose appears somewhat delicate, with clear hints of orchard fruit, apples and pears in the lead. Some honey and vanilla, but also lemongrass and hay. Hint of smoke, but from the oak cask, I think. Very accessible.

It is very fresh and lively on the palate, with mostly citrus fruit and icing sugar. Nicely sweet, before a big dose of nuts appears. The peat gives it a slight sour edge. Heather? Midpalate you can actually taste the grain, before something syrupy kicks in. Maple syrup? Lemon becomes the dominant flavor.

In the medium long finish, with a great touch of smoke, the spices show themselves again.

A bit too sweet for me, but with enough elements, including the nice delicate touch of peat, to keep it very interesting. Recommended. Only 20 EUR. Even my wife likes this!


Bailie Nicol Jarvie is more colloquially known as BNJ. It is named after a character in Walter Scott's novel Rob Roy (I couldn't resist the title). It became popular with the British officers during the Boer War and has been celebrated ever since. In 1994 it was purchased by Glenmorangie. At this point composition of the blend was changed slightly from the original recipe to include single malts from the Highlands, Islay and Speyside. These are blended together with a grain whisky from Ayrshire. BNJ whisky contains 60% single malt and 40% grain whisky.

On the label it claims "The Bailie Nicol Jarvie we believe, boasts the highest malt content of any blended Scotch whisky".

It is still a surprisingly popular blend and The Independent (newspaper) ranked it as one of the "Top 10 Best Scotch Whiskies" a few years back. Jim Murray scores it at 95 (2013 Whisky Bible) and it is listed Ian Buxton's "101 Whiskies to try before you die". I can't think of a single reason not to try this Whisky.

The nose is floral, honey, lemon zest, grapefruit and oranges.

It is smooth and sweet on the palate. There is a little peat, barley and a real sharpness.

The finish is dry with vanilla and citrus.

I can see why this is so popular, it is very drinkable. Let it breathe in the glass for a bit and you won't be disappointed. I have struggled a little with scoring this one as my heart wants to score it higher than my head. I have been drinking this for a little while and may change my mind again but today my score is....


from a purchased sample

Nose: Next up is a change of pace! Straightforward. Malty, grainy, a touch of lemon, a touch of wax, and then some sour flowers. Turns a bit to honey and a lightly lemoned (that's a participle? It is now.) shandy - always refreshing. Maybe even faint pencil shavings in the background.

Palate: A bit light and limpid, inoffensive really. Simple here. Honey, buttery, and grain. More lemon and wax. Pinch of sugar and salt. A little watery and then a trace of wood.

Finish: Enjoyable, almost the whisky equivalent of a shandy - a drink near and dear to my heart (and stomach). This is one of those where the score is unrelated to the drinkability. It was desired to be easy going, and it's a smashing success! I'd like to lean back, kick up my heels during an early afternoon, and drink this. At the cost, there's space for this in almost any whisky/liquor collection.


Nose: Kaboom - that's fresh. Loads of citrus fruits and barley. Maybe just a hint of some smoke.

Taste: Fresh and fruity with some real zing. Great interaction between the grain and barley. There's some vanilla coming through as well. This is a real mouthful.

Finish: Just bursting with those citrus fruits and some nice spice intermingling as well. There's some real sweetness on the finish as well. I detect vanilla and butterscotch. Actually just slightly too sweet for me on the end.

Balance: There citrus everywhere in this sharp and well blended dram. The slightly sweet finish doesn't quite sit right though.

This is a most enjoyable blended whisky that offers good value - never a bad thing! An excellent whisky and more of this will be finding it into my cabinet.

Nice review. Great whisky. It is nice that you can go out and buy BNJ at your local store. It isn't sold in the US, and where I live it is a crime to accept spirits through the mail, so when I want BNJ it requires somebody to cross an ocean to bring it to me.


The Bailie Nicol Jarvie is a character in Rob Roy, a novel by Sir Walter Scott. The whisky is blended by Glenmorangie, and claimed to be believed to have the highest percentage of malt contained in a blended Scotch. Estimates are at 60% malt. I had read and heard about BNJ for some time without being able to get a taste here in the US, since it is not distributed here. It is clearly very well loved in the UK, "for a blend", and it is by all accounts heavy on the citrus flavours. I had been somewhat 'heavy-citrus-averse', so I thought it good to try a very citrus-forward whisky which was well-liked and popular. A bottle was finally hand carried to me from the UK. The reviewed bottle was opened November 22, 2012, US Thanksgiving Day, and now only 20% remains. The whisky is 8 years old

Nose: citrus, vanilla, apples, malt, salt,and a little peat. Well balanced between sweet and dry

Palate: a boatload of sweet and tart barley lemon-citrus, salt, nice malt, sweet peat, and some grape-wine flavours mostly in the background. Sparkling, sharp, refreshing, bracing

Finish: this retains all of the intense citrus, while finishing on sweet peat combined with brine and a hint of wine

Balance: this is a very enjoyable blend. At our Thanksgiving dinner we had about 6 whisky drinkers try both the Bailie Nicole Jarvie and the Talisker 57 Degrees North. About half preferred each choice to the other. This is citrus-forward whisky that is extremely easy-drinking and easy to enjoy. The flavours are very bright and engaging. I am a big fan, and look forward to getting more. A bottle of BNJ goes fast, though, because it is so easy to drink.

Among blends, this would rate for me a 93. Among all whiskies an 89.

@Victor, my friend brought a bottle of BNJ back from the UK today. I just set down and had a glass, your review is spot on. I feel like there is some Talisker and Clynelish in this that gives it a bit of the sweet peat, salt, brine and waxiness. It would be interesting to know more about the composition.

@Victor, great review. I also really enjoyed this and the Talisker. I'm not sure which I liked more, but I think that it might almost be too easy to guzzle the BNJ. It reminded me somewhat of a thicker, richer, and smoother shandy.


Nose:Liquorice, outdoorsy, maybe pears? Acidy, some liquorice and some aniseed. Mouth: More polite than the nose,quite polite but still busy in the mouth. Citrus notes. Fun whisky. Just a great, fun whisky to taste. After: Less polite. Spicy, toffee or caramel maybe.

Arguably the greatest whisky of all pound-for-pound. Cheap as chips and just as delicious but in a much more complex, fluttery, interesting way. I don't like it when other people write because every palette is different but now i'm gonna write it - every cabinet should have one of these. Gonna finish mine now.


When I tasted this BNJ, the first thing that came to mind was Talisker 10yo.

To my palate, it has that same punchy smoke & pepper traits.

Forget the nose as you will have to try very hard to get one. But the taste and finish is sooo similar... wow.

For the price, this is a steal !


Mega is not a suitable word to describe a whisky. But in this case it's accurate. It's a superbly blended drop. It's now become my favourite blend. I love the smoke from JW black but this has more depth, quite a bit more. It's slightly bitter but hugely rewarding, as the bitterness gives it bite. For only a few pounds more than teachers it's an absolute bargain. Much more satisfying than alot of single malts that cost a fair bit more. It's so well blended that my inexperienced palate finds it hard to pick out notes. It's just a great rounded drink.

Nose - Orange and citrus, tar, spice, oak. Palate - Acid, slightly bitter, citrus and spice continues, barley sugar, caramel. Finish - Huge malt hit, medium length and sweetness, Peat/smoke (but in background), battery acid again (but it works).

@mattatec that's a shame because Waitrose in Southern England stock a reasonable range of whiskies, probably the best supermarket selection, with some stores carrying 30+ whiskies. You need to lobby your local Waitrose and tell them to stop favouring Southerners ;-)

Forgot to add, the colour is very natural which is rare in a blend of this price. Most add a ton of caramel. Big plus point in my opinion.


This scotch is only available in Australia from one re-sellor. It's scarcity makes it quite unknown amongst the considered dram drinkers down under. However this whisky, hands down, rates as the gold medal winner for the absolute bang for your buck award, BFB!

Glenmorangrie still owns this famous blend and like the JW Green is basically a vatted malt, 60% of its blend is single malt! I love this little gem as a first pour and last pour, its that good! Do yourself a favour a try for yourself.

Bailie Nicol Jarvie 8 is indeed a blend, and not a vatted malt. And @rogerdodger, your pitch and additional info is most compelling.

But still no one has offered a hint as to what this malt is like, so here is at least the writeup from TheWhiskyExchange:

"A great blend produced by Glenmorangie - a delicate balance of sweet Speyside, aromatic Highland and peaty Islay malt whiskies blended with only the finest grain whisky"

It looks like this whisky is quite cheap and is at least available in the UK and in Spain, but unfortunately, probably not in North America.

I'm guessing your score was influenced more by the BFB consideration than by the intrinsic quality of the whisky?

Try to add a flavour description next time, otherwise it's hard to relate to your review.


It saddens me when I hear people say they don't like blends, when really what they mean is they don't know anything about quality blends and so just tar all blended whiskies with the same brush.

This is not some cheap blended burner, it is as complex as some drinks twice its price with none of the harshness you would perhaps expect for something under £15.

By using malts over 8 years (60% of this blend is malt) and the finest quality grain whisky you get a wonderful sweet and peaty dram worthy of your table.

On the nose you get a faint whiff of smoke although nothing overpowering the sweetness and grassy smells come round the back of the smoke to delight the senses and the taste is no less appealing.

Sweet fruit with a hint of malt and a wonderful taste of fresh grain, the smoke is there too as a wonderful after thought just as it slips down your throat, There isn't really any need for water with this but some soft floral notes come out but nothing really changes here.

This is an astonishing whisky and one which is often used in cocktails although personally I think this is slightly too good to waste.

The Captain.


Nose, Taste, Finish and Balance are graded out of 2.5 each:

Nose: Like a slice of malt loaf soaked in a sweet green peppercorn sauce. On a second nosing the raisins from the malt loaf start to really come through, and does a citric sweetness accompanied by an almost bread-like aroma. Truly mouth-watering. 2.5

Taste: Very light-bodied and nimble on the tongue. The citrus bounces off the palate with a fair amount of zing, as the moist malt loaf beds itself underneath. 2.0

Finish: Vanilla makes a late entrance to the proceedings, and adds a nice finish to the departing malt loaf. The sweet green peppercorn sauce comes back to round things off, this time the tingle of the peppercorns softened by a smooth shortbread base underneath. Sublime. 2.5

Balance: If there was an extra category for aesthetics, this bottle would be very difficult to beat. Add another category for price-to-quality ratio, and this whisky simply cannot be beaten. Such delicate and well-contructed flavours, with an approachability that makes it a must-have every day whisky. No whisky cabinet can be complete without this blend. 2.5

You've got to love BNJ!

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