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This is one of the most hyped blends out there for those of you who are disciples of Mr. Murray's whisky bible. And that's not a knock, there's a good reason for that. But, as any good whisky drinker knows, taste is subjective and we must try everything for ourselves. With that in mind, here's my take on the ol' 17.
To put it colorfully, this dram reminds me of a scene on a farm on a lazy July afternoon. There's wheat blowing about in the breeze, sun-baked grass under your feet, a flower garden to your right, a fruit garden to your left, and a rustic farmhouse behind you, where a plate of freshly baked pancakes drenched in butter and honey await you upon a windowsill.
Ok, now that that's out of my system... here's the breakdown for those of you who aren't here to indulge my inner poet.
Nose: Vanilla pudding, honey, lemongrass, butter, grain, cereal, apples, lemons, pears, lavender, and pastry. Complex and rich, yet somehow still light and summery.
Palate: It gets somewhat heftier and less subdued once sipped. A creamy mouthfeel transitions us into a confident woody, peaty presentation. There's some citrus tang, some milk chocolate sweetness, some spicy complexity, and some rich fresh tobacco notes.
Finish: Vanilla, apples, pears, honey, freshly chopped oak, and gentle spices work in tandem to relax the tongue and throat.
When I first bought this I was suspicious about how great this was, having already tried Ballentine's Finest (which is a good budget blend, but nothing great). But this is worlds away. It's very complex in a subtle way. It's both delicate and confident. There's something homely, rustic, and soothing about this dram. It has a very unassuming and simplistic beauty.
I'm a city boy, but this whisky somehow transported me to the farm I so pretentiously described a moment ago. And trust me, anything that can conjure such fanciful imagery from a dope like me is well worth your while.