This bottle was bought at auction and was originally presented to a cooper from the Port Dundas cooperage in 2001 - so the sticker on the back says. Bottled at 43%, and in a 75 cl bottle, I was able to buy this for a good deal less than a modern bottle would cost me today. Go figure ...
I do enjoy blends and have particularly enjoyed older Red and Black labels, have always been curious about it (even back in my non whisky geek days) had the cash and thought 'why not?'
Review is neat and sat for twenty minutes or so. Oh and the cork completely obliterated when first opened. I'd never seen one so dry, but the fill level was OK.
Nose - sweet but with a dry, minerally side. Mildly nippy peat of a Caol Ila style and some mild notes of over ripe tropical fruits, a bit yeasty and sour.
Taste - quite a light mouthfeel but I wouldn't describe it as thin per se. A wee tongue nip of peat, ever so slight chalkyness and a Jolly Rancher/Fruit Pastel sweety note - like one has crammed several different flavours in their mouth at once. But who would do such a thing?
Finish - med, at a push; drying, peat nip and some sweetness lingers on the palate. Some light tannins at the death.
Not what I expected, truth be told. Neither am I getting the sense of any real age. Perhaps in the grain components? I suspect they're giving the sweety notes. That said, it's drier than I'd have imagined, and has a mineral side that was very welcome.
We must remember, this is a blend (however over-priced or over-hyped) and, as such, it offers quite a nice deviation from the norm - certainly in relation to the other JW's I've had. It's not blown me away, and the older Red and Black labels I've had were superior, but I am enjoying it. It's an easy, quaffable and light whisky that would likely serve it's intended audience well. My relatively non whisky drinking partner loves it, for example. And, as she seems to enjoy every expensive bottle I open, I suspect cost may well be swaying opinion. Or maybe not! Be interesting to try against a modern bottle. No way I'd pay the asking price though, and bottle aging and the higher abv are no doubt helping. In today's money, I'd pay around £50 - £60, max.