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Spirit of Unity Blended Malt Whisky

Average score from 3 reviews and 4 ratings 83

Spirit of Unity Blended Malt Whisky

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Spirit of Unity Blended Malt Whisky

Friday 11th March 2011 Japan was hit by a terrible earthquake, the heaviest Japan had had to endure so far. Seven independent distilleries worked together to ease the pain somewhat. The Managing Director or Arran came up with the idea and could convince BenRiach’s Master Distiller Billy Walker to cooperate. Eventually seven distilleries donated a cask to create a unique blend: Spirit of Unity. I was lucky enough to obtain one of the 2.000 bottles and recently opened it at a local tasting. These notes are not just based on my impressions, but also the feedback I got from my audience during said tasting.

The nose, heavy on pepper, initially offers aromas that I associate with the sea: salt, oysters, smoked mackerel. Then some wood shavings, wet grass, heather and a touch of aniseed and almonds. A very small amount of herbal tea, citrus and slighty sourish tomato soup. That last might sound a bit weird, but I am just jotting down what my brain tells me.

On the palate, it is again pretty feisty (pepper, aniseed again, ginger) and oily. Again, quite a bit of smoke. I cannot really call it sweet. Rather, it is a bit sourish, although that sounds worse than it really is. Some nuts and new leather as too. I must admit I do not think it is very good.

The finish becomes a tad (too) bitter, like walnuts, and is rather short.

In all honesty, I appreciate this blended malt more for the philantropic gesture (which turned into approx. £50.000 quid of support) than for its taste, which I found to be somewhat unbalanced. And I cannot help wondering whatever happened to the remains of the casks from Arran, BenRiach, Bladnoch, GlenDronach, Glengyle, Kilchoman and Springbank. Succeeded as a gestured, not so much as a blended malt.

79/100 (including 2 points for charity)


I, like many other members on this site, find it hard to collect whisky. I buy them so that they can be drunk, sampled and enjoyed, and I knew full well that this Spirit Of Unity bottle would get opened eventually!

That moment came quite recently, along with 2 other special bottles of mine (reviews to come later). So I thought it best to commemorate the occasion by taking notes and reviewing it! I wont explain the bottle, many of us know the reasons behind it by now.

It's extremely pale, looking like a young whisky really, very clean I would say. When smelling this unique bottling I picked up a sweet, sugary aroma, with a citrus background and the faintest hint of peat.

It's got a pleasant taste, I thought its a very happy whisky to be honest. It was soft, with bits of melon and Neopolitan ice cream coming through. The melon aspect lingered a bit, but overall I thought the finish was fairly short, not a bad experience though, leaves you wanting more.

In summary, it's a very good quality blend, the regions marry up extremely well. Better trained noses/palletes could probably distinguish each one, but to me it works nicely!


I'm not a great collector of whisky, mainly due to lack of willpower, so it's no real surprise that my bottle of "Spirit of Unity" - an admirable philanthropic gesture by seven independent craft distilleries in Scotland (all in aid of the Japan earthquake disaster) - lasted only 2 weeks on the shelf before tempting me down for an illicit tryst.

Here are my tasting notes...

Nose: Very savoury. Initially a whiff of white pepper and jasmine rice, with a hint of damp sawdust from a carpenters' woodyard. The aroma of a chef grinding smoked sea-salt and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar - then a gentle waft of coastal air, as if sitting on the walls of the Cornish fishing harbour at sunset, tarred ropes and lobster pots just a few feet away.

Taste: Piquant layers of aniseed and wood sap are wrapped in a luxurious base of almond oil, this give you a lovely mouth feel, with a thickness that really caries these flavours. There are leathery notes - like a shoemakers' workshop, with hints of sandalwood and the tiniest drop of tar scraped from the walls of a traditional smokehouse.

Finish: Sherbet lollipops, toasted walnut skins and oriental hot & sour soup. These intense flavours linger nicely for an enduring finish.

First review of this I've seen @Jean-Luc, and it's only whetted my appetite to open my own bottle. I'm on the vin rouge tonight though - and you know you don't mix the grain with the grape :)

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