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I have gone through a number of these bottles. There has been some batch variation. I find that even bad batches still have peat (unlike bad Grant batches). The problem with a bad batch of Teachers’ is that it can be very two dimensional and thin. Here is a decent batch
Nose: Creaminess on the fore that fades into some very soft peat and smoke. Malt and grain whisky working in harmony. I get more of that creamy grain whisky then in the Grant’s but this is still lovely. There is some fruit and honey in the background but really that creamy grain and malt dominate the landscape. With time the honey really comes out accented with lemon.
Taste: Soft mouth feel with honey a hint of smoke, barley and something a hair off (on the verge of dusty glass or soapy).
Finish: Lots of smoke here; almost on the ashy side. It is like a big vat of creamy malted barley was dumped in your mouth and then as it was drained a huge smoke residue was left to coat your mouth. There is that wonderful Islay-esque deep breath before a wave of warm peat smoke comes rolling in and down through your body. I really am enjoying this finish.
Complexity, Balance: Certainly not the most complex dram of the night . . . but it does break out of the two dimensional realm . . . just. It is well balanced with a slight off-ness coming on the back of the taste. And while smoke really comes out on the finish I wouldn’t say it was poorly balanced.
Aesthetic experience: I like that this is 45% malt whisky with the majority of that being from Ardmore. I love that peat and smoke are used uncompromisingly. I love the 43% ABV. I dislike the new bottle label (but I still like the bottle shape). Over all this is my second favorite blend after Grant’s, and it is a fantastic price.
Conclusion: I really do like this blend a lot. I like a good batch of Grant’s even more – and my definition of a “good batch” is detectible peat and smoke. This usually has less complexity then Grant’s from my experience. I intuitively “feel” like Grant’s uses better grain whisky then Teacher’s (no proof for that). It “feels” like the grain whisky can cause Teacher’s to seem a little shrill. But the smoke and peat from Ardmore keeps bringing me back time and time again.