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Teachers Highland Cream

Average score from 17 reviews and 62 ratings 79

Teachers Highland Cream

Product details

  • Brand: Teachers
  • Bottler: Unknown
  • ABV: 40.0%

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m
Teachers Highland Cream

I'm trying some of the lighter Scotches over a hot summer, and this is one on my list. This one, unlike Dewar's White Label, I'm having neat. Although I will likely pour it over ice another time. A nice light caramel color in the bottle and glass. The nose has a heavy malt scent, with some background of honey and vanilla. The initial flavor is almost pure malt and honey, with not nearly the smoke of other light blends. There is also a bit of astringency and alcohol burn, but not bad. Mid-palate, there are some hints of leather and licorice, but fairly faint. The aftertaste is where a slight amount of smoke and peat comes through, but again, it is faint, and seems to appear a few minutes after you sip. There is no way to say that this is a complex whisky, but for the price and to have something light on the palate, Teacher's is a winner. If you're looking for a good summer whisky, or one to use as a mixer, you cannot go wrong with this. I'd definitely be happy to have this with a light cigar, like a Macanudo, or to fill a large cocktail glass with ice and pour it to the top.

Sounds like a more lightly peated batch than what I had 5 years ago. The Teacher's Highland Cream which I have had, I have liked.

From my recollection the sweetness and smoke became more prominent when on ice, and the bitter astringency was dampened down. Anyway, thanks and enjoy it for what it is.

@OdysseusUnbound

I posted a review of this blend over on my blog. I've had Teacher's many times throughout my adult life and I've always enjoyed it as a casual drink to which I don't have to pay much attention. I recently bought a bottle of Teacher's to leave at my in-laws' because I'm tired of carrying whisky back and forth from their place (side note: I also keep a bottle of Bulleit bourbon there). Over the course of the last month or so, I've been paying more attention to Teacher's when I drink it.

  • Nose (undiluted): a big hit of honey, pears, light peat and smoke, grain
  • Palate (undiluted): medium-bodied, sweet honey arrival, vanilla, toffee, red apples and some peat and smoke
  • Finish: medium length, peat and smoke coming to the forefront, some black Pepper and some grain (oatmeal) lingering.

Adding water increases the fruitiness, especially adding peach notes. I didn't like adding water at first, but I've grown to enjoy it. I think this blend is quite enjoyable. It has more character than most. I even enjoyed it more than some single malts I've had (cough-Auchentoshan 12-cough)

15 or 20 years ago this was one of the great old school blends. The last one I bought about 4 years ago was a big disappointment. It used to be over 35% single malt with a nice peat component. I'm not sure if that is still he case. However, based on your impressions I might have to give it another try.

Cheers

@Scotched - I came across a ltr bottle @43% from the late 70s/early 80s a couple of years ago and it was one of the best blends I've had (there was a slight smell of Grandma's cupboard present, but it shifted after a week or so!).

I bought a modern Teacher's to compare (well the previous label,as they seemed to change it not long after) and it was a pretty weak, young grain heavy replacement that felt like it had smoke sprayed into it. Maybe it was a bad bottle but they couldn't have been further apart in quality if they tried. Shame.

@Hull

Right off the bat I gotta say this is one of the more complex scotch blends for the price. Where I live in Canada this is only around $30. It says on the bottle that it contains 45% Ardmore which a heavily peated whisky so this will be smokey. They might be using a bit of caramel colouring but if they are its not much since the colour is quite light

Nose: You get the smokey peatyness right away, not a lot but it's definitely there. There's pear and apple, people say caramel or vanilla which I don't get. It's very floral and earthy and complex.

Palate: Its very creamy like the name says. Coats the mouth quite nicely. Little peat, tastes a lot like the nose with the pears and apples, I'd say it's more a green apple. Little bits of oak. Quite a nice taste for the low price.

Finish: I'd say the finish is medium short with lasting smokeyness. It finishes quite dry.

Overall: if your not into super peaty whiskies but you enjoy some peat then this is a good blended scotch for you. There isn't to much smokey flavour but enough to satisfy. For the price you can't really beat this one, much more complex than other scotch blends in the lower price range. I'd say gIve it a try if you haven't already!

@hunggar

This was one I tried while visiting my family in Canada. My dad loves a good brandy, and has only a passing interest in Scotch. But he did have a massive bottle of Teacher’s on hand, and I have to say that I enjoyed coming back to this one. Interestingly this bottle is an American release, bottled at 43% instead of the standard I get at 40% here in Asia.

Nose: There’s grain in here, but there’s also malt. Apple cider, pears, peat, caramel, honey, and faint ginger. Smooth.

Palate: Light mouthfeel, with a creamy quality. A nice malty flavour here; very much in harmony with the grain. Smoke, peat, earth, honey, and caramel.

Finish: Cream, apples, cinnamon, ginger, and very faint sherry notes. More malty goodness, with a generous heap of smoke, peat, and ash mixed in. Bolder than expected, but still easy on the gullet.

Thoughts: Nice stuff. The peat here isn't groundbreaking in terms of flavour or intensity, but there is a nice ashy quality to it, and it’s deeper and richer than I anticipated. Similarly priced blends are usually mixers for me, but I quite enjoy sipping this one. Balance, mouthfeel, and richness are all on point. For the price who could ask for more?

You in Asia and Australia get robbed with all of those low abv versions of whisky they peddle there. Too bad. I really rarely like to drink whisky below 45% abv. But I do like Teachers...

I too like to sip Teachers Highland Cream. I think that it is very underestimated and suffers a lot from anti-blend snobbery. Put another way, if Teachers HC were included in a lineup of blind-tasted malts I'll bet that the blind tasters would score it much higher than they do knowing that it is blended Scotch.

@Victor, I think whiskies at 43% have their time and place, but any lower and you're certainly missing out. And yes, it does break my heart a little bit when I see the higher abv levels you guys enjoy States-side.

Agreed that Teachers is excellent. For it's price point I'd be hard pressed to find a blend of the same caliber.

@hunggar

Well it’s vacation time and I’ve been drinking a lot of Cognac and Armagnac as I visit the folks in Canada. My dad loves a good brandy, and has only a passing interest in Scotch. But he does have a massive bottle of Teacher’s here, and I have to say I’ve been enjoying it quite a lot.

Nose: There’s grain in here, but there’s also malt. Apple cider, pears, peat, caramel, honey, and faint ginger. Smooth.

Palate: Light mouthfeel, with a creamy quality. A nice malty flavour here; very much in harmony with the grain. Smoke, peat, earth, honey, and caramel.

Finish: Cream, apples, cinnamon, ginger, and very faint sherry notes. More malty goodness, with a generous heap of smoke, peat, and ash mixed in. Bolder than expected, but still easy on the gullet.

Thoughts: Nice stuff. The peat here isn’t groundbreaking in terms of flavour or intensity, but there is a nice ashy quality to it, and it’s deeper and richer than I anticipated. Similarly priced blends are usually mixers for me, but I quite enjoy sipping this one. Balance, mouthfeel, and richness are all on point. For the price who could ask for more?

Anyway, I’ll have another Armagnac please, Dad.

@markjedi1

Teacher's Highland Cream is considered to be a rather common blend – it is pretty cheap – but so far I had only tried the 1988 version. Time to try a modern version as well, a bottling from 2014. If I am not mistaken, Ardmore and GlenDronach are among the more important components of this blend.

The nose is rife with malt and citrus fruit. Some sugared citrus peel, hints of apricots, a touch of heather and a trace of smoke, albeit discrete. I also get a hint of nuts. All in all, this is quite a pleasant if indeed somewhat simple nose.

It is oily on the palate, but rather sharp despite the low ABV. Fiery, peppery attack with a hint of peat and heather. The sweetness tends to go towards pure sugar. Liquorice kicks in. The fruit is yellow. The nuts are somewhat dubdued. It is, however, quite a light drink.

The finish can hardly be called long, but it is not exactly short either. A nice smokiness drowns out the rather unpleasant sweetness.

A fairly simple blend, but probably a good mixer because of the trace of smoke – the only part of this whisky that gives it some character.

@SimeonSanchez

Because it's Tax Day in America, I'm taking the cap off a bottle of Teacher's Highland Cream and toasting the legions of unelected bureaucrats in my fair country.

This unpretentious dram is medium gold and the body looks thin when twirling the glass.

On the nose, there's sweetish mud and peat, as well as a scent like wet turf. A honeyed sweetness dominates the front, with burning rubber in the background, like Ardbeg, though this bottle is by no means a beast of Islay.

It lays down on my tongue like the wet, boggy turf suggested in the nose, but it develops into something more fresh and bright. The sweetness is great yet somehow flat, without any honey or fruity tones; it's like the sweetness of pure sugar. A slight bitterness sticks to the back of my tongue at the end. There's a touch of cellulose. I suppose you could compare this drink to a swamp. I mean that affectionately.

Water greatly decreases the intensity of the rubber and decaying plants, as well as eliminating all bitterness and bringing honey to the tongue. It's a dramatic change.

@Rantavahti

Teacher's Highland Cream is rather famous blended whisky. It got 90 points by Jim Murray in his Whisky Bible.

I don't totally agree with Mr. Murray but I do like Teacher's Highland Cream. Good dram, when comparing it to other blended ones.

Has some nice malty tones and doesn't really show the nature of blends until at the very finish.

The movie that comes to mind, is of course "Bad Teacher". Teacher's Highland Cream isn't exactly a textbook whisky but it is enjoyable!

Nose: Strong vanilla and malt combined with salty and fresh sea air.

Taste: Warm and malty, cinnamon with hints of peat.

Finish: Robust, hints of smoke with roasted malt and spices.

Balance: Good stuff for its kind. The watery finish that blends tend to have, is very minimal.

@cheeserandyburg

The last time I had Teacher's was many, many, many years ago. Back then however I remember it being a bitterly dry whisky. Coming back to it after all these years was kinda exciting, so I decided to review it as I tasted it for the first time in 19 years.

Nose: Fresh delicate peat, followed by a vegetal herbiness. Letting it sit for a while to settle down opens up more peat along side a very faint hint of sweetness that lurks in the back. Earthy vanilla and citrus. Time passes, and now I'm getting honey/toffee/caramel. Something along the lines of a sly and candid Highland Park 12 y/o. A simple and elegant nose on this. Time settles the peat down here now and opens up the sweet notes quite a bit.

Palate: Light, restrained, arrival of peat coated in a grainy sweetness. The sweetness carries on and increases with each second while the peat subsides. Lots of sugary notes going on here. I'm getting a strong past memory of HP12 now as the finish kicks in.

Finish: Not long, but the sweetness is something else. Not sure if this is the result of the grain whiskies or the Ardmore, but this is REALLY nice. However, it's not over, the peat just came back around. Slight resemblance to HP12 once again, yet much simpler in character and quality of course.

Conclusion: Delicious stuff. It's like HP12 + Islay Mist 8 thrown together. The HP12 adds the honey and sweet notes, while the Islay Mist adds a good wallop of its peaty characteristics.

So, if you're looking for a sweet-peaty-easy-drinking whisky, then this is a great bargain. A little harsh on the sides at times and fairly light, but it's definitely not hard on the wallet and is very well worth the price. The peat really makes a come back in a gentle, escalating way as the finish rolls off.

Recommended.

@Nock

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.

Personally I prefer the Ardmore all things equal. But things rarely are. Ardmore at $40 vs. Teacher's for $17.99? Teacher's! If the Ardmore is $32 and Teachers is mid $20's . . . probably Ardmore. It all depends on what you want to do with it. I use Teachers to make a lot of cocktails. Ardmore at $32 would be a regular buy. At $40 or more I would pass (and pick up Laphroaig instead).

Do you prefer it to Ardmore Traditional Cask? Or is it just similar to Ardmore TC but cheaper?

Around me, Ardmore TC is huge bargain at $32-40 / bottle. I've never had Teachers, but it's always described as a solid blend; I just wonder why I'd buy it over the Ardmore TC.

R

Nose: A little cheap imitation vanilla, a little ocean air, Ardmore malt.

Palate: Sweet nothings; Ardmore and Nilla wafers; a hint of peat.

Finish: Not as long as many people report; a little peat, cheap vanilla, and weak floral overtures.

This dram is better than many Irish whiskies. I would rather drink it than, say, Jameson or even entry level Bushmills. Still, for me, that's not saying much. I bought a glass in a bar tonight, sipped it for a few minutes and then gave it away to someone who could better appreciate it (who'd just finished drinking Bushmills and reported she liked the Teacher's better, as a matter of fact).

I know that many reviewers speak optimistically and perhaps nostalgically about Teachers. For me, if Teachers were the best whisky in a bar, I would choose wine or beer, or just have a soda. It's not worth my time unless I really like the company I'm keeping and can ignore the scotch in lieu of a worthwhile distraction.

Tonight, after I gave away my glass of Teachers, I ordered a glass of Suntory Yamazaki 12 and watched the rest of the band's set. Good country music that filled the bar with pleasant vibes. I haven't seen so many beautiful young women sans hipster "cooler than thou" body language in a bar in a long while. It was refreshing, as was the single malt scotch in my glass.

"It's Suntory time. . . ."

This rating for teachers is a blended scotch whisky mark, and not a single malt mark. My recent rating of Astar is a single malt mark.

The best blended scotch whisky that I've tasted is Campbeltown Loch 21. Teachers is a pale shadow of that, but it is in the same category.

@bourbondrinker

I have to say, it took me some time to get rid of the alcohol attack and discover the creaminess in this classic. Malty cream vanilla and honey on the nose, Sweet treat & early spice arrival on the palate, medium finish, nice aftertaste.

Okay, now you've inspired me to write about Black Bottle. I've never tried Teachers and I plan to. Great review here.

Too bad I can't get my hands on a black bottle down this part of the world....waiting for your review rigmorole

@Jonesz

Nose: Some smoke, a new leather jacket and Tobacco

Taste: Toffee, burnt orange peel and a slight smokey background. A bit oily with some pepper

Finish: Stays with you for awhile. I am feeling the ardmore content and love it. Similar in many ways to Highland Park 12 (hope that's not blasphemy)

Balance: A little on the harsh side but a few drops of water seems to smooth this blend a lot. Just don't go overboard on the water as too much kills it.

My earliest memory of Scotch Whisky was 1956 and my Great Uncle for whom I was named drank Teachers Highland Cream. I am sure that was a completely different Teachers to the 2011 version but it was on sale at the Liquor commission in Manitoba so I decided to give it a try. This is also my first attempt at a tasting review. It has taken me 2 bottles over the past 2 weeks to get to this point. I dearly wanted to dislike this inexpensive blend ($25. CDN for a 750 ml bottle) but I fell in love with it much as one falls for the easiest girl in high school. You don't want your cool friends to know but you can't resist her! I am finding that it is now my daily go to and it has allowed me to keep some of the "better single malts" in my cabinet. Try her you might also be enamoured.

@Victor

The reviewed sample is the last 125 ml of a bottle provided thanks to @MarsViolet.

Nose: lots of vanilla, very light smoke, a touch of peat, light citrus, well perfumed with carnation and rose. Very pleasant

Taste: the delivery starts sweet and peaty, with a nice malt underpinning, and then gathers a lot of citrus. I do taste the wheated "grain" whisky here, and as usual for me, I don't much like it in this sort of mix

Finish: concludes with a tongue-throbbing lemon-lime citrus crescendo on a huge bed of sweet peat. Quite a peat trip

Balance: very tasty stuff, if these are the flavours you are after. One gets a lot of whisky experience for the money with Teacher's Highland Cream

Comment about my own taste and about this and other blends: my scores here are for quality given the genre, and the mood to experience these particular flavours. For my own taste preferences, I'd like this a lot better if there were none of the wheated grain whisky character in it, and instead used "grain whisky" entirely made from 90+% ABV column-distilled corn and/or malted or unmalted barley, and/or oats. You Scots really ought to add some oat whiskies to your blends. They would improve them

As Scottish blended whiskies go, I like this one. All of you Connosr members who say that you think that Scottish blended whiskies are not less than, but merely different from, single malts: I will believe you when I see you giving the same grades to the blended whiskies that you give to the single malts in your reviews

@Victor, do you grade Scotch blends differently to malts? And different again to bourbon and other whiskies? Reason I ask, is that your comment RE: Connosr members not rating blends as highly as malts got me thinking about my own scoring system which would almost always put blends at a disadvantage - namely that I haven't had the breadth of experience with blends to rate them on a different scale to malts, hence I end up reviewing all malts and blends against the same criteria (I know it's not right but some day hope to remedy this - perhaps in the meantime I could look at applying a "scaling" factor).

Since the major components of a review - Nose, Taste and Finish are intrinsically tied to depth of flavour, complexity and impact, and only a small portion in the traditional system allocated to Balance, most blends that I've scored end up suffering in points compared to malts.

I can see where you're coming from with that criticism and it may be valid when reviewers here, myself included, claim that blends can be every bit as good as malts - I just don't know how many of us can reliably rate blends since almost certainly they'd have to be rated on a different scale that by-and-large malt drinkers (such as myself) may (and do) find a difficult proposition.

I do applaud you however in rating a ubiquitous blended Scotch whisky such as Teacher's so highly without fear of reprisal [.. kidding!] (admittedly one of my favourites in my earlier Scotch whisky drinking days, pre-malts anyway). Cheers.

@systemdown, this is going to be a long reply. First, thank you for joining in the continuing discussion of comparing blends to malts and to other whiskies, using the same reviewing scale. I consider this a very difficult and tricky issue to approach. I do feel that it is for me anyway, quite difficult to compare on the same grading scale the very wide range of flavour profile whiskies available, and, in so doing, rate them fairly with RESPECT TO type, and at the same time, fairly ACROSS type. The truth for me is, generally speaking, that I do NOT like the TYPE of blended whiskies (not speaking of 'blended malts')as much as I like the TYPE of single malts. I also do not like the TYPE of new make as much as I like the TYPE of wood-matured whiskies. If I were to review based entirely on "within that whisky's type/style/genre" only, then the numbers would NOT accurately reflect my opinion of that same whisky across all types. (There are spirits that would merit a 90 score within new make only, that would have to be more like 80 or less evaluated against all whiskies)

So, when I do a review, I try to bridge the gap across-types and be fair on both an absolute pan-whisky comparison and also within-genre only. That requires a sort of raising or lowering the scores internally according to genre. A fudge factor, as it were. So, to try to be fair to Teacher's Highland Cream, which is a whisky which I very much like, but would also by genre be drawn to drink it less frequently than I would several other styles of whisky, I give it the grade for "when I am in the mood to enjoy these particular flavours".

I suppose that I would consider the only true way to approach this grading issue fairly would be either to: 1)give TWO different sets of scores based on whether it is considered according to type, or according to one's overall taste preferences, or 2)have the club-wide convention explicitly specify that reviews be made either according to type, or on an absolute scale of comparison of all types of whiskies.

The former would be possible but I doubt many reviewers would want to go to the trouble to do so, as with your own excellent multiple time-frame comparisons, which I love. Also many, perhaps the vast majority of our members, haven't had wide experience of some of these genres by which to compare according to and across type (eg rye, oat, new-make whiskies, or wheated bourbons). Also, most members seem to me to want to review on 'how much I liked the whisky' and not on whether it has merits which would appeal to others with different taste preferences.

So, on balance, for practical purposes, we are not ever likely to have within our large whisky club, Connosr, an agreement to expect the degree of detail on a systematic basis that would be required to go into all of these nuances of evaluation. This is a very laissez-faire club with respect to members reviewing as they choose. I repeatedly bring these issues up because I think that it is highly useful for members to have an awareness of the issues involved. I do not expect much to change.

So, @systemdown, my meticulous friend, if I were doing a dual inside genre-whole genre comparison review of Teacher's Highland Cream with one number, I would probably rate it at 90 for blended Scotch, and 82 among all whiskies.

m

The best blend I've had so far. It has some smoke which is commendable for a cheap blend. Super smooth, to its detriment in a way. But for this price you can't complain.

I should clarify that it's the best 'budget' blend I've had. There are many better blends at a higher cost.

@phillyslick

high malt content, particularly ardmore highland malt. a blend can't get much better than this!

An adventure indeed! Never to late to start. I started my fascination with Scotch and Irish whiskies only a few months ago. It really is an education, and an expensive hobby but worth the price. I am constantly amazed by how much many of the lower priced whiskies tend to impress me, and some of the higher priced brands fail to impress! There are exceptions, of course, but my favourites tend to be the 10 to 12 year ones, like Laphroaig 10 year, Bushmills 10 year, HP 12 year and Bushmills Black Bush (which does not state an age). The HP (Highland Park) 18 year is exceptional, though, and considered by some to be "the best malt in the world", although again dependes upon personal taste. There are so many out there that will have to wait until I can afford them. Cheers, Carl

I had a drink of Ballantine's Finest at a bar on the weekend. I was very impressed. Very smooth. Give that a try as well. Also bought a bottle of Black Grouse, which I found smooth and very interesting. I will have to try that one again soon. Cheers, Carl

@OJK

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

Nose: Butterscotch and lemon drizzle cake, bathing gently in a pool of creamy butter, all co-existing in a rich harmony as the grains and malt weave together quite seamlessly. 2.0

Taste: The weave is at once unwoven on the palate, as a medium-bodied oil drives the grains forward, carrying with them subtle vanillas and muted spices. Allowed to sit for long enough, the oil slowly churns itself into a creamy butterscotch, as the malt finally catches up with the pacier grains. 2.0

Finish: A short burst of malt and spice seems to burn off the cream and leave behind a wooden residue, coated in a fruity fudge. 1.5

Balance: To use the obvious analogy on offer on the label, on the nose this Teacher appears to have a very disciplined and uniform classroom, however upon closer inspection, we can see on the palate that each individual is allowed to express themselves quite freely, sometimes perhaps to the detriment of classroom order, as is apparent on the finish. Analogies aside however, this is a truly smooth and creamy blend, and one that offers fantastic value for money with no shortage of intricate flavour. 2.0

Hi OJK,

I work with Teacher's Whisky and just wanted to say thank you for a great review! Teacher's Highland Cream is now available in a brand new and improved bottle, could I send you a photo of the new bottle to accompany your review?

Thanks, Gemma

Hi Gemma, many thanks for your comment - I'm a big a fan of blended whisky, and teacher's is very much a classic. It seems that your comment about the new design has been noted by the connosr team as the bottle has now been updated! I have to say it looks great, and look forward to tasting the new batch. Many thanks again, Olivier

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