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The Whisky Agency Heads & Tails, Canada - Blended Malt XO

Happy Labour Day!

1 188

@talexanderReview by @talexander

3rd Sep 2018


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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  • Brand: The Whisky Agency
  • ABV: 44.2%

The usual drill with my morning tastings is that everyone is asleep (or are out of the house) so I have a nice quiet environment so I can focus. While that is presently the case, I'm not as fully focused as I should be. With TIFF coming up in a few days, I've been working much of the morning, and also have the US Open on (muted). It's been a while since I've written any notes (and this is the first on my new MacBook Pro!) so thought I'd squeeze this one in between work, tennis and Pam waking up. Maybe I'll do another one later if I have time...

This is a blended malt courtesy of German independent bottler The Whisky Agency. It was selected by Canadian importer Heads & Tails, run partly by my friend Igor Kossov. It is given an "XO" statement, so if they are going by the Cognac rules, this makes it at least six years old (but it seems much older). It also notes that it has been matured in a butt (but doesn't indicate the type of sherry). The bottle has been open for a number of months.

The colour is a deep caramel. The nose reflects the colour with dark caramel, tannic oak, clotted cream, peppery arugula and gentle wafts of peat. Lapsang souchong. Dry prosciutto. Cherry liquorice nibs. Baked apples. Buttered pumpernickel toast. The malt is there but it's slightly dominated by these meaty cask notes (not a bad thing) - but with water the grassy malt finally emerges from the wood.

Creamy on the palate with more caramel, savoury spices (cinnamon, black pepper and clove), maraschino and creme caramel. I'm guessing this was a Fino sherry butt (but I'm no expert). The peat in the background is nicely balanced with the rich creamy oak. Water seems to do little for the palate, perhaps adding a slight cereal note. Bold but deliciously smooth, with a bit of bite.

The finish is meaty and spicy, with lots of oak, more caramel, bovril and Christmas pudding. This is rich, savoury stuff, very old school scotch. Quite delicious for an end-of-evening dram, though I think it could use some more top-notes to give it some levity.


Nozinan commented

Happy Labour day to you. Great review as always.

The reviews I posted this morning were also created on my MacBook (Air, and it's almost 6 years old), though my templates are usually on my old desktop. Progress...

3 years ago 0

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