KWM 25th Anniversary Blends (Berry Bros & Rudd)
As promised, though a day or three late (what else is new, right?), a few thoughts on the new KWM exclusives. These siblings came from the warehouses of the good folks at BBR. I don’t know the whole story – and hopefully you’ll forgive my lack of homework here – but I have come to understand that Andrew Ferguson at Kensington Wine Market was offered up these undisclosed blended beauts as part of a sample set that included mostly single malts. These ones jumped out as something special. The 40 year old, in particular.
The beauty of mature blends like this is that they often bear most of the hallmarks of good malts, and they usually come in at a substantially more approachable price point. Proof’s in the puddin’ though, aye? So let’s dig in.
Berry Bros. & Rudd 25 year old Blended Scotch Whisky
I sampled this in the store a few weeks back and was immediately charmed by the nose. Soft and hinting at some sort of tropical melange. Never quite gets there, but suggests it. Perhaps it’s just the subtle pineapple notes. Sitting down with it in a more controlled environment I’m a little less enamoured, but still impressed. The wood is loud, but when it settles, the subtleties that prop it up are quite lovely.
Good whisky. Great blend. Limited to 222 bottles from cask #46572. $199.99
Nose: Pineapple and vanilla. Pine or eucalyptus. Almost noses like mature Canadian whisky in some ways. Citrus. Floral notes. Soft aromas of fresh baking. Very soft fruits in syrup.
Palate: A lot of oak. Fairly creamy though as the wood fades. Then a berry-driven tartness crops up. And a bucket of spices. Then the wood resurfaces. There’s a fruitiness here, but it’s almost as if the fruits have been baked into something.
Thoughts: I recall liking the nose an awful lot when I first tried it. Less wowing now, but still good stuff. Noses like a single malt. Give it time in the glass.
Berry Bros. & Rudd 40 year old Blended Scotch Whisky
Holy hell. What have we here? This is immaculate. We’ve not only nudged into tropical territory we’re drinking mango smoothies on white sands on a tiny little atoll in the Caribbean. Yum.
The nose is instantly a mouthwatering, knee-buckling showstopper. As good as I recall it being on first tasting, it came nowhere near the heights I’m seeing now. Much more texture and integration here. Noses and tastes like a wizened old single malt. Love it.
Limited to 120 bottles and will set you back $429.99.
Nose: Gorgeous mature nose. Almost tropical…ok, not ‘almost’. Soft doughy notes. Melon and orange. Great toasted oak notes. Sweet and tart at once. Nice balance. Some smoke meets Five Alive tropical fruit juice. Richly oiled woods. Old books. Caramel syrup.
Palate: Rich in tropical fruits. All mango, orange, papaya and such. Juicy and oily. Lovely palate. Surprised at how restrained the oak is. Maybe some chocolate and unlit cigar. Polish. Fruit skins. Gooey, thick caramel syrup notes.
Thoughts: Great whisky. All around. I would not guess this was a blend.
– Images & Words: Curt