Thanks to /u/xile_ for the sample.
In recent history we say the definition of a blended malt and a blend get blurry. And the amount of times I’ve had to explain it has now gotten to a point where I’m considering commissions of a tattoos on my body to make it easier and save me time.
Thus when poured a sample of Collectivum XXVIII completely blind, getting it incorrect in my guess (yeah, I know, you’re all surprised) and then finding out, I realize that it’s time to say it again:
A Blended malt is a blend made without any grain whisky. Grain whisky takes longer in the cask and typically different wine casks to get it to be flavourful. A blended whisky has grain whisky in it.
So Collectivum XXVIII is made up of 28 different malts, all owned by Diageo.
Yes. You read that correctly. It’s made up of 28 distilleries, all owned by Diageo.
They are: Auchroisk, Benrinnes, Blair Athol, Caol Ila, Cardhu, Clynelish, Cragganmore, Dailuaine, Dalwhinnie, Dufftown, Glendullan, Glen Elgin, Glenkinchie, Glenlossie, Glen Ord, Glen Spey, Inchgower, Knockando, Lagavulin, Linkwood, Mannochmore, Mortlach, Oban, Roseisle, Royal Lochnagar, Strathmill, Talisker and Teaninich.
Get all that? How much of each? We don’t know. What kind of casks were used? We don’t know. How old are each? Stop asking questions, who do you think made this, Compass Box? I know there’s Clynelish in there, let’s not get confused, other companies can use Clynelish. Like, you know, their owners.
Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 5Y 7/8
Nose: Creamy, white chocolate, graham cracker, apples, caramelized brown sugar
Initial nose reminds me of a Tobermory single cask I had recently. Nice amount of sweetness. Like an alternative S’more that you can’t admit you really enjoyed because the person with all the tattoos who talks about Party Cat being the best meme ever made it.
Nice fruity notes, good molasses/burnt sugar on the nose. It all works nicely together, and there’s the start to some complexity here.
Taste: Blackberry, ham, ash, peach, black pepper, butter
Alright, confusing. Like having blueberry BBQ sauce for the first time. You enjoy it, but the guy from before made it, so you’re wary of it.
There’s some heavy black pepper playing here. It’s obviously cask strength, and has a nice strength to it. The complexity from before isn’t really there though.
Finish: Anise, dry pineapple, peat, vegetal, caramel
Finish is what you’d want from a finish. There’s definitely some peat going on here. Earthy, dry tropical notes.
It’s not super complex, however it works. There’s some work that went into this.
Conclusion: This is what blends of all sorts should be. There’s work that went into this. A great nose (as we’ve seen time and time being the great part of blends), a tasty, if confusing palate, and then a finish that works, though won’t convert everyone away from single malts so soon.
I would much rather this be the benchmark, or added to the benchmarks, of where blends should be. If that means more blended malts, so be it. If it means that whomever the workhorse who made this is paid more and showered with his preferred gender of people to have consensual, weird intercourse (or just really help or whatever they want), even better.
A good release, a good dram, and overall something more than the sum of it’s parts.
Guess: Tobermory 10-14 years old, ex-bourbon
Actually: Collectivum XXVIII
Scotch review #794, Blend review #83, Whisky Network review #1300