Malt Mongers Israel – Aged blends night


This week Malt Mongers Israel (MMI) met up once again to share some good whisky and good company.  This month’s theme was older blended whiskies. We thought it might be fun to try some better quality blends which might often be overlooked in favour of single malts.

Blends have always been the real core of the whisky market, this hadn’t changed much with the rising popularity of single malts but they have become less popular with the hardcore whisky geeks so there aren’t very many niche blends out there, particularly well aged ones.

Age can take off the nasty edge in the grain components used for blending and a well aged, well made blend can actually be quite a fine whisky (so can some younger blends if the components are all good).

The whiskies we were trying (in the order tasted) were:

  • Ordha 21 – A blend made by William Grant & Sons for the Dutch market.
  • Campbeltown Loch 21 – A blend from the same company that owns Springbank using 40% grain from Girvan distillery and 60% Single malt (the name Springbank is never mentioned so could be malts sources from elsewhere).
  • William Cadenhead 43 – A blend from independent bottler Cadenhead. It’s made up of 55% grain from Invergordon and 45% malt from Glenfarclas and Glenlivet.
  • Wilson & Morgan Home Blend 35 – A sherry matured blend from an Italian independent bottler, matured in a sherry butt, meant to resemble the older blends available when blends were still king of whiskies.

Ordha 21

Aged 21 years. 47.4%ABV. Bottled at cask strength.

Nose: Orange cake. Creme brulee. Wood glue. Acetone.

Palate: Bitter wood. Burned popcorn. Maple syrup.

Finish: Long. Maple syrup. Creme Brulee. Buttered popcorn. Slight lingering acetone.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 2/5

This was quite an enjoyable one, my second favourite of the evening. It had a nice sweet woody character to it, with only a slight acetone note indicating the harsher side of the grain components.

Campbeltown Loch 21

Aged 21 years. 46% ABV. No colourant added and non-chill filtered. 

Nose: Light floral notes. Honey. Acetone. Milk chocolate. Pears.

Palate: Bitter wood. Citrus peel. Slightly earthy. Dust

Finish: Medium long. Bitter citrus. Fennel. Anise. Acetone.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: No

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 3/5

I was a bit let down by this one. I’ve had it before (about a year ago) and remember quite liking it but this time round I really felt the acetone notes on it which were far too strong and overpowering.

William Cadenhead 43

Aged 43 years. 44.2% ABV. No colourant added and non-chill filtered.

Nose: Slightly spicy. Rich wood. Acetone. Slightly herbal, mainly parsley. Guava.

Palate: Very bitter.Citrus. Pepper. Wood spice. Yellow cherries. Slight leather and gunpowder notes on the swallow.

Finish: Short-medium. Leather. Bitter citrus. Gunpowder.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: No

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 1/5

This  had a great nose, everything one can expect from such a well aged spirit, but the palate was very bitter and felt unbalanced and the finish fizzled away very quickly after leaving more unbalanced bitterness behind it. Just not worth it for the price asked.

Wilson & Morgan Home Blend 35

Aged 35 years. 46.7% ABV. Matured in a sherry butt. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from cask #27.

Nose: Candied Orange peel. Raspberry sherbet. Cacao. Sulphur. Grit.

Palate: Bitter citrus, grapefruit, blood orange. Slight sulphur, like match heads. Sherry-soaked wood. Cinnamon. Green herbs and mint on the swallow

Finish: Long. Mint Creme. Dark chocolate with orange peel. Leather. Rich wood.

Would I buy this: Yes

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 3/5

This really stole the show.It really proves just how good a blend can be. Full of complexity and really wonderful influence from what must have been top quality sherry casks. Can easily go head-to-head with any single malt in its class.


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