Sunday, September 23, 2007

Last Night's Tipple

The Smooth Sweeter One is another of the Edrington Group-backed Easy Drinking Whisky Company's vatted malts. I have previously written multiple times about The Rich Spicy One, which is their attempt at a big sherried malt along the lines of a Macallan, and The Smokey Peaty One, which is their Islay-style product that Ben enjoys for its taste and its good value. The Smooth Sweeter One is supposed to be, well, smooth and sweet -- a pleasant, light aperitif whisky. The bottle that I have is different from the bottle pictured to the left in three respects: first, it's a lot paler than in the picture; second, it had a foil capsule instead of the wax seal; and third, the label specifies that it's Scotch malt whisky, whereas the bottle pictured to the left is a blend of Scotch and Irish malt whisk(e)y. That's right: this was originally a blend of 70% Irish malt whiskey from Cooley Distillery (Ireland's third distillery, after Midleton and Bushmill's) and 30% Scotch malt whisky from Bunnahabhain (famous as an unpeated, light Islay malt). I'm sure that Irish and Scotch whisk(e)y have been blended commercially before, but this is the only one that I am aware of where the fact of the blend is emphasized on the label. Well, for whatever reason, EDWC decided to scrap the Irish whiskey component of the blend between the original bottling and the one that I bought. I don't know if this is due to their supply of Irish whiskey drying up, for marketing reasons, or for some other reason But for whatever reason, the current bottling is Scotch malt whisky only.

As I wrote, this whisky is pale, probably paler than any Scotch I have ever seen (and that includes Ardbeg 10 year old, which is pretty pale). That says two things to me: first, that it's not very old; second, that the barrels this was aged in weren't very active. From the color alone, I would doubt that this has been aged in ex-sherry butts (unless the sherry was so many fills ago that the barrels don't have any of it left in them). I can't imagine that first-fill ex-Bourbon barrels would give this little color, either. The little neck tag that comes with the bottle says that the dominant characteristics are lemons, vanilla, and coconut. I get the lemons -- this is a sharp little whisky -- but I don't get much vanilla and coconut. When someone mentions vanilla in conjunction with a whiskey, I think of Bourbon. I suppose that I can smell a bit of vanilla in The Smooth Sweeter One, but it's nowhere near as potent as it would be in a good Bourbon: the vanilla in Bourbon is a three hundred pound body builder slapping you around, while the vanilla in this is scrawny guy at the beach yelling "Look at me!" in a squeaky voice. To tell you the truth, this is just too light for me. There just isn't much there, at least that my leaden palate can pick up on. I don't mind drinking this, but that's about all I can say.

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