It’s all too easy to overlook a blend and head towards the single malt aisle, or mistakenly wander past a collection of dusty unrecognisable blended Scotches at auction in pursuit of that trophy bottling. Thing is, blends often offer a superior drinking experience and can represent value for money.
This was underlined once again with the recent review of the 1960’s Black & White bottling that delivered on all fronts. Yes, in terms of the recipe we do not know what distilleries contributed exactly but this is beside the point as it comes down to the liquid itself. Whenever I’m at an auction nowadays I’ll look through the blends sometimes adorned with fantastic or fabulously awful labels and some with to no information. It’s possible to pick up the odd bargain including bottles that need to be opened rather than polished up and kept on a plinth.
In this review we’re taking a closer look at this Berry’s All Malt Finest Scotch Whisky. You’ll come to realise through experience not to pay much attention to the headline statements on bottle labels as it seems all the Scotches bottled at times were the finest or the rarest, which isn’t possible. The key aspect here is the name i.e. Berry’s which signifies Berry Bros. Rudd and Limited who were established in 1698 as a fine wine and spirits merchant. Still in business today, it’s a name of distinction and quality with a variety of single malts being bottled by the company. Berry Bros still engages in blends occasionally producing limited batches and were also the owners of the Cutty Sark brand until 2010, when it was sold to the Edrington Group.
This All Malt is an export release to Italy and was bottled at a minimum of 12-years-old and 43% strength.
Colour: cinder toffee
Nose: a real leathery sherry influence here, an earthy quality with vanilla and tree bark. Cinnamon mixed in with a musty aspect highlighting its age. Red grapes, ginger and a brass rubbing.
Taste: an initial burst of sweetness before the wood regains control and takes us into a epic finish the duration of which must rival a Frankie Goes to Hollywood 12" remix. Maple syrup, chocolate, caramel and roasted nuts. A little bitterness from the wood. It's all good including the hint of smoke that runs through this.
Overall: another very quality blend, not in the class of the aforementioned Black & White but still very assured and composed. Extremely easy to drink.