blended malt

Review: Copper Dog Blended Malt Whisky


First thing’s first:  what’s a copper dog?  Back in the day, distillery workers needed a way to sneak some whisky.  One of the more popular methods was taking a piece of copper tubing and soldering a penny on one end.  When no one was around, they’d pop the bung on a cask and dip the “copper dog” into it.  Once filled with whisky, the copper dog was sealed with a cork, dropped down the worker’s pants.  Hey, people will always find a way to have their dram of whisky.  Ingenious!

Onto the whisky.  In 2014, Piers Adams purchased the Craigellachie Hotel in the Speyside region of Scotland.  As you’re aware, Speyside features the highest concentration of distillieries in that country.  Adams named the hotel pub “Copper Dog” and sought out the creation of a whisky.

Adams teamed up Stuart Morrison, master blender of Copper Dog, to come up with a new whisky blend.  The resultant blended malt features whiskies from at least eight Speyside distilleries of various ages and cask types.  It’s bottled at 40% ABV and priced at about $32.99.  And I’ve got to say, it’s quite good.


Copper Dog’s nose features hints of spiced pears and crisp apples, alongside toffee and vanilla and some baking spice.   The palate features similar notes – orchard fruits, spice, and vanilla.  There’s also an element of dried fruit, which indicates some sherry casks.  It’s low proof still yields a slightly creamy whisky.  The finish has hints of dried fruit, spice, and just a touch of oak.

It’s Speyside in a glass, and damn easy to drink.  I found it flavorful enough to drink on its own, though the marketing and price seem to skew towards using Copper Dog in cocktails.  The Old Fashioned I made with it was nice enough, but I’ve quite enjoyed it neat ever other time.  Having spent a bit of time with Copper Dog, it has kind of become one of my ‘house whiskies’.  Now, if Copper Dog would only make it to Louisiana…    8.5/10

Thanks to Copper Dog for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.


Son of a Peat Whisky Review

Online spirits club Flaviar has released their first ever private label whisky, Son of a Peat. The blended malt is comprised of eight malt whiskies from Islay, Island, and Speyside distilleries. Bottled at 48.3% abv, the NAS Son of a Peat is a 1,500 bottle run available only to Flaviar members for $60. Bonus points for no caramel coloring and non-chill filtering.

The nose is ripe with aromas of bonfire smoke, lemon zest, orchard fruits and cinnamon toast. The higher-than-standard proof provides a bold tasting experience featuring initial hints of toffee, lemon cake and crisp apples, as a meaty smoke note builds to a crescendo. A bit of spice ramps up on the backend towards the finish, which is long, smoky and slightly sweet.

I came in with no expectations and left pretty impressed. Son of a Peat is a relatively complex peated blended malt that would work equally as a sipper and a mixer. There is a slightly youngish quality about it, but that works in this whisky’s favor. More of those lovely peat notes we love are beefed up as a result. Bottom line: Son of a Peat is a steal at $60. If you’re not already a Flaviar member, you may want to quickly reconsider. 7.5/10

Thanks to Flaviar for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Three Year Old Deluxe Blended Malt Scotch Review

I picture a person who knows little about Scotch roaming the whisky aisle at their favorite shop.  This person scans the shelf and comes across a whisky called “Three Year Old Deluxe.”  I can’t imagine the expression on the person’s face when he/she looks down and discovers the $300 price tag.  “$300 for a 3-year-old whisky?!?”

Yep, $300 for a 3-year-old whisky.  That’s what Compass Box suggests the price be set at.  Nuts right?  Actually, the price is just where it needs to be.  Obviously, it’s no ordinary 3-year-old whisky.  Only 0.4% of this whisky is three years old.  The remaining 99.6% is made of whisky MUCH older than that.  Compass Box’s Three Year Old Deluxe is turning an old whisky regulation on its head – whisky makers can only disclose the youngest component whisky in their blend.  Compass Box’s head honcho, John Glaser, wants to tell you what’s in his whisky, and even campaigned to get this law changed.  

Glaser consulted his lawyers and received some advice.  In a statement, Glaser said “While we must not actively promote the ages of the components used in our blends, we can provide information when we are asked for it by interested consumers.”

So put simply, ask and you shall receive.  I did just that, but I’ve been asked not to publicly release the information.  According to an interview I had with Glaser recently, my posting the information could be perceived as promoting, which could prompt a complaint by an Scotch Whisky Association member.

Onto the whisky.  Three Year Old Deluxe is made of whiskies from “peaty malt whisky distilled on the Isle of Skye” (read: Talisker) and Clynelish, and bottled at 51.6% abv.  The aromatic nose features spiced tree fruit, clove, sherried malt and some vanilla bean, along with a hint of white pepper.  Taste-wise, the signature waxy fruitiness of Clynelish comes through in a big way.  First, there’s a richness and sweetness from the older components.  The minuscule amount of 3-year-old Clynelish adds a bit of vibrancy.  A bit of clove, vanilla creme brûlée, and spice lead to a whiff of smoke on the back end.  The medium-length finish is a touch spicy, sweet and smoky.

Fantastic stuff here.  The blending of Clynelish and Talisker make for a rich, sweet, fruity and somewhat smoky whisky.  If that flavor combination appeals to you, and you have a $300 to spend on a whisky, call your favorite store now to reserve a bottle.  There’s not a lot of this stuff to go around – only about 3,200 bottles are available worldwide.  Three Year Old Deluxe makes the shortlist as one of my favorite whiskies this year.  9.5/10

Thanks to Compass Box for the sample!  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.