Not long before Christmas, I received an email from a lovely lady asking if I'd be interested in trying a sample of a new whisky... after less than a nanosecond of consideration, I'd responded with a resounding 'yes please!'. Unfortunately the Christmas post played its part in delaying the delivery of my sample, but early in January it arrived!
The XL Blend - Batch 1 is a new whisky from The Blended Whisky Company that has been created using whiskies aged for at least 40 years. This is where the name comes from... with XL being 40 in Roman numerals. Only a thousand bottles have been produced and they were available from Master Of Malt for £548.95. The initial run sold out rather quickly, but if you check out the MOM website, it would appear that more are are on their way.
The Blended Whisky Company are part of the Atom Brands group who bring us many well known, and growing, brands such as Master Of Malt and That Boutique-y Whisky and Gin Co's, & who have brought us award winning blends under the 'Lost Distilleries' label. So you can usually be sure that when something new appears it's going to be a bit special.
Since I'm not a believer in dry January (I've never been a quitter! Anyway it's all about taking things in moderation) I've taken some time out this evening to sit down and enjoy this dram. Here are my thoughts...
The XL Blend - Batch 1 - 40 years old - 46.2% abv - £548.95
Nose: Rich notes of tobacco, Cointreau and buttered wholemeal toast. With a little time in the glass it opens up to reveal a slight dry dusty/smoky note but still with sweet orange lingering and some rich dark heather honey evident.
Palate: It's deep and rich, with subtle wisps of dry smoke and a slight salinity. You get fruity hints of stewed rhubarb & clementines. There are also hints of hazelnut and dark chocolate. It's not as sweet as the nose suggested it would be, but it's complex and long.
Finish: More salinity evident in the form of salted caramel, it's a really viscous dram but it does dry on the (long!) finish, leaving you with a whisper of smoke and blackcurrant on your palate.
Well... this is rather yum! It's rich, complex and just goes on and on and on (bit like me really :-)). At a shade under £550 it doesn't come cheap, but then you wouldn't expect a good 40 year old whisky to be sold for much less. This is the sort of bottle that would take pride of place in a collection and would be brought out on special occasions to be enjoyed with friends and family. It's a talking point that's for sure!