Following on from my very successful Glen Moray find I decided to explore some of those whiskies in sub £20 price bracket that I have yet to try. Bell’s is one of those budget blends that has never appealed to me on the basis that people I know take a disliking to it. On that basis it has never been anywhere near my hit list but then I did wonder how bad it could be. There are budget blends out there that get an unfairly bad reputation with Famous Grouse coming to mind. Of course there are standards to be met but I think it is unfair to take them too seriously when you are spending approx. £15 sometime on a litre. I for one am happy to defend the Famous Grouse as I think it is a nicely balanced blend with a lot of versatility. Anyway, I took a gamble on 5cl Bell’s miniature to see if it really is that bad.
Whisky: Bell’s Blended Scotch Whisky, 40%
Nose: Vanilla, grain, custard, hint of earth, metallic, grassy, ice cream
Taste: Earthy, sharp sweetness, vanilla, caramel, floral, coastal, bitterness, alcohol heat
Finish: Grain, vanilla, grassy, alcohol burn
Summary: Now that wasn’t so bad. The grain dominates with vanilla and caramel notes which you would expect but there are hints of an array of flavours imparted by the single malts that have been used in the recipe. There must be a peated whisky in this as I got hints of coastal and earthy notes as well as lowland and highland characteristics of grass and floral notes. The nose is quite nice and if you spend some time with it you can pick some of qualities out. On the down sides there is an alcohol burn to this and some bitterness towards the end which kicks in to remind you that you are drinking a budget blend. In summary, not as balanced as the Famous Grouse but has some appealing notes.
Scoring scale: My scores reflect a balance of the overall experience, availability and cost for a whisky,
1 – not to my preference
2 – tastes fine but does not excite me
3 – more to my liking and would revisit occasionally
4 – very much to my liking and would consider as a regular feature on my whisky shelf
5 – permanent feature on my whisky shelf
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