BLOG: A taste for the inexpensive

– ramblings of Andy

One thing strikes me as we review our podcast episodes so far for this blog, is that we have to a large extent stuck to reasonably well-received and accordingly mid-priced whiskys. Other than the – as far as we can tell – absurdly good value-for-money Nikka From The Barrel, our choices have been £40-60 a bottle or thereabouts and, as a result, nothing much to dislike about them on our beginner-intermediate palettes.

Just this evening, I poured out a dram, taken from a little taster set I received at Christmas of brand-name blends, of Teacher’s Highland Cream. The nose, a little slow to wake up with a little smokiness and sweetness coming through. A malty mouthfeel accompanies my first sip, followed by a hint of peat smoke and liquorice. What’s going on here? This is £15 a bottle and I’m…chewing on a grainy, ash-tray of a finish and my question is well answered.

Still, Jim Murray awards this a more than respectable score of 90/100 in his eponymous Whisky Bible and I was almost with him until the last. Stu has been compiling our own scores for an upcoming ‘Dramier League’ feature, where to take the football metaphor to its obvious conclusion, Teacher’s seems to have blown a promising start to the season and found itself in a relegation battle by the Spring.

After tasting Nikka From The Barrel (Episode 5) for the first time on our podcast, I became a little obsessed with finding a similarly impressive, inexpensive dram from a scotch blend. The Naked Grouse (Episode 6) offered some pleasing Speysidey spice for a similar price-tag but didn’t quite make the grade. Teacher’s took me down an interesting road only to plough us both into a manure truck at the end.  The search continues!


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