Sunday, September 18, 2011

Whisky review: Shieldaig Speyside 18 Year

It's probably been looking like this blog has been neglected for the past few months...because it has. Eileen and I recently moved to the Phoenix, Arizona area and have been working on getting settled into our new life. I've still been sipping some drams, but just haven't managed to get them on here yet.

So now I'm back with some free time and some new bottles. One bottle I picked up recently is sold exclusively by Total Wine and More, a large chain that wasn't in Boston. This particular whisky is an independent bottling done just for Total by "Shieldaig." It's a no-name single malt, just given the title "Speyside," and we're told it's an 18-year-old. Price? $40. And due to an error by the check-out clerk (which I only realized when I looked at the receipt some time later), the bottle was charged to me as a 12-pack of beer, so it cost about $13.

I tried to pin the salespeople at Total down regarding the distillery the whisky comes from, but they apparently couldn't remember or find it; I don't think they were trying to hide it from me, because one woman I asked spent some time trying to figure it out. So it's quite the mystery, and I was excited to try the whisky, though I didn't have huge expectations.

$13 for an 18-year-old single malt scotch. A good deal? We'll see...

Shieldaig Speyside 18 Year, 40% ABV
Single malt scotch whisky (Speyside)

Nose: A butterscotch sweetness and some sherry.

Palate: Light sherry, ripe fruit (red apples, plums) and some less-than-optimal wood.

Finish: Sort of ok (fruit again) at first and then...ghastly. *gag* The aftertaste of this whisky haunted me the first few times I tried it. It tastes like bubble gum that you've been chewing for two hours and only has a kind of nasty, rubbery taste left to it. Plus a little wood.

Rating (of 100): 31. The nose is really the only appealing part of this whisky. The lingering finish makes me want to dump this bottle, but I think I'll keep it around for any uninvited and exceptionally annoying guests.

This bottle actually decreased my interest in whisky the first few times I drank it, to the point where I got to wondering whether I really was still very interested in whisky. Some Old Pulteney brought me back to my senses.

If you buy this whisky, be prepared to have wasted between $13 and $40. I wouldn't even give this away to someone because I fear what it could do in the wrong hands.