Whisky Recipe: Creating a Luxury Blend

by Oliver Klimek on April 6, 2010

For a change, this is not a recipe with whisky, but a recipe for whisky. My recent acqusition of a bottle of the Cameronbridge 29yo single grain gave birth to the idea of whipping together a blend of the finest whiskies my shelf has to offer.

Well, don’t overestimate my whisky shelf. I have far less bottles than many other malt heads. But I think the choice is goood enough to come up with a pretty decent result. Of course it is highly unlikely that you will have exactly the same bottles at hand. So this is in fact more an inspiration than an cookbook-like recipe.

Ingredients:

30 % Cameronbridge 1978/2008 Duncan Taylor
10 % Highland Park 1981/2006 Mackillop’s Choice
10 % St. Magdalene 1982/2009 Dun Bheagan
20 % Mortlach 1991/2008 C & S Dram Collection
30 % Lagavulin 16 yo

Preparation:

Mix all the ingredients in a vessel of your choice.

Oberservations:

The proportions are of course approximations, I did not use a pipette. I don’t think it’s very useful to write down tasting notes or even a rating because this is a one shot deal. But from the few experiments I made, I learned that the mixing proportions really are quite crucial.

In this case it was not easy to find the right balance between the strong fruitiness of the Cameronbridge and the peat of the Lagavulin. Highland Park and St. Magdalene are a bit similar in profile, so each of them should not be weighted too highly. The Mortlach adds body to the blend and acts as “bridge” between the peat of the Lagavulin, the fruitiness of the grain and the delicate characters of the Highland Park and St. Magdalene.

The result was in fact an excellent whisky with a great wealth of flavours and an endless finish. My first try also included a measure of the Talisker 18, but somehow it tasted better with just Lagavulin providing the peat.

I have the highest respect for blenders who create new whiskies from scratch. The slightest shift in proportions can make or break a blend. The real art of blending is to find the set of proportions where the whole really becomes more than the sum of its parts.

I advise everyone to do their own eperiments in blending. It does not even have to involve grain whisky. But it really is a fascinating experience.

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