Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bell’s Whisky and Help for Heroes

A few weeks back, a friend of mine (CR) sent me a picture while he was traveling in the UK.

While CR definitely knows my love of good whisky, I think that combined with the name to make it a novelty picture.  But putting both of those aside, it was really the premise of what Bell’s was doing that caught my eye.

You see, this bottling from Bell’s Blended Scotch Whisky is intended to raise £1 million pounds for the charity Help For Heroes


Its not secret, as a military veteran myself, I am all about helping the military – and here was a distillery of one of our allies that is stepping up to make a difference. 

In fact, Bell’s has been committed to the military since at least the First World War – Where the Bell family would have a few cases of Bell's Extra Special Old Scotch Whisky sent down to the docks to be distributed among the troops going off to the Western Front with the idea being that they should have a wee dram, …"afore ye go" (their trademark phrase).

Needless to say – I had to have a bottle of this, and CR was kind enough to send me one.

Imagine my excitement on Friday, after a day of golf (and drinking) with GingerMeatloaf and JPlace, to find a package had arrived.

Ginger and I cracked the bottle – and I am sure there will be at least one picture published from that adventure…but here is my “Official Review” from last night.

Bell’s Blended Scotch Whisky

Bells1Editor’s Note – this is the FIRST Blended Whisky I have reviewed here at S&B.  I am usually all about the Single Malts and bourbons on the market – but in this case I am glad I made the exception.

About the Whisky – Beginning in 1835, Bell’s is said to be the most popular blended whisky in the UK. 

The blend itself is comprised of whisky from many different (the 5 main distilleries are listed below), and the quality of said whiskies exceeds the 3 year maturation standard for Scotch – with each barrel aged at least 8 years.

Appearance – Light Golden Honey Yellow

Nose (undiluted) – Heavy alcohol, with a sweetness of honey and a touch of peat smoke.

Nose (diluted with 4-5 drops of water) – mellows the alcohol smell and opens up the peat, with a hint of pine.

Taste – Surprisingly sweet for a whisky, the honey comes through again, with acidic fruit (oranges).  There is a rough alcohol burn that some might find unappealing – but for me, I have definitely had much worse.

Finish – The alcohol burn taper towards the back of the palate, with a salty finish.  This sweet and salt combination can be a little off-putting at first – but it does grow on you.

Overall – I am torn on this one.  I am a Scotch purist- and if I graded in from there….I would call this a 2.5 to 3 stars.  Very average and middle of the road.  Since it is a blend – I would probably raise to a solid 3 stars…and I could really see this as a mixing whisky (*GASP*) vs. a top shelfer that you break out on special occasions.  In that capacity, I would say a solid 4 stars and (given the price point) this would be something I keep around. 

In closing – I know some people expect their Scotches and Whiskies to always be high end…and that doesn't always work out.  Me, I like exposing the masses and they people branch and learn from there.  And for this, I think Bell’s wins in spades.  Add in their current campaign for helping Soldiers…and I am all about it.

I think some of the smaller and craft distilleries in the US are missing the boat here, and I would love to see one of them (I’m looking at you Bulleit) step up and do a limited release for The Wounded Warrior Project.  We all need to do our part- and nothing says thank you more than a bottle of bourbon or whiskey.

Finally – I wanted to thank CR for sending me the bottle.  Definitely I will make it up to you when we see each other in Barcelona.  I just have to find you something a little bit extra special.

Cheers all – and thank a soldier today….they deserve it.

PS – I have already have had the question “What is that in the bottom of the glass”.  Read my review of Whiskey Disks HERE to find out.

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