Monday, January 28, 2013
Trader Joe's Scotch
Of late, it seems Trader Joe's has been increasing their house-label whiskey selection. Early last year, they introduced the Trader Joe's Single Malt Irish Whiskey, which was followed last fall by a Trader Joe's Bourbon. Now, they are reintroducing some private label single malts.
I say reintroducing because years ago, they had a line of Trader Joe's Scotch that was independently bottled and mostly pretty awful. Those malts listed that name of the distillery whereas the new malts only list the region; the actually distillery they come from is a mystery.
So far, TJ's has two malts: a ten year old Highland and an 18 year old Speyside. Both are bottled at 40% by Alexander Murray & Co., which bottled the previous series of TJ's malts and has also done bottlings for Costco. As with most TJ's items, the prices are extremely reasonable: $19.99 for the Highland and $25.99 for the Speyside.
Tim Read and I are doing a joint review of these whiskies, so be sure to check out Scotch & Ice Cream for his review.
Trader Joe's Highland Single Malt Scotch, 10 years old, 40% abv (%19.99)
The nose is sweet and malty with some nice fruit and white grape juice. The palate is very straightforward and malty without much else going on. It reminds me a lot of Glenmorangie 10, malty and sweet and not bad at all if a bit boring.
Trader Joe's Speyside Single Malt Scotch, 18 years old, vintage 1993, 40% abv ($25.99)
The nose on this one is light and fruity with fruit cocktail notes. The palate is also fruit forward but it devolves a sourness which lasts into the finish which also has a note of stale wine and a touch of bitterness.
These aren't going to win any awards, but they're decent for the (very cheap) price. The ten in particular, at $20, is a good deal if you want something straightforward, though I"d probably spring for five or six bucks more and get a Glenfiddich. The 18 year old has a bit more going on, but also has more flaws.
Both of these strike me as better than most of the malts Trader Joe's released in their last series, so I suppose that's progress.