Trader Joe’s does not have a distillery in Scotland to make their 10 yr Highland Single Malt. Nor does Alexander Murray & Co. who sourced the casks that ended up in the bottles. Alexander Murray, and by extension Trader Joe’s is a NDP. A Non-Distiller Producer. Which just means that they make a deal with a distillery to buy some barrels, bottle it as their own and in this case not tell anyone where it came from. Which is not a big deal so long as they don’t claim to have distilled it. Which they don’t so we’re all good on that front.
Though being the curious fell that I am I did some digging around on-line to see if I could find out where it came from, but to no avail. The secret has not slipped out so I have to turn to the senses. The nose and finish reminds me a lot of Glenmorangie 10 (which it definitely isn’t because they don’t do private bottlings), but the palate reminds me a bit more of Glenfiddich 12. It’s a Glenmoddich if you will. But hey we could sit around and speculate about who made it all day long, and in the end it’s rather unimportant. The important thing is how it actually tastes and if it’s worth the $20 I paid for it.
Trader Joe’s 10 yr Highland Single Malt Review
Age: 10 years
Bottler: Alexander Murray & Co. / Trader Joe’s
Golden pear juice
Sweet, fruity and surprisingly robust for what I was expecting. It can’t hold a candle to the aforementioned Glenmorangie, but it has some nice notes of honey, vanilla, apricots, malt, pears, apples and graham cracker pie crust. There is an intense buttercream like sweetness riding under the whole thing that can become a bit cloying once you lock onto it, but really not too bad at all.
Mildly sweet with dark dry undertones and an overall watery quality to it. Notes of malt, vanilla, oak, honey, dried orchard fruit and a touch of overripe banana and caramel dominate the palate. There is a bit of bitterness hiding out in the glass along with an ambiguous “dirty” sweetness that tastes just a few degrees off of center.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
An ok balance with nothing too cloying or overpowering supported by a medium body and a lax mouthfeel.
Medium in length with a dry, sweet and oaky flavor mixed with some notes of honey, malt, graham, ash and vanilla.
This is a “set it and forget it” whisky. It’s the kind of cheap dram you keep around the house for when you’re doing chores and your only requirement is to not have something terrible in your glass. It’s also good for cocktails or when you’re having guests over who “like” Scotch, but don’t LIKE Scotch, if you know what I mean. So all in all, not bad, especially for the price.
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