Trader Joe’s 23 yr Speyside Single Malt Review

Trader Joes 23 yr Speyside Review
A 23 yr Speyside for only $40? Sign me up! When I saw this sitting on the shelf at Trader Joe’s I couldn’t believe my eyes and thought it was a pricing error. These days where anything aged over 20 years is going for $300-$800 this was quite the steal and the second after I placed it in my basket the suspicion set in… this was either the deal of the century or some pretty awful stuff. I hate to say it, but it was the later.

This is not an inditement of Alexander Murray & Co. at all. I’m sure they pick out great casks for Costco, Trader Joe’s and their own line, but so far I haven’t been too impressed with what I’ve picked up. The Trader Joe’s 10 yr Highland, wasn’t bad just a tad boring (though for only $20 I still consider it a decent deal), but this 23 yr is definitely in the “will not buy again” category.

Trader Joe’s 23 yr Speyside Single Malt Review

ABV: 40%
Age: 23 yrs
Price: $40
Bottler: Alexander Murray & Co. / Trader Joe’s

EYE
Light caramel

NOSE
My first sniff was woody, fruity and full of alcohol, which is strange for the low ABV. Give it a few minutes and some of the wood and alcohol blew off leaving behind notes of overripe bananas, caramel, orange gummy candy, burnt toffee and old perfume; the kind that has sat on your grandma’s shelf since the moon landing and smells more of alcohol than flowers at this point. There are notes of old wood, ambiguous sweetness and a deep undercurrent of overripe orchard fruit. Like when apricots are at the end of their season and are falling from the trees and splashing to the ground. Odd and a bit unpleasant.

TASTE
A mildly sweet and herbal with deep oaky characteristics. A Sweet cherry / sherry hybrid sweetness permeates the flavor and reflects off of some clove and mint in a distorted fun-house fashion. A general whisky spice, some turmeric, spiced orange candy and dried dark fruit (raspberries, strawberries, cranberries) pair up with some smoky char to create the backdrop to the dominant sweet oaky herbalness.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
This is not balanced at all, there is nothing harmonious about this whisky. Medium body with a slick oily texture that feels a bit out of place.

FINISH
Sweet, funky and spicy there are notes of a much more sherry like sweetness coming through here that mixes with clove, mint, vanilla and cinnamon on a long oaky finish

OVERALL
Strange, unbalanced, cloying and over oaked. Drinking it is like being hit with a barrage of odd flavor combinations and I simply do not like it. I’m sure these casks weren’t cheap, which is why it was $40 a bottle, but I definitely feel like I overpaid. There is a host of whiskies I would prefer over this one for the same $40 and it’s a shame really. I was hoping I had found the deal of the century, but it turns out this deal was indeed too good to be true.

SCORE: 79/100

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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