Trader Joe’s Blended Scotch Review

Trader Joes Blended Scotch
Just like there is no Trader Joe’s distillery in Kentucky there is no Trader Joe’s distillery or blending facility in Scotland. They are a NDP and they source this blend from another blender / bottler in Scotland and then put their own label on the bottle and sell it as theirs. Which I have nothing against since they’re clearly not trying to claim they distilled, blended and bottled it themselves.

Since it’s all done through 3rd parties and doesn’t seem to be a relabel of something like Famous Grouse there’s not a whole lot of info online about it, but I can tell you this. It’s $10 for a liter, mixes well in cocktails and when given to folks who like whiskey, but aren’t nerds about it, they like it. It’s cheap, it’s a decent cocktail mixer and is something you can give to folks to mix with their coke or to fill in the gaps between ice cubes in a crammed cup. Basically no matter what anyone does with it your inner whisky nerd won’t cringe and for that alone it’s worth the $10. Afraid of looking cheap because of the Trader Joe’s label? Decant it into another vessel, call it our house mixer and no one will know the difference.

Trader Joe’s Blended Scotch Review

ABV: 40%
Age: NAS
Price: $10 (liter)

EYE
Apple juice

NOSE
Kicking things off with some light honey, spice and red apples isn’t a bad way to go. Add in some malty notes, fruit leather (orchard) and butterscotch; you have yourself a pretty nice tasting whisky. The bite from the heavy backdrop of grain alcohol does pull things down a bit, but it’s not completley overwhelming. If tasting neat let it sit for a bit for some of the harsher notes to blow off a bit.

PALATE
Here we’re starting with some muddled orchard fruit, honey, a bright ambiguous sweetness and some strong young malty notes. A bit of cinnamon heavy spice and a hint of vanilla help offset the grain that kicks up at end. It’s a bit harsh and angular, but I’m actually surprised at how un-horrific this is. I was expecting far worse.

FINISH
Medium in length it’s a not-completely-terrible ride of honey, malt, wood, ambiguous sweetness and grain alcohol on it’s way out.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
The individual points are a bit off balanced and grain heavy when concentrating on them one at a time, but something happens when you sit back and experience it as a whole. It goes from being “a bit off” to largely disjointed and awkward and I can’t exactly say what is causing this to happen. It could be the thin body and almost lifeless texture mixing with the grain heavy olfactory assault, but I can’t really pinpoint it and say “THAT” so it leaves me feeling a bit perplexed.

OVERALL
It’s not magnificent, but it’s not gut wrenchingly horrific either. Starts off on a good note with a sweet and simple nose that doesn’t, initially, have a whole lot of grain alcohol. On the palate the grain alcohol picks up more, but it’s still not as overwhelming as it is in some blends (Johnny Walker Red). It does keep building as it’s being drunk, but never takes over to the point of obscenity. The biggest problem is that it doesn’t congeal and become a cohesive dram to me and I got very little joy out of drinking it.

SCORE: 75/100

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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9 Responses to Trader Joe’s Blended Scotch Review

  1. I have a # of Scotch’s in my arsenal. For a sweet Scotch and very enjoyable experience, on a daily pm..10/05 STARS

  2. I bought this the other night when shopping at Trader Joe’s and this is actually not bad at all. For a $10 liter bottle, it is really good for the price.

  3. Scotch Newb Here..be nice 🙂
    I was introduced to this product as a blind taste test by my friend.
    I chose TJ’s product over a Glenlivet product.
    I am not sure if that means anything really. lol
    Any idea where and who produces the TJ’s brand?

    Thanks

  4. Single Malt Snob and I don’t normally like (nor drink) blended malt scotch, but I, too, find this to be worthy of serving when the brother comes to town as it keeps him away from the $60 bottles onboard the sailboat. It has a taste that’s evocative of my youthful days, when I experimented with various varieties before settleing down to what I like. Obviously, I am still experimenting, but this was a recommendation from a trusted friend and fellow cigar and whisky enthusiast.

  5. Not one to drink…much of anything. Fruity girly drinks and the occasional beer. I was introduced to this about a month ago…and am rather enjoying it. Have tried Johnny Red and Black. I prefer the black…but if I had my druthers…I’d like to have TJ’s scotch. For a first time scotch drinker…and well…drinker of anything…I liked. Will buy more…when..if it’s ever in stock again. 🙂

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