Catto s Blended Rare Old Scottish whisky header Catto’s

The next edition in my affordable blended whisky series; this week I look at the Catto’s Blended Rare Old Scottish whisky.  It retails for around R 300.  Is is affordable and still under R500, but not cheap.  It is in the same price range as the Johnnie Walker Black.  Catto is part of the International Beverage Ltd company who’s Single malt portfolio include Old Pulteney, Balblair, anCnoc and Speyburn. 

The James Catto story is as follows:  James began his retail business in 1861 in Aberdeen and wanted to blend high quality Highland malt with some popular (probably also more affordable) Lowland grain whisky.  Grain whisky distilling has been around since around 1810 and was (still is) considerably cheaper and easier to make than malt whisky.   Johannes from Malt Madness wrote a very interesting consolidation of the Scotch Grain Whisky distilleries that you can read here.  

Interesting how many whiskies started their life story in a grocery store. Brands like Johnnie Walker, Teacher’s, Chivas and Famous Grouse all have a link to a grocery store.  Anyway, apparently James locked himself way in his basement and experimented until he built  a blended whisky that he liked.   He sold his whisky in his shop and as a result of his connection to the founders of P&O and White Star shipping, his whiskies were soon exported all over the world. 

Today Catto’s is created by Master Blender Stuart Harvey. The heart of Catto’s is formed by unseated single malts from amongst others Balblair, Balmenach, Knockdhu, Pulteney & Speyburn.

Interesting to note, Jim Murray rates this Catto’s Rare Old Scottish at 92 points and mentions that he likes to drink this at home.  (Whisky Bible 2015 Edition).

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Tasting notes for the Catto’s Blended Rare Old Scottish

Catto s Blended Rare Old Scottish with glass Catto’s

ABV: 43%

COLOUR: Light golden wheat

NOSE: Hints of raw alcohol surprisingly similar to the Speyburn I had a few weeks ago.  Notes of honey, vanilla, fresh fruits and caramel.

PALATE:  Medium body with some alcohol bite.  There is lots of caramel sweetness balanced by a bit of cinnamon spice, malt, fresh cut grass.  Not very complex.  Water softens the alcohol and releases more sweetness.

FINISH: Medium length ending on some cinnamon sweetness and pepper.

RATING: Good

Well, it is better than the Speyburn Bradan Orach.  I am not sure why Jim Murray would drink this at home if he has the whole of Scottish whiskies to choose from.  Sadly, I found it a bit bland.  And at the price range, there are many more decent blends to choose from.

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