top 5 blends 2016 edition-under R500

It is nearly December and that means time for my Top 6 Blends 2016 Edition. This is the third year that I do my popular post on delicious affordable drams to buy. Same as last year, these are all drams I have tasted and really liked. You can with confidence, buy these drams as a gift for someone special or for yourself.   Making shopping easier, one whisky at a time.

Top 5 Blends 2016 Edition

top-5-blends-2016-edition under-r500

1. Scottish Cousin 8 yo

The first time I saw the Scottish Cousin blended whisky range, was at a Whisky Festival in Pretoria. I was sceptical about the Four (Wine) Cousin’s ability to blend whisky, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Not only do they make delicious wine (Tangle Tree and van Loveren) but they have great taste in whisky. There are 3 expressions in the range, all under R 500, but my favourite was the 8 yo.

It has floral and fresh summer fruit drizzled in honey, mixed with vanilla, butterscotch and marshmallow.  Hints of roasted nuts and sugar sweetness wonderfully balanced with that rich bourbon vanilla taste.   This is an easy drinking, thoroughly enjoyable whisky that will not be out of place in an upmarket bar. This is what liquid sunshine tastes like.

Also Read: Top 5 Single Malt 2016 Edion

2. Bulleit Bourbon Whiskey

Second on my top 5 Blends 2016 list is a Bourbon.   Not a blend, I know, but this Frontier Bourbon really impressed me this year. I have tried various budget Bourbons from well-known distillers, but was underwhelmed. Until I tried Bulleit Bourbon. It wouldn’t break the bank and will also work great in cocktails.

Bulleit has loads of spice, but is not overwhelmingly spicy. It’s a rich, chewy mouthful of bourbon.  After the initial spice, there are notes of toffee caramel, freshly baked sugar biscuits and vanilla with a bit of wood and orange floating about.  It has loads of character. The finish is big and bold and has notes of mild spice and hints of oak. Bulleit Bourbon is widely available and retails at around
R 375.

3. Scottish Leader 12 yo

Third on the list of the Top 5 Blends 2016 Edition is the Scottish Leader 12 yo.  I tried this 12 yo release for the first time during 2015 and loved it. However, I was sad to find out that it was only available in Asia. I had to console myself with the Scottish Leader Signature until I got an email to let me know that it will be available in SA from November 16.

The Scottish Leader 12 yo is Rich and aromatic, well balanced aromas of sherry, orange, nutmeg, candied fruits and toffee apple. Rich, nutty, full and creamy with silky black fruit flavours, white pepper and sweet smoke.  It retails at R320 and is available via Vinoteque and Whisky Brother.

4. Hankey Bannister 12 yo

Another one of the blends that I got to know only late in 2016 but that made it onto the Top 5 Blends 2016 Edition.  The Hankey Bannister 12 yo. Yes, I am late to the party on this one. If there is anything that this year has taught me, it is try more unknown whisky. I have seen the Hankey Bannister Original around for ages, but was not very keen to try it. Then John attended a function where this was served and we fell in love. The Hankey Bannister 12 yo has notes of oak and vanilla and retails at around R 350.

5. Johnnie Walker Double Black

Last but not the least on my Top 5 blends 2016 Edition – A big bold mouthful of whisky. The Johnnie Walker Double Black has twice the smoky smooth quality of the standard Johnnie Walker Black. Rich and rewarding, this is one of the bottles that we often replace. You can’t go wrong with Double Black!   It is rich, complexity and luxurious.

There are notes of smoke, sherry rich Christmas pudding, red berry fruits and nuts.  Hints of vanilla with touches of malt. It’s a nice big mouthful and there is a butter creamy richness to the flavour profile.  Hints of ash are beautifully balanced with honey sweetness.  After the addition of water, the Double Black becomes sweeter, smoother and easy drinking.  It is readily available and retails for around R 400.

Even better, you can order a personalized bottle of Johnnie Walker Double Black via Netflorst.  How perfect is that!

What is on your Top 5 affordable Blends for 2016 list?

Also Read: Top 5 Blends under R500 – 2015 Edition