hogshead imports blended scotch blended grain whisky

Hogshead Imports: 6 Blended Scotch & Grain Whiskies (2023)

A relatively new independent bottler, Hogshead Imports has been quite prolific. Most importantly, their offerings are mostly affordable. Such is also the case for their latest blended Scotch, blended grain and single grain whiskies – six in total.

Of course, affordability is relative. For one, it depends on ones disposable income. But also on the perceived quality. Most of the Scotch whiskies reviewed today are available for less than 100 euro. That seems good value considering the youngest one is 18 years of age. But it’s really only good value if the whisky is worthwhile, regardless of age.

And that’s exactly what I’m looking forward to finding out.

blended scotch 2005 18 years hogshead imports

Blended Scotch Whisky 2005 18 Years (45.5%, Hogshead Imports, 614 bts.)

A blended Scotch whisky reportedly consisting of 45% Macallan and 55% North British, matured in a refill sherry butt.

Nose: Hints of dark caramel, some Demerara sugar and faint vegetal notes, accompanied by persimmons and gentle floral touches. Also some oak char and lemon pith.
Taste: Nice viscosity. Soft notes of black pepper and Acacia honey along with vanilla buttercream, chocolate pralines and burnt toast. Finally a touch of ginger and cigar boxes.
Finish: Medium length. Rich toffee and meringues.

Good mixture of influences from the malt whisky, grain spirit and cask. The low abv is no issue at all. There’s enough mouthfeel, richness and even some depth. A pleasant, sweet drinker with an edge.

blended scotch 2002 20 years hogshead imports

Blended Scotch Whisky 2002 20 Years (44.9%, Hogshead Imports, 589 bts.)

A blended Scotch whisky reportedly consisting of 40% Macallan and 60% North British, matured in a refill sherry butt.

Nose: Just the slightest hint of juniper and pine needles, then vanilla custard, sour dough and gentle red fruits. Mainly strawberries, to be honest. Gets richer and darker with time. A touch of cinnamon, damp oak and cocoa powder to round things out.
Taste: Darker, more intense, but less viscosity. Some black peppercorns with coffee grounds, burnt caramel, toffee and bitter chocolate. More cinnamon too. Also gingerbread cake and orange peels.
Finish: Medium length. A touch lighter now with gentle orchard fruits.

Not the same as the 18-year-old, but there are similarities that I would mostly put down to the grain whisky. Overall a very satisfying experience. Would recommend for those who like grain whisky and sherry maturation.

blended scotch 1999 24 years hogshead imports

Blended Scotch Whisky 1999 24 Years (44.1%, Hogshead Imports, 329 bts.)

A blended Scotch whisky reportedly consisting of 30% Macallan and 70% North British, matured in a refill sherry butt.

Nose: Again, a soft vegetal note (think broccoli), but also a gentle herbaciousness. There might be a touch of sulphur too. Then notes of cherries and other red fruits. Overall rather closed.
Taste: Hints of black pepper, some lemon grass, butterscotch and crème caramel, but also less attractive notes of buttermilk and plastic, however faint they may be.
Finish: Short to medium. More of the same.

There’s something not entirely right here. Not to my taste at least. Seemingly some off-notes that detract from the better qualities of this blended whisky. These weak links are a bit of an issue.

blended grain 1987 35 years hogshead imports

Blended Grain Scotch Whisky 1987 35 Years (55.1%, Hogshead Imports, 268 bts.)

According to Hogshead Imports this Blended Grain Scotch Whisky might consist of Strathclyde, Girvan and Invergordon. It matured in a second-fill bourbon cask.

Nose: Slivers of crushed mint and candied lemon peel, as well as whiffs of nail polish. Then some digestive biscuits, pastries and sawdust. Fairly fresh, but much depth.
Taste: Plenty of vanilla sweetness along with some rhubarb, a good pinch of white pepper and chamomile tea. Also slivers of marzipan, burnt caramel and walnuts.
Finish: Medium length. Some charred oak, bitter lemon peel and soft medicinal notes. Finally a tinge of vanilla custard.

Relatively neutral but with enough interest to keep my attention. The second-fill barrel wasn’t entirely up to the task, but 35 years of interaction with oxygen also has its effect.

north british 1991 31 years hogshead imports

North British 1991 31 Years (46.7%, Hogshead Imports, 186 bts.)

A single grain Scotch whisky from North British, matured in a first-fill bourbon barrel.

Nose: Hints of love hearts, wood glue and nail polish to kick things off. A touch of polished leather, faint notes of tobacco and also a whisper of tinned pineapple. Some buttered popcorn, plenty of oak spices and even some instant coffee.
Taste: The cask has had its say. Plenty of caramel, fudge and vanilla accompanied by Triple Sec and warming oak spices. Also a good amount of Acacia honey and coconut.
Finish: Medium to long. Plenty of sweetness, some oak tannins and coconut shavings.

A very active cask, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it comes to single grain whisky. After all, grain spirit is much more neutral than malt spirit, so the cask is generally is where it’s at. This isn’t unlike a good, well-aged bourbon.

north british 1991 32 years hogshead imports

North British 1991 32 Years (45.5%, Hogshead Imports, 162 bts.)

A single grain Scotch whisky from North British, matured in a first-fill bourbon barrel.

Nose: I poured this dram, and then waited for 20 to 30 minutes. That’s just how it is with single grain whiskies. They need time. Nevertheless, I still get some obligatory hints of nail polish (ethyl acetate), resin and wood glue. Then more cereal and biscuit-y notes come out of hiding, as well fudge and butterscotch. Also some leafier and herbal notes.
Taste: The mouthfeel is satisfyingly creamy. Hints of orange pith with a few cloves, ginger and a sprinkle of pepper. Mostly touches of vanilla custard, meringues and toffee, as well as a subtle note of mochaccino. Plenty of varnish and resin too.
Finish: Medium length. Pine resin, coconut and whispers of pepper. Slightly herbacious too.

Not excessively sweet nor very complex. It's not like this is an over-oaked whisky (far from it), but it also feels as if the cask didn't have that much to interact with or just wasn't very active at all. It's good, very drinkable, enjoyable even. But also not exactly living up to the lofty age statement.

Photos: Whiskybase

Samples provided by Hogshead Imports & Dram1

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