Lower East Side Blended Malt (2019)
Lower East Side is a blended malt from the people that also own The Borders Distillery in Hawick. I tried to find out a little more about it, but the website of the brand didn’t turn out to be a good starting place. Just some generic information that applies to pretty much every blended malt. Maybe the website and webshop of The Borders Distillery brings solace? This is the first thing you read on the product page:
‘Liberty – the freedom to do things your way – was the driving force of the Scottish Enlightenment and is the central tenet of the constitutions of the free world.
‘At the confluence of these champions of freedom is Lower East Side®: a smooth, easy-drinking Blended Malt Scotch Whisky of exceptional quality.’
Way to exaggerate the importance of your whisky…
There’s a picture of a Glencairn glass with an ice cube, which made me chuckle. Not because I’m a whisky snob, use ice if you want to, that’s all up to you. It just looks absurd. That ice cube must’ve barely fitted through the opening of the glass. It seems to me like a farfetched attempt by some marketeer to be different.
In conclusion, I did not learn anything about the actual contents of the Lower East Side Blended Malt.
I guess I’ll just taste it then. Edit: Someone pointed out to me that a Dutch retailer mentioned Bowmore, Ardmore, Glengarioch, Glenkinchie and Auchentoshan as malts used for Lower East Side. Probably information they received from the importer. Too bad nothing about this is mentioned in official brand communication.
Lower East Side Blended Malt (40%, OB, 2019)
Nose: There’s hints of toasted oak as well as something herbacious, followed by whiff of honey and vanilla, before settling into quite grainy territory. Even some anchovies?
Taste: Lacks viscosity, almost watery. Sweet barley, vanilla, sugar and bitter oak with a subtle spiciness. A whiff of smoke. Really lacking in depth.
Finish: Very short. Almost nonexistent.
It’s a blended malt which — in the eyes of many — puts it above blends, but adding some slightly more mature grain whisky might’ve actually been a good idea in this case. Either way, not great. The nose is somewhat decent, the palate is just too quiet and doesn’t offer much in my opinion.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.