Marks and Spencer: Kenmore: 5 Year Blended Scotch Whisky (Scottish Blended Whisky: 5 Year: 40% ABV)

Visual: Deep, slightly reddened gold. Very fast, thick streaks come from the spirit.

Nose: Caramel. Neutral spirit alcohol. Vanilla. Pencil shavings. Dry rice. Orange skin.

Body: Smooth front quickly into burning alcohol. Dry rice. Caramel. Cherries. Vanilla fudge. Light smoke. Dried beef. Water makes smoother, more dried rice.

Finish: Dry rice. Alcohol air. Dry stir fry veg. Soot. Rough. Dry bamboo. Charring. Water adds more rice and makes peppery.

Conclusion: This is pretty rough – though with a few oddly smooth notes amongst them. Neat it is pretty alcohol touched. It is not too bad on the nose – fairly neutral in the alcohol feel there amongst sweet caramel and vanilla notes. Nowt too complex but decent, if fairly basic.

The first sip comes in smooth vanilla toffee … for about two seconds … then nope, alcohol burn as fuck. I was pleasantly surprised for those two seconds before the burn cut in, and then it leads out into a finish that is way too rough.

Still, no worries, it is a young blended whisky and there are some good notes in there – orange in the aroma and cherries in the body, a touch of smoke as well against caramel and vanilla toffee. I know how this works, young whisky just needs a drop of water to open it up, right?

Turns out the answer is fuck no.

Dry bamboo, stir fry and rice notes are prevalent – along with a rough general alcohol air. Though I will say at least the alcohol fire is doused with water. Unfortunately everything else is significantly worse – especially in the unpleasant, long lasting dry bamboo finish.

Neat it has hints of adequacy – sweet, subtle soot and smoke, some fruit. Hints, but unfortunately with far too much alcohol that makes most of it hidden. Water kills the fire, but makes it shit.

Avoid.

Background: This was a kind gift from a colleague at work for Christmas. Many thanks. Despite how much I slagged it off. Still many thanks. I notice it lists caramel as an ingredient, which explains how it looks so dark for a 5 year old whisky. Not much else to add. I put on Siouxsie and the Banshees to listen to while drinking, felt like something a bit strange, joyous and alternative.