Ah my dear reader, here we are at two hundred articles, from the initial ramblings which were more or less, and the emphasis should be on the less here, just me doing notes from nights out on the whisky lash. From there I made a brief stab at reviews and always tried my best to give honest opinions on the stuff I was buying then came the quiet time.
A few years past with nothing happening other than me getting married and having a family and slowly drinking more whisky, learning and gradually building a decent collection and diary of notes.
And then in 2014 I decided that I’d give it another go, with more knowledge, a lot of notes and a hell of a lot of whisky knocking about I relaunched with the aim of being a bit more professional in my approach to whisky advice.
My plan was always to do a mixture of reviews from standard blends, supermarket own brands and mixing it up with quality blends and Single Malts as well as doing the odd article moaning and I think I’ve done not too bad all things considered.
I have clearly annoyed some people, I see a lot of people getting samples pretty much every week and I don’t but then perhaps I shouldn’t keep blocking marketing companies on Twitter and maybe I shouldn’t keep calling companies arseholes for their dodgy marketing practices but then I wouldn’t be me and fuck that and fuck them but I will take this opportunity to thank those in the business who do support the cause and throw me the odd sample and thanks too to my followers and the friends I’ve made over the last couple of years, I can’t name them all but you know who you are, it’s an genuine honour to know I’m writing reviews and other articles and people actually like my writing style and what I have to say, much love.
So for this article I’m doing a side by side review of a bottle from the late 70s to early 80s I picked up at auction and its modern equivalent, it’s cheap as chips, a blend and still very popular where it’s actually sold.
Oh yeah, I’m reviewing Something Special.
So my first bottle is the older version the version from Hill Thomson and Co Ltd which was part of the Glenlivet group and now owned by Pernod Ricard.
It’s packaging is a little different but both the old and the new are bottled in these daft decanter sort of style bottles, the very opposite of Johnnie Walker and their practical square bottles but hey, it’s bottled at 40% and is 75cl, I am reviewing off the back of half a dozen decent drams of this and I let this settle in the glass for a good fifteen minutes as it really need time to settle, I also took a drop of water in this.
Nose. Malty, biscuit, orange and lemon peel, it then takes on a clove note and then brandy and crisp very fresh green apples, it changes over time and it changes for the better with a drop of water.
Palate. It’s more fierce than I was expecting, quite peppery, lots of very dry oak and lemon zest, it develops into a nice warm dram, it’s a lot more complex than modern standard drams. As this opens up and takes water I get nearly burnt toffee and a little plain chocolate.
Finish. Longer than expected with a wood and sherry finish I enjoyed.
So that’s the older version, again, it’s far more complex though than the standard blends of today but how does it compare to its modern version?
Nose. Yeah now I’ve got the fucking thing poured thanks to the stupid stopper thing that drips out the whisky or pours it out like I’d smashed the bottle. Young Spirit which doesn’t really settle, Herbal notes, Floral, cloves and pickled ginger. Adding a drop of water and a touch of vanilla comes through.
Palate. Orange bitters, treacle, brown sugar, vanilla and grain whisky. It’s okay, it’s straight forward and simple.
Finish. A little chilli heat which settles into a sweet finish.
Yeah, it’s alright, it’s cheap too but then Something Special would have been pretty cheap when the bottle I picked up at auction would have first been sold and here in lies the problem.
Now, I know that the older expression has maybe settled or mellowed in the bottle over the years but it would have been an affordable dram back then something your average punter could have picked up whereas now, not so much, you’d need to spend a fair bit more to get something of this quality.
I know I’ve mentioned this before but it’s really galling to see how cheap whisky used to be so good and now you are having to pay more than you should for even average stuff, shame isn’t it?
Sorry for the shit picture, this is why I steal pictures.