Booze Review

Whisky Review – Usquaebach Reserve

Usquaebach Reserve

A month or so ago, G-LO once again headed down to the mailbox and found another box of boozemail. I headed down to the mailbox and found begging letters from Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie. This once again confirms that G-LO really knows how to work the whisky wire and I need to get on a better mailing list. Anyway, one of the samples was from Usquaebach, a storied maker of blended whiskies. They take their name from the old Gaelic word for whisky, “uisge beatha”, which translates to “water of life”. Whether or not whisky is the water of life is a subject for another post (I tend to think that whisky is the water for people with children, while actual water, well, that’s the water of life).

Usquaebach, with a history dating to 1800, has been owned by Cobalt Brands since 2005. Today, they make the “Old Rare”, a 15 yr. old blend, and the Reserve. Here’s what they say about the Reserve…

The Usquaebach Reserve Premium Blended Scotch is a whisky for those seeking elegance and structure. This rare blend features over 50% quality single malts each aged between 16, 17, and 18 years and blended with the finest grain whisky – resulting in a handcrafted spirit that is both timeless and unique.

Let’s get this whisky show on the road…

  • Appearance: Pale amber.
  • ABV: 43%
  • Aroma
    • Limpd: A little medicinal (alcohol, menthol), a bit of citrus and pears and then vanilla and a hint of wood.
    • G-LO: Sweet and fruity with vanilla, canned peaches, buttercream icing, a touch of pipe tobacco, and some menthol.
  • Taste
    • Limpd: A lot of heat and spice upfront with a peppery bite. Mid-palate there is some sugary sweetness, a hint of mint and some smoke. The finish is short and a little soft; not quite warm but enjoyable.
    • G-LO: Not too thin and not too thick with regards to mouthfeel. Medium bodied perhaps? Starts off lightly spicy with a sublime sweetness. Heats up, a bit in the middle with lots of vanilla and a touch of cinnamon. The finish which is a touch on the short side, is lightly spiced with lots of vanilla and fruit.

The Verdict

Limpd: The Usquaebach was a fairly mild dram. Not overly anything (spicy, smoky, potent) but nice enough. I would add this to the other “gateway” blends (the Dimple Pinch, the Famous Grouse, etc.) that are all quite drinkable and good representations of the class and lure the novice scotch drinker into the family. Without easy drinking whiskies, we would never continue to explore the wide variety and flavors that Scotland has to offer.

G-LO: This whisky was a pleasant surprise, especially when you consider that I had zero expectations. It’s not super complex, but what’s in the glass tastes good and goes down easy. This would make a great everyday dram and a fine alternative to the usual suspects, i.e. Johnnie Walker Black or Chivas Regal 12.


Many thanks to Lia Giachino (one of G-LO’s paesans perhaps?) of Colangelo Public Relations for hooking us up with this very generous sample!

11 replies »

  1. Nice review though with such a whisky name I was hoping for an entire review written in Gaelic that would blow Google Translate into the 8th century, and make Ingmar the Brave spit take his morning grog across the Sound of Gorm Maorach hitting that pitiful Magnus right in his kilt.

    Liked by 1 person

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