RATINGS


Jim Murray is a well-renowned author and whisky expert who has compiled ratings for over 4,000 whisky brands around the world. Murray's rating process involves personally tasting and grading the whisky out of an overall score of 100. This total is reflective of the four key criteria, with nose, taste, finish and balance each awarded marks out of 25.

 



CLAN GOLD 18 YEARS OLD

Total: 94.5

Nose: 23
Entirely belies its years. There is a light coating of duskier oak to the background but it is the freshness of the barley which startles and pleases and the way it embraces a soft bourbon sweetness. Its trademark stamp, though, is crushed green apple of a whisky almost half its age though the softening custardy sweetness is an unmistakable sign of antiquity.

Taste: 24
Fairly bristles on the palate: all kinds of peppery spices form the vanguard of the clever malty surge. Gloriously mouthwatering but it is the lushness of the grains which make the hairs stand on end as the mouth feel is the stuff of dreams. The apples on the nose re-enter the fray leading the fruity element but that intense barley is never far away. Towards the end of the middle there is a delightful formation of muscovado sugars, not something usually associated with a blend and a reintroduction of the apples.

Finish: 23.5
Chewey, clean and truly rejoicing in the complex dovetailing of the malt and chalk. The oak remains refined throughout, the grains polishing the last of the fading malts. The smattering of light muscovado sugars continues until very close to the end when the slightly drier oaks to control and reintroducting, though now in a more intense form, the spices apparent on delivery.

Balance: 24
Almost the ultimate pre-prandial whisky with its at once robust yet delicate working over of the tastebuds by the carefully muzzled juiciness of the malt. This is the real deal: a truly classy act which at first appears to wallow in a sea of simplicity but then burst out into something very much more complex and alluring. About a clean and charming a 18-year-old blend as you are likely to find.

 



CLAN GOLD 15 YEARS OLD

Total: 91

Nose: 21.5
For all the richness of colour, the nose very much depends on an intricately delicate fruit style. Light green banana sweetness borders on sharpness; a wisp of citrus not only offers a juicy element but suggests a flavour profile to come. The age is underlined by the drier, almost chalky oak. Effortless complexity with a surprising degree of crispness.

Taste: 23
Immediately mouth-watering; a cleaner arrival than indicated by the nose with an early blast of juicy Speyside-style grassy, almost crystalline, malts upping the salivation levels on either side of the tongue: a deeply satisfying experience for blend lovers.

Finish: 23.5
Exceptional. Long with fine strands of controlled spice expertly woven into the malty tapestry. The grains are lush and chewy and add a lustre to the lights oaks. A fabulous, almost classical, fade with not a single discordant note to be heard.

Balance: 23
An unusual blend for the 21st century, which steadfastly refuses to blast you away with over the top flavour and/or aroma profiles and instead depends on subtlety and poise despite the obvious richness of flavour. The theme is unapologetically Speyside but with a surprising light-spiced sub-plot. The grains, as they should be with any blend, make an impact but only by creating the frame in which the more complex notes can be admired.

 



CLAN GOLD 3 YEARS OLD

Total: 95

Nose: 23.5
Shimmering elegance; delicate enough to allow both grain and malt a clear voice with a light mintiness and seasoned celery well at home with those gently honeyed vanilla-oaked notes.

Taste: 24
An eye closing, mouth-puckering delivery as those fabulous, sharp Speyside-style barley notes get to work. Beyond the obvious malt come several layers of spices of varying intensity and a much drier oak signature. The grain offers a crisp skeleton on which the malt hangs and helps bulk up the cocoa notes.

Finish: 23.5
An eye closing, mouth-puckering delivery as those fabulous, sharp Speyside-style barley notes get to work. Beyond the obvious malt come several layers of spices of varying intensity and a much drier oak signature. The grain offers a crisp skeleton on which the malt hangs and helps bulk up the cocoa notes.

Balance
A blend-drinkers blend which will also slay the hearts of Speyside single malt lovers; a charming pre-prandial, back from the office dram unashamedly celebrating an almost lost, old-school style which places the emphasis on youthful, unspoiled elegance and stunning flavour development over weightier, more cumbersome styles. For me, this is love at first sight…40%