A 28-Year Blended Scotch from an Ancient Recipe—Tweeddale “The Evolution” – Scotch Whisky News

The Pinnacle of Blended Whisky from a Historic Brand
The Tweeddale 28 Year Old “The Evolution” Blended Scotch Whisky (750ml) ($149.99)

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One of the most exciting projects in the world of blended Scotch can be found under the Tweeddale label. First founded in the mid-1880s and resurrected in 2010, Tweeddale is Alasdair Day’s modern interpretation of the Scotches blended by his great-grandfather Richard Day. Alasdair inherited his great-grandfather’s cellar book and struck out to recreate the masterful blends that made the Tweeddale label so famous. Alasdair is every bit the artist that Richard was, assembling blends that are more than the sum of their parts and are among the finest blended whiskies on the market today. “Evolution,” the oldest bottling in the portfolio, draws together Speyside malts and lowland grains to excellent effect. Perfectly balanced and engagingly complex, it is a dramatic Scotch that offers wave after wave of ripe, red fruits, citrus, Christmas spice, and a modest touch of smoke. A rival to the coveted whiskies of Compass Box, Tweeddale has earned an ever-growing following in recent years. Whiskies with this kind of age statement often come at a significant premium, so finding a gem like this for under $150 is a real boon for collectors. No blended Scotch enthusiast should be without a bottle of The Evolution, as it represents this category at its very best.

The Tweeddale 28 Year Old “The Evolution” Blended Scotch Whisky (750ml) ($149.99)

The Tweeddale brand was created by the brothers John and Andrew Davidson in the mid 1800s. In 1895, Richard Day was hired as an office boy and began to learn the art of blending. Mr. Day took over the business in 1923 and continued to buy and blend whiskies until World War II caused a decline in market viability, at which point Day sold his stocks and retired. In 2010, Alasdair Day inherited his great-grandfather’s cellar book and the quest to recreate Tweeddale Whisky was born. The Tweeddale Evolution is the whisky that Alasdair Day believes his great-grandfather would have created given access to the same components. This melange of sherry-aged Speyside malt and fresh feisty lowland grain has a minimum age of 28 years, but likely includes whiskies much older. Bottled without chillfiltration and natural color, the Tweeddale Evolution is a harmonious expression of the potential that blended whiskies offer. The nose is a bouquet of red plummy fruits, honey, waxy lemons, and spice. On the palate, it’s bold and juicy, with strong spice and zesty pomaceous fruit. The finish brings tangy burnt orange, cloves and roasted vanilla.

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 28, 2020

For a very long time single malt has reigned supreme over all other spirits. The most collectible, expensive and coveted spirits in the world are all single malt Scotch. But the industry has changed drastically over the last forty years and I wouldn’t be the first to say that golden age of single malt production may be behind us. Now that is not to say that there are and will be many more exceptional and collectible malts to be released in the coming years, but what it is to say is that we will achieve the great heights we once did less frequently and when we do see those greats the prices will reflect that. But it’s not simply demand that is responsible for diminished potential of single malts, but the actual production itself. Distillers across Scotland have exchanged potential greatness for efficiency and consistency. It is of course, the economical and rational choice to make, but with it comes a homogenization of production—in style, flavor, cost and process. While as a whole the Scotch industry is producing better spirits overall, the quality and flavor of those spirits have converged into certain styles that are deemed desirable. The result is a future where great whisky will look more like the past than many care to admit. It will be in fact the blended products that offer us the diversity of flavor that was once the exclusive territory of the single malt. It will take a look back at the origins of Scotch whisky and its subsequent domination of the spirits world to truly offer something unique going forward. The Tweeddale Evolution is exactly that type of product. It is a modern re-imagining of an old recipe. Yes the ingredients are different but the soul is the same and in that capacity it is one of the most interesting Scotches on the shelf today. Let’s have a taste! The color is yellow gold. We’ve got a nose packed with orchard fruit (yellow plums and green apples), butter biscuits, coconut candy and bits of mineral-pulverized limestone. It’s not a challenging profile by any means, yet it’s certainly outside the norm of any popular blend. On the palate, vibrant and tangy, with some cooked apple and more vanilla. It does have a feeling of a nicely aged Speysider marked with something unique—whether it’s some older Highlander or the grain element poking through isn’t clear. It doesn’t have the opulence of some other old blends we’ve sold, but it does a uniqueness and openness that can be appreciated by almost anyone. Not to say it’s completely tame or safe at this high proof, but it’s not going to scare anyone away. It’s especially fun to sip this and imagine what this same blend might have been like 200 years ago when the Tweeddale was original created. I would love this with the tiniest dash of water which brings out a bit more coconut husk and vanilla, but don’t put too much or she’ll go a bit quiet.

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