In the House ... of Stuart. Okay. Yeah. I'm lame.
“A Blend of Highland and Lowland, Islay and Speyside Whiskies Aged for Thirty-Six Months.” The proof is on the bottle. Or something like that.
Before I get into this summary review, a disclaimer: I did not purchase this bottle. Rather, this is a bottle that belonged to my wife’s grandfather, who passed a few years ago. Since then, it’s been sitting, partially full, inside his house waiting, apparently, for me to drink. How long it’s been sitting there? I have no idea. But, it showed up at our house a couple of days ago from my mother-in-law who saw it and thought of me. And who am I to argue with a bottle of Scotch, however old it may be.
Okay. So, for the price – which I researched to be about $15 or so – House of Stuart is surprisingly good. And, when you factor in that it’s been open and partially full for at least a few years, it still holds up very well. Of course, let’s be honest. This will not compare to Johnny Walker or Naked Grouse. But, for what it is, it’s actually pretty good.
Because it’s a blend – and full disclaimer, I’m not a huge fan of Scotch blends – it doesn’t have that one prominent attribute. And in the case of a “low end” Scotch blend, I consider that a good thing. It has hints of the big players of flavor notes – smoke, peat, earth, sweet, leather. The earthiness, sweetness, and leather are the ones that come through the most. However, I wanted to try something, and after adding a few drops of room-temperature water, it lightened up considerably and the sweetness really took center stage.
So, this is by no means bad. In fact, I was shocked by how smooth it was and that it didn’t overpower me with the signs of oxidation. So while I can’t call this a “top contender,” it definitely was a pleasant surprise and further proof that just because something is “cheap” doesn’t mean that it can’t be good.
Name: House of Stuart, Scotch blend
Aged: 36 months
Local Price: Approximately $15
Notes: Slightly smoky, sweet, and leathery. Adding a few drops of water bring out the sweetness.
Drinkability: I imagine this working best in the winter, surrounded by friends and family.
* I feel I have to grade this with a combination of what-it-is and put it on a level playing field with the Lagavulins, Johnnie Walkers, etc.