Battle of the Blends Whisky Magazine

It was truly a battle for the ages, and now – sooner than you may have expected – we can reveal the results!

If you’re wondering what this Whisky Magazine #BattleOfTheBlends in association with Master of Malt business is all about then you can catch up by reading our previous blog post about the contest. Right now though, it’s time to crown a champion…

The heavyweight contest between Dave Broom and Neil Ridley was decided by the noses and palates of over 250 judges including Master Blenders and well-known brand ambassadors as well as whisky and spirits writers, bloggers and enthusiasts – perhaps even your good self (if so, thank you!). Below you’ll find my own Battle of the Blends tasting notes, as well as some comments from the judging panel, before the 2015 winner is revealed…

Battle of the Blends Whisky Magazine

Top work from @AdvInWhiskyland

Tasting Note for Blend A

Nose: Fruitcake, marzipan, oily oranges and cherries, all quite sweet. There’s some Port in there too, vanilla, a little new leather and a hint of mainland peat, cinnamon buns. Fruit Salad sweets emerge with water.

Palate: Lighter than expected, oak, grapefruit and chocolate truffles. Maryland cookies, a little gingerbread and some delicious fig rolls develop.

Finish: Lingering fruity fig tang with hints of praline.

“Pears, creamy notes, pastries, cookie dough, and an orange note. The aromas are nice, light and delicate… A nice tangy oaky note on the finish… A clear winner for me.”
– Chris Hoban, Edinburgh Whisky Blog

“The more complex of the two. Spicy nose; sweet, spicy, floral palate; a warm, comforting, rather buttery finish. Aperitif.”
Ted Bruning (Whisky and beer author and journalist)

“Personally I found this the most balanced blend. marrying sweetness and subtle peat to produce a blend of excellent drinking quality whilst allowing for mixing scope. ”
– Daryl Haldane, Highland Park Global Brand Advocate

Tasting Note for Blend B

Nose: Lots of custard, a sprinkling of cinnamon and chopped banana. Iced buns, lime zest, slightly chalky. Deep within there’s a hint of Germolene, no bad thing to my mind.

Palate: Thick and creamy mouthfeel, fruity, especially mango, along with some boiled sweets. Then into crumble and cocoa.

Finish: A lick of smoke ‘n’ rum.

“More subtle, smooth cereal, toffee, grain, vanilla, subtle brown sugar… B was very beautifully integrated.”
– Bill Lumsden, The Glenmorangie Co. Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks

“Wax, apples and pears with a light squeeze for caramel sauce, in a room where someone’s left the window open and the neighbour’s been burning off a few bits of sandalwood… Very well structured. A sipping blend for considering, offering the occasional flash of inspiration.”
– Jason B. Standing, Whisky Squad & Dramboree co-founder

“Little closed on the nose but better balanced on palate. With water smoke emerges alongside nice fruits.”
– Ryan Chetiyawardana, Mr Lyan, White Lyan & Dandelyan mixologist extraordinaire

When asked the question “Which blend most deserves to win the Battle of the Blends 2015?”, here’s how the judges were split:

Battle of the Blends Whisky Magazine

Blend A was favoured by 59% of the judges


And the creator of this championship winning blend..?

Battle of the Blends Whisky Magazine

It’s Neil Ridley!
Congratulations Neil!

Battle of the Blends will return in 2016 with a new challenger, and no doubt a further chance to taste and judge some fantastic blended whiskies. Can the ‘Copper Dog’ defend his crown? We can’t wait to find out!

Don Mountain