I’m one of those guys… I firmly believe that blended whisky is perfectly fine and in many cases, is superior (cue Chivas Royal Salute) to some single malts. I especially enjoy vatted malts, which are blends of malt whisky without the addition of grain alcohol. Johnny Walker Green Label and Sheep Dip are two prominent vatted malts, as is the ubiquitous Monkey Shoulder, which is referred to as a “triple-Spey,” being a blend of three Speyside malts.
The Shackleton is a blend of over 20 malts without any grain alcohol, making it a vatted malt. This is the third iteration of the whisky, which pays homage to Ernest Shackleton, the famous polar explorer and adventurer. The whisky is presumably a recreation of the original whisky that Shackleton brought with him on the 1907 voyage of the Nimrod, of which three cases were found frozen in the ice beneath Shackleton’s abandoned base camp in 2007.
The whisky is extraordinarily delicate and complex with hints of honey, vanilla, dried fruit, and wild flowers. On the palate, the dram is smooth with a creamy character. Well-balanced with a kiss of peat, the finish is soft and a bit demure.
The real surprise is the price, retailing for $34.99 in the Boston market. This may supplant Monkey Shoulder for my go-to value in vatted malt.
Availability is good, but it won’t last forever at that price.