And so it begins... 2012 is upon us and it is traditionally the time of year when we look to banish the excesses of the festive season and to tighten our belts in more ways than one.
We’ve all done it, if not this year then in previous years; spent too much money and consumed too much beer / wine / whisky / meat / cheese*
*delete as appropriate
So what is one to do in January? Well, rein in the spending- yes. But rein in the drinking...? Come on! Seriously, though the first month of the year does provide a good opportunity to detox, at least in part, with lots of green tea and milk thistle and a reduction in intake of booze. But if this kind of belt tightening is not for you, yet you’re looking to save a few pennies having splashed out on that really excellent bottle as your Christmas gift to yourself, then you might want to try something a little cheaper. Our pick to kick off the year with, is the Bailie Nicol Jarvie blended Scotch whisky.
Not a whisky we talk about a lot on here, BNJ as it is known, was a hugely popular blended whisky for large parts of the 20th Century but its popularity has waned in recent decades, despite still being highly regarded among Scotch experts (the always loveable Charles Maclean ranked it in his top10 whiskies for 2011 recently in the Independent).
Named after a character in ‘Rob Roy’, the seminal book by Walter Scott, BNJ is owned by the Glenmorangie company and is made using a high proportion of malt whisky (apparently around 60%) from just eight distilleries, including some Glenmorangie. This is mixed with grain whisky from the Girvan distillery, blended and bottled to be sold to yours truly for just £18-ish. Deal? Done!
Bailie Nicol Jarvie – Blended Scotch Whisky – 40% abv (£18.99)
Nose: Sweet honey and vanilla tones are underpinned with a whisp of smoke. Some candyfloss develops along with freshly cut pine and menthol. Banana foam penny sweets come through at the last.
Palate: Initial hit of lemon meringue pie, this palate is soft and sweet. Vanilla ice cream comes through, backed by over ripe banana and just a hint of coal dust right at the back of the palate. Very nice for such an inexpensive blend.
Finish: More foam banana sweets, some lemon zest and the lemon meringue pie. Short and slightly warming.
Overall: A very drinkable blended whisky, very well put together and exceedingly good value for money at around £18 a bottle.
Take that finances! I might just stick on this bottle for the month of January and give both my liver and my bank balance time to recover. As for my belt tightening, I’m off down the gym. Not to use the equipment, but to sit in the Jacuzzi you understand...