Monday, January 7, 2008
Grand Old Parr - The Unknown Blended Whisky
A lot of whisky drinkers feel that blended whiskies are the backwash of the rest. I agree that when looking for truly unique whisky/whiskey experiences, single malts are the way to go- but sometimes I just want a reliable and tasty drink, and I want to drink it until I get drunk.
Enter: the Grand Old Parr...
Named after the "oldest" (supposedly the oldest) man to have lived in England, Thomas Parr, the Grand Old Parr was an unknown whisky for me until I got to Costa Rica. In fact, it was so unknown that for a long time I figured it to be flat out bad. That is not the case at all.
Just to give you a point of comparison, searching "Grand Old Parr" in Google results in about 20,300, searching "The Famous Grouse" results in about 74,300.
The Grand Old Parr is a 12 year blended whisky that is as good if not better than any of the other mass market blended whiskies out there. It's presentation is totally unique. It is generally sold in a gold box and always in a square brown bottle with an interesting texture on the outside. Side note: I have often thought of building a small table lamp out of the bottle.
It's flavor is much cleaner and smoother than most of it's market equivalents, but it has some unique characteristics. I have always sensed some apple and raisin undertones, and perhaps a little bit of peat. Additionally it has a crisp after taste that is very satisfying.
I have drank it neat, and with a splash, and it holds up well. The aroma is nothing too special, but again, the word "clean" comes to mind. But, forget all that, this is my heavy drinking whisky.
On ice, this whisky can satisfy you all night. It holds up well, and does not get boreing. Where you really notice it's beauty is when you run out, and have to switch to something like Johnnie Walker Black Label; there is no contest, as the Grand Old Parr stomps all over the Johnnie.
I have never seen it for sale in the United State, but I have heard that it is available in the Miami area and it is cheap. In Costa Rica it is in the same price bracket as it's other 12 year competition.
This is another Scotch distributed by the big boys at Diageo. They also carry and 15 year and an 18 year old blended (I have a bottle of 18, but have yet to break into). Diageo says it's top markets are Japan, Mexico, Columbia and Venezuela, and claims it as well known- I guess they mean in those markets.
If you see it and it fits your budget, Grand Old Parr is worth a try.
Diageo - Grand Old Parr
Wikipedia - Thomas Parr (the namesake)