Monday, February 12, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #31

Teachers Highland CreamTeacher's Highland Cream
Blended Scotch Whisky
40% abv

Holy crap, it is week SEVEN of this malt mission and it looks like we have found ways to keep it going for at least a few weeks more. THANKS FOR READING!!!

William Teacher (1811-1876) worked in Mrs. McDonald's small grocer's shop in Anderston, Scotland, and married her daughter, Agnes, in 1834. In 1930, Mrs. McDonald obtained a license to sell alcohol and William and Agnes worked to expand the business with a chain of wine and spirits shops across Glasgow. Their son, Alexander began to open public houses known as "dram shops" as early as 1861. These were places where customers could drink whisky. Teacher's dram shops maintained strict rules forbidding smoking, buying rounds, and anyone "under the influence" could expect to be ejected from the premises by one of the burly Highlanders Teacher liked to employ as barmen. The main attraction of the dram shops was their reputation for providing customers with high quality whisky as many pubs had reputations for bulking up their spirits and watering down their ales. There were eventually a chain of these shops that remained in operation for about 100 years (1860s-1960s).

Teacher's entered the whisky wholesale and blending business and Teacher's Highland Cream(launched in 1884) became a leading Scotch whisky brand. In 1898-1899 Teacher's built the Ardmore Distillery in Aberdeenshire and bought Glendronach in 1960. This purchase coincided with the closure of the Glasgow dram shops. They were the first to use the now standard bottle closer that did away with the need for a corkscrew(1913). Teachers sells about a half a million cases domestically and 1 million cases for export.

There is 45% malt content (55% grain) in every bottle of Teachers. That is quite high for a standard blend. Ardmore and Glendronach are the core, Tormore and Scapa are also said to be used, and North British is the grain. When I walk into a pub and see Teacher's on optic it always gives me a feeling of relief, means I dont have to spend 5squid or 10 bucks on Glenfiddich or Dalwhinnie; I can spend half that for double the satisfaction.


Soft sweetness, slightly astringent grain is present immediately. But smoke and tobacco, a toffee and fruity maltiness sit firmly as well.

Whoa, toffee and barley. Good texture, milky, almost. And I love the way the flavour impact seems to start at the tip of your tongue, waft over the middle with firm density, and then poke around elsewhere a
t will. The sweet grain whisky is balanced head-to-head with a peatiness that creates a bittersweet chewiness in the middle. Again, it activates all parts of your mouth and throat with flavours, texture, and heat. The finish fades gently with some smoke(still) and shortbread but leaves the taste of a used wet wood cutting-board.


I love the type of smokiness present here, it isnt Islay peaty, it is a very different type of smoke, less salty and earthy, more wet and woody. And it sits in proportion to the wider picture perfectly. Great balance in this whisky. Okay, it isnt fantastic stuff that will win awards in blind tastings against Balvenie 1966, Talisker 30, and Ardbeg whatever, but it is very good value and very delicious. Would go well beside a pint of hop-heavy beer, IPA or the like. Great warm-up dram, great first time tipple, great ubiquitous bottle-on-the-shelf.

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Matthew said...

agreed. love it!

Anonymous said...

This great blend so far outclasses any of the lower end single malt sh*t
within ten bucks of the $20 price. I love it.

Jason's Scotch Reviews said...

Teacher's Highland Cream is one of my all time favorites. It offers a bacon, malty, smoke infused flavor that I search for in single malts but never seem to find. Anyway, great post.