Each country has its own way of dealing with the distribution of every alcohol, and so it follows that every alcohol company has it own way of dealing with each country. I have always taken a keen interest in the existence of particular malts or blends (usually blends) that exist in very limited markets as I think it is fascinating to see which brands and what imagery appeal to various national mindsets.
You may or may not be aware of this phenomenon but the Scottish whisky industry produces over a hundred different brands of blends and malts exclusively for particular markets, just like the automobile industry, for example. This phenomenon exists mainly with blended whiskies, but there are also malts that fall into this category. For me, it's the blends that provide the most nerdy entertainment.
There are big name examples of this phenomenon like Johnnie Walker Red being nearly unavailable in the UK but the biggest seller around the world, Old Parr 18 being acclaimed by an English critic but available only in Japan and a few other select markets, William Lawson's absence in UK but presence in Southern Europe and some North and South American markets, etc... But the little guys are the ones that really get me excited (Scottish Leader, Royal Castle, Queen's Seal, etc.) I always like to check out what is available and, if possible, try the stuff.
We stood in a Vinmonopolet in Tønsberg and watched customer after customer (well, ten customers) come to the whisky section to see what bottles they were reaching for. The final score was single malts 0, blends 10 with Inverness Cream being picked 6 times, Peter Dawson twice, with Ballantines and Upper Ten each picked once. But what would we choose?
I love the 'royalty' theme in blend branding, with clan and kilt imagery coming a close second. So today we witness the The Royal Norwegian Cocktail Competition. The competing blended whiskies are King's Legend and King of Scots. This idea has been inspired by Nonjatta's Mizuwari Challenge, Matthew's Monday Mixers, and Paul's Mixology Mondays
In the King's Legend corner:
1 tsp superfine Sugar
Water and Ice
Touch of Lemon juice
Whisky, Water, Ice
In the King of Scots corner:
3 cl Campari
1 cl whisky
1 cl vodka
1 cl Cointreau)
After several sour faces and not a second sip taken from all but one cocktail, the winner was quite obvious...
THE WINNER: King of Scots Dusty Nail
So yeah, nothing scientific, just some good old fashioned stupid fun. I will taste these blends as a part of the Malt Mission at some point in the future.
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