Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review: Lauder's Scotch Whisky


There are puzzles of this world that I will never understand.  Like the fascination with The Grateful Dead, music that I find mind numbingly boring (other than Casey Jones, a pretty darn good ditty).  Another mystery to my mind is: who likes Lauder's Scotch?

Lauder's Scotch is one of those  blended scotch brands that  has always been there, invariably on the bottom shelf of the local liquor store.  You've seen it all your life, since you turned legal drinking age.  You always passed over it.  I mean, who can blame you?  This spirit comes in 1.5 litre bottles for a little under $20.  Can't be good?  I hear you say.  I understand where you are coming from.  I have the same thoughts about Lauder's

I just got back from the annual family vacation to North Conway, New Hampshire.  After a full day of ferrying the kids to various rides and attractions at Story Land and Santa's Village, followed by marathon play sessions in the hotel pool, they konk out in their little beds.  Their mother turns in soon after, but not I.  Your eternal night owl, whisky blogger and ne'er do-well, haunts the aisles of liquor emporiums.  My gaze settled on Lauder's.  Cheap price, never heard anything about it, could it be good?  Another great value play like Teacher's or Black Bottle?  I just had to find out.



Nose (undiluted)
Dragon's breath fiery, nose crinkling waft of alcohol that evokes memories of a moonshine still written about by Steve Earle in his song: Copperhead Road.

Ok, so the nose on this blend is not pretty.  My judgment is still being suspended because at this price point, there are lots of blends that do not offer much on the nose, but deliver on the palate.  So, here goes . . .

Palate (undiluted)







You must know the old adage: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words?  Take a long look at the picture above.  Drinking Lauder's is to experience the super sweet taste of Rice Crispies with a heaping table spoon of sugar.  That captures the cereal flavor and the sweetness, but I am detecting more.  There is some Dow Chemical action going on.  So, stir in some Splenda and instead of milk, add a can of Sprite or 7-Up and that would be a fairly good representation of the Lauder's flavor profile:  sickeningly sweet and absolutely dreadful.

Finish (undiluted)
Extremely short like a haiku.  In fact, I feel inspired to compose a haiku in honor of tasting Lauder's.  (Please read in halting English with thick Japanese accent for full dramatic affect)

Halloween candy sweetness
T'is wery wery bad
tooth decay
me want to die now

Lauder's is as bad as my haiku. 








General Impressions
Seriously bad sweet syrup junk scotch that I think is not even good enough for mixed drinks. 

Ever read the Surgeon General's warning on the back of a bottle and wonder if it applies to you?  You know, Don't drink if you are pregnant, have a medical condition, like astrology, I dunno whatever?  The Surgeon General's warning needs to be updated to read:  "Don't drink if this is Lauder's!  Immediately drain contents at an approved landfill site capable of handling hazardous substances."

Enough said.

Sincerely,


Jason Debly

Photo credits: The photo of the Lauder's scotch on its side was taken by  Paata Liparteliani and may be seen here. All rights of reproduction belongs to Paata Liparteliani.

The photo of the faded Lauder's scotch ad painted on a wall in Detroit belongs to Anthony Lockhart and may be seen here. All rights of reproduction belongs to Anthony Lockhart.

37 comments:

  1. Deadheads are probably measuring a rope for our neck as I write this, but I applaud your courage. I never picked up on their vibe, either.

    As for Lauders, never tried it and now, thanks to you, I never will. Reading your reviews has cost me a few bucks as I expand my whisky palate, but at least you keep me from wasting that money. I appreciate it. Keep going.

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  2. You came to New Hampshire, home of the cheapest liquor in New England, and bought lauders? Please tell me you invested in something more worth while.

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  3. Hi! Anonymous,

    Don't worry, I picked up some Dimple Pinch, Power's Gold and Jim Beam Black too. Will be reviewed in upcoming weeks.

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  4. I confess to using Lauder's with Goslings Ginger Beer and lots of ice. It is my sin, my most grevious sin.

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  5. Lauder's mixed with Ginger Beer and a ton of ice? I can understand that on a really hot day. Just makes sure there is a lot of ginger beer and ice to drown out the Lauders!

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  6. I have made ​​it a thing to try (almost) everything at least once. Tasting spirits, and especially whisky, are among the most enjoyable things I know. But I think I will stay away from Lauder's ;)

    Best regards from a Swede in Tallinn!

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  7. Passing over Lauder's is like deciding not to be in a car accident. Good decision!

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  8. I actually tried a couple drams of Lauder's tonight, as offered by a friend.
    This is a unique blend: In that...it's not a great Scotch. No, no, no...it's bad. It's Quite bad. What's unique is that, simply, I don't know what to compare it to. I get heavy cereal grains...and some malt...and the smallest bit of smoke. I wonder exactly how much malt there is, per grain. I wonder if they got away by calling it "blended" scotch by simply blending it with but the tiniest amount of malt. Is there a more strict definition?
    -Yochanan

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  9. You raise an interesting question. Is there a minimum level of malt required to be called scotch whisky. I will see if I can find an answer to that question.

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  10. Hey Jason, this is Dave Lauder (yes, of the scottish ilk). I'm a musician living in Portland, OR. After stumbling upon your site I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the concise and wonderfully thoughtful reviews. I was laughing so hard I was crying a few moments ago upon reading your take on the “Lauders” and the subsequent responses. Quick story : My parents have kept a very dusty bottle of this stuff up in the liquor "area" of the cereal cabinet since the probably the early 70's. When I say a bottle, I mean THE single/only bottle ever purchased that was still there. My brother and I came of age in the later 80's and one late summer night we decided to raid the cabinet and have a “couple shots” of whatever we could find, Lauder’s was first on the list. We even used a "Lauders" shot glass that had been offered as a xmas gift from a cousin who still collects them to this day. I'm a red wine drinker nowadays, enjoying the occasional NW microbrew, but back then I was quite innocent and inexperienced with any type of alcohol to be sure. We ended up choking down a couple of shots with some difficulty. As memory serves it tasted like a combination of cough syrup and old orange juice. My brother :“smooooooth!”. At the time we thought this was what was expected of old, mature liquor from the cabinet, and our pallets just hadn’t become seasoned to or able to grasp this level of complexity to it yet.
    Always taken some obtuse pride in seeing our “family” name floating across the bottles on the lower shelves. Now I’m here to say you’re review has utterly decapitated that thought conviction.
    I’m pretty sure the half-drank bottle is still there in the back of the cabinet somewhere, I’ll call my mom and let her know it’s ok to de-tarnish the silver with it. Keep doing what you’re doing and best of luck!

    DL

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    1. Lauders and teenage intoxication do seem to go hand in hand. Youth, lack of taste with a scotch whisky that is youthful and lacking in taste!

      Beer is much better than Lauder's. Cheers!

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  11. im drinking it right now as my liquor store has some really odd prices on liquor like jameson 4 dollars for a 1/2 pint. but Lauder's... this stuff is GUT ROT... avoid it if you can.

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    1. Sorry to hear you are drinking this slop. If you want cheap scotch whisky, go for Teacher's. If you want something assuredly smooth, try Bushmills (the one with the white label), super smooth, tastes of walnuts and very pleasant.

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    2. teachers you say? and bushmills (white label), ill give them a go. ive had other bushmills and they weren't really pleasent. I'll check out the differences. ty for the suggestions my man.

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  12. I found it useful after band practice.. Did the deed.. Can also function as paint remover.. Win win..

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  13. I know I will be hated for writing this but I Love Lauder's. I love drinking something that doesn't tast like I'm sucking on soaked burned oak. Granted it's harch but half as harsh as anything offered in the whisky's or even many of the scotches out there. For the money I have never found a more soothing kind friend to help me through a wintery friday evening. Please give it another chance and try to remember not everyone has the means for single malts.

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  14. Here in Iran it is quite a help! Because due to its low price smugglers can smuggle it in the country. I am quite happy to have one bottle in front of me right now. Perhaps it is because I have never known any better!

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    1. Hi! Babak,

      Try to save up a little more and get a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black. It is very popular in the Middle East and widely available. I am sure you would enjoy it!

      Cheers!

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  15. I have a collection of single malts that number at least 100 bottles. I love a variety of malts. I recently tried Lauder's and for a blended Scotch, I have to say I liked it. I like my scotch with a splash of water and that helps Lauder's. I think a "blend" has to have a minimum of 30% malt, and given it's price this would be my guess here. I read that Lauder's is a blend of three malts' Speyside, Lowland, and Highland and I can taste the malts here. There is orange peel and an almond nuttiness that gives it a unique taste and finish, which is short. It's a sweet blend with an amber color.

    Look, this blend has been around since 1834, selling 2 million bottles/year so it's got something that appeals besides price. I can taste it and it's unique and nice. I didn't find this blend harsh and the nose reflects grain spirits, but also the malts. Among the blends this has a place and is worth trying.

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    1. Hi Ziggy!

      I always like to read differing opinions. Thank you for taking the time to comment. Hopefully, I and the readers will more from you in the future!

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  16. I think you are being a bit harsh. None of your comparisons are in the same price range. Compared to other bottom shelf offerings of under $10, Lauders is rather palatable. Which is why it is one of my favorite cooking alcohols. And while I'm not about to take it neat, it holds its own in sweeter mixed drinks. Which I'll admit is not my thing, but hey, it is what it is. No worse than SoCo in my opinion.

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  17. Bought some tonight, and looked some info on it, which led me here. I like it neat, but that's me.

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  18. I think for the price this is OK. Two teaspoons of cold pure water per double to bring out the best.

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  19. I was introduced to Lauders three years ago in the Alaska Airlines SeaTac Boardroom. I enjoyed it enough to where, although Alaska carries something else now, I continue to enjoy Lauders at home.

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  20. Lauder's with club soda plus ice is a pleasant drink, and no matter how much you consume, there is no morning after regret. Not everyone wants to sip an oz. of peaty single malt for an hour; some of us want to engage in attitude adjustment.

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    Replies
    1. "Attitude adjustment!" Hilarious! Yes, Lauder's is definitely mix material. Thanks for commenting.

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  21. I'm drinking a tall Lauder's scotch and mountain dew, and I think it's fucking delicious. I just came back from Scotland, they're really pushing the Whyte & Mackay at the Tesco's in Aviemore and Perth. It was pretty good, but I think the Lauder's is just as good, and the price is right. When you drink as much Scotch as I do, and I love the shit, price is a consideration. I don't now WTF you're talking about being so bad. It's just as good as Dewars to me.

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    1. I think the key with Lauder's is that it is suitable for mix only. Not to be enjoyed on its own.

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  22. A double shot over an ice cube.

    If there is any decent lowland Scottish blood in you you will understand the history and purpose of this product. And if there is any blood in you at all, you might get it.

    It's a blend from Glasgow, not a straight from the Isle of Islay, where they have an increasing surplus of unsold whisky each year.

    If you want to spend $25 dollars on a bottle of whiskey, get some Buffalo Trace, if you can find it.

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  23. Cleaning out my parents' liquor cabinet over Christmas (What? They need to move so I'm helping them out...) found this Scotch, which surprised me because neither of my parents drink Scotch. I suspect they bought it at least a decade ago and forgot it was there. Yeah, I took it. I'd never heard of this Scotch, which is surprising as I'm a Scotch gal. Researching it led me to this post.

    Just tried it. I have to say I didn't find it to be as sweet as you had me fearing it would be. (Maybe it's aged well, sitting in my parents' cabinet?) But it's definitely not a sipping scotch. I think I'll keep it for making mixed drinks for friends, so I can stash the good stuff safely in my room.

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  24. I've been drinking bottom shelf Scotch, including Lauder's, for years. My preferred way is over a generous helping of crystal clear ice. I've been told that one never consumes Scotch over ice and now you're telling me I'm somehow deficient for liking Lauder's. Well, to me there is cheap Scotch you enjoy and more expensive Scotch you also enjoy. I like the flavor of Scotch and while Johnny Walker DB may taste different, it doesn't necessarily taste better.

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    1. Lauder's is probably designed to be enjoyed with ice. Cheap Scotch on the rocks is a lot better than neat.

      I like ice with economy blended Scotch sometimes or Canadian rye. Just not this one.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  25. Lauder's on the rocks is my drink of choice. It also tastes great 50/50 with cola. This was the bottom shelf brand in the area I grew up. I had developed a taste for Scotch, but was always on a budget. This is was the blend I was served in the bars of my youth and now it's always in my liquor cabinet.

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    1. Sounds like it evokes great memories for you. You are a dying breed of consumer who has considerable brand loyalty. There was a time when consumers had one brand of beer, make of car or distiller of whisky that was their brand. Simpler times. Today, no such loyalty seems to exist.

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  26. Must have been conned mate. That doesnt sound like Lauder's to me.

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  27. You sure you wern't conned? The Lauder's i tried tasted pretty good. It beats most others in the same price range. If you think it's sweet, then avoid Whitehorse, that's like an extreme version of a sweet Lauder.

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