We hit Scotland last August.  It nearly halted our seven month, thirteen country, EU Austerity Drinking Tour.  We so fell in love with its people, countryside, and Whisky that we nearly stayed.  We imagined ourselves William Wallace, Robbie Burns, Mary Queen of Scots, or that princess from Brave, with every castle tour, every distillery visit, and every haggis eaten.

SkyVolcanoHikeBut back in the United States, nostalgia ate us.  Local distilleries proffered harsh, young spirit: too hot and tight to be enjoyed alone.

But then we found a bottle of Pig’s Nose, Blended Scotch Whisky, Aged 5 Years, from Scotland for under $30.


Silly label.

Now, Whisky fanatics will tell you to sell your second child into slavery for Single Malt Whisky.  We typically agree (click and read our Macallan 10, Glendronach, and Laphroaig posts).  Like Estate Produced wine, Single Malts come from one distillery.  This implies a whole range of site-specific (i.e. micro-terroir) variations that make each Single Malt unique.

However, stateside, any decent Single Malt will ravage $50 and up from your wallet.

Blended Whiskies, like tonight’s, are cheaper because they blend many distilleries together.  They also stretch product with hefty additions of cheap, young, grain spirit (vodka), caramel colorings, and worrisome chemicals.  Most are horrid.

Pig’s Nose provides a middle path.

Begun in 1977, Pig’s Nose went through many owners and iterations, until Alex Nicol and wife Jane of Spencerfield Spirit Company reinvented it.  They hired this man:

Richard Patterson, Scotland’s only third generation Master Blender, took Invergordon grain spirit (Scotland’s highest quality and lightest grain spirit) and aged it over five years in new barrels.  This oxidative time massaged harsh esters, while adding color and spiced Whisky-Regions-of-Scotlandcomplexity.

But that’s half the dram.  Unlike most blendeds, 43% of Pig’s Nose comes from Single Malts from Scotland’s three famed Whiskey regions: Speyside, Islay, and the Lowlands.  These hefty chunks of proper Whisky melded with the grain spirit during its five-year barrel journey.

Enough background. How is it?


Clear, bright, amber grain gold.


Medium intense honey, sherry cask crème brûleé, malt, clover, salt, and nose-curling fire.


Soft, round cotton ball texture, minor tannin, and a medium body, lead to moderate yet complex flavors of baking vanilla powder, apricot, crème brûleé, and honey, with a clear note of salt, like briny mussels, and hot ash that tightens the decently long finish.


Like our five year marriage, the sum is better than its parts.  Amongst all spirits, Pig’s Nose is good quality (3 out of 5).  For under $30, it provides a consistent, decently complex spirit to cap your evenings.



About waywardwine

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  1. Review and Richard are awesome! I’d still probably enjoy watching and listening to him over drinking any whiskey, but I now believe, “it” is more about the people you are drinking it with than the product. Those Soots!

  2. You’ll probably unfollow me when I tell you I prefer bourbon, huh? It’s because I live next to Kentucky . . . 😉! Great post . . . would love to visit Scotland one day. On my “list”. Salud!!

    • waywardwine says:

      Not to worry. My Bourbon exposure is poor to minimal. Scotch was hardly on my radar until last year. If there’s a bottle you love let me know, I’m easily converted. Spirits here in the NW are still in their infancy.

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