The sound of bagpipes as it cut through the cold, dark, intense and hostile air; the myriad of black polished boots clickety clacking against the earth in unison. White socks, kilts, sporrans, bagpipes – a hundred that marched leading the militia towards war; a piece of history that has inspired and made its way into The 100 Pipers brand.
The 100 Pipers is a blend of around thirty whiskies sourced from in and around Scotland, coming primarily from Speyside’s Strathisla (pronounced as Strath-eye-la), Braeval and Allt a’Bhainne distilleries, the bulk coming from the latter. These distilleries also source the 100 Piper’s 12 Year Old , The Regal and the Passport blends. Aged in a combination of European Sherry and American ex-bourbon casks, the Pipers is one of the most populous blends in Asia and is also available in South America and parts of Europe.
The brand was taken over by Seagrams in 1949 and was seen as a means of entering American lands in the 60s to compete with the various ‘standard’ whiskies available at the time. In India too the whisky has gathered success, toppling the ‘Teachers’, one which held the coveted popularity title for close to a decade. Pernod Ricard themselves have been enjoying near double digit growth in Asia, much to be attributed to the recent affinity towards the golden elixir, especially in Thailand, China and the likes. The blend may not be premium, but it does do justice to the ‘deluxe’ tag it carries considering most of all the whiskies available in these regions come at half the price.
Eye: Yellow gold, surely some caramel colouring considering its young age.
Nose: Spirity and sharp; sweet caramel, smoke and a bit of peat. The blend is grainy with traces of some cream and malt. Woody with influences from the European oak coming through.
Taste: Light, sweet and sharp – sugar water, honey, grain whisky, smoke, dark fruits and raisins with a bit of pepper at the tail.
Finish: Sweet yet warm from the spice.
For the price, the 100 Pipers is not a bad buy. However, it does reflect a certain character and profile that is quite similar to blends of a comparable price range with very little that makes it stands out from the rest. The whisky is spirity, rough and young with some of the flavors calling out for attention with not all that much to show. To me this can only be offset by resting it to calm it down a notch or two. A bit of water too would lighten the spirit, but not elevate it to divine status. However having said that, it surely isn’t as dull as the Old Smuggler’, nor is it as sweet as the ‘Vat 69‘. And though flawed in it’s own right, it’s very much an average tipple, one that doesn’t require much thought – pour, sip and gulp as you quietly progress through the night.