That packaging… it’s almost too much. As if it’s designed to distract you from thinking about the whisky inside, right?
Well, rest assured that although these three new releases from new brand J. Mossman look exquisite on the outside, they’re just as good beneath the stopper. All three are blended Scotch whiskies, and they take their name from one Sir J. Mossman, a goldsmith in Edinburgh who was a jeweler to Mary, Queen of Scots. Mossman was the last artisan to work on the Crown of Scotland, back in 1540. Now he’s got a whisky named after him.
Three expressions are on offer; other than the age statements (refreshing these days, no?), there’s no additional production information on how the blends differ. Let’s dive in.
All are bottled at 80 proof.
J. Mossman Gold Crown Blended Scotch Whisky 12 Years Old – There’s an immediate and surprising nuttiness on the nose here; it can come across as slightly musty, but while the underlying grain is evident in the blend, it’s nonetheless fresher and better integrated than you’ll find in most spirits in this age range. The palate has soul. It’s quite savory and drying, to be sure, but the nutty aromas here develop into a rich mahogany note, with hints of old sherry, baking spice, and burnt toast all at play. Just a hint of pie crust sweetness shines through enough to cut the austerity. The finish is on the short side, but compelling in its savory depth. B+ / $45
J. Mossman Platinum Crown Blended Scotch Whisky 15 Years Old – At 15 years old, the whisky has settled down, at least a littly. The heavily nutty nose in the 12 is a bit muted by 15, the aromas taking on more of a mushroom and pasture character. The palate is still extremely dry and is dominated by similar flavor characteristics, though a slightly peppery element comes more to the fore amidst the impact of wood, brown bread, and savory-leaning baking spice. It’s a bit more cohesive as a whisky, but ultimately carries a similar charm. B+ / $54
J. Mossman Pink Gold Crown Blended Scotch Whisky 18 Years Old – Mossman takes things in a new direction with this 18 year old, which finally turns up the sweetness, giving the whisky more of a sense of balance. The nose is surprisingly restrained — more so than either the 12 or the 15 — though notes of camphor and cloves cut through that mild nuttiness that again lingers through the family tree. The palate takes a detour however, offering a healthy and surprising slug of chocolate, more pepper and spice, and a silky vanilla character that lengthens the finish considerably. All of this gives the whisky a bit more heat, but also a creamier quality that makes it far more enjoyable to linger over. A / $60