I love Trader Joe’s. I go there almost every Saturday around 8 am, because I hate lines more than I like sleep, and when I saw this Trader Joe’s Highland Malt Bourbon Cask Finish sitting on the shelf I thought “it’s only an $18 gamble, let’s grab it and give it whirl”… the thing about gambling is, you don’t always win.
I’ve reviewed several of the Trader Joe’s releases in the past because they’re plentiful and cheap. Some, like the NAS Trader Joe’s Single Malt Irish Whiskey, were awesome. Some, like the Trader Joe’s 23 yr Speyside Single Malt, were not very good; for the most part, they tend to end up in the B- to lower B range. But, they’re typically quite cheap so truly not a whole lot to complain about… but you know I will anyway
Whiskey Review: Trader Joe’s Highland Malt Bourbon Cask Finish
In Trader Joes’s Words: Trader Joes Highland Malt Bourbon Cask Finish
“This single malt has been matured in traditional oak casks until it has achieved the perfect balance of aromas and flavors. The whisky is then transferred into first-fill bourbon casks allowing further development increasing the depth of flavor.”
Trader Joe’s Highland Malt Bourbon Cask Finish price, ABV, age and other details
Region: Highlands, Scotland
Distiller: Unknown (Glenrothes)
Bottler: Trader Joe’s (Alexander Murray)
Mash Bill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: ex-Bourbon, 1st fill ex-Bourbon
Trader Joe’s Highland Malt Bourbon Cask Finish Tasting Notes
Char, overripe fruit, toffee coffee syrup, imitation vanilla, stale herbal spice, bitter tannic nature and some dark honey and roasted malt.
Bitter char, young craft oak, toffee syrup, waxy vanilla frosting and bits of malt, cinnamon, burnt sugar and apples.
Med -> Char, burnt cocoa, waxy vanilla
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Not balanced, medium, gritty; feels like there’s a film on my teeth.
Trader Joe’s Highland Malt Bourbon Cask Finish Review – OVERALL
I hate complaining about a sub $20 whisky… but I’m going to. This Trader Joe’s Highland Malt Bourbon Cask Finish is funky in all the wrong ways with lots of cloying, clashing and bitter notes banging together in unappealing ways. My first glass of this I was like “‘eh, it’s not awful, but it’s definitely not good” and after a while of being open it become bitter and abrasive.
After a bit of time and air the “oak” character from nose to finish comes through as bitter harsh char and ends up being just plain unpleasant. I understand what they were going for, but this feels like a swing and a miss. Even at $18 I wouldn’t pick it up again.
SCORE: 74/100 (C)
Trader Joes Highland Malt Bourbon Cask Finish Review
- Nose - 74
- Palate - 74
- Finish - 74
- Balance, Body & Feel - 74
Trader Joes Highland Malt Bourbon Cask Finish Summary
Trader Joes Highland Malt Bourbon Cask Finish isn’t worth the $18 ($19 after tax in CA).
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