Price: ~200 Baht ($6)
Blend 285 is a concoction of blended spirits produced by the Red Bull Distillery in Thailand. It is described on the company’s website as an “admix spirit, made using a careful blend of local ingredients and imported vatted malt from Scotland.” These local ingredients can either be water, alcohol or whisky so what we have in Blend 285 is a fusion of liquid from Thailand and Scotland.
Blend 285 has remained in my whisky cabinet for over a year, ever since it was placed there after I returned from a holiday in Phuket. While in Phuket I was keen to try a whisky enjoyed by the locals and I purchased this bottle of Blend 285 in a reputable chain of convenience stores for about 200 baht (approx. $6) after a Thai local recommended it. There is not much written about Blend 285 and its contents is seems to be a closely guarded secret – an ideal reason to slip on my Singha t-shirt, order some local Thai food and get into the spirit while I unpack this mysterious blend.
The nose presents with hints of peat within a framework of juicy red apples, cherry jam, dried apricot and soft vanillas. The whiff of new make emerges after a while, relatively acceptable but with what smells like a fair bit of smelly higher alcohols and tails from a distilling run. On the palate the spirit takes on an gelatinous texture and then the flaws emerge – the acrid burn of alcohol seems very much neutral, like a cheap vodka, and that astringent bitterness lingers into the finish with the taste of chemicals and nail polish remover. The nose was definitely promising, but the whisky showed its flaws on the palate. At around $6, I would not buy this whisky. I’m not even sure it should be endured even for free, unfortunately.