Scottish Leader is a blended whisky that first appeared on the market during the 1940s. The brand is currently owned by Burn Stewart Distillers and they use single malt from their Deanston and Tobermory distilleries to form the foundation of the blend. This is then blended with other grain whiskies to produce the final blend. As with many blends, there is no age stated and this can indicate that there is some young whisky present (in a blend, if there is an age it legally has to indicate the youngest whisky that has been used). Scottish Leader is one of the biggest selling whiskies in Scotland but few places sell it elsewhere in the UK (The Whisky Shop chain are the main stockists). It is positioned at the cheaper end of the market, costing less than £15 a bottle.
This whisky has a colour of dark reddish amber and the nose is sweet and initially pretty aggressive. There is lots of spirit rawness that attacks your nose hairs but once you get passed this there is sugary caramel and toffee present, some woodiness and maybe just a hint of peaty smokiness. On the palate, things take a similar course. You are immediately hit with raw spirit (this suggests that there is some young whisky in the blend) but again once your mouth gets used to this some more pleasant characteristics come through. That caramel (reminding me of burnt sugar, I think) is present again as is the woodiness (that is almost makes it a little bitter) and the smokiness in the background. There is also lots of malted barley that gives a slightly bittersweet feeling. The finish is fairly short with the lasting characteristic being the raw alcohol spirit. This is a cheap blended whisky and while not being my favourite whisky when drunk straight, I think that it would be a decent whisky to have with a mixer as it has enough interesting elements present. Certainly not too bad for the price.