By Richard Thomas
Burns Stewart, the company best known for Bunnahabhain single malt, has made a splash in the field of alternatives to the big mass market blended scotches. On top of revamping Black Bottle, the company also touts the Scottish Leader brand as its flagship. The thing about Scottish Leader, however, is that two of its three expressions are aimed squarely at Asia, and at present are available only in Taiwan. One of those Taiwan-only blends is Scottish Leader Supreme.
The entire Scottish Leader line has a dark coloring, and Supreme is no exception. This scotch is firmly in bourbon-country territory, with it’s mid-bodied amber appearance. Also like the rest of the line, Supreme is bottled at a normal 40% abv.
The nose carries a cereal, grainy character, with notes of toffee and sea spray, plus a pinch of ash. The flavor follows from there, pretty much, with a core of grain and toffee, plus notes that make it a little grass, a little woody, and a little peppery. The finish opens on a grassy, oaky aftertaste, but is otherwise short and light.
Despite that, I don’t think the elements of the whiskey comes together very well, and I wasn’t that impressed with Scottish Leader Supreme. Other authorities seem to share my opinion, because as where Scottish Leader and Scottish Leader 12 Year Old won silvers at the International Spirits Challenge and the International Wine and Spirits Competition, Supreme carried only bronze medals.
Although principally available in Taiwan (a point made plain by the Chinese characters on the box and bottle), Scottish Leader Supreme can be found elsewhere. I found it listed in France for €22, so expect pricing around that mark. No information was available for its retail price in Taiwan.