Whisky Advocate

Review: Trader Joe’s Imperial 12 yr. old

August 5th, 2009

Some of you have asked if I could review more “affordable” whiskies, and not just the special new releases. Here’s one. (Thanks Ron, for sending the sample.)

Trader Joe’s (Distilled at Imperial), 12 year old, 40%, $30
A whisky very typical from this distillery, which has been silent since 1998. Rich and thick on the nose and palate, oozing vanilla, ripe malt, cotton candy, powdered sugar, new mown hay, and lemon tart. Cinnamon, evergreen, and a wisp of smoke round out the palate. An evolving whisky—starts out heavy and sweet, then turns clingingly dry. A fun, rare whisky for a reasonable price.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 80

9 Responses to “Review: Trader Joe’s Imperial 12 yr. old”

  1. Dave says:

    The Usquaebach Deluxe (blended) is excellent for the price ($28).

  2. Matt G says:

    I’ve been wondering about the Trader Joe’s bottlings since seeing them on a business trip to LA a few years ago. Can’t get them at my TJ’s.

  3. John Hansell says:

    Matt G, I’m not sure what else is available at the moment. We don’t even have TJ’s out here in PA near where I live. This one’s a nice whisky for the price (for a single malt).

  4. sku says:

    Trader Joe’s has done a number of single malt bottlings. Offhand I recall them doing Aberlour, Glenlivet, Bowmore, Macallan and a number of others. They are bottled by Alexander Murray company which also does the Kirkland brand Macallan bottlings for Costco. I’ve tasted a number of the Trader Joe’s whiskies and they’ve mostly been pretty disappointing. I actually thought this Imperial was one of their best.

  5. JD says:

    I’ve heard of those Kirkland whiskies, but never seen them. My local Costco carries Macallan 12 y.o., but it’s sold as Macallan, not Kirkland.

    Mind you, they do have lots of other Kirkland-branded products–canned food, bottled water, etc. Just no spirits.

    I’ll have to look at Trader Joe’s for their brand. Sounds like it would be fun to try.


  6. […] Hansell hops on the cheap whisky train with this review of “Trader Joe’s Imperial 12 year.”  Too bad they don’t sell this at Trader Joe’s here in Brooklyn.  He also […]

  7. […] John Hansell seems to like the Imperial (and get way more out of it) here […]

  8. Roy says:

    price : Imperial 17 years old ?

  9. […] Mainstreet (Scott, Jay, Ken) a few days later I finally found the name of this tasty spirit – Trader Joe’s Imperial 12 year (also can be found under the “Signatory” label). It tasted like all of my favorite […]

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