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Ron Burgundy “Great Odin’s Raven” Special Reserve

Review: Ron Burgundy “Great Odin’s Raven” Special Reserve  83/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published March 02, 2014

Ron Burgundy “Great Odin’s Raven” Special Reserve is a result of a collaborative effort between Paramount Studios and Celebrity Cellars International (CCI). The aim of the project was to create a blended scotch to capitalize on the ‘celebrity status’ of Ron Burgundy, the Scotch-loving main character of Paramount Studio’s original Anchorman movie, and to launch the Ron Burgundy Scotch coinciding with the release of Anchorman 2, The Legend Continues.

According to Scott Roddick and Jeff Harder (Managing Partners of CCI), one of the major criteria for both parties (Paramount and Celebrity Cellars) going forward was to create a ‘good’ blended Scotch whisky which would be well received by both fans of the Anchorman character, Ron Burgundy, as well as by whisky enthusiasts. Neither side wanted the spirit to become merely a “souvenir brand”. To that end the, whisky was crafted and bottled in Scotland by Old St. Andrews Distillery, featuring a blend of grain and mature malt whiskies from the Speyside, Highlands, and Islay regions of Scotland. The whisky was bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume and was released (as planned) in North America on December 1, 2013.

The early returns are in, and they are quite positive. Since the December 1st release, over 14,000 cases of Ron Burgundy Scotch have been sold in North America. Building upon that success, the Ron Burgundy Whisky was recently launched in the UK and Australia.

Ron BurgundyIn the Bottle 4.5/5

The bottle presentation for the Ron Burgundy Blended Scotch Whisky is great! I love the Scotchy Scotch Scotch Coat of Arms at the top of the label complete with the picture of Great Odin’s Raven centered within. At first glance it gives the bottle a touch of class, and on second glance it give the bottle a stroke of hilarity. (Striking that balance is not an easy thing!)

The red angled stripe running under the Ron Burgundy brand name citing the whisky as “Great Odin’s Raven” Special Reserve strikes that same balance. The label none too subtly mimics and at the same time mocks the pomp and circumstance of current Scotch whisky marketing.The final stroke is the clever positioning of 3 medallions at the bottom of the label which look like medals won at some sort of Spirit’s competition, but which are really more Ron Burgundy mimicry. I think the clever humour found on the front label is outstanding!

I won’t spoil it for you, but the back label is almost as good as the front.

In the Glass 8.5/10

When poured into the glass, the whisky shows itself as a golden coloured spirit with some inky black stains. A quick tilt and twirl of the glass reveals slender legs which trail quickly back into the whisky. The initial scents and smells from the glass are rather interesting. They bring a combination of  wood spices; some sweet honey and butterscotch; bits of heather and saw grass; and a mild dollop of boggy peat into the breezes above the glass. As I let that glass breathe, I also noticed some dry fruit, hints of red licorice; a soft but firm presence of vanilla; indications of canned fruit (peaches and pears); and a somewhat persistent spicy sweetness of grain.

The spiciness of the Scotchy Scotch reminds me of the Highlands and Speyside, while the boggy peat-like aroma reminds me of Islay. I should point out that this Islay influence is quite gentle.

In the Mouth 50/60

The entry into the mouth is at once spicy and sweet with the sweetness stemming from flavours of honey and butterscotch, and the spiciness from both wood and grain. Impressions of canned apricots and peaches meander into my awareness, as do impressions of baking spices (vanilla, brown sugar spice, cinnamon and hints of clove). I also taste soft pops of red cherry licorice and under it all a light punch of boggy peat. There are other nuances as well; some almond and marzipan; more flavours of canned fruit; a very light touch of salty brine; and more sweet grainy spiciness that builds up slightly as you take further sips.

I added a bit of ice to my glass, and I found the Scotchy Scotch Scotch tastes quite nice. Next I added a little ginger-ale and soda to the glass, and the resulting Presbyterian Cocktail was equally enjoyable.

In the Throat 12/15

The whisky finishes with a light punch of peat complimented by a honeyed spiciness which lingers for just a little while before ebbing away. I found I preferred the Scotch with a touch of ice, as this seemed to soothe the spicy sweetness just enough while at the same time it allowed the peat more expression in the exit.

The Afterburn 8/10

Although Ron Burgundy is being sold as a ‘celebrity brand’, I discovered that the quality of the whisky within the smartly labeled bottle is on par or perhaps even better than many of the other blended scotch whiskies I have tried recently (yes some more reviews are coming).

My Score of 83/100 reflects a fun, easy-going Scotchy Scotch Scotch which is pleasant to sip over ice and equally pleasant to mix. You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipe:

SAM_1025 The PresbyterianGreat Odin’s Raven’s Presbyterian Cocktail

1 oz  Scotchy Scotch Scotch Whisky
1 1/2 oz Ginger Ale
1 1/2 oz Club Soda

Add the Ice-cubes to a rocks or Collins glass
Pour the Scotch Whisky over the ice
Add Ginger Ale and Club Soda and stir

Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: If  you are interested in more cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more mixed drink recipes!


As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74   Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79   You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84   We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89   Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94   Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+        I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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