Turntable 2023 Core Range + Starward Collaboration

Turntable 2023 Core Range + Starward Collaboration

We already tried the first three tracks from Turntable Spirits some time ago. Blended whisky, skilfully composed, offering a bit more than your common blend. They have been very active in their first year, now presenting a proper core range which includes three blends: Paradise Funk, Bittersweet Symphony and Smokin’ Riff.

My first impression was that it’s basically the same line-up as Track 01, 02 and 03: the fruity one, the sherry one and the peaty one. A lot of components are also the same (Knockdhu, Benrinnes, Craigellachie, Caol Ila). I do hope they can bring more variation in future recipes.

Paradise Funk contains undisclosed Speyside whisky, Benrinnes, Knockdhu and Blair Athol malts combined with 29% of grain whisky. Most of the components were aged in virgin oak barrels, with some Chinkapin and cognac casks as well.


Turntable Paradise Funk – Blended Scotch (46%, OB 2023)

Nose: sweet and fruity, with peaches, yellow plums, tangerines and plenty of pineapple. Orange zest and vanilla custard, as well as light caramel. The brightness is nice, even though the grainy side is easily noticeable as well.

Mouth: still bright and fruity, with a mildly oily texture. Orange, more pineapple (fresh but also grilled). After that the woodiness takes over: a fresh (virgin) oak note with cinnamon and white pepper, which also seems to highlight the grainy side.

Finish: not too long, showing some gingery heat and toffee sweetness.

The brightness and (lightly tropical) fruitiness are nice elements and the entire blend is well put together. On the palate the virgin wood bothers me a little. That said, this outclasses many other blends. If you’re in the UK, then bottles can be ordered from Master of Malt or TyndrumWhisky, among others. Their distributor outside of the UK is Kirsch Import.


Bittersweet Symphony mostly revolves around PX puncheons and Oloroso butts. The spirit was sourced from Craigellachie, Blair Athol, Balmenach and North British.


Turntable Bittersweet Symphony – Blended Scotch (46%, OB 2023)

Turntable Bittersweet Symphony Nose: modern wood-driven sherry (one third was virgin oak again), initially showing a plankish, dusty note alongside the dried fruits. Then mixed nuts, raisins and blackberries, marmalade and dark cherry candy. Also toffee apple and a hint of caramel.

roasted malt mixed with dark chocolate cake and toffee. Then raisins, black peppercorns, hints of hay and forrest berry jam. Indeed a bittersweet ending, with hints of marmalade.

Finish: medium, with a distinct spicy side and drops of coffee.

While it is a nicely complex blend with deep sherry flavours, it feels a little pressure-cooked. If only they would tone down the virgin oak – I don’t think it’s necessary if you already have something as flavoursome as Pedro Ximénez. Overall a nice whisky. Score: 84/100


Smokin’ Riff is – you guessed it already – a peated blend. Caol Ila is part of the mix, alongside Knockdhu, Craigellachie and North British once again. As always the full breakdown can be found on the Turntable website.


Turntable Smokin’ Riff – Blended Scotch (46%, OB 2023)

Turntable Smokin Riff Nose: yesterday’s campfire smoke, well dosed. It sits against a background of charred lemon peels, sweet pears. Very faint medicinal hints, as well as some dried fruits from the sherry.

Mouth: a little more smoke – pure bonfire. Some smoked meats, hints of cinnamon buns, good caramel and milk chocolate. Mild leady notes and heaps of toffee. Then blackcurrants and more ashes.

Finish: quite long, still balancing smoky notes with dark sweetness and a leafy side. Roasted coffee beans in the very end.

This is good. It is a well-made blend in which the smokiness doesn’t overpower and shines alongside a mild sherry sweetness. Virtually no grains to be noticed here. Get it from one of the German partners of Kirsch Import or an international retailer like Master of Malt among others. Score: 85/100


Our last whisky is a special release: Turntable Collaboration #1 Starward. In this blend the key component is Australian Starward whisky from an ex-Australian red wine cask (39%) mixed with Caol Ila, Inchgower and North British.

The Turntable X Starward bottle has a unique label design featuring constellations from the northern and southern hemispheres printed with UV ink that illuminates in the dark.


Turntable Collaboration #1 – Starward (46%, OB 2023, 3300 btl.)

Turntable Starward Collaboration Nose: ooh. Here as well we find a trace of smoke (more like an old cigar box), but also a juicy, almost tropical fruitiness. Light mango and nectarine. Then red berry jam, a faint minty whiff, white peach and vanilla. A light hint of coconut and tobacco too. Its elegance and brightness outclasses the others.

Mouth: still this juicy fruitiness. Pineapple, peach and berries, slowly blending in very light smoky touches and a light mentholy edge. Some clove and ginger appear, and perhaps a hint of wine in the background, but these elements are never disturbing.

Finish: medium length, with a leathery hint, ginger and a dry leafy edge. Not as convincing as the rest (the finish is always the Achilles heel of a blend imho) but as long as you quickly take another sip, that doesn’t have to be a problem.

A great combination of the Starward fruitiness, very minimal Caol Ila smoke and a good blend base. It’s very drinkable too. This is the one to get. Check Kirsch Import. Score: 87/100