Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Friday, September 2, 2016

Trader Joe's Blended Scotch Whisky

There's no such thing as vacation with small kids. It's just taking the show on the road.

I'm not sure where (if anywhere) I got that from, but those were the words I uttered a little over a week ago when my younger, kidfree boss wished me and the family a happy vacation. And that's pretty much how our extended weekend trip to Chicago went - four full days of family fun, sure, but all sorts of little kid hijinks, some with bodily fluids and byproducts involved, frustration, and weak moments. But overall, very good, highlighted by our family's first trip to Wrigley Field, despite the Buccos losing YET AGAIN and us buying tickets for seats that don't exist.*

Coincidentally, when booking a hotel, I didn't aim to find one right around the corner from a Trader Joe's, much less one we had to walk by everytime we hit up the Metro. But as Big Joe have it, there it was. And in an even bteer turn of fate, thank God for the sensible lawmakers of Chicago and Illinois who make buying things like Trader Joe's Blended Scotch Whisky readily available for sale, because man, after a vacation like this, Sandy and I both really needed a drink.

Blended Scotch whisky isn't all too fancy a drink to begin with. I've yet to find one that's silky smooth, sweetly palatable, and not overtly medicinal, like one of their pricier Highland single malt brethren. Such is the case here - harsh, burny, strong, very alcohol-y tasting. Some other quick takes I've read mention noting flavors ranging from apples to gasoline - I can't speak to those specifics, but, well, sure. Even while fully anticipating a strong inital encounter, I had to cough one or twice after the first sip or two. yes, you can clip off the corner of my man card.

I do prefer to drink my hard stuff on the rocks, so I will note there is a significant mellowing out as the ice melts. But there's still a significant residual burn, and perhaps this is now me being officially in my mid-30s...this is strong stuff. 80 proof. I swear I've had just as stiff if not stiffer beverages, but on both occasions I have partaken of this bottle, I feel like I've felt it a little more than I should.

I will mention another plus: it's cheap. Back here in good ol' Pennsylvania, I'm accustomed to paying at least $15 for 750mL's of the cheapie stuff. This? A full, vibrant liter, in all its metric system glory... for only $11.99. Now that's something I can stand behind. I'd pay that for some whisky to sip once or twice a week for sure, even with the tradeoff for not quite topnotch quality.

Sandy took a small sip or two and, surprisingly to me, didn't spit it right out. "Not awful," she said, although she's looking up some good lookin' mixed drink recipes for herself. Me? I'll just keep drinkin' it straight, because it is kinda growing on me a little bit. Not great, not awful, and tough to argue with the price - all for an inexpensive way of getting the job done. That pretty much sums it all up right there.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Blended Scotch Whisky: 6.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons
* I bought tickets from an online broker. Section 509, row 9, seats 13 thru 16. We get to Section 509, row 9...there's no seat 13. They stop at seat 12, and the seat next to it is renumberred (112, I think) denoting it is in a different section. I asked fans, seat ushers...there's no seat 13, 14 15, or 16 anywhere. We ended up sitting in a relatively empty row and no one bothered us so it turned out okay. Still...


  1. Love your post, but I think Trader Joe Scotch will be caveat emptor.

  2. Try Somewhat Spicy Dill flavored Kettle Cooked Potatoes Chips with this scotch

  3. Would like to try it but mine doesn't sell booze. I like the Costco scotch which is also dirt cheap.