Saturday, 22 April 2017

Recent TBWC drams

That Boutique-y Whisky Company – not a bottler I spend an awful lot of time with (although that may hopefully change a little now that my friend Dave Worthington is a brand ambassador). 

Most of these were part of a tweet tasting I was signed up to but couldn’t take part in due to not being connected with the samples in time, so all this is a little bit late, but at least it formed the backbone of a good flight!

TBWC Loch Lomond single grain whisky, 19 years old, Batch 3, 49.7% A+

267 bottles.  Batch 1 reviewed here.

loch-lomond-that-boutiquey-whisky-company-whiskyNose - Sweet, slightly solventy (a touch of pritt stick too) but oddly classy - there's a cold, ozoney austerity to it, balanced by ripe green apple and varnish from the cask. There's something bready in here too, like a slightly undercooked loaf made with barley flour (I had that toasted for breakfast, before you ask).

Body - Newspaper, then cherry sweets, wood glue and talcum powder. There's a really deep sweetness lurking here, most ungrainlike.

Finish - Very short, yellow wood, citrus pith bitterness. A ghost of lemon at the end.

A strange but quite compelling whisky, really drinkable. I think this would have excited me more if I'd actually tasted it in the first throws of Spring rather than the inevitable "return to Winter after Easter", but this is much more than a "young" grain.

TBWC Blended Whisky #2, 18 years old, Batch 1 (Majestic only), 46.5% A-

It was a bit confusing seeing the different labels on this to Batch 2 and only one available on Majestic.  Dave filled me in on the difference between the two batches of blended whisky #2.

Batch #1 was an exclusive release for Majestic Wine Stores. Just 961 bottles were filled, and distributed across the 200+ stores nationwide.The label states the seven whiskies in the make up; four malts, three grains. There was a competition to win a bottle of our Macallan 29 Year Old if you could guess all of the distilleries.

Batch #2 was our own release of the similar style of blend. It could well be the very same blend but I've not been told this. Our release is a limited run of 1132 bottles.

The four malts in Batch 1 (and I assume similar malts are in Batch 2) are: Highland Park, Glenrothes, Tamdhu and Bunnahabhain. The three grains being Strathclyde, North British and Invergordon.

majesticNose - Soft, gentle, warm grain and cut oak, green apple, a very little flat cola and light floral perfume. The smell of hard but posh milk chocolates. A pleasing but soft wax.

Body - Interestingly balanced, quite dry and wooded, dandelion stalks and saccharin. Lolly sticks. There's a slight peat note behind this. Sourer with water.

Finish - Very drying, more artificial sweetener and chalky bonbons.

Honestly I'm not used to tasting blended whisky (rarely even vatted single malt), so I'm not really calibrated for adulterated grains. Quite interesting/honest on the nose with good wax, pretty drammable but a bit young in the delivery.

TBWC Blended Whisky #3, 23 years old, Batch 1, 48.2% A+

1132 bottles.

blended-whisky-3-23-year-old-that-boutique-y-whisky-company-whiskyNose - Sweet first fill bourbon here, orange zest and blood orange juice, honey glaze and wood glue… hot gluegun perhaps. There's something a little coastal underneath, maybe some fried patron peppers. The overwhelming impression is warm/hot though, airplane orange juice and toffee. It gets meatier with time. Christmassy with water.

Body - Sweet, spiced, lightly peated, probably some more of that Highland Park in there (a good call to have some peat, but like #2 the integration is a bit tricky). More peated and spicy with water, a touch more artificial sweetener.

Finish - ah, OK that is genuinely one of the longest finishes, as per the label. Starts fruity, becomes peppery and lacquered and ends fizzing and tannic (Sichuan peppercorns) with a lot of wood. There's something winey in here too.

A remarkable whisky, I suspect there is some quite big gear in here, and it has an extremely long finish. Not really my thing though (integration, balance aren't right) but it certainly makes a statement.

Thanks to Jon Webb for samples of these two blends.

TBWC Glenrothes, 25 years old, Batch 3, 49.7% A⊕

139 bottles

glenrothes-25-year-old-that-boutiquey-whisky-company-whiskyNose - Sweet, but darkly so - elements of warm white wine and sangria here, dates in chocolate and barley sugar. Old bourbon Glenrothes sometimes has this Chinese supermarket thing going on and this has it too, although faintly (it's the Durian, char sui buns and packets of incense). An old school, very high quality nose.

Body - Custard creams, dried malt extract, fresh mint leaves and orange skin. Less intense, a little more orangey with water.

Finish - Long and ripe, with lemon curd, lots of freshly crushed malted barley (I'll just have a quick taste of this carapils).

I'm just loving old Glenrothes at the moment, this is a good one.

TBWC Secret Distillery #2, 15 years old, Batch 2, 51% A

124 bottles, Glenmorangie, a rose tinted hue/spectacles on the label presumably means port cask?

secret-distillery-2-15-year-old-that-boutiquey-whisky-company-whiskyNose - Light and flinty, behind that there's vanilla sponge and liquorice torpedoes. Candy cigarettes, cinnamon swirl and satsumas. Young but competent; sweet, candy and light on the cask. Richer with water, a touch more malt.  With time, marijuana.

Body - More newspaper, malt loaf and seaside rock, it is like a boiled sweet with a dusting of black pepper and retronasal popping candy. A little more cask, more cake with water.

Finish - Quite long, quite drying, with lemon buttercream icing and chewed petals.

It's ok, a classy nose and a perfectly well balanced delivery. It's very drinkable and undeniably well made (the nose is particularly good). But a little boring overall to be honest, and feels young.

TBWC Mortlach, 18 years old, Batch 3, 48.9% A+

363 bottles

mortlach-that-boutiquey-whisky-company-whiskyNose - Ripe, lacquered, red fruits and dusty cask. It's fresh and fruity, then there's lipstick, then sawdust. Then chocolate, then leather jackets. Somehow this reminds me of a rehearsal studio, it's the sawdust and a kind of old cigarette smoke (and booze) in it. Fruitier with water, and a little more perfumed. I love it when whisky makes me feel younger…

Body - Soft, with white wine, peaches, chalk and candle wax. A touch of petrol, retronasally.

Finish - Buttercream, strawberry laces and extremely oily. Medium with a touch of cracked black pepper on repeated sips and chewed orange skin with water at the end.

An interesting and quite intense whisky. I was quite excited by the nose but the delivery, while delicious, isn't quite as remarkable. I think the strength is a little low.

TBWC Irish Single Malt #1, 24 years old, Batch 1, 46.8% B⊕

264 bottles

irish-single-malt-1-that-boutiquey-whisky-company-whiskeyNose - Old cask, fresh and herbal spirit, with new carpets, freshly cut cucumber and a lovely, deep but elegant (restrained) toffee. With time, that new carpet becomes something more like leatherette and there's a hint of marzipan. Better with water, the fruit is more pronounced, the cask better integrated.

Body - Peppery, with more of that cucumber skin and unripe mango. Slightly funky (although there is a really fabulous fruit cask struggling to get out under the funky cucumber). There is a very evocative “bit pulled off a pork shoulder at a BBQ competition” here (swiney rather than smokey) which very few of you will have experienced and I probably shouldn’t have mentioned.  Fruitier with water and a nice cup of tea.

Finish - Medium, quite savoury against the fruit, quite drying. New teabags and stale Sichuan peppercorns.

A bit odd. An extremely promising (like a 40 year old fino cask) but punch-pulling nose. Restrained fruit, a touch of funk, odd tropicality, slightly chemical overall.

TBWC Springbank, 21 years old, Batch 3, 48.2% A⊕+

415 bottles

springbank-21-year-old-that-boutiquey-whisky-company-whiskyNose - Dark and vinous, the kind of spirit that you get from under the counter at a festival or at the bottom of a cask in a warehouse. Coffee, reduced red wine, cherry chocolate, and undeniable Springbank sherry* cask. It's like a darker, drier Springbank 15, it has a lot of the class of 21 year old Springbank but isn't so restrained.

Body - Balanced sweet intensity, sawdust and cherry cola. It's sweet, sharp and Springbanky but not quite so classy as the nose promises.

Finish - Long with engine oil and freshly laid asphalt. Chopped parsley and panko. Tropical peat burps.

A ripe, intense, complicated and extremely delicious whisky that is quintessentially Springbank and like a 15 turned up to 11. 

* I believe this is a port cask, but this is what it smells like to me.

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