That Boutique-y Whisky Company – Tennessee Bourbon Whisky

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I have had a real craving for bourbon in the last six months. This might be down to the warmer weather or it could just have been inspired by planning and visiting the states this last summer.

I was lucky enough to sample some real beautiful bourbons from the bargain of the century, Henry McKenna 10, through to some great single barrel offering from Bookers, E H Taylor and Blanton’s.

When I saw that Boutique-y were putting out a single barrel Tennessee Bourbon I knew I had to try this thing! I initially thought it was going to be an offering from Jack Daniels until the spelling of Whisky was highlighted to me.

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George Dickel is the other famous brand of whisky/whiskey/bourbon(I’m not even going there), to come out of Tennessee and they spell it like we do… Whisky!

As with most things in Bourbon history the facts get a bit blurry at times, George Dickel started producing whisky in 1870, if the bottles are to be believed and 1877 if you refer to actual documentation, either way its been going ever since and is currently owned by that small brand Diageo.

The most popular regular bottlings are the Dickel rye and the Dickel No. 12, both great drams.

This Boutique-y beast however is 14 years old and bottled at 52.2%. Whisky#1 got me excited.

Tasting notes:

N vanilla, vanilla ice cream, caramel, orange custard. Milky way stars!

P butterscotch creme, toffee popcorn, masses vanilla, oak and cacao

F vanilla, oak, chocolate truffle and more vanilla!
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Conclusion:
Great kick, amazing chocolate notes and masses upon masses of sweet vanilla. If you like vanilla, this is the one for you, I could taste it for about twenty minutes after drinking it.
I’d happily get another one when this one has been heel slayed!
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I’ve been slacking

I’ve had a whole heap of things going on this year.

Rest assured I will be stepping up my review game and you should see a few more soon.

I’ve been building my collection nicely and have expanded in to bourbon and rye’s.

Watch this space.

🥃

#BlindTasting Session 2

The reason I chose E2…

From the moment I first discovered my beloved Laphroaig 10, I was hooked on that glorious Peat smoke flavour. Not long after buying my first bottle of Laphroaig, I wanted more peat and more smoke; naturally I went looking for the Compass Box Peat Monster.

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Being new to whisky I didn’t really fancy paying over £40.00 for a blended whisky. Call it being easily influenced by the snobbery that surrounds blends by “serious” whisky drinkers. As time progressed and my palette evolved, I moved away from drinking solely Islay whiskies. I was swayed by more delicate flavours and smoothness, less commonly found in the rocky shores of my beloved island drams. I started trying a few non-island blends and discovered that maybe I had been overlooking the truly spectacular art of blending whisky.

I began bolstering my collection with whisky from all over Scotland and the world (I’m yet to acquire a Mongolian whisky), however I made sure I always had a good few Islay drams to keep me ticking over and to satisfy my peat fix. I was buying blends but hadn’t yet stumped up the cash for a truly peated blend.

Whilst at WhiskyLive in London this year, I caught sight of the Compass Box stand and their International Commercial Director Phil Keene. Phil asked me what I liked and after a quick chat, his finger moved towards the Peat Monster blend…but it didn’t stop. His finger carried on moving and settled on their Great King Street Glasgow Blend. “you’re going to like this one the best and it’s the cheapest here”.

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Phil was not wrong. I was blown away by this smoke bomb of a dram.

On the nose it gave me a big old smokey punch in the face but it then brushed me down and apologised with some fruity sweetness – limes, cherry, oak, hints of fudge, nutmeg and cocoa.

On the palette I was getting that wonderful Laphroaig taste along with plums and cherry.

The finish comprises of smoke and cherry with the odd plum popping up now and again.

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It’s made up of:

34% Grain Whisky from Cameronbridge, 11y/o, First Fill American Standard Barrel

35% Malt Whisky from Benrinnes, 12 y/o, Sherry Butt

17% Malt Whisky from Laphroaig, 11 y/o, Rejuvinated Hogshead

8% Malt Whisky from Clynelish, 8 y/o, First Fill American Standard Barrel

2% Malt Whisky from Miltonduff, 14 y/o, First Fill American Standard Barrel

4% A marriage of Clynelish, Teaninich and Dailuaine, 11 y/o, New French Oak Barrels.

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I picked up my bottle for under £30.00 and for that price I’m more than happy to punched in the face a dusted down many, many times by this gorgeous blend.

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TBWC Millstone 6yo 48.9% abv 

Great write up

craigleewatson

This is the second of the samples I had the opportunity to try from Boutique-y, in a quest to try whisky from around the world.

Millstone is one that I did feature in my around the world in 80 distilleries series, produced in Netherlands by the Zuidam family. They have been producing spirits for over 50 years, with a portfolio that includes Fruit Liqueurs, Rum, Gin, Genever and Whisky. The first single malt whisky they brought to the market was a 5yo, launched in 2007 matured in first refill casks and new American oak barrels. One of the unique things about the Millstone range is the labels, all the labels are hand fitted with the details of each bottle being handwritten on them. With seven expressions in the range from the original 5yo to a 12yo Sherry cask and including a 100% Rye whisky.

Picture courtesy of That Boutique-y whisky…

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Redbreast 12 Single Pot Irish Whiskey 40% abv

When I was in Dublin recently I had the pleasure of visiting the fantastic L. Mulligan Whiskey Shop on Clarendon Street. It has recently opened its doors and I had seen some buzz about the place on twitter. 

I got chatting to Michael Foggarty who talked me through the story behind a lot of the Irish Whiskey brands, their past and the future of Irish Whiskey… If you’re in town, pop in. 

Michael recommended a few different whiskeys, amongst them, the Redbreast 12.

I ended up buying two bottles of the Method & Madness, French Cheshunt finish. I did however pick up an Irish Distillers sample selection at the loop duty-free store. 

I opened this little bad boy up tonight for my #ThirstyThursday selection and here’s what I discovered:

N – Citrus, almond, leather, marzipan and rye 

P – Honey, pepper, hint of star anise, warm and oily

F – Oak, star anise, ginger with a sweet honey undertone 

C – That nose takes you away to a wonderful place, the taste and finish help you to settle in. 

Lovely dram at a good price. 

I should have bought a bottle 🤦🏼‍♂️😉

What they say… 

One of the most decorated Irish whiskeys, Redbreast is the largest selling Single Pot Still Irish whiskey in the world and is regarded as the definitive expression of traditional Pot Still whiskey.

Full of aroma and flavour, Redbreast 12 Year Old benefits from a strong contribution from distillates which have matured in Oloroso sherry casks, giving it its trademark Christmas cake character.

That Boutique-y Whisky Company Arran 19 batch 6

Anybody who has read my WhiskyLive blog, would know that I love That Boutique-y Whisky Company. I hadn’t purchased any bottles before the show and have bought two since. 

I was drawn to this bottling as it features the artist who designs TBWC’s labels, Emily Chappell,  as well as a reminder of my home town back in Wales. 

The ship in the background is the Waverley, during the summer the ship sales around the waters of Scotland, on a Wednesday it passes the coast of Arran funnily enough. In the winter however it makes it’s way to the Bristol Channel and my home town of Penarth(at least it did when I was younger). 

It seemed only right that I had to buy a bottle… So I did:

N – Pineapple, dates, caramel, vanilla and physalis

P – Pink lady Apples, orange zest, spicy and sweet

F – Orange, Orange zest, malt and honey 

A lovely drop indeed. A perfect dream for a warm spring evening. 

Twitter @WhiskyWings 

Tomatin 14 y/o Highland Single Malt – Portwood

I’ll start by saying go and buy this whisky… It deserves to be an option in every home and bar in the land.tom

I love the colour, It’s natural. I love the fact that it has been aged for around two years, in port casks. Those port casks have held tawny port for around fifty years… FIFTY!

N – Dried red fruit, oak, strawberry, honey, honeycomb, lemon, nutty and melon tones.

P – It’s oh so velvety smooth and sweet, Rich red fruit, oak, chocolate, dried fruit, coffee, fresh chocolate muffin. Great mouth feel.

F – It’s got a long finish, slight dryness, masses of rich red fruit, chocolate, hazelnut, oak, coffee… It’s a really long finish, orange peel, more chocolate muffin… it’s still going, slight mint and melon rolls around with that dried fruit.

C – I LOVE THIS – At around £55.00 it is an absolute no brainer, go and buy one immediately.

Whisky Live, London, 1st April 2017

I’ve been lucky enough to play rugby at the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) in the City of London on a good few occasions, it’s a truly unique place in the heart of London and every time i’ve been there, I’ve woken up with a very sore head the next day. There were no surprises that the same thing happened when I woke up on the 2nd April with one belter of a hangover, so back to the 1st April…

I got to the base and was shown in to the event reception area, the tranquility of the grounds was instantly forgotten as I burrowed my way inside, scooping up my Glencairn Glass, Highland Park 12 and a show brochure en-route. I made my way inside the main hall and a rather large smile spread across my face.

I clocked the Paul John stand first and made a mental note not to miss that stand… I made a dart straight to That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s stand.

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From the moment I saw their Back to the Future style label on the Laphroaig 12, they well and truly had me hooked. I headed straight over to James @MavDrinksJames, who was quizzing a couple of guys about the distillery behind their secret distillery batch #1 and #2.

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The guys weren’t sure but I couldn’t keep my mouth shut(it’s a Welsh thing) I won’t spoil the surprise for others but it earned me a thumbs up and a promise of a secret dram.

That Boutique-y Whisky Company Springbank 21

That Boutique-y Whisky Company Macallan 29 – my reward and totally amazing.

I moved on to the Nikka Stand next, fighting my way through to the front, I managed to get a sample of the Single Malt Miyagiko, before the popularity of the Japanese stand started to grate on me. I am one of those annoying blokes who actually likes to ask questions about what I’m drinking(at the start of the day at least).

Nikka Single Malt Miyagikyo

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Next up was a trip to Sweden, well to the Mackmyra Whisky stand to be precise. Here I met Alex who was a bundle of energy, he was very knowledgable and I could bend his ear a bit.

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He gave myself and few other lads a flight through the company’s drams…

Mackmyra Brukswhisky – This bad boy would be great on an introduction to whisky flight

Mackmyra Svensk Ek

Mackmyra Svensk Rok

Mackmyra Ten Years

Mackmyra Moment Malstrom

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Alex was great and began giving some other lads their flight, whilst we were starting the Svensk Rok. He managed to engage everyone and remember which dram we were on and when we might need a drop of water.

Up next Compass Box. I’m a big fan of this fantastic blender due to their openness and honesty around what makes up their drams.

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I got chatting to Phil Keene, the International Commercial Director for Compass Box, who was on the stand their stand. He asked me about my favourite whiskies and styles and claimed, quite correctly I might add, what my favourite bottle would be.

Compass Box Hedonism

Compass Box Asyla

Compass Box Oak Cross

Compass Box Spice Tree

Compass Box Great King Street Glasgow Blend – Phil’s prediction

Compass Box Peat Monster

Was he right? Of course he was, the Glasgow blend was one of the biggest surprises of the day and I’ll be getting a couple soon.

I made a stop by the Teeling stand and got chatting to a few other drammers in the immediate area. I’d been to the Distillery a couple of weeks before hand and was very impressed by what’s happening there. I’d say its the one to watch but that’s old news as they have already started scooping up awards.

Teeling Small BatchWhiskey

Teeling Single Malt Whiskey

Teeling Single Malt The Revival 13 y/o Whiskey

Next stop, Tomintoul and Glencadam.

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Following my recent purchase of the Tomatin 14 y/o Portwood, I was keen to have a try of some other Portwood finishes.

Tomintoul 15 Portwood Finish

Glencadam 12 Portwood Finish

I shot back to That Boutique-y Whisky Company for a few more delights and got to have a good chat with Dave Worthington @WhiskyDiscoverey who is a top lad. He was kind enough to let me try the spectacular Bunnahabhain 33 y/o.

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That Boutique-y Whisky Company Secret Distillery Batch 2
That Boutique-y Whisky Company Secret Distillery Batch 1

That Boutique-y Whisky Company Rye
That Boutique-y Whisky Company Blended Scotch Batch #2 18
That Boutique-y Whisky Company Blended Scotch Batch #3 23
That Boutique-y Whisky Company Bunnahabhain 33

After I’d annoyed Dave and the lads enough, the time had come to go and see Kevin Abrook of Ailsa Bay for his master class.

I’m going to do a separate story on Ailsa Bay but needless to say it’s on my list of bottles to buy.

Ailsa Bay Refill Barrel

Ailsa Bay Hudson Cask

Ailsa Bay New Oak

Ailsa Bay New American Oak

Ailsa Bay

I have to admit after the cask strength samples here I was more than half cut, don’t judge me I was having a lot of fun.

I hit up Paul John next and feel a bit guilty…

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I was looking forward to having a good chat with Shilton and Craig and to have a try of their Peated Select Cask. I feel slightly silly though as I think by this point of the day I was talking absolute crap, thanks for putting up with me. It’s possible I tried more than one sample but by this point I’m working off pictures!

Paul John Peated Select Cask

Towards the end of the show I went and harassed the Boutique-y boys again and went through all the samples I could squeeze in before the end of a wonderful day

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That Boutique-y Whisky Company Single Malt Dutch Whisky Millstone 6

That Boutique-y Whisky Company Single Grain 52

That Boutique-y Whisky Company Lagavulin 10

That Boutique-y Whisky Company Glenlossie 25

That Boutique-y Whisky Company Mortlach 18

And that folk’s was my wonderful day, I tried some amazing whiskies and met loads of cool people, including the whiskylovingpianist

The whisky fabric community were out in numbers and made the hangover worth it.

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Thanks for putting up with this Welsh Whisky Novice

Mike

Tomintoul Trio – 10 y/o, 16y/o & 25y/o

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in Dublin Airport’s “The Loop” Duty-free store. The selection available was amazing and far beyond what I’ve seen, at other duty free stores, since I’ve got in to this whole whisky thing. My eyes lit up at some of the absolute bargains on offer there, sadly as I was flying to the EU the deals were not available to me!

I did manage to get hold of some miniatures from Tomintoul, Teeling and Irish Distillers.IMG_20170325_151448

I’ve been looking at the Tomintoul 16 for a little while on amazon as it seemed to represent good value for the age, so when I saw that set of the Tomintoul 10, 16 & 25 at a great price I leapt at the chance.

Lets begin…

Tomintoul 10 y/o 40%

N – Apple, pear drops, dried banana and a whack of Sherry

P – Very smooth, a mild orchard fruit sweetness, raisins, oak and cloves

F – Drying, fruity, hints of cranberry or green apple, oak

C – Not a bad drop, I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it but I’d be more than happy if I was given a bottle.

Tomintoul 16 y/o 40%

N – Citus fruits, lemon oil, red fruits and a tiny hint of smoke

P – Very smooth, vanilla, almond, malt, oak and finishing on peach

F – Drying finish, citrus fruits bounce around and linger, it’s a longer finish than the 10 y/o, coconut and charred oak .

C – This was £32.45 for well over a month on amazon, just before Christmas, at that price you’d be mad not to buy a bottle.

Tomintoul 25 y/o 40%

N – Pear, baked apple, vanilla, brown sugar(nearly caramel) and the odd pop of toffee

P – Sweet and Spicy at the same time, honey, pepper, the caramel now makes a definite appearance and oranges.

F – More caramel, rich red fruits, apple, pepper sherried oak and macadamia nut

C – It’s an entirely nice and sensible 25 y/o whisky, that is smooth and has complexity. It’s no world beater and at around £180.00, if you’re on a tight budget, I’m not seeing the value.

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All of three of the whiskies deserve a higher ABV than 40% and I think it would make them all a bit better and certainly more desirable… However they are called the gentle dram for a reason.

If you were saving for the 25 y/o, I think you may be happier with a bottle of the 16 y/o and a bottle of the gorgeous 15 y/o Portwood finish.

The BenRaich Birnie Moss 48% Single Malt 

If you’re an Islay peat lover then welcome to a little gem from Speyside. The BenRaich Birnie Moss is an “intensely peated” single malt.

It’s got plenty of kick at 48% and allows you take it down if you fancy it. 

N – Well hello smoke! Grass, iodine, malt,  citrus fruit and honeycomb 

P – Yellow apple which merges in to green apple with a bucketful of smoke and hints of lavender

F – Smoke, oak, hazelnut and raisin

Conclusion – this is a great value single malt and something different to the Islay offerings. Well worth a try at £35.00
What they say…