August was a rather eventful month as there was at least one virtual masterclass per week. One of which was a virtual masterclass by The Boutique-y Whisky Company’s (TBWC) Taiwan and SEA regional sales executive Kevin Clark.
The TBWC line up was a sample set designated for the Philippines. I forgot to ask if there was a theme to this as the lineup consisted of single malts from either Speyside or the Highlands. Nevertheless, Kevin hosted a great masterclass as he wasn’t afraid to give technical answers to simple questions. Which is unlike a lot of masterclasses where the presenter tends to give boring or scripted answers which don’t expand the horizons of drinkers. He mentioned the fermentation times of Blair Athol (50 hours) and Linkwood (72 hours). The type of stills from each distillery were also mentioned so the less geeky attendees can know of how different still shapes affect a spirit.
It’s also nice to finally know why TBWC decided to use 500ml bottles. According to Kevin, 500ml bottles allow for more spirits to be bottled. Which to me hopefully means they want to increase the chances of more people getting their hands-on what bottle/s they want. But with the right math it could also mean more profit for TBWC. I don’t see anything wrong with it as long as they only release good quality stuff. The spirits industry is a business at the end of the day.
I’m going to copy the order of whisky we tried for this review. $40 for the set, which means each 30ml sample bottle only cost me about $8.
Boutique-y Aultmore 13 year – review
Batch 16 is bottled at 46% strength.
On the nose: Upfront, I get mild scents of wax candles, a metallic scent, apples, dates, pears, honey and dried apricot. Behind those are undertones of melon, winter melon tea, lemon peel and orange marmalade.
In the mouth: An immediate taste of honey and pears. I get some sort of metallic note which breaks down into mild notes of winter melon tea, fuji apples, cinnamon, vanilla and cloves. After more swirling and a second sip, I get dates, dried apricots, almonds and shades of orange. There’s an undertone of old wooden furniture, toffee, thyme and tannins there also.
The nose isn’t as complex as the mouth. If it gave off more layers, I would have given this a 7. I really like how the notes alternate in the mouth. It’s fruity for a few seconds then the spices come out. After a bit more swirling in the tongue, different fruits come out then different spices and herbs come out after.
Boutique-y Glentauchers 10 year – review
Batch 9 is bottled at 50% strength.
On the nose: Sharp ethanol on upfront and all the way. Amidst this ethanol are mild scents of unripe persimmon, sapodilla and brown sugar. After these, I get undertones of vanilla, honey, cinnamon sticks, lemon peel, green apples and plums.
In the mouth: Sharp tastes of fuji apple, winter melon tea and honey. These give way to another wave of heat and give way to brown sugar syrup, toffee, a quick flash of lemon peel and a mish mash of fruits I can’t identify.
This is a bit too hot to enjoy. The ethanol just mutes the other flavors. It’s sad as I like the flavor profile of this. I can see myself liking this if the flavors were more coherent and not as muted by the ethanol. I’m curious if TBWC diluted this too quickly? Adding water may be a trend in spirits tastings but I follow the train of thought that adding water to spirits too quickly destroys it.
Boutique-y Strathmill 12 year – review
Batch 9 is bottled at 49% strength.
On the nose: I immediately get salted caramel, old wooden furniture, hay, barley husk and toffee. After that initial wave are caramelized apples, sour plums, a flash of dates and dried apricot and butterscotch. Another sniff gives off toffee, honey and vanilla.
In the mouth: There’s the salted caramel again but weaker. It’s followed by tannins, dark lager, vanilla and butterscotch, honey and caramelized apples. A flash of cloves, leather and old wooden furniture. Then this just repeats again.
The right amount of heat from a 49% abv. Yet despite having only a 1% ABV difference, there is a huge difference of heat coming from this and the Glentauchers. This isn’t very complex but I like how solid this is. There are no dull moments with this whisky. It’s just packed full of flavors that keep rotating. This is pretty damn good for my first Strathmill.
Boutique-y Linkwood 11 year – review
Batch 13 is bottled at 47.5% strength.
On the nose: Some initial scents of leather, wooden furniture, cinnamon, honey, vanilla, caramelized apples, fuji apple juice and pears. After a few more minutes of letting this oxidize, I get mild scents of lime peel, green apples, toffee, lager and dried apricots.
In the mouth: A bit of a metallic note upfront. It quickly dissipates and gives way to tannins, vanilla, honey, toffee, butterscotch and hazelnut. Along with these are undertones of lemon peel, leather, sapodilla and roasted squash. At the end are something salty, tannic and caramel-y.
The best Linkwood I’ve had so far. I’ve only had a couple of other Linkwoods from Signatory of also around the same age. But those were dull and disappointing. I like how this is complex, quite full-bodied and long-lasting. This is my favorite among the 5.
Boutique-y Highland 9 year single malt (Blair Athol) – review
Batch 12 is bottled at 48% strength.
On the nose: Hints of salinity which turn into salted caramel and toffee. The heat suddenly turns up. Behind it are sharp scents of brown sugar, winter melon tea, mild vanilla, mild honey, green and fuji apples.
In the mouth: I also get a metallic taste here but is enveloped by confectioners. Sort of what one tastes when drinking from a bottled beer. It’s the same for the others above too. After that metallic taste is a mix of herbs. I think I mostly get thyme and sage. Then the confectioner tastes come out. Toffee, caramelized apples, butterscotch, bits of dried coconut husk and honey. There’s that metallic taste again at the end.
A bit of a disappointing ending. I wish this set ended with the Linkwood so it could end with a high note. I like the flavors I get here but the metallic note gets annoying. This also lacks complexity as the flavors are rather monotonous.
Nice to hear the 50cl bottlings is about letting more people try their spirits. I think that’s a good thing – do we really need 70cl? Its almost 50% more than half a litre!
Sounds like a mixed bag of malts, which I’ve come to realise is what you’re going to get from TBWC. Not many other indies have such a range in terms of different distilleries. I’m not put off though as I’ve enjoyed picking things up I wouldn’t normally buy.
Thanks for the comment. I think companies like TBWC is onto something with the 50cl bottles. I’m curious when the bigger brands will do this for non-US releases just so they can bottle more of their limited stuff. Though I think that will hurt the value of each release.
I like the big range TBWC offers as well as their unique packaging but I’m not too sold on them yet. I’m more into what Douglas Laing does for now.