Rest & Be Thankful were a formative independent whisky bottler in my whisky journey; however, until now, I’d never owned a bottle from their collections.
I distinctly remember R&BT appearing at several whisky shows here in Melbourne, Australia around seven or eight years ago (maybe more or maybe less; time has a funny way of becoming twisted in life). Before the whisky shows I’d peruse the programme and choose the displays I would need to hit up straight away. I am not saying the doors would open and I would wander around, get my bearings, then make my way over to the R&BT stand. The doors would open, I’d invariably be somewhere near the front, and I’d beeline for the R&BT display like a guided missile intent on imbibing the finest spirits.
The reason why? R&BT always seemed to have Bruichladdich/Port Charlotte/Octomore on tasting. Independent bottlings from Bruichladdich and its other brands are rare enough. Whisky show veterans know: leave it late to get to certain tables and the excuses get rolled out. “Sorry, we’re out of that bottle,” or “Sorry, we need to save some for the second meeting.”
So, I’d be at the R&BT nice and early, determined not to miss out. As for buying R&BT? Ha! The bottles themselves were always out of my price range – particularly the distilleries listed above – but even the “general” releases seemed pricy relative to what else was available in the market.
Years passed and, to be honest, I forget about R&BT. They seem to have withdrawn from the Australian market. No offence taken from me; I’ll always have those fond whisky show memories and plenty of other whisky options available.
That was until a few weeks ago, when Australian retailed Nicks Wine Merchants offered a small selection of R&BT bottles at heavily discounted prices. At last, my moment came.
R&BT was created by Eamonn Jones and Aidan Smith, who previously worked with Bruichladdich, and were therefore able to become the independent bottler of their casks. They’ve since expanded to bottle many other distilleries and have taken an active interest in bottling high-end rum. The name Rest & Be Thankful comes from an inscription on a stone on the A83 in Scotland, a road that travels from Glasgow to the ferry to Islay. Built in 1753, travellers were encouraged to rest at the highest point of the road and, indeed, be thankful.
Though seemingly no longer releasing in Australia, these bottles will hopefully be a quality coda to my whisky show R&BT tasting sessions.
Rest & Be Thankful Glenrothes 10 Year Old Cask Strength – Review
Distilled 13 November 2009. Bottled 24 February 2020. 258 bottles from a bourbon cask. A devilish 66.6% ABV.
On the nose: Surprisingly soft, despite the satanic ABV. Classic Glenrothes, really. Leaning towards sweeter fruits, mango, passionfruit, red grapes. Custard cream biscuits and banana milk. Werther’s Original Cream Candies.
In the mouth: Almost unbelievably creamy in the mouth, with more banana milk and coconut cream. So dense and coating in the mouth, I am not sure I have had many drams quite like this. Toasted marshmallows. I add water in deference to the continued good health of my liver. This opens up barley sugar, floral flavours, and sliced apple with lime in the finish.
Glenrothes has long been a staple of the independent bottler scene and, indeed, I’ve owned a few releases at cask strength, particularly Gordon & Macphail. This is very good indeed, and an absolute bargain at the $130 I paid; though I’d balk at the usual price of $200.
Rest & Be Thankful Teaninich 10 Year Old Cask Strength – Review
Distilled 13 April 2009. Bottled 20 May 2019. 274 bottles from a bourbon hogshead. 60.4% ABV.
Colour: Slightly darker gold.
On the nose: Very different than the Glenrothes, much spicier and more peppery. Grassy, too, but I keep coming back to the black pepper. Chalk, flint, gravel; very clean flavours, if that makes sense. Mint sauce and fresh limes.
In the mouth: The beauty of whisky is in the sheer variety. Two ten-year-old whiskies from bourbon casks at ABVs north of 60%, two markedly different outcomes. This has a distinctly cereal mouthfeel and also aniseed, dried apricots, more of the spiciness from the nose. It seems to be a shapeshifter, hard to nail down or define. When you think you have a handle on it, it becomes something different. None of this being the most descriptive or useful information. Smoky pepperoni and oily sardines. Dark liquorice. I need some fresh air.
When in doubt, buy whisky out of bourbon casks. The Teaninich is a stunner in that it defies easy categorisation or definition. I paid a mere $140; the full price of $200 may have been too rich for a lot of wallets, but I follow the logic: pay for the experience.
In fact, this is the first bottle of Teaninich I have owned and I understand this Diageo owned distillery has an increasingly fervent following. Chalk me up in the “intrigued” category.