Well these have certainly been a wee while coming, but all good things, etc...
Truth is, I've sort of forgotten that any other type of whisky other than 'peated' exists given our recent exploits, but looking back at these labels reminds me that yes. They do indeed exist, and if memory serves, many of them are delicious.
Let's start with the very first Blended Whisky ever produced by That Boutique-y Whisky Company; Blended Whisky Number One.
Two seconds, and I'll just don the cap of immodesty... This really, really is some of the finest work we've put out to date, and that can sort of be explained by the process behind the blending (which in turn explains the label). [removes cap]
I find it tricky to put into words, but if I had to explain the process of creating this blend – it would be something along the lines of creating a 3-dimensional entity, completely devoid of any imperfections or 'spiky bits'. This label is the embodiment of that philosophy – a pair of velvet gloves lovingly caressing a chrome-polished sphere.
Blended Whisky #1 – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company) – 50.3% – 148 bottles
Tasting Note for Blended Whisky #1 – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company):
Nose: Sherried spice, creamy vanilla, rich tobacco leaf and a little hint of oak. Complex, and it all compliments each other excellently.
Palate: Dark spices with touches of clove and ginger. Dried fruits develop throughout and become juicier. Brazil nuts and oak further on.
Finish: Rich, satisfying, well spiced and very long.
Overall: A top quality, finely balanced blend from the Boutique-y bunch. The visualising seems to have really worked out great.
Second up, we've got the very first batch of Bruichladdich – pleasingly enough launched when we were on Islay itself. Doesn't really need much explanation this one – it's a generation-game-style conveyor-belt featuring representations of the various bottlings put out by Bruichladdich since the distillery was re-initialised.
First one to get them all in comments below wins 'something nice'.
Bruichladdich – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company) – 49.6% – 94 bottles
Tasting Note for Bruichladdich – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company):
Nose: Wonderfully malty with a bit of coastal, pebble beach character. Sweet, ripe clementine too.
Palate: The palate opens with clean barley, then moves on to vibrant orange peel and a generous helping of fruit salad.
Finish: Re-emergence of the clean barley for the mid-length finish, which just begs you to take another sip. Oh, go on, then!
Overall: A very moreish Bruichladdich indeed, one that would definitely earn a Brucie Bonus (or was that Play Your Cards Right...?)
Third is Glen Grant. A Speyside Stalwart. This distillery was once run by Major James Grant – who by all accounts was a superb fellow. He liked nothing more than tearing around his estate in Rothes in his motor car (the first in Scotland), and loved a wee bit of hunting now and then.
This label depicts one of the less sporting methods of acquiring his trophies (or more likely for simply clearing the waters of dangerous beasties?) – chuzzing sticks of dynamite into watering holes to kill Crocodiles. Superb*. This would inevitably have led to some somewhat grizzly finished articles (a thinly veiled effort to disguise the link to crap taxidermy).
Glen Grant – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company) – 50.1% – 138 bottles
Tasting Note for Glen Grant – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company):
Nose: A base of fragrant cereal with cooked apples and pecans, perhaps in a pie together, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with crushed nuts.
Palate: Subtle honey and nuts with cereal, a bit like Crunchy Nut. There's hints of oak and barley here to enjoy too.
Finish: The oak develops on the long finish with plenty of spice. Golden cereals.
Overall: A sweet, nutty single malt from Glen Grant. You'd better snap some up quick before every bottle says "See you later, alligator" or "In a while, crocodile."
Next we have yet another label linked to the madcap Major – this time it's the ghost of Biawa Makalaga – Major Grant's personal valet, who he brought back with him from a hunting trip in Zimbabwe.
Biawa became something of a local figure in the town of Rothes, remaining for many years after the Major's death until he too passed away in 1972. Buried in the local cemetery (directly across the way from Glenrothes Distillery), the ghost of Biawa was said to have appeared on a number of occasions before being finally laid to rest by University Professor Cedric Wilson following an argument with the aforementioned deceased about a pair of new stills that had been recently installed on a ley-line. Yep. That.
In this label we can see Biawa kicking back with a Gin and Tonic Jelly and reading an account of the exploits of those who are guests at Rothes house. 'nuff said.
Glenrothes – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company) – 47.9% – 235 bottles
Tasting Note for Glenrothes – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company):
Nose: Sweet gingerbread men from the good old days (you know, when you got given one as a treat instead of having to buy it yourself), soft blueberries, honey, orange zest and barley.
Palate: Waves of golden syrup and honey, one after the other. Underneath these amber waves you'll find notes of ginger and allspice.
Finish: A rather long, dry finish, rich with barley.
Overall: Oh yes, this is a delicious dram that you can definitely raise a toast with.
Next we come to Linkwood. Linkwood has, like many distilleries, replaced its entire still setup over the course of its life. Trigger's Broom anyone?
Also – the adhesive that the bearded chap who's doing the mending's using? What's that doing then? Works on two levels you see.
Linkwood – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company) – 51.2% – 92 bottles
Tasting Note for Linkwood – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company):
Nose: It opens with thick malt which develops into rich cereal with papaya, peach and plenty of sliced green apple.
Palate: Crisp with some grip. Green apple skin continues from the nose, as does the cereal, though it has become much more fragrant.
Finish: Quite drying and long with peach and the final hints of cereal.
Overall: A lubbly jubbly dram that packs some seriously superb cereal notes throughout.
There has been something of a re-imagining of the Tobermory label too, you may be able to see. Any excuse to lever an Alan Partridge reference into any aspect of what we do must, without hesitation, be taken.
The excuse here? Well – it's an un-Pete-ed Tobermory after all.
Tobermory – Batch 3 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company) – 48.1% – 208 bottles
Tasting Note for Tobermory – Batch 3 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company):
Nose: The nose is sweet and nutty with plenty of sultanas and cereal, not unlike Just Right. Floral hints of geranium and and oily cereals.
Palate: Quite perfumed and intriguingly sweet with star fruit. Golden barley and just a touch of salinity.
Finish: Sweet cereal and a good waft of sea breeze.
Overall: An excellent Tobermory, complex and satisfying. Back of the net!
Aaaaand, we also have a new Caperdonich – Batch 4.
For now – that's all folks. We hope you enjoy them – the next instalment will be coming your way as soon as it can.
*not superb. Please don't get us, animal/reptile-rights-folk, we're only messing.