42. I’ll save you the trouble of counting.
Turns out that it’s not only the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything, but is also the number of releases from That Boutique-y Whisky Company to date.
I’m pleased to say that numbers 39-42 are as fabulous as those that preceded them, and am delighted to reveal that we’ve got yet another 4 releases to come before the end of the year (including time-travelling barmen, and an absolute belter of an Islay that’s something of an exclusive).
So – the explanations behind the madsense (madness and nonsense) on the labels then? Yes. Better do that:
First up, a whisky I’m absolutely delighted to be able to feature in this line-up as it’s something of a favourite. Ledaig.
Ledaig is the name given to the (heavily) peated output of Tobermory distillery on the Isle of Mull, and in my opinion is a strong rival to its more illustrious neighbours on Islay.
In this label we can see the personification of the spirit of Ledaig* leaping into space from its home on the Isle of Mull, swinging a war-hammer and heading off to Islay for a bit of a dust-up.
Ledaig – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company) – 57.1% – 217 bottles
Tasting Note for Ledaig – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company):
Nose: Aye, there be peat in here! Delicious, slightly vegetal, seaweedy peat as well as oatcakes. There's sweetness too with a just a hint of gummy bear and some golden syrup.
Palate: Rich porridge oats and demerara sugar, gone are the dry oatcakes. Glorious (and definitely seaweedy rather than vegetal now) peat is ever present.
Finish: Long lasting and mouth filling, changing now to golden barley and hobnobs as well as... well I'll let you guess (it starts with 'P').
Overall: It does exactly what it says on the tin, or the label rather – top notch, rich peaty whisky that's from the Isle of Mull, not Islay!
Next up – a more civilised setting. Why, it’s a medieval inn playing host to a conversation between Macduff, the foil to the titular character from Shakespeare’s ‘scottish play’ and a townsm’n. Macduff’s evidently got some business to attend to involving a certain someone, and is steadying his nerves beforehand with a cheeky little boilermaker (is that a certain beer from a certain animated sitcom on the counter? No. It can’t be. That would invite all sorts of nonsense.).
Macduff – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company) – 52% – 340 bottles
Tasting Note for Macduff – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company):
d'oh dough, and aromatic, almost floral lemon zest.
Palate: Lemon icing, grapefruit, and a touch of Lilt (the totally tropical carbonated beverage).
Finish: Slightly drying with light sponge cake.
Overall: A delightful and quite refreshing whisky that would work well in a long drink too.
Then there’s Strathmill. Just look at the colour on this one incidentally. It’s a big boy, for sure...
Now Strathmill has a somewhat pockmarked history. It was founded in the early 1800s as a porridge mill, which was converted to whisky production in the late 1800s. In 1895, the distillery was purchased by Gilbey’s (them of the Gin fame), whose backing enabled them to survive the Pattison Crisis a couple of years later. That link’s worth a look by the way, if only for a lesson about the power of parrots in marketing.
In the label, we can see a certain Golden-locked lady adjusting her porridge with a splash of the very gin that got the distillery through to today un-scathed.
Thanks to the power of Twitter, and specifically @maltwhiskybar for the idea on this label BTW – much appreciated.
Strathmill – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company) – 48.2% – 167 bottles
Tasting Note for Strathmill – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company):
Nose: Sweet floral top notes, thyme honey, creamy apple and lemon. Porridge with a touch of jam develops.
Palate: Comforting apple crumble, porridge oats and nutmeg.
Finish: Creamy barley, walnut and cooked apples with a hint of orange.
Overall: This one is juuust right!
Finally – Ben Nevis. Rather than explain this myself, I’ll simply cut and paste the bottling note written by our very own Sam that made me put coffee all over my monitor:
This jolly climber has hiked all the way up Ben Nevis to enjoy a glass of beautiful Boutique-y Ben Nevis single malt whisky while looking down at the Ben Nevis distillery, which sits at the foot of the mountain. Bliss.
However, what he doesn't know is that he is about to cause a black-hole to form in the space time continuum and disembowel the universe. You see, in the same way that typing "Google" into Google breaks the internet, if you drink Ben Nevis whisky on the summit of Ben Nevis whilst looking at the Ben Nevis distillery and holding a bottle that has a picture of you on top of Ben Nevis holding a bottle that has a picture of you on top of Ben Nevis, this rips apart the superstrings that hold all matter in the universe together. Well, the human race had a good run. See you on the other side, friends!
Ben Nevis – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company) – 49.7% – 161 bottles
Tasting Note for Ben Nevis – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company):
Nose: A fruity, estery nose offers mixed grapes and apple flesh as well as hard cheese, malt and dried herbs.
Palate: Warming and mouthwatering. Honeyed barley fills the palate, but a savoury edge is maintained.
Finish: Long with smoke and malty espresso.
Overall: A mountain of a dram, solemn, timeless and powerful.
See you soon for another thrilling instalment chums.
*or a scary big giant sort of superhero fella if that’s too verbose.