TBWC’s Bruichladdich 13 year 47.6% “It’s a weird one!”

Our host decided to pay tribute to whisky veteran Jim McEwan with an interesting line-up bottled by “That Boutique-y Whisky Company.” And what could be more quintessential than a whisky from Bruichladdich?

We sampled blind before the reveal…

Bruichladdich 13 year (May 2018) Batch 11, 47.6% (TBWC) Bottle 199 of 478

  • Nose – A peculiar sour, metallic copper, mineral, sharp, rubbing alcohol, quite odd…. as we gave it more time, started to find liquorice, salt, light hint of bitter orange peal, wondered if there was a bit of tobacco leaf? A bit of spice then shifted back to an eraser or rubber.
  • Palate – First reaction was “water from a copper pot”, quite oily, bitter cloves, wood char, different and changing
  • Finish – Limited

One remarked it was initially like a “chemist gone mad!” Overall it was quite distinctive and different. Most of us struggled with this one. We couldn’t put our finger on what it reminded us of and were frankly “flummoxed.”

So we added water and gave it some more time…

  • Nose – Much better… while the mineral element remained, it shifted more into a nice sea salt with some sweetness too
  • Palate – Was that a light fruitiness now emerging?
  • Finish – Still limited

One of the best quotes is this whisky was like “Art Cinema!” A bit difficult yet worth exploring.

That is exactly what is wonderful about the world of whisky – with such a range to click with practically every palate preference. And sometimes it is good to have a more challenging whisky – something a bit weird just to shake things up and make it interesting.

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That Boutique-y Whisky Company

Here is what the folks over at That Boutique-y Whisky Company have to say:

The wonderful Bruichladdich distillery on the Isle of Islay was founded back in 1881, and for a long while they happily produced tasty whiskies for the enjoyment of all. In the latter half of the 1900s, the distillery was closed and reopened a number of times, though the doors are firmly open these days, with some phenomenal and inventive whiskies flying out of them (well, not actually flying – they’re probably transported on a truck of some description). 

They’ve produced a number of stunning expressions, and often they’ll let you in on the thought that goes into the direction they wanted to follow with the whisky. This has resulted in some intriguing ranges with all sorts of weird and wonderful names – many of which are referenced on the label of our Bruichladdich bottling.

Tasting notes:

  • Nose: Caramelised dates, polished oak, a hint of oatcake and white wine.
  • Palate: Continued wine-like fruitiness, followed by a crack of black pepper.
  • Finish: Mineral dryness and strawberry laces.
And what would this Bruichladdich set you back for a 50 cl bottle? The recommended retail price is £76.95.

What else did we sample in our tribute to Jim McEwan?

As for other Whisky Lady Bruichladdich explorations? Too many to count… yet here are a few highlights, including Whisky Live Singapore 2016 and an amazing Peat Progression Evening!

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TBWC’s Mackmyra 3 year 47.2% – The “Friendly” Dram

We can’t help type-casting whiskies… some are sherry bombs, others peat monsters, some sociable whereas others are elusive, complex and even at times difficult.

And how did our original Mumbai tasting group’s new year adventures begin? With a rather “friendly” whisky from Sweden.

As per our normal practice, it was sampled completely blind before the reveal. Here is what we discovered…

Mackmyra 3 year, Batch 1, 47.2% That Boutiqu-y Whisky Company Bottle 68 of 220

  • Nose – Initially greeted us with a sour fruit, curds, earthy, leafy, coastal, salt, wet stones, wandering in the rainforest, castor oil, green apple, hummus, dry apricot, spice…  all before the 1st sip! Then a sharpness and much more pronounced spice emerged, light tobacco and even coconut.
  • Palate – Lots of bitter, spice, made us “pucker” up, yet with that prick was character and substance, smooth, straight forward yet not in the least bit harsh
  • Finish – A lovely spice… not very long but nice

For two of us, there was something teasingly familiar about this whisky… that we couldn’t quite place.

And what was it like with water and bit of patience?

  • Nose – After releasing a whiff of suffer, a lovely perfume wafted out, talcum powder… much later with the revisit was an oily varnish and peaches
  • Palate – Much sweeter yet still has a bitter quality…. as time passed, it became sweeter and sweeter, increasingly enjoyable as it opened up even more

For most, water was the way to go… while it initially brought out the spice a bit more, it then mellowed the whisky out rather nicely. Beyond making it sweeter, it made it even more approachable, one could even call it a very “friendly” whisky.

After sampling all the whiskies we returned to find a yummy cinnamon candy, bubblegum… really quite delightful. I loved it and would happily come back to this one!

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That Boutique-y Whisky Company

What do the folks at That Boutique-y Whisky Company have to say?

Should you find yourself near an imposing and immovable-looking wall surrounded by a grove of cloudberries in the forests of Sweden, look for the moonlight to guide you to a doorway etched in the rocks. An inscription will glow upon the archway, instructing you of how to enter. Don’t bother with incantations or hexes. Those will get you nowhere. The inscription is a riddle. Answer correctly and the walls will shift, allowing you to enter the Mackmyra distillery, home to many superb Swedish single malts – and we’ve bottled some for you! Mackmyra have experimented with maturing whisky in casks that previously contained cloudberry wine, and whispers among the trees (or are they ents?) suggest that some of that whisky has made it into this expression…

Tasting notes:

  • Nose:  Marzipan, juicy apricot and raspberry, hints of brown sugar.
  • Palate: Pastries filled with quince jam. Cherry Bakewell and cinnamon.
  • Finish: Rather long and sweet, though a prickle of peppercorn does develop.

And what would this set you back? £128 for a 50 cl bottle.

I must also say the cloudberry wine clearly added a cheerful note to this Mackmyra.

What other Jim McEwan whiskies from That Boutique-y Whisky Company (TBWC) did we try?

As for me, it is perhaps NOT such a surprise that this whisky was somehow familiar… Thanks to fabulous Nordic and Swedish connects, I’ve had great opportunities to try more than one whisky from this rather interesting distillery:

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