London Whisky Show – TBWC’s Fabulous Invergordon 44 year Grain 47.6%

I think we could be called ‘frequent flyers’ of That Boutique-y Whisky Co’s stand at the London Whisky Show. which meant we made it into being offered a ‘nip’ from Dave’s hip flask… Over the two whisky festivals, he had kept aside some extra special grains from:

  • Port Dundas 8 year old
  • North British 26 year old
  • Invergordon 44 year old
  • Cameronbridge 39 year old

We were fortunate to try an Invergordon grain – wow!!! Until this point, I had only tried Invergordon once before – a 28 year from Douglas Laing’s Old Particular series which was a bit of a mixed experience.

However, TBWC did not disappoint!

Invergordon 44 year (Aug 2018) Batch 18 47.6%, 305 bottles RRP £142.95

  • Nose – A curiosity box! Toasted coconut, roasted hazelnuts, then cream… reminding one of a frothy milky caramel coffee concoction!
  • Palate – Liquid gold! Complex, balanced, the complete package! Again… I was reminded of an indulgently sweet dessert or maybe even a Mars bar!
  • Finish – Soft yet firmly remains, long and lasting

We were completely smitten! It was such a beautiful, elegant whisky and such a remarkable to have an opportunity to try a slice of history.

What do the folks over at TBWC have to say?

We love tasty single grain whisky, which is why we were more than happy to bottle even more from the Invergordon Distillery in the Highlands! For a short while, there was a malt whisky distillery in the same complex as Invergordon, but these days Invergordon produces top quality single grain which ages in the cask very well indeed. Invergordon used to be home to some beautiful Coffey stills, so we thought we’d include a technical diagram of a Coffey still on the label of our Invergordon. A very technical, scientific and completely accurate diagram. Sort of. Look, “Coffee” sounds a lot like “Coffey”, ok?

Tasting notes

  • Nose: At first there’s warming cinnamon, hazelnut and burnt caramel, followed by hints of milky coffee.
  • Palate: A thick mouthfeel with nutty praline and wintery spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom.
  • Finish: The creamier flavours disappear to reveal a crisp and fresh finish with citrus and peppery flavours lingering.

Would we agree? Definitely!

And with that, our remarkable “select” journey through TBWC offerings at The Whisky Show in London, 2022 was done! With a HUGE thank you to @BoutiqueyDave both for this beauty and also for helping us explore under his guidance:

TBWC European whiskies:

TBWC Scottish drams, including two beautiful blends:

And even tried Christian Drouin’s 21 year Calvados!

Which meant we managed to work our way through 10 of the 21 bottles on offering (plus this bonus!), skipping those I had tried the previous weekend in Paris… wow!!!

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London Whisky Show – TBWC Part 3 with a Secret Speyside + Calvados!

That Boutique-y Whisky Co floored us with their range at the London Whisky Show. After quite the ‘continental tour’, we simply had to go back to merry old Scotland for a ‘proper’ dram! In this case, part of their “Secret Speyside” series (ahem Glenrothes!)

Speyside #3 (Glenrothes) 6 year (2022) Batch 2, 49.3% (TBWC)

  • Nose – Burst of fruits, vanilla, and strawberries with meringue and cream, beneath the sweet dessert was some wood
  • Palate – Such a classic quality, full, well-rounded, lovely balance
  • Finish – Rich honey

Though it was robust, it could still make a great ‘day dram’ too. The only problem was this clearly isn’t one to just sniff, swish and zip through!

However, one rises to the challenge of such a tasting bounty to keep to a path of light samples, sometimes even veery off the path of whiskies alone! This brings us to our next offering – cheekily crossing out the “whisky” from their That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s label, our attention was drawn to Christian Drouin’s Calvados.

Now… for those less familiar with Calvados, it is a brandy made in Normandy from apples or pears and Christian Drouin is a venerated name for its multi-generation commitment to quality. More recently they have branched out to cidar and gin (Le Gin – beautiful!), however, their core focus remains the family traditions with Calvados.

Christian Drouin Calvados 21 year (Dec 2020/2022) (TBWC)

  • Nose – What a delight! Over-ripe stewed apples, butterscotch toffee, dates, yum!
  • Palate – Pucker up! This is a serious Calvados – delicious! Think of fresh green young apples which then develop into a delightful apple crisp, sprinkled with roasted nuts and cinnamon on top

Such a treat to try something different like this! Would have loved to try on its own when it isn’t sandwiched between whiskies!

Here’s what the folks at TBWC have to say:

This is a particularly intriguing Calvados from Christian Drouin. The story for this one begins at the very end of the year 2000, when the spirit was distilled.

  • N: Rich, fruity and floral.  Delicate orchard blossom followed by stewed apples, caramelised poached pears. raisins and Medjool dates. A complex, and dvine nose
  • P: Complex and beautifully balanced.  Notes of cinnamon baked apples and a delicate wood spice. Waxy wood polish, roast nuts, and raisins. Drying, waxy  finish. Just beautiful!

So then… what next? Shsssssshhhhh…. Dave had a nip of something extra special in his hip flask!

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London Whisky Show – TBWC Brilliant Blends

After the stunning That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s 10th anniversary 45-year Blended Grain sampled in Paris, I didn’t know what to expect with their other older blends on offer at the London Whisky Show. However, we couldn’t pass up trying both:

  • Cutler & Stubbs 42-year Blend (2022) Batch 1, 44.1% (TBWC) Bottle 28 out of 490, retails for approx £225
  • St. Thomas 32-year Blend (2022) Batch 1, 40.1% (TBWC) 398 bottles, retails for approx £105

Starting 1st with the Cutler & Stubbs 42 year Blend Batch 1, 44.1%, our quick sniff and swish left the following impression:

  • Nose – Caramel, rich, loads of stewed fruits, vanilla and cream
  • Palate – Gorgeous all over, dessert in a glass, balanced
  • Finish – Beautiful and smooth

Though not the same, it reminded me a bit of the Hedges & Butler Royal 21-year we sampled earlier in the year – a blend from the 1970s/early 1980s. It had a classic style, which was mirrored by the artwork – with the TBWC humor – more in keeping with something from 50+ years ago.

We then moved on to St. Thomas 32-year Blend which revealed some interesting elements:

  • Nose – Aniseed, wood chased by caramel cream
  • Palate – Caraway and something else combined with malty pudding
  • Finish – Subtle and soft, melted fudge

This one goes into the category of needing more time to sit back and relax, while it tells its story. I was quite sure while sipping it, that my quick scribbles from our brief tasting reflected only a portion of what this blend brings.

Both whiskies were a cheeky nod to days gone by… when blends were king and single malts secondary. And a strong reminder to pay attention to older blends!

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London Whisky Show – TBWC Part 2 with Millstone, Elsburn + Armorik

Our explorations of That Boutique-y Whisky Co at the London Whisky Show continued… still in a European vein with:

  • The Netherland’s Millstone 25 years (2022) Batch 5 46.5% (TBWC)
  • Germany’s Elsburn 7 years (2022) Batch 3, 48.7% (TBWC)
  • France’s Armorik 8 years (2022) Batch 3, 59.5% (TBWC)

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As part of their special 10th Anniversary celebrations, TBWC turned to the Dutch Millstone distillery with a 25 year dram!

Millstone 25 years (1996/2022) Olorosso Cask, Batch 5, 46.5% Bottle 141 of 380, Approx GBP 300

  • Nose – A dark spicy mulled wine, then shifts into a sherry bomb of figs, dark cherries, and raisins, yet elegant, sweet toffee, coffee cream
  • Palate – Exceptional! Very unique as clearly no Scottish sherry dram. Both sweet caramel and dry, beautifully balanced.
  • Finish – Long and lingering, clearly showing its age, soft prunes

This was a remarkable whisky – such a character, something else entirely!

Alas, I couldn’t find the informative and often entertaining additional information or tasting notes from TBWC.

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We moved from The Netherlands to Germany… again a different distillery than we’ve explored til date! What fun!

Elsburn 7 years (2022) Batch 3, 48.7% RRP GBP 130

  • Nose – Deceptive… initially light sunshine with depth beneath
  • Palate – So crazy sweet! Then just like the nose, some wood and other elements combine with the dessert dram
  • Finish – Lovely

We could definitely see the influence of the dessert wine cask. Just the quick sniff and swish definitely didn’t do justice to this whisky. well worth keeping an eye out to explore further if and when an opportunity arises!

Here’s what the folks at TBWC have to say:

There’s a focus at Elsburn, for using the highest quality casks available, the vast majority of casks are first fill, and only used once.

Our seven year old hails from an ex-Rivesaltes dessert wine cask, and has been bottled at natural cask strength.

The angels take a hefty share of 10%+, thanks to a killer combination of warehouse ventilation regulations, high altitude and warm summers. Whisky regulations are strict in this German region, so much so, that their spirit safe is kept under lock and key. In fact, there are 100+ padlocks in the distillery securing every possible opening.

Up until September 2019 this distillery was known as the Glen Els Distillery, but objections from the SWA forced them to change their name, as Glen could be mistaken for a Scotch Whisky – I really don’t think that was ever their intention, but hey ho…

And their official tasting notes?

  • Nose – Sweet honey and roasted nuts; almonds and pistachio. It reminds me of pink and white, nougat. Dried fruits follow; raisins, prunes, and dried apricot. Stunning!
  • Taste – Rich, and another wonderfully balanced Elsburn. Walnut oil, almond butter, and spicy wood. Leather, cocoa and plenty of dried fruits. Long spicy finish. I love this!

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Armorik 8 year (2022) Batch 3, 59.5% 355 bottles, RRP GBP 75

  • Nose – Salted butter and caramel joined by orchard fruits
  • Palate – Hint of smoke, peppery, yummy, lots of stewed apples, cinnamon apple crisp
  • Finish – Soft and sweet
  • Water – Needs a few drops to open up, a dash brings out the fruits even more!

We had a positive impression of this Armorik – even though it was just a short sniff & swish though the fabulous European whiskies on offer!

Here’s what the folks at TBWC have to say:

We’re heading back to France for another single cask from the Warenghem distillery. This 8 Year Old Armorik has been matured in an ex-Chouchen (mead) cask. Bottled at Natural Cask Strength (NCS) 59.3% abv we’re expecting to get around 355 bottles from this cask.

And their tasting notes:

  • N: Rich caramelised orchard fruits, baking spices; nutmeg, black pepper and a hint of cinnamon, with a charred wood, and a honey sweetness. Complexe et intéressant
  • P: Big and bold! A honeyed sweetness, balanced by rich oak spices. Baked apples charred oak, oiled leather, with hints of ginger. Long spicy finish. Très bien!

So then… where did our whisky wanderings take us next?? A secret Speyside,  away from whisky to a Calvados, and then on to some brilliant blends…

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London Whisky Show – TBWC Part 1 – North-West Euro Express with Fary Lochan, Kyrö + Helsinki

Kicking off our That Boutique-y Whisky Co’s explorations at the London Whisky Show, was a trio from their North-West Euro Express:

  • Denmark’s Fary Lochan 6 Years (2022) Batch 1 60.7% (TBWC)
  • Finland’s Kyro 4 years Rye (2022) Batch 1 53.1% (TBWC)
  • Finland’s Helsinki Distilling 6 years Rye (2022) Batch 2 58.9% (TBWC)

We began our journey in Denmark… which so far in our whisky adventures has featured only Danica and a few offerings from Stauning – their Young Rye, Peated, and Rye with Mezcal Finish.

To my surprise, TBWC’s Danish dram was from neither – instead, a lesser-known distillery called Fary Lochan. As I learned, there are several distinctive dimensions to this Danish distillery. The founder, Jens-Erik Jorgensen, drew inspiration from memories of smoked cheese from his mother used to smoke over fresh nettles. Jens-Erik made his first tests of smoking his whisky-malt with nettles in 2009 and after his passing in 2016, his spouse and three children continue the tradition. Today they have 4 different styles of malts as their core range – representing a different season, augmented by limited editions.

However, what did we think of this 1st Batch with TBWC?

Denmark’s Fary Lochan 6 Years Batch 1 60.7% 473 bottles, RRP £100 

  • Nose – Oh my! Big rich aromas of chocolate, mocha and malt, forest, lightly herbal, cherries or berries
  • Palate – Distinctive, sharp yet flavourful, mellows into honey, fruity yet with substance
  • Finish – Very fruity
  • Water – Amped up the fruit with a nice tangy edge

Overall we found it young yet delicious. Not such a bad start!

What do the folks at TBWC have to say?

When we learnt that the distillery was located in the village of Farre (which was previously known as Fary) we had that far far away fairy tail image in our head, and so our label is based up on an old style fairy tale woodland glade and a small glistening lake.

Our Fary Lochan is not a nettle smoked malt, but has been matured in an ex-Pedro Ximenez Sherry Cask for full term.

With the TBWC tasting notes:

  • N: A soft and fruity nose, with lots of dark chocolate and hazelnut, Dried fruits, raisins and dates, with hints of roasted coffee.
  • P: Rich and luxurious with rich dark chocolate, Black Forest gateau, black cherry, and an underlying woody char.

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We continued our journey to Finland with not one, but two Finish whiskies. Prior to our intro by TBWC, the only Finnish distillery we tasted was Teerenpeli – of which my favourite remains their 10 year! However what was in store for us? We started with Kyrö and moved on to the Helsinki…

Finland’s Kyrö 4 years Rye (2022) ex-charred American Oak/Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, Batch 1 53.1% 350 bottles RRP GBP 60

  • Nose – Very unmistakably rye, punchy yet interesting, nutty
  • Palate – Plasto, different and distinctive, malty and clearly rye on the palate too
  • Finish

It was just a quick sniff & swish, however enough to intrigue. We learned that the folks from Kyrö were also a The Whisky Show, so we knew we simply had to explore further!

What do the folks at TBWC have to say?

It seems like every Finnish whisky distillery starts life in a sauna, and Kyrö was no different! Surprisingly, the idea of starting their own distillery still seemed like a good one the following morning, and from there, the journey of Kyrö began.

This is a 100% whole grain malted rye, that went into a new American oak cask for two years before being re-racked into a first fill bourbon barrel for the remainder of its maturation. It’s banging!

And the TBWC tasting notes:

  • N: Vanilla creams, caramel, chalk dust, dried apricot, rye bread dough earthiness, fresh rain on dry ground; petrichor.
  • P: Sweet, malty, toasted rye bread, earthy honey, red berry fruit notes. Hints of coffee linger in the finish. Spectacular!

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From there we moved on to Helsinki Distillery… Started in 2014, the distillery produces gin, whisky and other spirits.

Helsink 6 year (2022) Batch 2, 58.9% 330 Bottles, RRP GBP 70

  • Nose – Imagine a bakery with fragrant fresh rye bread hot out of the oven, then drizzle a little honey… it then shifted into salty smoked salmon, then back to the bakery with ginger biscuits, then to woods with fresh clean pine, then very sweet chocolate
  • Palate – Softer than expected on the palate, with lots of pine and ginger
  • Finish – Spicey and just keeps going

I didn’t know what exactly to expect, however, this was quite an interesting intro to Helsinki’s whiskies. Whilst matured for 6 years, it had quite a ‘jumpy’ young nose however surprisingly smooth palate.

What do they have to say?

It’s a welcome return for a second batch from Finland’s Helsinki Distilling Co. as I was a big fan of the first release we brought to you in our Rye Series last year. This is a 6 Year Old rye whisky, from 70% malted rye, and 30% malted barley, that has been matured for six years in a new charred American oak cask, char level 3.

Low year round temperatures in Helsinki year round leads to a slower interaction with wood. This presents a preferable situation for maturation in powerful, first fill casks. Hell yeah!

And the TBWC tasting notes:

  • N: Deliciously complex! Aromas of coffee, light honey on toasted rye bread, dark chocolate, and hints of pine needles and linseed oil.
  • P: Hints of liquorice, dried apricots, creamy vanilla caramel, coffee, and cocoa, alongside a charred wood smoke note. Love this!

So then… where did our whisky wanderings take us next?? Why to more TBWC offerings!

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London Whisky Show – TBWC Intro

I absolutely love how That Boutique-y Whisky Co’s approach at the London Whisky Show. was to feature some fabulous non-Scottish whiskies to balance out some Scottish malts and great grains.

The celebratory energy of 10 years was infectious!

Where did we start? Most came from the North-West Euro Express and some goodies for the 10th anniversary. Dave guided us through a rather interesting set of whiskies:

We came back later to try some of their remarkable blends on offer:

It wasn’t all whisky though, we also tried Christian Drouin’s 21 year Calvados and an extra special flask offering:

So once again, Happy Birthday TBWC!! Can’t wait to see how the next decade unfolds for you and the team!!

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That Boutique-y Whisky Company Advent Calendar (2018)

Once upon a time, a lass thought to creatively sustain whisky explorations by acquiring a collection of miniatures. And what better than cask strength, single cask bottlings from That Boutique-y Whisky Company?

A little off-season, a 2018 Advent Calendar was bought early 2019 and brought from the UK to India, patiently waiting for the right opportunities to explore, a few minis at a time, preferably with a tasting companion.

And then? Well… priorities shifted including a move from India to Germany, so my lovely calendar had to be even more patient… for a full year until I was finally permitted to return home.

So there I was, in 2021… finally back in India… contemplating which choices from such plenty should accompany a quiet evening or two during my long pending trip home…

And then once again, deliberately delayed cracking open these beauties – opting instead to polish off/chuck partial minis from past tasting sessions to free up sufficient small bottles for virtual tastings.

Before putting my advent calendar back into storage, I decided to check what actually came! Knowing full well so many years later it may be challenging to track down official tasting notes let alone a full bottle if I discover a real stunner.

So consider this a teaser – for you and for me – as these lovely little samples have been carefully repacked to patiently wait many more months…

Campbeltown

Highland whiskies:

Islay whiskies:

Speyside whiskies:

British / Irish whiskies (non-Scottish)

World whiskies:

Undisclosed Scottish Blends:

And with that, this lovely box goes back to await another trip and another time…

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American Minis – TBWC 24 year Bourbon No 1 48%

Clearly That Boutique-y Whisky Company has featured prominently in our miniature explorations! However this was our first bourbon bottled by them… and a 24 year old one, no less? We were intrigued…

TBWC 24 year Bourbon No 1 48%

  • Nose – Mmmm coconut, lemon, toffee, apples, lots of over ripe fruit, then floral, shifting to sweet grass, then black vanilla being scraped from the pod, sweet leather, rich rum raisin, thick black treacle, molasses morphing into chocolate, then a honey liquor, apricot cream, burnt caramelized baked pineapple, cotton candy
  • Palate – Full of flavour too! Red berries, black berries, cherries… gorgeous! As the nose evolved, elements of it could be found swirling around with a great silky sipping sensation. Simply delicious.
  • Finish – Truthfully I don’t recall – I didn’t note anything for the finish… and think we were just so taken with the aromas then sipping that nothing else registered!

Can I just say – wow! We went from curious to incredibly impressed with the complexity and range we discovered. There was so much character on the nose which followed through on the palate. The more we sipped, the more we enjoyed.

So what do we know? It is their Batch 1, released in December 2018 with 8,376 bottles. In their quirky style, the folks at TBWC have this to say:

Now, now go about your business please – there’s nothing to see here. Don’t you know you’re in a restricted area? No unauthorised personnel allowed.

  • Nose: High notes of dried peel and vanilla, flaming Christmas pudding gives way to pear drops and a light dusting of cocoa powder
  • Taste: Insistent, buttery mouthfeel carrying a lorry load of vanilla, caramel and beurre noisette
  • Finish: Punchy, warm finish with great balance of the flavours

The recommended retail price on TBWC website is £199.95. All I can say is that I’m delighted it made it into our miniatures so we could sample one!

Here was our full American quartet:

With more from our 2019 Master of Malt Advent Calendar…

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Swaggering in a flouncy dress – Longmorn 10 year 48.3%

Longmorn is one of those distilleries that sometimes gets missed and often over-shadowed by its more prominent neighbour BenRiach. And yet after a particular birthday in Singapore, Longmorn will always be one of the very few distilleries I’ve sampled from my ‘birth year’ – 1969!

As for this particular dram – it came from That Boutique-y Whisky Company. One of the things I get a kick out of from this bottler are their labels and the stories these graphic-novel style images tell:

Back in 1894, the Longmorn distillery was founded in Speyside. Four years later, the founder John Duff founded a second distillery a couple hundred metres from Longmorn, called Longmorn 2: Electric Boogaloo (maybe not that last part, but it was called Longmorn 2 until it became BenRiach). The two distilleries worked together, and eventually had a private railroad built between them to transport barley, peat and other sundries. In fact, if you visit Longmorn today, you’ll find a steam engine in the distillery – a sneak peek of which you can see on our Longmorn label.

For us, as interesting as the story around the distillery is… it is the stuff in the glass that matters most! So what did we find?

Longmorn 10 year Batch 3, 48.3% (TBWC) 1793 bottles (available in 2019)

  • Nose – Toffee, salty, creamy… a lip smacking creme caramel, fruity, apple strudel, carrot cake, freshly baked bread, bit floral too
  • Palate – Unexpectedly lively – fruits come to the fore with more apple, pear and even some berries then the white and black pepper spice kicks up in a delicious interplay
  • Finish – Peppery with a tangy citrus zing that mellows into honey

There was much more oomph and character on the palate than anticipated from the aromas. We found of all sampled that evening, this one had the most ‘swagger’ and ‘spunk.’ And yet was still dressed up in a pretty flouncy dress with all the fruit, floral and baked goods… just strutting about with dock martins!

Here are tasting notes from the chaps over at Master of Malt:

  • Nose: Sponge cake with honey and strawberry jam initially, then a bit of floral barley and toasted oats. A hint of orchard fruit and wood spice underneath.
  • Palate: Baking spice, toffee and dark fruits, with some minty herbal notes, orange zest and drying oak.
  • Finish: Black pepper heat develops alongside white grapes and shortbread.

Would I agree? Pretty much jibes with what we found… Our mini came as part of the Master of Malt 2019 Advent Calendar and was tasted one fine weekend in Dunkerton, Somerset. A full bottle would set you back around GBP 77.

What else did we try that summery evening?

As for other brushes with Longmorn? Just check these out….

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TBWC – Auchroisk 12 year 47.9% (CNY Tasting Set)

Auchroisk is the last mini in our That Boutique-y Whisky Company Chinese New Year tasting set. Auchroisk isn’t one of those “we have history stretching back hundreds of years” kind of distillery. Nope. It is a more modern entry into the whisky fabric, built in 1974 for blending – think J&B Rare.

What did we discover with this particular cask strength single malt?

Auchroisk 12 year 47.9%, Batch 7 with 2,400 bottles. GBP 23.95

  • Nose – Dried leaves, herbal sweet, sweet grass, lemon, sweet spice, caramel, malty, wet cloth, all sweet smoke, think chestnuts roasting
  • Palate – Sweet then smoke, restrained yet spicy, herbal – think Underberg
  • Finish – Very dry, more of that nutty slightly sweet element

I honestly wasn’t sure I would like this one… nothing against the distillery but with the lovely summer weather I wasn’t keen on even a lightly smoky dram. Whereas this one so gently curled that element into the mix and was so smooth and easy to sip that any misgiving dissipated! Instead, it became more and more enjoyable… it was completely lip smacking in a delightfully autumnal way.

What do the folks over at Master of Malt have to say?

The zombie apocalypse has returned in the form of the seventh batch of this delicious indie Auchroisk! This one was matured for 12 wonderful years before the folks at That Boutique-y Whisky Company bottled it up at 47.9% ABV. If you look very carefully at the blood-curdling label, you’ll see that, amidst the chaos of finding people to recruit to the undead, one of the zombies has found the time to get his hair dyed. Self care, and all that.

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

  • Nose: Through dry smoke there’s fresh malt, lemon peel and dark berry syrup, with plenty of toffee, coconut husk and brittle.
  • Palate: Warming baking spice adds an initial burst of spice. Lime peel, caramel and orchard fruit bring sweetness. A little salinity and smoke develop underneath.
  • Finish: Delicately sweet with some prickles from ginger root.