That Boutique-y Whisky Co – Fettercairn 21 Year (2018) 48.6%

We closed our That Boutique-y Whisky Company samples quartet with a whisky from Speyside – Fettercairn distillery… While the others were from Diageo, this one was from White & Mackay.

It was my 1st encounter with a single malt from this distillery… and I have to admit up front, it impressed us.

Fettercairn 21 Year (May 2018) 48.6% Batch 3, 669 Bottles 

  • Nose – Greeted us with a sherry spice, sour plums, chilli chocolate, vanilla cream, an  indulgent desert, salty caramel… a bit savoury too, think peanut brittle, caramel custard
  • Palate – Dry hay, overripe fruits, tobacco leaf, well rounded, substance, well done toast
  • Finish – Burnt caramel, bitter roasted almond… lovely and long

This was no light dram, instead we found this one had terrific “oomph!” and character…

We returned after some time and discovered a sharp cheese, grassy and distinctive.

And what do the folks over at That Boutique-y Whisky Company have to say?

Fettercairn (the town) is home to Fettercairn (the distillery), and it has been since 1824. They use an inventive method of making a lighter style of spirit – when they’re collecting the middle cut, the run cool water (not the fragrance) along the outside of the still’s neck, which increases reflux, resulting in a lighter spirit. Science in action. The chaps on the label of our Fettercairn appear to be judging cairns. Looks like one of them likes the larger one.

Tasting notes:

  • Nose: Yellow plum, pear, warm gingerbread, honeyed barley, a little cut grass underneath
  • Palate: Bramley apple, sweet custard and fresh oranges. Winter spice, hazelnuts and a little toffee.
  • Finish: A hint of raspberries is present in a good-length finish.

Depending on where you acquire it (if still available), a 50 cl bottle would set you back approximately £58.

I was very amused when saw their label – we definitely concurred with pronouncing this our favourite for the evening!

Fettercairn B3.jpg

Photo: That Boutique-y Whisky Company

What other That Boutique-y Whisky Company samples did we try?

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That Boutique-y Whisky Co – Glenlossie 17 Year (2018) 48.4%

Next up from our samples from That Boutique-y Whisky Co was a sample from Glenlossie… Like the others, part of the Diageo stable and rarely seen outside a blend.

Most recently marvelled at the Compass Box Phenomenology – which is 72% Glenlossie.

So what did we think of our wee sample?

Glenlossie 17 Year (May 2018) 48.4% Batch 3, 206 Bottles

  • Nose – Initially a bit organic… even a hint of peat? Then shifted into lemon, a yummy butter cream biscuit, some vanilla, pineapple, very light spice, a nice malty quality… the aromas started to become increasingly elusive… Then after the 1st sip, a delicious cheesecake, butter pastry, basmati rice
  • Palate – Mmmm….bannoffee pie, then with the 2nd sip, a black pepper and clove spice… with more time and a return, was there coconut? Licorice?
  • Finish – Banana… correction… smoky banana, spice then sweet then bitter… what a fabulously long finish

Overall we enjoyed this one… returning after sampling all four whiskies to discover spice, bit of compost, coconut, then more of that baking sweet, spice and light fennel too.

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And what do the folks over at That Boutique-y Whisky Company have to say?

Glenlossie is a beautiful distillery in Speyside, with some splendid pagoda roofs and stunning onion-shaped stills. It was founded in the latter half of the 1800s, and since the early 1900s, it has been closely associated with Haig’s blended whisky – you know, the ones with the cool-shaped bottled, the one that was on that TV show about the science teacher and his foray into… Well, yeah. Anyway, Glenlossie. Onion-shaped stills. What we did was we made it look like the still on the label is actually made of an onion, and has a spring onion line arm and garlic-bulb condenser. We like similes and metaphors.

Tasting notes:

  • Nose: Cake mix with hints of desiccated coconut. floral notes and dry grasses follow
  • Palate: Coconut creams, malty, grassy, and a peppery spice builds
  • Finish: Malty, grassy, hints of anise, while the peppery spices linger

Depending on where you acquire it (if still available), a 50 cl bottle would set you back approximately £69.

Glenlossie B3.jpg

What other That Boutique-y Whisky Company samples did we try?

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That Boutique-y Whisky Co – Strathmill 21 Year (2018) 47.7%

We moved on to another Diageo distillery from Speyside – Strathmill. In keeping with our theme, this single malt is rarely found on its own and in this case was bottled by That Boutique-y Whisky Company.

Here is what we found…

Strathmill 21 Year (June 2018) 47.7% Batch 6, 401 bottles

  • Nose – Fruity and was that a bit of sulfur? Sherry brightness, likeable, happy, sugary yet behind all that lightness was a sharpness too. Apricot and leather, woodsy with peach.
  • Palate – Sugar water, then by the 2nd sip had much more personality, sweet, sharp, some oats and a bit nutty. Frankly we just liked it!
  • Finish – Walnut butter, long and spicy then some more of the fruity peach, nectarine and powered chilli

Don’t be tempted to dismiss this whisky as a lightweight… As we continued to sip, it vacillated between cheerful and a deeper character…

We set it aside and revisited it together, contrasting and comparing with the others…Here we found the prominent notes that remained was a nice hazelnut and citrus quality.

Strathmill 21 Year Old - Batch 6 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company).jpg

And what do the folks over at That Boutique-y Whisky Company have to say?

Step back in time for a second and you might happen to see the Strathmill distillery, but it could very well be producing something completely different to tasty Speyside whisky – porridge! Yes, Strathmill used to be a porridge oats mill, but it was soon converted into a working whisky distillery, and the rest is history. Delicious history. Anyway, renowned thief Goldilocks clearly didn’t get the memo and she’s gone searching for her favourite breakfast treat in the Strathmill distillery. Somehow she found some leftover porridge oats and is now fortifying her breakfast with a particular classic brand of gin…

Tasting notes:

  • Nose: Floral honey, lemon zest, grassy malt and biscuit dough.
  • Palate: Sultana and raisin, followed by banana chips and chicory.
  • Finish: Continued banana notes, now with a hint of red chilli.

Depending on where you acquire it (if still available), a 50 cl bottle would set you back approximately £90.

Strathmill B6.jpg

What other That Boutique-y Whisky Company samples did we try?

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That Boutique-y Whisky Co – Dailuaine 15 Year (2018) 47.5%

For our That Boutique-y Whisky Co samples from Master of Malt, we deliberately focused on distilleries not yet sampled in their single malt avatar.

We began with a whisky from Speyside – Dailuaine. Part of Diageo stable, it is rarely seen outside blends… in 2005, it seems only 2% of the distillery’s output was bottled as a single malt.

Fast forward a bit and Diageo finally did a “Flora and Fauna” bottling, describing it as:

Sweet, nutty and rich.. This is not just an after dinner dram, it’s an after-dinner mood in a liquid. Thick, rich yet pleasantly, palate-cleansingly sweet. Try Dailuaine whisky with the cheese course, or just nose the cheese rind, fruit and citrus aromas hidden in its depths.

What did we think of our TBWC sample?

Dailuaine 15 year (May 2018) 47.5% Batch 2, 950 bottles

  • Nose – It initially came across as young and fruity, dripping in honey, then shifted and began to reveal a more vegetal sour dimension, organic and musty, leafy, woodsy even a touch of hay, yet still sweet and delicious
  • Palate – Very easy going yet with a bit of spice too, straight forward with more of that slightly sour element, then spice… Revisiting after some time, the woodsy quality was even more apparent with a nice light oak, something of depth and character in this one yet still approachable
  • Finish – A touch bitter

After time, yet comfortable like a cashmere sweater… even the gentle soap used to wash one too! We found the nose a bit more interesting than the palate. Overall it was an excellent introduction and a terrific way to kick off our evening!

Dailuaine 15 Year Old - Batch 2 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company).jpg

And what do the folks over at That Boutique-y Whisky Company have to say?

The Dailuaine distillery lives up in the Speyside region, and has done since 1852. It was home to Scotland’s first pagoda roof, an architectural element used by quite a few Scotch whisky distilleries over the course of history. Sadly, the Dailuaine pagoda roof burnt down in the early 1900s, which did stop production for a short while, but soon enough they were back to it! Interesting to note that until recently, some of the condensers at the Dailuaine distillery were made from stainless steel instead of copper, which resulted in their single malt having a touch of sulphur to it – some people are well into that, some aren’t. Our Dailuaine label features a pair of sulphur molecules, one seems to be nice and the other seems to be some sort of terrible nightmare creature from the netherworld. Steer clear of that one.

Tasting notes:

  • Nose: Meaty at first, with leafy hints and molasses developing later on.
  • Palate: Barley sweetness, juxtaposed intense oak spiciness.
  • Finish: Lingering red berry and cinnamon.

Depending on where you acquire it (if still available), a 50 cl bottle would set you back approximately £55.

Dailuaine B2.jpg

What other That Boutique-y Whisky Company samples did we try?

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That Boutique-y Whisky Company – Dualiane, Glenlossie, Strathmill, Fettercairn

One evening over a malty minis evening, my fellow whisky explorer and I did a little online shopping for our combined Whisky Ladies and Bombay Malt & Cigar club… the result was an exceptional collection from independent bottler North Star.

However we were also distracted by the Master of Malt dramples – wee little 3 cl sample bottles that enables you to explore “drinks by the dram.” Who could resist??

My tasting cohort and I selected a range from That Boutique-y Whisky Company which has made a name for itself with its quirky bottle designs that look more like graphic novels than whisky labels…  and for the quality of their small batch whiskies.

So what did we pick for our That Boutique-y Whisky Co explorations?

As these whiskies came out some time ago, you won’t find more details on the “That Boutique-Y Whisky Company” website.

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The “Sublime” One – TBWC’s Octomore 6 year 50.4%

Our host decided to pay tribute to whisky veteran Jim McEwan with an interesting line-up bottled by “That Boutique-y Whisky Company.”

Truth be told, had our explorations of the 3rd whisky been wildly successful, we likely would have stopped there. Three really is a perfect tasting number. However the Bruichladdich was such a peculiar one that our host brought out one more…

And…. we were so LUCKY that he did!

So, why did Jim McEwan create Octomore? Here is what he has to say:

‘I was tired of people saying that Bruichladdich wasn’t a true Islay as it wasn’t peated. From 1881 to 1960 it was peated. I resurrected a peated malt and called it Port Charlotte to stop those people. Then I decided to make Octomore to shut everyone up for ever.’

We sampled the Octomore blind, followed by the surprising reveal…

Octomore 6 year, Batch 1, 50.4% (TBWC) Bottle 608 of 796

  • Nose – Wonderful! Oil and peat, lemon, wet fur, a wild marine sea spray, some sea weed, shifting into a rich sweet spice, roasted cinnamon
  • Palate – Ooooooh! Gorgeous and just simply – beautiful. It rolled around like silk, with such a lovely balance, something to savour…
  • Finish – What a pleasure! A long delicious spice

We loved the peat as it was perfectly balanced, not too heavy, none of that asphalt or ashtray peat… just salt sweat and peat in delightful harmony. In short it was sublime!

The debate began – leave perfection as is? Or add some water…

We gave in to temptation… and discovered it was even better?! Bringing out a lovely earthy quality on the nose, initially so much yummy spice on the palate, then settled down to become even more enjoyable, shifting between cinnamon toast, salty toffee, simply delicious!

It was absolutely unanimous – we all agreed this was a brilliant dram. One to just enjoy. We ran out of words as we sat back and simply indulged, feeling exceedingly pampered.

Octomore B1.jpg

Here is what the folks over at That Boutique-y Whisky Company have to say about their 2nd batch as the notes for the 1st batch are no longer available:

The discovery of our bottling of Octomore single malt is displayed on its label in three acts. Act I: Research. Act II: Revelation. Act III: Request. A timeless tale for the ages. The most heavily-peated whiskies from Islay-based distillery Bruichladdich are released under the name Octomore, and they have a reputation for being particularly intense…

Tasting notes:

  • Nose: Medicinal peaty notes with polished leather. Liquorice toffees, charcoal burning smoke and sea spray.
  • Palate: Sweet white grapes, prickly pepper, with a woody bonfire smoke and a pinch of salt. 
  • Finish: Dry, spicy, and that hint of salt is still there while the smoke lingers

And what would this Octomore set you back for a 50 cl bottle? The recommended retail price is £144.95.

What did we sample in our tribute to Jim McEwan?

As for other Octomore explorations? Here are a few highlights:

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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.

Bruichladdich-both.jpg

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 Bowmore 27 year 47.6% aka The “Green Pepper” Dram

There are times when a whisky sings a particular note… with such clarity and consistency that your impression of that dram is forever associated with that note.

I must admit, until this Bowmore, green pepper was never such a singular stubborn element.

We sampled it blind before the reveal.

Bowmore 27 year, Batch 5, 47.6% (TBWC) Bottle 94 of 285

  • Nose – Peat and how! Crazy sweet peat, bit of funk, fruit, some phenols, medical, surgery, bill capsules, VERY sweet, mulberry
  • Palate – Fresh capsicum which seamlessly follows through on the finish, a bit of green tea…
  • Finish – Dry and pure capsicum

After the 1st sip, it was pretty clear this whisky needs some time to settle down…

  • Nose – How interesting… the peat ran off, barley sugar, toffee, something almost like apple sauce, lemon curd tart, and apricots
  • Palate – A bit of spice, cinnamon, a bit bitter at the front
  • Finish – A nice cinnamon

We set it aside and what did we find?

  • Nose – Green capsicum
  • Palate – Goodness! Green capsicum
  • Finish – And…. gee….. Green capsicum

Now before you start to think green capsicum is a bad thing, it was actually quite good!

Giving even more time, we could detect a hint of ash. Even later… pickle? Yup… pickle.

This is one of those whiskies which is worth checking out but…  certainly not an every day dram. Instead one of those whiskies that works best when you are in the mood for it… particularly if you happen to enjoy…. yup… Green Capsicum!

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

The massively well-loved Bowmore distillery has resided on the Isle of Islay since 1779 – it’s the oldest Islay whisky distillery and it’s still going even today! The distillery is home to its very own malting floor, an eight ton stainless steel mash tun, six wash backs and two pairs of stills, which actually produce enough heat not only to make their lovely peated whisky, but the waste heat from the stills heats the nearby pool! The label features a young lad with a freshly-swiped bra from the pool’s changing rooms legging it from one of the pool’s lifeguards.

Unfortunately the Bowmore batch 5 / 27 year has been replaced by batch 12 / 19 year on the TBWC website, however you can read what the chaps at Master of Malt have to say:

  • Nose: Salted butter, aromatic cedar, a whiff of floral malt developing beside classic coastal air.
  • Palate: Good cider, slightly vegetal at points, smoke meat and fried banana.
  • Finish: Slightly oily. Sea salt, lemon-flavoured boiled sweets.

So they didn’t discover any green capsicum, but can see some of the elements they found in there too.

What else did we sample in our evening tribute to Jim McEwan with whiskies bottled by “That Boutique-y Whisky Company”?

Clearly no stranger to Bowmore, here are a few sampled over the years…

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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!

Mackmyra B1.jpg

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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That Boutique-y Whisky Company Glentauchers 20 year for LMdW

That Boutique-y Whisky Company has crafted trade-mark labels and fine contents. One of our Mumbai Whisky Ladies picked this particularly bottle up some time ago and we’ve been patiently waiting for th right opportunity.

On the label you can see Thierry Bénitah (La Maison du Whisky CEO and son of its founder, Georges Bénitah) in the 1980s, surrounded by classic whisky bottlings and wearing a particularly snappy turtleneck…

Glentauchers 20 year (Boutique-y Whisky Company) Batch 4, 46.9% bottled for La Maison du Whisky with 327 bottles

  • Nose – Hazelnut cream, wood, almond, also some ripe fruits, maple syrup, oodles and oodles of butterscotch, a bit of menthol, green almond
  • Palate – A real tingle and oomph! A bit bitter, some sweet spice, caramel fudge and nougut, with a bit of tart sour sauce, berries
  • Finish – Spice like white pepper

Some loved this one. Others found the blend so approachable that following with this single malt was a bit of a jolt.

As this whisky came out some time ago, you won’t find it on the “That Boutique-Y Whisky Company” website, however can track down some tasting notes at The Master of Malt:

  • Nose: Fresh and floral with hints of violet and honey. Stewed berries with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Butterscotch.
  • Palate: Roasted chestnuts and black pepper. Apricot jam, quince and a whisper of cinnamon.
  • Finish: Sodabread with salted butter, floral malt once again, cumin and dried raspberries.

Our core focus was a trio with a wee ‘appetizer’ blend:

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