This one is a mystery single malt from an undisclosed Irish distillery. It’s aged 14 years, bottled at 47.6% ABV, and is the 4th batch from said distillery from That Boutique-y Whisky Company. It’s also so good that I’m going to try really hard to forgive the label.
The Internet is fairly… maybe… kinda sure that it’s Bushmills.
— Self-Plagiarization Section —
I was approached, recently, by That Boutique-y Whisky Company (TBWC), an awkwardly-named independent bottler owned by my former favorite UK retailer, Master of Malt. (Former, because after acquisition by spirits giant AB InBev, they stopped shipping to the US for the foreseeable future.) Any long-time reader of this blog knows that a majority of my tasting samples come from 30ml Master of Malt Drinks by the Dram miniatures that I periodically order (and pay for) from the UK. Maybe they saw this and wanted to reward my slavish long-time loyalty. Maybe they missed all of my ranting after the AB InBev shipping debacle. Whatever the reason, they asked if they could send me 5 tasting samples to review from their That Boutique-y Whiskey Company bottling arm. I agreed. I rarely turn down free whisky.
Aside: I DO turn down free whisky, if it’s for a specific release that has a suggested retail much in excess of $150. Sometimes I’m weak. Sometimes I stand my ground. Either way I always give you my honest opinion, even if I got my grubby paws on the whisky for free. Believe me, or don’t, really I don’t care.
Note that That Boutique-y Whisky Company bottles are 500ml in the UK and other markets that allow that size. The few batches that reach the US are either 750ml or 375ml. Consider that when comparing prices from different retailers. A warning though: if you can find it it’s probably around £58.95 per 500ml which works out to something like $114 US per 750ml. Ouch. A 375ml bottle (for $57 ish) would be a much more affordable way to taste this whisky.
Thanks to Ros Frame at That Boutique-y Whisky Company Dram Club for the review sample!
Nose: Piercingly tart, with a distinct pine sap note. Lemon peel, juniper, fresh berries, pineapple, granny smith apples, and more that I just can’t pick up. It’s just… it’s a lot.
Palate: Thin body. Malt sweetness up front, which is ambushed by a tart kiwi or maybe Cape Gooseberry note. Minimal tongue burn. Some bitterness appears on the palate – unusual – along with some typical Irish single malt flavors of hay, semisweet malt, fruit punch, and caramel. Complex and just a little confusing.
Finish: Medium-short. Oh man, that kiwi note is back, and it’s delicious. It fades quickly, replaced by (sorry) spent bubblegum, and apple cider. This is soon replaced by a ghost of menthol.
With Water: A few drops of water amp up the kiwi note – YES! – and add a layer of sweet vanilla. The palate has a silkier texture, and seems a bit more coherent. Finish unchanged. Definitely give it a go without water and then see how it changes when you add just a little.
Overall: Eclectic doesn’t begin to describe it. A fascinating (and lovely) aroma that spans pine sap to fresh berries is followed by an equally high-contrast set of flavors including that elusive and delectable kiwi notes that I’ve found in similar whiskies. The finish is just a little too short, the only shortcoming. If this were available locally, I would be very very tempted to pick up a bottle, even at the *ahhem* elevated prices.