This past Friday I was privileged to be invited to an online whisky tasting with That Boutique-y Whisky Company (TBWC henceforth). It was led by brand ambassador Dave Worthington (@BoutiqueyDave on Twitter), who hosted a rousing and informative tasting despite it being nearly 2 AM in Scotland.
…agreement that an independent bottler sometimes has to make with a whisky producer to not disclose the distillery name. The bottle has no age statement, so all we really know is that it is a Highland single malt from an ex-bourbon barrel and that is bottled at the bare legal minimum of 40% ABV. The release is a vatting of different ages from that undisclosed distillery, so it’s not a single barrel.
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.
A very pale single malt from an ex-bourbon cask, and bottled at the potent but also very drinkable 47.9% ABV, this Teaninich makes me want to go find other (cheaper) bottles from the distillery. Those will all have to be independent bottlers as well, as there are no official bottlings from this distillery, aside from an occasional entry in Diageo’s Flora and Fauna series, most of which doesn’t make it to US.
An undisclosed Speyside distillery referred to only as “Speyside #3”, this is an 8 year-old Speyside single malt bottled at 50.7% ABV. A fellow Twitterer… Tweeter?… suggested that it might be ex-bourbon Glenrothes. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Nothing will teach you how little you really know about whisky than tasting blind or semi-blind. In hindsight it almost definitely is…
Benrinnes, owned by John Dewar & Sons until it was sold to Diageo in 1997, is a storied Speyside distillery that was known for a complex form of partial-triple distillation … This one, a 17 year from That Boutique-y Whisky Company (TBWC) is the fifth batch of Benrinnes from the bottler. There’s precious little info on the website or online, so all I can do is guess that this is ex-bourbon (by the color), and the age tells us that this was partial-triple-distilled.
Three Ships is a single malt whisky from the James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington, South Africa, made by master distiller and former Cricket star Andy Watts. James Sedgwick is a shockingly old distillery, in operation since 1886. It’s known for Three Ships as well as Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky. This release (batch 1) from That Boutique-y Whisky Company – is the first ever independent bottling of Three Ships.
There is still independent whisky to be bottled, even if the pickings are slimmer, and some tempting things show up on shelves. Here, a Mortlach (one of my favorite distilleries, but hard to find) was distilled in September 1997 and spent some number of years in ex-bourbon before being transitioned to a Pedro Ximénez sherry butt to finish, for a total of 18 years in cask.
There is a wild raging debate on the Internet about the actual source of Alexander Murray & Co.’s big-age, low-price malts. Some rumors suggest that the majority of the company’s barrels come from Tullibardine (a whisky chameleon of sorts), while the company has definitely bottled Macallan before, and is reported to have contracts with both Diageo and Edrington.
This Old Malt Cask bottling spoke to me: younger Talisker (with an age statement!), purportedly aged in sherry, bottled at a potent 100 proof, and only $40. The malt was just one month shy of 7 years of age, and bottled in 2016 without added coloring or chill filtration. Only 361 bottles were filled out of this single sherry hogshead.