You might not know who Emily Chappell is by name, but you’ve doubtless already seen her work. Emily is the artist who designs the graphic novel style labels for That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s range of independently bottled whiskies. Her time is spent not just creating the now iconic labels, but also researching them – digging into whisky folklore for interesting and oft-times quirky stories about both the distilleries and the people who worked at them. The fun and colourful labels are somewhat of a ‘code’ of knowledge, historical references and in-jokes about each individual distillery. You’ll certainly need some hefty whisky smarts to pick up on each and every one.
Boutique-y Whisky have produced six batches of Arran to date, the last two age statemented (at 19 years old). Batch 5 was a special edition with only 75 bottled produced specially for attendees of Dramboree 2016. If you compare Batch 5 to all the other batches you'll see that Emily made a few custom alterations to the desert island-themed label for the event. Even as a past Dramboree attendee it's still quite the challenge to understand all the hidden references!
Today we’re going to take a look at Batch 2 of Boutique-y's Arran bottlings. It was released 2013 with an outturn of 459 bottles and an ABV of 49.4%.
Nose: Super zingy! A basket of fruits mixed up with some fresh homemade lemonade. Green apples, lemon and limes lead the way, and are added to with some noticeable spicing and a waft of salty sea air. There’s some underlying earthiness which provides a herbal and floral undertone, but the order of the day is very much fruit forward.
Taste: Sherbet dipped gum drops – if you’ve tried Haribo Tangfastics you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Really fruity again with orange barley water, salted caramel and some buttery vanilla providing a bit more cask quality. Spicing is prevalent with both salt and pepper giving a healthy dose of seasoning.
Finish: Long and still fizzing with sugared fruits, a touch of oak and a well-judged bite salinity to wrap things up. Great finish.
A rather different expression of Arran, but no less successful for it. Sweetness and fruit are married together wonderfully with real dynamism and balance, but it’s the finish where this dram scores big points for me. Lingering and passing over all the notes tasted during the development – a fizzing fruity sherbet coated treat of a whisky.