Boutique-y Whisky Advent Calendar 2020 - Door No.22

Posted 23 December 2020 by Matt / In Blend
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Blended Malt #4 6 year old Batch 1

Bottle Name: Blended Malt No.4 6 year old Batch 1 rereview

ABV: 53.6%
Bottler: That Boutique-y Whisky Company
Age: 6

Seeing Blended Malt #4 6 year old Batch 1 yet again in the Boutique-y Advent calendar felt like a great disturbance in the Force - as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Of all the drams to be recycling into Christmas, it pains me that it’s *still* this one - a whisky that is not only my lowest scoring Boutique-y whisky, but something I have become oddly and most annoyingly inseparable from over the past three years. As if 2020 couldn't get any worse. 

My 1st encounter with Blended Malt #4 was in the 2017 Boutique-y Advent calendar. My 2nd resulted from a packaging error in the very same calendar (very swiftly rectified by Atom Brands – they’re awesome at the customer service thing). The 3rd was included in an order I placed through Master of Malt and came as a free gift a few months into the start of 2018 (it’s still sitting unopened in the bar - two whole years later). The 4th great conjunction occured back in December 2018 with another inclusion in that year's calendar.

And here we are - 5th time around is apparently the charm for the whisky that’s decided to haunt me like the Ghost of Christmas Past.

At this juncture, it’s worth noting that despite this release being available for three years and only consisting of 625 bottles, it remains in stock and still available to buy (at £47.95 from Master of Malt). The fact that it’s included *again* in this year’s Advent calendar leads me to believe that the damn thing is compeltely unshiftable and that the only way it can be dealt with is subjecting Advent calendar drinkers to it over and over until it's final all spent. And I get that - all bottles needs to be sold eventually. But please, for the love of god, can this be the last time that I have to come face to face with my nemisis in a Boutique-y Advent calendar!

This review was a re-review posted back in 2018 in the spirit of open-mindedness. The tasting notes and and score remain unedited since then. Oh, and since I’ve become deeply acquainted with my déjà vu whisky, I’ll pass on a little morsel of information about it – the word on the street is this is teaspooned Ailsa Bay. It's Batch 1 - and its offered at 54.6% ABV.

Nose: Straight into a feints receiver with new make qualities of copper contact and raw young spiritiness – after a protracted period of resting (far more than a minute for every year of maturation) this diminishes, but it’s never completely removed. Bread, white chocolate, pears and gooseberries sit within unrefined minerality – part vegetal, part greasy machine parts. In the background, hints of the Ghost of the Christmas Yet to Come: apples, crumbly biscuit, toffee and cinnamon. Reduction is certainly beneficial to smoothing some of the many rough edges here, but at the same time it makes the whisky feel incredibly generic with an injection of cask-led vanilla and toffee. If I’m trying to hide the spirit character with dilution, alarm bells are ringing.

Taste: Hostile. The arrival delivers an amalgam of raw spirit and intense sweetness – copper, brass and crude alcohol with apple sours and citrus sherbet. Following on is pine needles, grassiness, ginger and particularly piquant pepper. Once reduced, there’s less of a boozy bite and a lot less pepperiness – similarly to the nose, vanilla and toffee come to the fore, along with cinnamon.

Finish: Medium, very dry and very bitter with sustained pepper.

There’s simply no hiding from the fact that this feels exceedingly undercooked. Whilst there’s an assortment of agreeable (and at times interesting) aromas and flavours they’re mired in rawness, and parboiled at best. Whilst this scores a little higher than it did when first reviewed back in 2017, that doesn’t mean much – I still really dislike it. Youth and character are fine when the end result is tasty and well-made. This bad penny of a whisky doesn’t feel like either of those things.

Will Sorren over at OCD Whisky like this better than I? 

Review calendar provided by Atom Brands

Score: 69/100

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