Bottle Name: Blended Malt No.4 6 year old Batch 1 rereview
ABV: 53.6% Bottler: That Boutique-y Whisky Company
Blended Malt #4 6 year old Batch 1 is the only whisky in the 2018 Boutique-y Advent calendar to have been recycled from last year’s edition. Far from shabby – there’s 23 new bottles of liquid joy for anyone who’s coming back for a second year. But, of all the drams to reuse it pains me that it’s this one - I seem to have developed an inescapable relationship with my lowest scoring Boutique-y whisky.
My first encounter with Blended Malt #1 came present and correct 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). The 3rd was included in an order I placed through Master of Malt as a free gift a few months into the start of year (it’s still sitting unopened in the bar). And now here we are once again for a fourth time round with 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 a year old 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 as well leads me to believe that Boutique-y are having a bit of a job shifting it.
In the spirit of open-mindedness, rather than just reposting my 2017 review, or skipping a day of writing and leaving it at that, today, I’ll go for a rereview – and I’ll try to be more detailed this time around. Everything deserves a second (third, fourth?!) chance right? Oh, and since I’ve seemingly 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.
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 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. Please, for the love of god don’t subject me to a fifth outting.
Review calendar provided by Boutique-y Whisky
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