Boutique-y Whisky Advent Calendar 2018 - Door No.3
Posted 04 December 2018 by Matt / In English Whisky Company
Bottle Name: English Whisky Co. 8 year old Batch 2
Distillery: English Whisky Company
Bottler: That Boutique-y Whisky Company
Door number 3 of the 2018 Boutique-y Whisky Company Advent calendar takes us over to Norfolk for batch 2 of the English Whisky Co. 8 year old. England distilling is currently having a real renaissance - I read not all that long ago that the number of distilleries across England has nearly trebled from 116 to 315 over the past 8 years. Taking just those that produce whisky, the number has risen from a paltry one back in 2003 up to 21 – and several of these have released their inaugural bottlings over the past 12 months. At yet, if you meander through the bubble that is the online whisky community, not all of the chatter is entirely positive.
First editions from these new English distilleries are (generally) being delivered with eye-watering prices. It’s almost as if you’re paying an auction premium for the bottle right for the get-go. I get it, new distilleries feel (probably rightly) that it is they who should profit from an ultra-buoyant secondary market. However, in order to do so, the customer is being propositioned with tales of ‘luxury’ that 3 year old whisky just doesn’t provide. I’ve harked on about this across a raft of posts in 2018 – and sorry folks, I’m probably not going to stop as we move into 2019. There’s something really out of kilter with the budding English whisky market, and I worry that the growing choice that’s going to be coming on stream in the years to come, we might see some of these new and exciting distilleries close with a lot less fanfare than they opened.
But, look, let’s move away from doom-and-groom and focus on something rather more positive – it is Advent calendar time after all. There’s several English whisky distilleries that I’ve got a keen eye on – St George’s is one of them. Established back in 2006, St George’s was the first new English distillery constructed for over 100 years. I didn’t really pay them too much attention back in 2009/10 when their first bottlings were produced, but over the last few years I’ve been noticing that they’ve quietly been producing some seriously excellent spirit. I found that the two recent bottlings by SMWS (distillery number 137) possessed both a characterful, powerful distillate and likewise offered some seriously smoky flavours, easily the rival of many of their Scottish competitors. A Boutique-y version was both inevitable and likewise something I’ve been looking forward to.
Boutique-y’s English Whisky Co, 8 year old batch 2 is delivered at 52.3% ABV. 845 bottles were produced and cost £48.95 from Master of Malt.
Nose: Roast dinner meets peat bog – beef, onions and herby gravy with mint and sage stuffing. Buttered popcorn and sea-salt meet a mild lemony peat smoke. There’s wet clay, putty and burnt toffee in background. A real intersection of sweet meeting savoury. Reduction adds some herby cream crackers and emphasises minerality – rock pools and just a touch of iodine.
Taste: Much bolder on the palate, opened with buttery (but burnt) chocolate cream and ashy smoke that’s quite oily – as if from a steam engine. Lemon peels and gentle brine make way for butterscotch and vanilla cream in the mid-palate. There’s development here which moves increasingly towards steeliness – wet metal decking. The addition of water brings out fruit elements with apple and lemon pastries and pear juice sweetness. It also transposes the ashiness into something more dusty – chalk.
Finish: Long, sweet and savoury – beef stock and malt loaf with a touch of floor cleaner with plenty of inland smoky ashiness.
Boutique-y’s English Co. 8 year old is packed full of spirit-forward character. There’s a great balance between sweet and savoury and an equally good one between barley and peat smoke The end result is a super enjoyable, really well selected cask where the wood supports the liquid rather than defining it. Peat is not just all about Islay.
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