Boutique-y Advent 2021 – Door 22

Posted 23 December 2021 by Matt / In Highland Park
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Whitlaw 15 year old Batch 1

Bottle Name: Whitlaw Batch 1

ABV: 49.7%
Distillery: Highland Park
Bottler: That Boutique-y Whisky Company
Region: Islands Age: 15
Glass Weight: 500g

Boutique-y’s first batch of Whitlaw is not their first bottling of Highland Park – that hails all the way back from 2013. But it is the bottler’s first use of the moniker – which according to some on the Internet is a long-established alternate name ala “An Orkney Whisky”. Hmmm. I don’t think so – the earliest mention I can fit of Whitlaw (named after the grassy hills that sit behind the distillery) is from just last year. It feels all rather similar to Bunna/Staoisha which is also often banded around as if it’s been in use since time immemorial – nah mate – 2016. Though in fairness, given the current state of the world, that does feel like an awfully long time ago in some regards.

Anyhow, Whitlaw Batch 1 is a release of 979 bottles at 49.7% ABV. I’m not sure if this release was ever destined for the UK market – and if some bottles were, they’ve all been snaffled up. But you’ll still find supplies of the expression over in Europe – Whiskyhaus in Bruhl (south of Cologne) has some available for €104,90

Both Sorren at OCD Whisky and Brian at Brian's Malt Musings are undertaking the 24 days of Boutique-y this year – so after you’re done here, go check them out for some alternative views.

Nose: Expected heather honey alongside damp earthiness and creamy vanilla fudge. Pear drops and candied lemon peels sit alongside clementine peels and a lightly effervescent, spicy lift from ginger beer. The addition of water offers dried grass and reeds together with ground ginger and smoked digestive biscuits.

Taste: Far broader on the palate. The arrival is oily and mouthcoating, expressing sunflower oil together with smouldering hillside flowers. Honey and vanilla backbone the whisky once more and sit with cooking apples and sliced pears. Damp soils and leaf mulch are joined by mentholated oak and gingerbread men. Water reveals a mineral bite with asides of granite and salinity alongside preserved lemons and sack cloth.

Finish: Quite long with a sustained lick of salt, white pepper and a progressively fading sweet honey smoke.

Boutique-y’s Whitlaw 15 year old Batch 1 is a whisky that wants to take you on a journey. And that journey is one of improvement. The nose is pleasant, the palate is arguably good, and the finish is really rather exceptional. It’s always good to end on a high note. The profile here is archetypal HP – and in that regard this will tick all the boxes that fans of the distillery and its distillate will require ticking.

Score: 85/100

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