Boutique-y Advent – Door 7
Posted 08 December 2021 by Matt / In Teaninich
Bottle Name: Teaninich Batch 3
Bottler: That Boutique-y Whisky Company
Glass Weight: 500g
All distilleries are unique. And don’t let anyone go telling you otherwise. But in terms of deviating from the ‘normal’ plant you’d find inside a distillery, the Highland’s Teaninich is most certainly a standout in terms of its distinctiveness. For starters despite producing over 4 million LPA the distillery possesses no warehousing on site (so any tasting notes of “dunnage floor” would be figurative, not literal) – all of it is taken away in bulk tankers to one or more of Diageo’s warehouse cities. Then there’s the actual whisky making process – and in that regard Teaninich is rather the outlier.
As opposed to the familiar red or green colours of either a Porteus or Boby mill, Teaninich employs a Belgium Asnong Hammer Mill grinding to a super fine grist of 50% flour. The reason for this – the use of a mash conversion vessel that would usually be found in the brewing industry and a notable large Meura mash filter press.
The use of a conversion vessel and filter over a traditional mash tun is primarily efficiency (though the 'clearness' of the produced wort is also affected). The purpose of mashing is to produce a starch conversion that results in fermentable sugars – in a mash tun, this would all take place in a single vessel. In a mash filter setup, the process is split into two. The initial conversion takes place in a separate vessel and the separation of solids and liquids (draff vs wort) occurs in the filter itself. In order for this to be possible a very fine grist must be used (see use of hammer mill) in order to maximise the volume of the grist to liquid within the numerous plates of the mash filter (and to not clog it all up). The ‘thinner’ wort is evenly distributed throughout the filter – and as such can be processed far quicker than in a conventional tun where a grain bed must be worked and sparged. The higher volume of flour within the wort results in an associated higher specific gravity (SG) because less sparge water has been needed to complete the conversion process. Again, this is an efficient benefit in terms of the balance between the volume of wort produced and its potential final ABV.
InchDairnie is the only other distillery in Scotland (at present) which utilises a hammer mill and mash filter setup – though at that distillery there’s alsorts of additional craziness added on top in terms of doubled shell and tube condensers and a bespoke plated Lomond still utilised for experimental runs which include both triple distillation and rye-based spirit.
Anyhow, enough process for the time being. The 7th door of the 2021 Boutique-y Whisky Company Advent calendar throws down Teaninich 10 year old Batch 3. We’ve already reviewed batches 1 and 2 so completing a triplet felt like some type of achievement until I discovered that the bottler is up to its 6th batch now. Impossible to keep up. The release of 2,893 bottles appears to be sold out in the UK (where it was priced at £39) – but Europe and Australia seem to still have some banging around. Bottled at 49.2% the label highlights the story of distillery founder Captain Hugh Munro and a tale of tragic unrequited love.
Once you’re done here, both Sorren at OCD Whisky and Brian at Brian's Malt Musings and undertaking the 24 days of Boutique-y this year - so go check them out for some alternative views.
Nose: Apple sauce spread over toast alongside vanilla cream, freshly griddles waffles, French crepes and toasted cereals. Reduction closes things up with a reduction of the estery apple notes – there’s some burnt brown sugar and cask spice as a result, but still, I’d not recommend adding water here.
Taste: Malty with a loaf of granary bread together with toffee apple and a selection of lemon and orange liqueur. Spice follows. Fairly piquant. White pepper, ginger and anise together with ex-bourbon notes of vanilla piped cream buns and cracked cashews. Dilution here offers better results than on the nose – a fruit juice imbued melange of caramel and nutmeg.
Finish: Medium with dusty cask spice and orchard fruits (apples and pear) fading.
Batch 3 of Boutique-y’s foray into Teaninich is fine. But sadly, I’d not go any further than that. The nose is pleasant enough, but limited in scope and highly hydrophobic, whereas the palate delivers exactly what you’d expect from an ex-bourbon matured whisky – to a degree where there are no surprises to be had here. Narrow, stereotypical, and very middle of the road.
But don't take our word for it..
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