Door No.19 reveals a well-aged bourbon in the form of Boutique-y’s Bourbon Whiskey #1 24 Year Old Batch 1. There’s little information to go on as to the source of this liquid, but there’s loads of bottles – 8,376 in this first batch. Just think about that for a second – taking a standard barrel size and Boutique-y’s 50cl bottle, that equals <sound of brain whirring> somewhere in the region of 20+ barrels of 24 year old whiskey. Possibly considerably more when you consider how low in the barrel 24 year old Bourbon is likely to be.
Older bourbon feels like a relatively rarer sight - the spirit often shows some of its best character younger, and the Angel's Share out in the US can be pretty vicious. The Diageo owned Orphan Barrel series often makes a point of suggesting that distilleries sometimes unearth and come across lost liquid in the most miraculous of ways. But, don’t believe the hype – the days of warehousemen being too sloshed to properly note the location of barrels is a thing of the past. Whisk(e)y only ever gets ‘lost’ if it suits the marketing angle. But regardless, the current perception of well matured bourbon stocks is similar to that of Scotch whisky – that there’s just not mountains of it lying around.
So when you find over 8,000 bottles of 24 year old Boutique-y sourced bourbon, it does makes you wonder exactly how rare this stuff really is. There’s clearly adequate supplies of accessible aged stock somewhere if you know where to look and who to talk to. Proof once again that perceptions and realities are often not quite completely aligned.
Batch 1 is bottled at 48% ABV. Its original RRP was £199.95 (no one ever said that older bourbon would be cheap), but you'll currently find it on Master of Malt for £169.95. An inprovement, but not quite the stunner when this review was originally posted back in 2019, when its Advent slot was aligned with a £99.95 Flash Sale.
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: A hot cup of Italian espresso and a pile of spent coffee beans are joined by heavily reduced (burnt) pan sugars and plenty of high quality vanilla. Black cherries and reduced red berries are livened by cinnamon and allspice whilst chocolate and pastry dough are joined by icing sugars, plump raisins and an interestingly unexpected vegetal note of roasted potato. A few drops of water brings the oak more forward – aromatic cedar joined by an increased vanilla expressiveness, peanuts and split cashews.
Taste: A sticky and viscous arrival that has weight and impact. Cherries and berries lead off – black, macerated and fresh – along with cough, maple and golden syrups mingled together. Running throughout, vanilla toffee – creamy and supple – and perked up with baking spices. The mid-palate continues to be quite textural – tree resin – whilst eucalyptus, peanut brittle and cocoa powder bring up the rear. Water once again emphasises the wood – brown sugars, pastries, overt vanilla and some well-polished oak.
Finish: Medium to long with sweetness fading whilst sour cherries, unfined sugars and cinnamon sticks remain, bolstered by a gentle prickle of charred cask heads.
Defined and distinctive, with a very well-honed balance between fruity sweetness, spice and wood influence - otherwise translated as - pretty delicious stuff. No where near the auto-purchase it was when it was being offered at a shy under £100 - but the quality is still undeniable.
The piece was originally posted on the 2nd December 2019. It has been lighted edited.