ABV: 50.7% Distillery: Undisclosed Bottler: That Boutique-y Whisky Company Region: SpeysideAge: 8
Present most enthusiasts with an unidentified bottling and, likely before even tasting the liquid, their thoughts will focus on ascertaining the distillery of origin. It’s human nature. As much as we all like being presented with a mystery, most of us like to solve said mystery. Anonymous whiskies are part and parcel of the independent bottling world – some distilleries – oft-times the larger ones – like to keep their brand closely controlled. It’s understandable – especially when it comes to the vagaries of single casks.
Whilst indy bottlers will endeavour to source the best liquid possible for their budgets, cask qualities vary. Individual casks don’t always accurately imitate the ‘house style’ which distilleries look to craft. Whilst some casks can be blended and vatted so as to produce a consistent end result, by themselves casks are idiosyncratic – and some producers take the line that if their distillery name is going to be emblazoned across a label, they want it to feel like a cohesive part of their overall offering. As such, they’re reticent to be named on independent bottlings which are likely to prove to be distinctive in their own right – and not necessarily evocative of their current output and market positioning.
And thus results a mystery whisky. Boutique-y have bottled a variety over the years – and unlike many independent bottlers, they offer the imbiber hints through their colourful cartoon-y labels. Some of which may help discern the liquid’s source – some of which are famously red herrings to throw the uninitiated off track.
Door number 2 of the 2019 Boutique-y Whisky Company Advent calendar offers up just such a mystery dram in the form of Speyside #3 8 Year Old Batch 1. The bottling is delivered at 50.7% ABV was released towards the end of the March 2019 – but to the best of my knowledge didn’t hit the usual UK retail outlets – as such, you might need to look further afield and/or scout of some auction sites. The bottler’s previous anonymous Speysider (Speyside #2 25 year old Batch 1) was strongly hinted as hailing from Balvenie but then, there's a fair few distilleries in the region that are happy to fly under the radar, and not all Boutique-y #s follow on from the same distilleries. Perhaps the label holds a big clue in the form of a 'toast to the ghost'?!
Nose: Barley sugars and creamy fudge are joined by crème brule (with a well torched sugar topping), ginger nut and digestive biscuits. In the background, more baked treats with Battenberg cake and buttery brioche. Reduction adds substantial nuttiness along with white chocolate and cookie dough.
Taste: Cooking and cider apples sit with crumble mix, fluffy ginger cake and pastry cases. The mid-palate offers more ginger spices along with baked buns and building spices from nutmeg and gentle white pepper. Water brings out more fruit elements – soft and juicy – tinned apples and pears with preserved lemons, toffee and a background of berry fruits – both fresh and jammed.
Finish: Medium in length with ripe orchard fruits, crumbled chocolate and charred oak.
An expressive incognito Speysider that’s well-composed throughout and shows great maturity for its 8 years of age. The spirit leads throughout, offering discernible estery-forward flavours, ably supported by a pleasant vein of baked goods. Good stuff.
Review calendar provided by Atom Brands.
If you're looking for an alternative viewpoint on today's Boutique-y bottling head over to visit Sorren at OCD Whisky.
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