#TBWCturns5 - That Boutique-y Whisky Company's 5th birthday celebrations!
October 27, 2017
*sniff* so quickly they grow up! It seems only yesterday that TBWC took their first (not so) tentative steps into the world of independent bottlers... oh how proud we were when at the tender age of three they won World's Best Blended Whisky at the 2015 World Whisky Awards, and who can forget that coming of age in early 2016 when their first website went live? So how lovely it was in September of this year to see our cheeky little toddler turn five years old.
As their blog post mentioned at the time, it's been a busy five years resulting in over 230 batches released with 100 labels currently around today. I'm not entirely sure when I tried my first TBWC dram, but I do have fond memories of chatting with Dave Worthington and his daughter Kat at a number of whisky festivals over the past couple of years, and in March of this year I was lucky enough to participate in a #BoutiqueyWhisky tweet tasting organised by The Whisky Wire. They really have packed a hell of a lot into their first five years on this planet... so I was really chuffed to be invited to join in the birthday celebrations by taking part in a tweet tasting party, with a selection of their finest drams as selected by Mr Worthington. He's a man who loves his whisky and is very passionate about That Boutique-y Whisky Co's expressions, so I couldn't wait to see what he'd select for our evening of dramming pleasure... "will we be tasting blind? will he throw us a curve ball with some random new bottling? there's bound to be an old grain in there... Dave loves a good grain" these and many other thoughts flew round my tiny mind whilst waiting for the 'birthday present' (as I'd come to think of it) to arrive.
Arrive though it did! And the package did not disappoint :-) Firstly I was really glad to see that accompanying the drams were info cards showing the wonderful illustrations created by the oh so clever artist & illustrator Emily Chappell. Her (often amusing) graphics, offering insight into the distillery or the people associated with it, are now a fundamental part of what makes TBWC a truly unique member (and dare I say leader) of the independent bottling world. We had been given five drams to sample (including an old grain... I was right!) and here are my thoughts on each of them:
Speyburn - 7 years old - 49.5%
"This Speyburn is our 100th label! This 7 Year Old was a release of just 233 bottles at 49.5% abv."
Quite fresh, dry vanilla notes, touch of acetone & clear oil too. Getting cola cubes after a while. Deff gets sweeter and more floral after a while… very enticing aroma.
Ooh nice! More mature than the age would suggest. There is a zesty 'fizz' going on like lemon sherbet, with hefty floral notes and a peachy sweetness
Dries a little on the finish to give way to vanilla and crunchie bars.
Single Malt Irish Whiskey - Batch 1 - 14 years old - 48.6%
"A 14 Year Old SIngle Malt from Ireland but we can't tell you the distillery! Just 357 bottles were filled"
It's got a country air feel to it… farmyards & minerally streams. Slight hint of sulpher/rubber at the beginning that faded quickly and gave way to grape tones and other rich fruit. Then leather and apple peel… this evolves and develops constantly. I can’t keep up!
Much richer than the age suggests, with tannins and port notes prevalent. Thick dark sherry tones and some cured ham too
Dark roast coffee on the finish… more meaty, leathery notes but with a rich long dark fruity sweetness.
Blended Scotch Whisky #3 - 23 years old - 48.2%
"Our Blended Whisky #3 is a release of just 463 bottles. It was awarded Gold medals at both the @theIWSC &d Scotch Whisky Masters. Blended Whisky #3 has been blended to give an exceptionally long finish, it just goes on and on and on..."
Stewed fruits, a little creamy caramel, cherry juice and a touch of sour blueberry. Eventually dryer rich woody, waxy notes. Lovely!
Dark fruits, sour citrussy zest, ripe fig… but with a kick of ground pepper.
Red grape skin, a really, really tiny wiff of smoked fish.It's nice, but I didn't seem to be quite as keen as some of the other participants who were raving about this dram.
Invergordon - Single Grain Whisky - 43 years old - 48.2%
"Dave W: This release of Invergordon, Batch 11, picked up the coveted Trophy for the best Single Grain at the ISC earlier this year. I wanted batch 11 for tonight's party because of its Trophy winning status though, and you're special ;-) I'm pretty convinced the current release, a 42 Year Old (Batch 15) will be in the medal slots next year."
Light, spirity white rum & coconut notes… quite floral too though, and a little herbal… basil maybe?
Really nutty, with caramel and nougat… it's a bloody Topic!! Immense!
Whilst not overly long, it's still good… more nut (coconut), a little saltiness at the end. Yum!
Macallan - 29 years old - 43.5%
"Our 29 Year Old Macallan was our 6th batch and there was just just 293 bottles"
Impressive legs! A spicy nose with orange zest, vanilla, malty biscuit… jammy red berry notes too.
More rich, jammy yet not overly sweet red berries. Also a dry pastry note. This is essentially one of my mums jam tarts.
Little cinammon spice on the finish, tart berrys too… damp tobacco there… not as long as I was expecting but still lovely.
So, a phenomenal line up with which to toast That Boutique Whisky Company's 5th birthday! And my thanks once again to them and to Dave W for selecting me to take part in what was a really fun evening. It was one of the more amusing Twitter tastings, with all participants on top form over the course of the tasting.
It was hard to pick a favourite, I was pleasantly surprised by the grain as I'm not usually a massive fan, but in the end it came second to the Irish which was my fave of the evening (I reckon it's an old Bushmills, although I've not been able to confirm this!). The remaining three were all so close that it was hard to rank them. All had qualities I really enjoyed. I'm still on the lookout for a bottle of the Irish whiskey, so if you happen to come across one, give me a shout would you?