Benrinnes Batch 1, That Boutique-y Whisky Company

Thanks once again to Master of Malt for sending me this for review.

Benrinnes is an interesting distillery. Last time I was in Speyside, you may remember I spent a lot of time cycling around looking for distilleries. Benrinnes was one of those I looked for and found.

Overlooking the peak of the mountain after which it was named, Benrinnes, one of the Diageo group of distilleries, cuts a very run down figure from the outside. It’s not open to the public and the sign looks as if weather beaten since the early seventies. I cycled round the plant and, to be honest, felt sorry for the place. “This is what happens to those distilleries that don’t make it into single malts”, I thought.

Still, Benrinnes makes a lot of malt for the Diageo range of blends and we have the odd expression to taste. That includes this baby from Master of Malt. As usual, this is blended from multiple casks of Benrinnes by the Master of Malt crew and bottled with a stylish cartoony style label, this one depicting the characters from the whiskyfun comics, Pete McPeat and Jack Washback having a conversation about the Benrinnes process.

Here are the dramstats:

BenrinnesTBWC

  • Price £43.95 here.
  • ABV 48.9%

Nose: Slightly burnt toffee and lychee, touch of rubber (from a bunsen burner cable), apricot, peach and raisin. Baked apple crumble.

Palate: Drying, chalky mouthfeel, lychee juice that gets over run by the burnt notes and that rubbery quality from the nose.

Finish: Burnt rubber and fireworks. Dries a lot.

Verdict: I really don’t like this. Sorry Master of Malt. Nice notes linger in the background and threaten to show themselves, but my nose and tastes can’t get beyond the rubberiness and the drying.

 

Braes O’Glenlivet Batch 1 That Boutique-y Whisky Company

Another Boutique-y gem from the guys at Master of Malt. This time the label depicts the master of malt chaps driving up to Braes with a car full of Evian water. Those guys…

Here are the dramstats:

Braes_o_GlenlivetTBWC

  • ABV 47.2%
  • Price £51.95 here

Nose: Touch of honey, vanilla and brandy sauce (the stuff us brits have on christmas pudding, or used to before we all switched to double cream). Faint whiff of pineapple when water is added. I get a touch of aftershave, which I’m not so keen on.

Palate: Spicy with vanilla and oak pepper followed by faint um-bongo tropical fruit juice.

Finish: The faint um-bongo suddenly releases a very nice burst of cocoa powder so that there is a dark chocolate truffle feel to the end as oak rounds the finish. This is a long and lovely finish. Good value per sip!

Verdict: The nose is quite closed but I love the finish. So unexpected given what went before. There is something on the nose I’m not a fan of, so it’s not for me, but this finish really shows off the skills of the blenders and I like it. So if you do buy me a bottle, it won’t go to waste!

 

Dram Review: Ben Riach Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)

Thanks to master of malt for sending me this sample. Ben Riach is the sister distillery of Glendronach and, when you pass it in Speyside, it looks like it should have a visitor centre. For example, there are flags and attractive signs outside that are not normally seen at distilleries that are closed to the public. However, they do not admit visitors (at least not at the time of writing), though I hear this could be changing soon…

This expression is part of master of malt’s “Boutique-y whisky company” range. This means artistic labels, 50cl bottles and, usually, excellent whisky! On the label, you see monkey’s turning the barley. This links to the distillery because Ben Riach malt their own barley. If you are not sure about the monkey’s, read up on “Monkey Shoulder”.

Here are the dramstats:

BenRiachTBWC

  • ABV 48.2%
  • Price £49.95 here

Nose: Vanilla, fruit pastils, faint green apple and citrus, creme brulee, faint hint of fudge and cherry yogurt.

Palate: Fudge, toffee, vanilla, hint of salted milk chocolate (yes you can buy that now and it’s awesome!), strawberry (but the kind that you find dried in a cereal bar).

Finish: Vanilla fudge and toffee with drying oak. It becomes calky with furniture polish and a hint of chocolate to cover the fudge.

Verdict: I like it and the price is good to. To be honest though, I’d like to try an unpeated official bottling before deciding whether this was an excellent example of a Ben Riach. I mean they could all be amazing and this could just be par for the course 😉

 

Dram Review: Aultmore batch 1 – That Boutique-y Whisky Company

Thanks to the chaps at Master of Malt for sending me this to review.

This is one of those “Boutique-y” whiskies with the the cool labels and unique expressions from each distillery (see here).

The Aultmore label is beyond cool. A raptor attacking a shark! Apparently they couldn’t find any good enough stories about Aultmore to make the distillery label, so they just went all out cool!

Here are the dramstats:

aultmore-big

  • Price £34.95 only here
  • ABV 53.4%
  • 50cl

Nose: Red apples and pears, touch of sweet vanilla creme brulee. Water releases liquorice with black jacks and sweetshop uncarbonated cola. Time leads to green gauges and a slight crumble note. This really benefits from the water.

Palate: Sweet icing sugar and slightly biscuity. Water makes this like thick cola syrup and malt.

Finish: Vanilla, drying with lots of chilli pepper when water added, then aspartame and vanilla cola.

Verdict: The label rules and the price is fine so I really want to like it. No doubt value at the strength, but it needs water and time to show itself. It’s nice but not something I’d enjoy a whole bottle of.

 

Dram Review: Bowmore batch 1 – That Boutique-y Whisky Company

Thanks to the chaps at Master of Malt for sending me this sample for review.

As regular readers will know, the range of “That Boutique-y Whiskies” are crafted by master of malt and given a craft presentation with 50cl bottles and a specially designed label evocative of the distillery that the whisky represents.

The Bowmore label shows the front of the distillery in Bowmore with a schoolboy carrying a bra being chased by one of the life guards from the pool that is heated by waste heat from the stills at Bowmore. Here are the dramstats:

bowmore-that-boutique-y-whisky-company-batch-1-250

  • Price £52.95
  • ABV 48.7%
  • 50cl

Nose: Mmmm, that’s a nice fruity Bowmore nose! The peat is there of course, but is wrapped in dark fruits, blackcurrant liquorice and fishermans friends. Sniffs alternate between fruity peat and coastal notes such as a seafood platter with lemon, lobster traps. There is also cherry crumble in there. Gorgeous nose!

Palate: Salty peat, vanilla, grilled prawns and sea spray with blackcurrant liquorice and black jacks.

Finish: Black jacks, briney then peat with an ashy vanilla finish.

Verdict: One of those palates where the “notes” I’ve given just do justice to the pleasure given by the combination. It’s excellent.

Dram Review: Auchentoshan – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)

I was sent this sample by the chaps at Master of Malt. It’s from their range of whiskies labelled “That Boutiquey Whisky Company”. See this post for a little bit about the range.

A little about the label of the Auchentoshan: It depicts famous “mixologist” (what we in the UK call a barman who can make good cocktails) Ryan Chetiyawardana mixing up a storm. It is evocative of Auchentoshan on account of the fact that Auchentoshan is excellent for mixing due to the triple distillation that takes place there (See my review of the Auchentoshan distillery tour here).

Here are the dramstats:

AuchentoshanTBWC

  • Price £63.95 from here
  • ABV 47.1%
  • 50cl

Nose: Initially there is some aftershave and lavender, but this quickly fades. Then Vanilla and a mature corn whisky. Some of the casks in this have been very active and there may even be a percentage of virgin oak. There is a brown sauce note with fresh baked bread. It really sweetens out given time with cinnamon spice coming through.

Palate: Very sweet, lots of red summer fruits, vanilla custard, cinnamon spice, white pepper and oak.

Finish: Pepper, spicy oak then strawberry whips, creamy vanilla milkshake and custard creams.

Verdict: This is the nicest Auchentoshan I have tasted and it’s not even close! However, I wouldn’t say it was a typical lowland. It’s almost like a well matured grain in certain aspects of its character. I’m a fan. MoM know how to blend a good whisky!

Now, here is that part where I say if I would buy a bottle for myself. It’s tricky here. On the one hand I like the whisky and it is affordable. On the other it’s over £60 for only 50cl, which would work out at £89.53 for a full size one. That is in the price range that I’m willing to pay only if I really love the whisky or if I was a fan of the distillery and wanted a bottle with the unique label. This is excellent whisky, the best toshan I’ve tasted, but I wouldn’t buy it for myself. The liquid is excellent and I’m sorry that my sample is gone, but what you love is so personal, this isn’t it for me and it is therefore out of my price range.

Dram Review: Caperdonich -Batch 3 That Boutique-y Whisky Company

This is another review from the Master of Malt range of That Boutique-y Whiskies kindly sent to me, by them, for review.

The range is based on whiskies from a being blended by the chaps at Master of Malt, then bottled “Boutique” style in 50cl bottles with artist designed labels that evoke something of the distillery in question.

The label on the Caperdonich bottles depicts the legendary pipe that ran between now closed Caperdonich and it’s sister distillery Glen Grant. Here are the dramstats:

CaperdonichTBWC

  • Price £135.95 only from here
  • ABV 45.7%
  • 50cl

Nose: Malty, vanilla and ovaltine. Macdonalds chocolate milkshake. Cinder toffee and baked pear. Vanilla, icing sugar. Milk Chocolate distinctively comes through so that crunchie bars are the lasting impression. With a drop of water there is a note of Caramac bars.

Palate: Really connects with the nose (which is something I personally like in a whisky). Sweet malty vanilla, cinder toffee, milk chocolate and oak comes through.

Finish: Very sweet, aspartame, hint of turkish delight, pears and vanilla malt.

Verdict: I could really destroy a bottle of this! Lovely stuff! However, way out of my price range. I’m not saying it’s over priced. Caperdonich is a closed distillery after all! I’m saying I wouldn’t buy it because it’s not really in my price range (except for exceptional whiskies maybe once every couple of years).