Whiskylive 2019: Day 1, Part 1

The first person I stop and talk to [on my way to TBWC stand] is Mariella Romano, followed by Colin Hampden-White [thethreedrinkers.com]. Now based in Glasgow and Global Brand Ambassador for Arran, Mariella pours us both the 18yo which I’ve not tried before.

Arran 18yo [2019] Ob. 46%.jpeg

Arran 18yo [2019] Ob. 46% WB0 [WF]86

  • C: Solidly competent whisky and at £76, a fine alternative for fans of the Macallan 12yo sherry wood say, at £70.

Scores 87 points


Showing no signs of having just flown in from China a few hours earlier, Dave is looking sharp and trim in his tartan waistcoat. I’ve been living a very similar lifestyle to Dave since late January, but I can’t say it’s done much for my waistline.

Highland Park 18yo TBWC Batch #5 [btl 61:581] 47.8%.jpeg

Highland Park 18yo TBWC Batch #5 [btl 61/581] 47.8% [50cl] WBWN88

  • C: Old skool chewy oaked sugars with a sweet lactose development. Super all-rounder.

Scores 88 points


TBWC Speyside #2 25yo Batch #1 [btl 1531:] 51.6%.jpeg

TBWC Speyside #2 25yo Batch #1 [btl 1531/] 51.6% [50cl] WB0

  • C: Another excellent old-skool, deep-aged, fruity citrus Speysider that may or may not come from a distillery that rhythms with Maldenny.

Scores 87 points


TBWC Blended Malt #6 24yo [2018] Batch #1 [btl #158/659] 48.8% [50cl] WB0

TBWC Blended Malt #6 24yo [2018] Batch #1 [btl #158:659] 48.8%.jpeg

TBWC bottles now come with really well designed and fun boxes. There are stickers inside too!

  • C:. Nutty distillate-driven with a tasty soft-herbal caramel chew and some lovely old sherry. Bought pre-blended [from the horses mouth], Toby recalls it as being comprised of 30% single malt from Loch Lomond & 70% single malt from Glen Scotia. Fairly priced too at £85 from TWE on the day, or £93 at MoM!

Scores 87 points


Cotswolds 3yo [2018] TBWC [1783 bts] 50.4% [50cl] WB67.50[2]


I believe this is the first independent bottling of Cotswolds single malt.

  • N: STR-light and mature for its style.
  • T: A broad middle and the illusion of age.
  • F: Much like the official bottlings, albeit the lactose-y fruits show up later.
  • C: I like Cotswolds a lot and this independent expression is more than favourable when held up against the distillery’s early official releases.

Scores 84 points


Three Ships 6yo [2018] TBWC [1150 bts] 53.7% [50cl] WB86[1]

Another independent bottling exclusive, this whisky from the James Sedgwick Distillery in South Africa.

Three Ships 6yo [2018] TBWC [1150 bts] 53.7%.jpeg

  • N: Oh, this is alright. I get overall, combos around flowers and confectionary.
  • T: Oh this is good, modern and good. The flowers & confectionary continue into the palate. There’s a chestnut wood vibe which is why it’s to my liking. Liquorice on the turn,…
  • F: … into aniseed. We’ve a big finish that’s for sure with more unusual herbal confectionary descriptors appearing at the tail. That’s the bourbon & PX combo talking.
  • C: Very decent young whisky with Daftmill & STR vibes. Think I’d be in the mood for it only occasionally however.

Scores 85 points


TBWC Blended Whisky #2 22yo Batch #3 [btl #925/1650] 41.8% [50cl] WB81.67[3] WN87

TBWC Blended Whisky #2 22yo Batch #3 [btl #925:1650] 41.8%.jpeg

Being a subtle one, this shouldn’t follow a whisky like the Three Ships at 53.7%, so I have a thorough palate reset.

  • C: Moorish with a subtle complexity and a seriously lovely buttery chocolatey finish. It’s ashame then that the grain is so prominent, because once you’ve identified it, you can’t un-see it. Then again, check the price for a 22yo blend of this calibre. On the day, £59 at TWE, or more at MoM!

Scores 86 points


Cambus 25yo TBWC Batch #5 [btl #180/349] 50.1% [50cl] WB85.67[3]

Cambus 25yo TBWC Batch #5 [btl #180:349] 50.1%.jpeg

Another closed grain distillery with a growing number of fans.

  • N: Coppery yeasty pickles and a hundred other characteristics.
  • T: Spirit-driven in the best way.
  • F: An unusual/unique set of flavours for a grain [which I’ll let you discover for yourselves], and a pleasing mouthfeel.
  • C: Again, the price on the day was a super-inclusive £64.

Scores 86 points


[Lagavulin] TBWC Islay #4 11yo Batch #1 [btl #686/1586] 48.8% [50cl] WB0

[Lagavulin] TBWC Islay #4 11yo Batch #1 [btl #686:1586] 48.8%.jpeg

I rarely get TBWC’s label clues, but what’s that written on the side of the boat? ‘Laggan’!

  • C: Very much reminiscent of the official 16yo in style. For ‘Laggan’ fans, this is a no-brainer.

Scores 87 points


Bowmore 27yo [2018] TBWC [285 bts] 47.6% [50cl] WB89[2] WN91


  • N: That’s Bowmore – violets & Parma mam, right? I’m a bit funny with violets, often experiencing a butyric association from relatively more modern violet-led Bowmore, perfumes, essential oils,…. Thankfully that phenomena is only distant here.
  • T: It may be pale in colour, but boy has the cask has done its business. Faultless delivery.
  • F: A serene sustain, helped by the ideal abv.
  • C: It’s hard to fault on a technical side. Price-wise, the current market asks £343 [1st Apr ’19], and that’s no April Fools’!

Scores 90 points


I’m walking up the stairs for a Nikka Masterclass. You never know right? A bearded gentleman takes me by the arm and guides me into the VIP lounge instead. I’m really glad he did!

Bunnahabhain 37yo [2018] TBWC [244 bts] 41.2% [50cl] WB0

[Representative photo]

Bunnahabhain 33yo

  • N: A fusty fruity oaky number that could pass for Balblair at this age. More & more treasures unfold as time passes. 
  • T: This has more oak than the 33yo Bunna TBWC brought along last year [Blog], but we’re well within safe and desirable limits. 
  • F: More fusty action.
  • C: A cracker. Sadly, at the current price, it’s now out of my reach.

Scores 91 points


Like other bottlers, TBWC source their whisky from brokers and occasionally, distilleries direct. Interestingly though, the majority of their whisky is sourced through private collectors.

Springbank 22yo [2018] TBWC Batch #16 [987 bts] 49.6% [50cl] WB0

[Representative photo]

Springbank 21yo [2018] TBWC batch 8 [btl #415:911] 47.5%

  • N: A big Madeira job this. Leathery, fruity & meaty, all vibrantly ‘glossed’ together. 
  • T: ‘Boing’ at first. Water helps eke out those rounder fruits.
  • F: More ‘boing’ and burned pickled onions is all I noted, but the rubberiness subsides as time passes, helping this malts more appealing characteristics to gain traction.
  • C: It’s a bomb and so initially the distillery profile is masked. However, this whisky changes big time, over time, so don’t dismiss it too soon.

Scores 87 points


And that’s lunch! Thankyou to Dave, James and TBWC team.





Boutiquey whisky

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