TBWC at CYWL: What no Scotch?!

Paul’s introduction this evening is priceless – “Hello! This is Dave”.

Cue Dave [the one & only] Worthington who tells us 2022 is a key anniversary for That Boutique-y Whisky Company. Has it been ten years already?!

You’ve got to give it to Boutique-y. Their releases are predominantly 1-3 casks [max], but they rarely milk the ‘single cask small batch’ cow unlike others [no names] who think 24000 bottles equates to small-batch!

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Tonight’s flight contains zero Scotch. Absolutely!

“I thought we’d start with a 29yo Irish, because, why not?”, says Dave. Good call sir!

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[Single Malt] Irish Whiskey 29yo [2021] TBWC Whiskey #2 Batch #7 ‘Home Nations Series’ [418 bts] 50.2% [50cl] WB90.33[8] WLP[87+]

When it comes to Irish whiskey of a certain age, it’ll either have come from [double-distilled] Cooley’s or [triple-distilled] Bushmills, explains Dave. This can make distillery identification easier in many cases.

  • N: Finished in a rum cask and with initial grain-like/column still vibes, this will be a single cask bottling from Bushmills then. Very soon, [classic Irish-esque] tropical & orchard fruits begin to burst through with that distinctive waxy ‘Irish-y’ sweet-sour interplay.
  • T: Fruity malty,.. some [molasses] rum influence [easily spotted when you know],.. and a touch/illusion of sherry?
  • F: Fruity fruity fruity. Archetypal Irish single malt, [often typically] slightly one-dimensional, my only gripe.
  • C: What a way to start. Likely to be best in show.

Scores 90 points [9/10]

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Adnams 07yo [2021] TBWC Batch #1 Home Nations Series [btl #376/406] 50% [50cl] WB79.67[5]

From Ireland to England, this one was bottled from a single French oak cask.

  • N: With Method & Madness [chestnut cask] vibes [WLP85], we’ve a savoury < sweet number that I find chalk n cheese after that superb Bushmills.
  • T: Emphatically not Scotch and holding its own just fine, the cask positively adds direction and colour.
  • F: Some bitter tannins complement the sweet chestnut-like oakiness. Clean barley sugar at the tale.
  • C: Having tried this last year [WLP81], today sees an extra point on the/my 100-point scale, whilst remaining the same on my recently adopted 10-point scale = I see a problem!

Scores 82 points [5/10]

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Next up, we look at some of Boutique-y’s [Cadenhead-esque] ‘Wine Cask Series’ releases.

Puni 04yo [2021] TBWC Wine Cask Series Batch #1 [btl #3/380] 47.3% [50cl] WB0

With a pinot noir cask finish, this Italian whisky is made from a 100% malted grain mash bill that features wheat < barley and < rye.

  • N: This is rather impressive for a 4yo, but then, how many times have we said that about all number of young malts in the last few years? The [dry] rye clearly comes across as the more dominant of the utilised grains.
  • T&F: The grain combo certainly brings a USP, the [Dornoch vibes: WLP] cask doing much of the work at the tail end.
  • C: Enjoyably rough & tumble whisky from the Italian ‘cube’. Further reading: itc.com 

Scores 80 points [5/10]

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Next up, we’re in Germany.

[Saillt Mor] Destillerie Ralf Hauer 04yo [2021] TBWC Wine Cask Series Batch #1 [btl #293/366] 64.1% [50cl] WB0

Saillt Mor has been distilling since the 1600s, but until very recently, from fruits. Whisky production only began in 2009. Apparently, they can’t use the Saillt Mor name because the SWA deems it too Scottish sounding! Further [general] reading: https://sailltmor.de/#!/story

  • N: Akin to oily smoked vegetal rubber, is that peat smoke or heavy char? And what of the cask[s]? In a word- odd.
  • T&F: Now I see why this previously ex-sherry cask matured malt saw an ex-bourbon cask finish. See this then as an ex-bourbon finished sherry bomb with a salty Longrow-esque vibe.
  • C: Distillery-anonymous whisky to be alternatively filed under ‘curiosities’.

Scores 81 points [5/10]

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Next, we are off to New Zealand and to a distillery that has somewhat of a legendary status amongst small circles since its demise in 1997 [and not 2000 as some commentators report – more info to follow in due course]. TBWC’s Batch #1 [WLPnm] wasn’t all that legendary, but Dave assures us Batch #2 is a very different prospect.

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Willowbank 18yo [2021] TBWC Batch #2 ‘Wine Cask Series [btl #8/506] 50.5% [50cl] WB84[1]

  • N: Red wine, it’s what Willowbank do [did]. Here, we’ve a cracking consolidated red wine-derived sweetness that shows itself in many tutti-frutti confectionary forms. Anyone for grape-sweet strawberry sauce on ice cream? There’s instant appeal then, but there’s more besides appeasing the sweet-toothed.
  • T: A consolidated oaky wine~port/sherry-like sweet arrival delivers an uber-salivating wine-like-mouthfeel explosion of candle waxy/buttery melted grapey ice cream. Every sweet sulphurous – in a good way – sip is a moreish joy.
  • F: In one word – textural. Expanding salivation through to the finish, the body is light but the delivery never watery.
  • C: Rightly popular on the night, it’s right up there with the most moreish whiskies I’ve ever tried. As a result, I need to be careful not to get over-excited and over-score.

With a bottle coming, it’s a provisional score of 88 points [8/10]

Being sweet, moreish, not overly challenging, familiar to those already drinking wine/port/sherry/cognac,… it occurs to me that heavily finished or fully matured red-wine casked whiskies are potentially an ideal starting point/gateway for beginners/those new to the category.

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Next, we are off to Finland.

We are told Teerenpeli – Finland’s largest – is a quirky distillery that started off inside a restaurant [further reading: website]. Teerenpeli, in Finnish, means ‘flirtation’ whilst the literal translation is ‘black grouse play’, hence the bird-themed label.

Teerenpeli 03yo [2022] TBWC Batch #2 [btl #9/494] 55.5% [50cl] WB79[1]

Using local malted barley peated to 6ppm, distilled in Forsyth’s copper stills, and then aged in refill bourbon,.. it sounds like we might be somewhere near a more regular Scotch, in style.

  • N: Caol Ila-esque albeit heavily peated Caol Ila with a Longrow-esque grittiness. Just 6ppm, really? Did I hear that right?
  • T: Forget Caol Ila now, perhaps on the palate it’s more Ardmore-eque on the peat-front, with honey and light fruits as top notes.
  • F: Maintains its form all the way through.
  • C: Solid young peated whisky that makes me want to try more Teerenpeli. Pitifully, this is only my fourth from them.

Scores 84 points [6/10]

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We finish our world whisky flight in Old Blighty and to St. George’s [WLP], a distillery that’s been making whisky since 2006.

[St. George’s] English Whisky Co. 09yo [2021] TBWC Wine Cask Series Batch #4 [btl #149/407] 67% [50cl] WB0

  • N: Despite the whopping great strength, this firm if dirty sweet peated ethanol-driven number really isn’t anything to fear. Offering BBQ’ed onions, plenty of iodine,…
  • T&F: ,… this heavily peated powerhouse remains forthright if amenable and uncomplicated – especially apparent when diluted. The sherry cask finish is subtle to say the least.
  • C: Another solid St. George’s Distillery release from Boutique-y, Batch #2 being particularly good [WLP87]. This one isn’t far behind.

Scores 85 points [6/10]

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The [multiple] votes are in. Whilst the Adnams [2], Puri [0], and Teerenpeli [3] make no great waves, both the English, Irish, and New Zealander share, equally, 21 votes respectively. Perhaps most surprisingly, the wacky German malt receives 5 votes.

With thanks to Dave and CYWL. Super night.

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END

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2 thoughts on “TBWC at CYWL: What no Scotch?!

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