Another week, another Wednesday and I find myself now surrounded by the lush greenery of southern England, much more vibrant than the grey and brown of Dublin. Being in England gives me the time I’ve missed with my partner, and also the chance to order from more than just the whisky exchange. A certain site by the name Master of malt could not deliver to Ireland though is now open to me, and what’s this? Master of Malts own independent bottle line, That Boutique-y Whisky Company? That’s right, for this World Whisky Wednesday I’m taking a look at TBWC World Whisky Blend.
So who are That Boutique-y Whisky Company? They say it perhaps best themselves,
‘We’re an award-winning independent bottle of whiskies from craft distillers around the world and maker of delicious blends.’
For those who are unaware, an independent bottler does not own a distillery, rather they purchase casks of whisky from distilleries as either matured whisky or new make spirit, and mature, bottle and sell the whisky themselves.
And I mean yeah, that’s what they are, but they are also so much more than that. The folk of TBWC are quite modest at least regarding their whisky, but the truth is that they have been carefully selecting casks from around the world for a long time and help to introduce the whisky community to brands, distilleries and indeed entire countries that might otherwise slip under the radar. While they have the catalogue of Scottish whiskies that you would except the attitude tends more to be if the liquid tastes good then it doesn’t matter where it’s from. Couple that with the presentation that TBWC uses, with fun loving art and labels and you can really see the difference.
There’s something to be said for that. As an industry we like to think that we challenge perceptions and the norm with injections of fun, by encouraging and recommending whiskies from different countries but when you look at a lot of independent bottlers and a large amount of brands you find that they tend towards that classic look and line up. No offense to them, but do what TBWC does. Whisky is fun, and should be treated as such. Have fun with whisky, roll with it.
So that brings us neatly to this fun little drop I have in front of me, TBWC’s World Whisky Blend. The blend holds whisky from the following countries: Scotland, Canada, Ireland, Sweden, USA, Switzerland, Netherlands, Taiwan, India, Italy, Germany (specifically Bavaria), France, Japan and Finland. Strewth that’s a list, 13 countries? And while I could name at least one of the distilleries in question (I don’t have any special connections, I just happen to know one of those countries only has one whisky producing distillery) adding the combinations together means there could be several hundred different combinations that this whisky could be. That’s nothing to sneeze at and speaks a lot to the skill of those behind the blending.
To firmly cement that this is something new and different while also representing the way the world drinks whisky, the World Whisky Blend was designed to be drunk as some in the industry might see as ‘basic’. You can drink it neat. You can drink it with ice. Have it in a cocktail. Drink it with Coke, with soda, with green tea, the variations on how TBWC encourages you to drink this whisky are endless, and that says a lot. So let’s check off the boxes there, they encourage you to drink a whisky with anything you like, tossing out the notion that some believe that whisky must be drunk neat. The whisky in question comes from a total of 13 countries, most of which many whisky drinkers are unaware create whisky. And finally they eschew the notion that whisky can’t be fun, with a bold brilliant label on the bottle that shows whisky for what it is, world spanning.
So with all that, lets dive into a glass of this whisky. Now while it is designed to be drunk in a highball, I have come to the realisation that the only liquid within the house is whisky and wine. Neat it is, for today at least.
The nose starts light with lemon and green tea, some strawberry sweetness, and a touch of rye (I swear I recognise some of the flavours and distillery profiles in here), easy hay notes, some lilacs, apple cores and slightly dry rock melon, not full of juice but with a touch left. Slightly peppery as well, with hints of grapefruit coming through. A few canned peaches and pears, then some ginger at the back.
The palate follows spicy suit, with ginger biscuits, hints of pepper, that malty taste of biscuits comes with a hint of chili chocolate on the back. There’s strong grain through there as well, not just in the base but exposing character of vanilla essence, red peppers, baked grain biscuits and a strong sense of cooked fruits. The finish is light and fruity with plenty of spice along the way, the ginger bread constantly popping up and showing its friendly face.
It’s a great whisky. Blends have tended to get flak from the industry for an unknown reason, likely the misinformed idea that only a single malt is worth having but this is a clear winner for the category. What it represents as well is fantastic, a taste of the wide world of whisky all brought together in a single glass. My only regret is that I had no mixers to try it with, but it looks as though the weekend will be sunny. Highballs in the garden sound like a great choice.