Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Something Awesome This Way Comes 2!

Whisky: Master of Malt Clynelish Batch 2 Boutiquey Whisky Company

Master of Malt

Clyenish Batch 2



Pale Gold

I work for a craft beer importer here in Perth Australia, I've worked here for almost 2 years now.  During that entire time I would talk whisky again and again and for the longest time there was no interest in us importing, distributing or even selling whisky.  We wouldn't be able to do enough in sells to justify it, our 9 litres of alcohol minimum purchase that is government required would ensure that we couldn't sell spirits.

Obstacle after obstacle stood in the way and I had resigned myself to the fact that we would never sell whisky.  I contented myself by making whisky suggestions to our retail sister store, some of which were heeded and some of which were ignored.

And then came Whisky Live and my wife's and my trip to Scotland.  I started being invited to whisky events around Australia and when my wife and I went to Scotland almost every distillery and bottler that we visited did something special for us.

When I got back, things had changed.  The bosses were interested in whisky.  We had a new manager for our sister shop and the bosses informed me that I was in charge of the whisky selections of both shops.  It didn't matter what I chose as long as it sold.

I started with what I term "shadow imports."  Whiskies that would come into the country in very small numbers, independent bottlers, etc.  Nothing that the big chain stores would carry, nothing that they'd be able to sell and the whisky took off in a way that I couldn't believe.

We were selling a dozen or more whiskies each week, no sooner then I'd place an order and most of it would be sold out, even before it arrived.  It was mindblowing.

I kept bringing up the possibility of importing whiskies into the country for sell, but there was no interest, none at all.

Fair enough.

At one point I was informed that if I wanted whiskies from any countries that we currently brought beer in from that it wouldn't be a problem, so late one Saturday afternoon I made a decision.  I wanted whisky from a very specific bottler, for both my store and my sister store.

I chose Master of Malt Boutiquey Company whiskies, 500ml bottles of cask strength small batch whiskies, mainly single malts, with an awesome comic book label on the bottle, usually showing scenes from each of the distillery's history, but sometimes just awesome labels.

That's what I wanted.

I emailed the bosses a list of the whiskies that I wanted, asking what it would run us to bring them in for our shop.  And when I got into work on Tuesday I got a massive surprise.

The bosses were thrilled, these whiskies looked dead sexy, reasonable price points, did I think we'd be able to sell these whiskies to other bars and shops?


I came up with a list of bottle shops, restaurants and bars where I thought it'd take off.  We made an order, and then that order doubled and was then doubled again.  The order has been placed and in a few months some new whiskies, never before seen for sale in Australia start coming in.

This sample is from Master of Malt which was sent to me months ago, in fact a few weeks before my wife and I visited Scotland.  And now with awesome toys on the way it's time to give it a crack!

This is Clynelish, which is the sister distillery to the legendary dead Brora, with a release of 319 bottles.  The label features three cats, a mother cat, a black cat who is Brota and a ginger tom, Clynelish, asking about eating cheeseburgers.  The mother cat is asking Clyenish why it can't be more like Brora who is very disdainful of his younger brother's labels.

God I love these labels!

The whisky pours a pale pale gold which is screaming bourbon barrels to me and is a slightly higher abv then the Highland Park that I recently tried, coming in at 50.6% ABV.

Let's tuck into the whisky shall we!?

The nose is so very fruity, melon, apricots, pears, peaches, honey oozes off the whisky in waves, hay, spices, coriander with some citrus, reminding me of a Belgian Wit beer, ginger, salt and the faintest wisp of smoke.

Very enjoyable nose, loving all the fruit and spices!

Time for a taste though, time for me to see if the body lives up to that nose!

Oh wow, I'm really digging this, oily, actually surprisingly oily.  Lots of spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, heaps of toasted oak, my wife says it tastes like sucking on a piece of bark, I disagree, but hey different strokes for different folks, white peppers, lots of lemon zest and salt (is this a margarita?!), sultanas, dark chocolate, coriander, hints of pear in the background.

WHOA!  I am definitely loving this whisky, there is a long finish with big oak, pears, apples, faint smoke, and caramel.

I really enjoyed this whisky and even though I haven't had a lot of experience with Clyenish what I have had, makes me want to go out and explore it more.  I personally suspect that this is a rather young whisky (which as those who know me know I do tend to really enjoy young whiskies with their vibrancy and omph). While being quite a bit more complex then the Highland Park, it's still not such a huge whisky that a beginner would be intimidated by trying it.

As mentioned earlier the abv is higher then the Highland Park batch 1, but is still not at a high enough level where I would think people would be reaching right for the water.  However after these two Boutiquey whiskies that I've tried, both neat, I've decided that I need to go out and purchase some more samples and see how well they play with water with new flavors stepping out and such.  I think for Christmas I need to ask my wife for samples of all the boutiquey's because I'm really enjoying them at this time!

Nose:        24/25
Taste:        23/25
Finish:       21/25
Balance:     21/25

Overall:     89/100

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