What the hell you might be saying to yourself, what the hell is SquidgyAsh going on about, what's all this worship and hailing of the spoon?
In fact what the hell does he mean when he says spoon?
When we'd decided to import whisky into Australia, there were a few that I'd pretty much been crossing my fingers on, either because of the distillery or even in one case to be bluntly honest, the label was so attractive.
However having worked with alcohol, especially beer, for several years I'm always very leery on purchasing a bottle based off the label, much less bottles for resale where it's my name on the line.
One of the whiskies that had me very excited was The Boutiquey Whisky Company's Blended Malt Batch 1, which features a picture of a crowd of people worshiping a giant spoon, referring to a process called Spooning, which is the practice of a distillery selling a cask of whisky, but then adding a spoonful of whisky from ANOTHER distillery so it's no longer a single malt.
This prevents companies from selling another distilleries whisky as a single malt, which sort of lowers the prestige of actually managing to score a single cask from some of the distilleries where's it's notoriously difficult to get casks out of.
Some distilleries such as Talisker, Lagavulin, Glenfarclas, Glenfiddich, Balvenie, etc are very difficult to get casks from, and when you do, there's usually some sort of stipulation preventing you from naming it, such as Glenfarclas almost always being called a Secret Speyside, Mystery Speyside, etc, or Gordon & MacPhail's Secret Stills range or Elements of Islay's habit of naming their bottles by the periodic table method, so Lg2 for their 2nd release of Lagavulin.
However Grant's who own Balvenie, Glenfiddich and Kininvie have a different approach to those who are actually lucky enough to purchase a cask off of them. Their solution is the spoon, where they add a spoonful of whisky
This prevents a bottler from strutting around bragging about how he's selling a Glenfiddich single cask, since it's no longer a single cask, it's had a spoon of Balvenie or Kininvie added to it, making it a blended malt.
Following so far?
Does this spoon of another distilleries whisky really matter?
No, not really, it's such a small amount as to be a drop of water in a bucket. One of the ways I explain it to beer guys is you take this big lovely beer, for the purpose of this conversation we'll say a lager (meh can't personally stand lagers, too bland, but oh well) and into your big stein of lager you take an eye dropper and add a few drops of a big black imperial stout.
At most there's the slightest color change, but your palate won't pick up the stout at all, it's still a lager.
This entire process is designed so that distilleries won't have their whiskies bottled as a single cask with their name on the label in order to prevent brand dilution. Mind you all that needs to happen is one single drop of another whisky distilleries spirit going into that cask and it's no longer a single malt technically.
When I see this Blended Malt I lose the plot, I go absolutely apeshit with excitement. A single cask of Glenfiddich?! Who gives a shit if it's not a single malt anymore, we all know what it is!
Then I see it's a Balvenie, even better as far as I'm concerned as I enjoy Balvenie more!
However we still have to do the taste test, because this whisky could still be crap.
There were 210 bottles in this batch, bottled at 54% abv, as always this is a No Age Statement whisky, with no artificial coloring or E150 and non chill filtered. This as mentioned before is a Balvenie with a teaspoon of either Glenfiddich or Kininvie poured into it.
Into the glencairn the whisky goes, a lovely amber color and let's get this show on the road!
The nose is so fruity and vanilla, peaches, apricots, nectarines, pears, hint of smoke, and a wisp of bbq pork
The palate has cocoa dust, honey, poached pear, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, toasted oak, caramel, coffee, and again a hint of meat
The finish is caramel coffee, long and sweet.
I Love It!
Easily love it, and all I could think about once I finished tasting this whisky is how I needed to grab a couple of bottles for myself.
A bottle of this would run at around $92 AUS before shipping, taxes, etc. It'll retail around the mark of $160 to $175 a bottle with roughly 40 bottles coming into Australia, of which at least 2 will automatically come home with me because I love this whisky!