Wednesday, 7 May 2014

What The Hell Is Inchmurrin?!


Whisky: That Boutique-y Whisky Company Inchmurrin Batch 1

Loch Lomond

That Boutique-y Whisky Company Inchmurrin Batch 1



Full Gold
Part of my work is trying whiskies for import into the country.  The cool thing about this is discovering whiskies that you've never heard of or tried before.

Normally I don't focus much on a distilleries history or styles in my reviews.  I know so many bloggers that do, that I hate to say it, but I find it honestly redundant.

But every so often, I encounter something that makes me go "What the hell!?"

Tonight was that night.

I was playing around with The Boutique-y Whisky Company's Inchmurrin Batch 1.

I'd went hunting for information on Inchmurrin and discovered that it wasn't an actual distillery.  It's distilled at Loch Lomond, one of Scotland's most versatile distilleries.

This distillery has One Coffey still for grain whiskies and two traditional pot stills, making it the only distillery in Scotland to produce both grain and single malt whisky, but on top of this, Loch Lomond also has four Lomond stills (hence the name) which is a still made up of a pot still, but combined with rectifying column, instead of the traditional swan necks.  This allows the distillery to produce some very different whiskies, actually a grand total of eight different single malts:  Loch Lomond, Inchmurrin, Glen Douglas, Old Rhosdhu, Craiglodge, Inchmoan, Croftengea and Inchfad.

What's that you say?  You've never heard of any of those whiskies?  Neither had I!

They almost all go into the company's blends, which means that single malt bottlings from this distillery are rare.

Wow I feel like I've geeked out just a little bit!

So trying a whisky from this distillery for the first time was a bit of a special moment in my whisky life.

I cracked open the whisky, which is a dark copper color (remember no E150!) and poured it into my lovely crystal glencairn.

The nose is fruity and spicy with cinnamon, nutmeg, stewed apples, vanilla, charred oak, honey, cereal, and oranges

Really enjoying the complexity on the nose, however time for a sip!

Very spicey! Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, little coriander, ginger, candied oranges, vanilla, honey, very dry, this whisky begs for another sip.

A soft and lingering finish with cloves, ginger, and honey end this whisky.

This is a very easy drinking whisky with lovely complexity. I Really enjoyed this whisky which really surprised me.  I'd LOVE to have a couple of bottles of this whisky in my cabinet.  It really goes to show how good the whiskies that go into blends can be.

A bottle of this whisky would run around $70 or so AUS before shipping, customs, and all of those other lovely taxes involved for importation into Australia.  After taxes, retail markup and all that unpleasant stuff I'd expect to pay around $150 AUS (god I hate Australian duty!

None of this whisky will be coming into the country for the second shipment of Boutique-y Whisky, however if they have any left when I go to make a order for the third round, I do believe we'll see a small amount come over, however you will see some of this in my collection because it is yummy and delicious!  If you don't believe me I'd suggest you go purchase a dram at Master of Malt.

Nose:           23/25
Taste:           23/25
Finish:          21/25
Balance:       20/25

Overall:        87/100

1 comment:

  1. Nathan - it might interest you to know I've actually visited and been all over Loch Lomond Distillery! It's a very interesting set up. The grain distillery and the malt distillery are two separate areas, although linked via the one building enclosure. Yes, there are eight stills in the malt distillery, but they are actually four pairs of two. (i.e. four pairs of wash stills and spirit stills). Four of the stills (i.e. two of the pairs) are "pots with rectifying heads", but please note they're actually NOT Lomond stills. One pair is a is a conventional set of pots, and the last pair are actually column stills. These column stills make the same amount of spirit as all the other six put together. (It's these same two column stills that have caused all the fuss with the SWA. You'll find all the goss on this if you do a bit of googling).

    As you rightly pointed out, Inchmurrin is made using the stills with the rectifying heads. Amazingly, it comes off the stills at 80%, which is incredibly high. (Bear in mind, many distilleries don't start taking their cut until the low 70's). In contrast, one of Loch Lomond's other malts, Glen Douglas, comes off at 55%.

    Now, here's the really juicy bit: Loch Lomond doesn't produce its differently peated whiskies by using malt that has been peated to different levels. (i.e. they don't distil a batch of malt peated to 25ppm and call it Inchmoan, and then distil batch of malt at 40ppm and call it Inchmurrin, etc). Rather, all of their peated is malt is peated to 50ppm. They achieve all of their different styles by using different fermentation times; distilling them in different stills (using different distillation charges, times, and temperatures); and - of course - distilling them in the different stills!

    Their regular production used 0ppm malt for 46 weeks of the year. They only do peated campaigns for 6 weeks of the year. The heaviest peated whisky they make is Croftengea. This is rare and hard to find, HOWEVER, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has featured two different bottlings of it in recent years. One of them, a 16yo, was an exceptionally tasty whisky!

    Hope this extra stuff was informative. I have a tonne of photographs from my visit, too, if you'd like to see some pics. (Actually, if you browse through my Twitter history on my @SMWS_Australia account, you'll see a few Loch Lomond pics).