Kensington Wine Market's 2023 Whisky Calendar UBER EDITION Day 4 - Boutique-y 10th Birthday Millstone - 25 Year Old
Posted on December 4, 2023
Today’s dram in our UBER Edition of the 2023 KWM Whisky Calendar presents a fortunate collision between two very intriguing whisky companies. One, the whisky maker – is Millstone Distillery of the Netherlands. The other is the independent bottler, those fun and crazy folks from That Boutique-y Whisky Company. Together, they have given us That Boutique-y Whisky Company Millstone 25 Year Old, which was bottled to celebrate Boutique-y's 10th Anniversary.
Let’s talk about Millstone first.
The Zuidam Distillery was founded in 1975 in Baarle Nassau, which lies in the southern Netherlands near the border it shares with Belgium The Founder, Fred van Zuidam, had accumulated two decades of previous experience in spirits production before deciding to make a go of it on his own. Under his care, the distillery started by making a line of premium liqueurs using natural ingredients, from grain to fruit to herbs and spices used. This methodology continues to this day, as Zuidam spirits are made with no artificial colouring or flavouring. This goes for all of their products, be it their Cassis Liqueur (which is delicious by the way), Apple Flavoured Gin, Dutch Courage Old Tom Gin, Premium Genever, or Single Malt Whiskies and Rye Whiskies. Millstone whiskies, and beyond that with the Zuidam line of spirits and liqueurs, can be hard to keep up with.
Zuidam's first experiments in whisky-making started in 1994, and regular whisky production commenced four years later in 1998. Even then, the Zuidam family showed patience, not releasing their first single malt whisky commercially until 2007. The first bottling was a 5-year-old. It was also the first release to use the Millstone name, which was a reference to the use of Dutch Windmills to stone-mill the malted barley. Nowadays, the use of windmills is no longer enough to supply all the grist needed.
Fred’s son Patrick van Zuidam is now in charge of whisky and spirit production at the family distillery, and under his influence, the distillery’s line of whisky has stretched into a variety of different styles and grains, including Rye as well as three-grain and five-grain blends. On the single malt whisky side of things, the distillery uses long fermentation times as well as a Belgian Brewer’s Yeast for the fermentation itself. Patrick has a deep fondness for good quality sherry casks and has invested serious amounts of time and finances to obtain them. If you have ever had any two-decade-old Millstone Single Malt Whisky from a sherry cask, you will see how well his devotion pays off for us whisky drinkers.
Now, onto That Boutique-y Whisky Company.
I have talked about That Boutique-y Whisky Company in prior Whisky Calendar blog posts a few times now. The company has been around for more than a decade now, and for its 10th Birthday in 2022, numerous different bottles were released. There were rums, cognacs, and whiskies of many varieties including Tennessee Rye, Single Malt Scotch and a few world whiskies as well. This 25-year-old Single Malt from Millstone was one of these special releases.
Enough of this chatter - let's get to the dram. I have heard from Andrew and Shawn that this is one heckuva whisky, but I have not yet tasted it myself. Here we go!
Evan’s Tasting Note
Nose: Yup, this is definitely sherry-driven – and in a stunningly gorgeous way! Heavy and heady Earl Grey tea, buckets of black licorice, Demerara Sugar, Ginger snaps, Tawny Port, and raisins dumped into a melted milk chocolate fountain.
Palate: This is big, but surprisingly light on its feet. Surprisingly refreshing given the decadence of it all. This might be the perfect combination of juicy and dry sherry with plenty of molasses, dates, oranges and cloves, and a touch of bitter dark chocolate. Oh – and unsweetened iced tea with a squeeze of lemon.
Finish: The whisky floats on our palate – or you float along with the whisky – for an impressive amount of time.
Comment: How a dram can be this insanely sherried but still not dumpy and overblown is one of the great mysteries of cask aging to me. Don’t bother giving me a chemical breakdown or scientific explanation for it – I want to keep believing it is magic happening.
Where do we go from here? Stay tuned for Day Five to find out!
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