1257 Kensington Road NW
1 (403) 283-8000 / [email protected]
It is finally here... we have been teasing and talking about this whisky for months, and it was worth the wait. We are thrilled to introduce you to our first ever KWM exlcusive single cask from That Boutique-y Whisky Company. Although the bottle doesn't explicitly tell you which "Highland" distillery the whisky is from, there are clues on the label... 578 bottles have been filled exclusively for Kensington Wine Market at 51%. But we have nothing holding us back from telling you that Boutique-y Highland #2 is Clynelish... That's right, this is 20 year old Clynelish!
Andrew's Note on the Whisky & Label
Could that be a cat in the clouds, a Wild Highland Cat perhaps? Is it not strange to see a waxy candle-powered balloon? Incidentally, it is lifting the KWM whisky team aloft. And what of the monument? If we told you it was a controversial monument near the town of Golspie dedicated to the infamous Duke of Sutherland, would that give you all the information you need to know? What Highland Distillery has a Wild Highland Cat as its symbol, a waxy profile, and an infamous Duke as its founder?
This label is a cheeky take on a shared memory, with embellishments, embedded details, and Easter eggs, in the tradition of the best Boutique-y Whisky Company Labels. More importantly, it tells a story, which is personally important to my family. My mother was born into the Clann Gunn in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Her ancestors roamed swaths of what is now Caithness and Sutherland in northern Scotland. That is until they were compelled to leave Scotland in the late 18th century, cruelly and rudely displaced to make way for sheep during the early days of the Highland Clearances.
On the label there is a ship at sea, heading to Canada presumably, as hinted at by the flags (the Canadian flag as it is today was only introduced in 1965). On the flat coastal plain at the base of the mountains sheep can be seen grazing. In front of the monument stand a pair of Canadians stand in hockey jerseys. Sam Simmons, Head of Whisky at Atom Brands, and a native Torontonian, stands closest to the monument in what appears to be a hockey jersey. Further back, a native Calgarian, yours truly can be seen waving a white hat, an iconic symbol of "Cowtown", whilst sporting a local hockey team jersey of his own. In the balloon Keith, Evan, Shawn & Curt can be seen waving at Andrew & Sam below. Speaking of those two, what are they doing atop Ben Bhraggie? Funny story that.
When TBWC offered us this cask of Highland Malt, they asked us what we wanted on the label, and I had a cheeky idea. In 2006 I made my first trip to Scotland, and on that trip, I hiked up Ben Bhraggie, a small mountain (really a foothill by Canadian standards) to see the monument of the infamous Duke. Someone had spraypainted the word "Monster" in neon green at the base. When I was sure no one was looking I dropped trow and relieved myself on it. I sent Sam an email of this tale, my connection to the area and my idea for the label. I was sure it was just a little too edgy...
Minutes later my phone was ringing... it was 3 AM in the UK, but Sam wanted to make sure I had seen his reply. He too had hiked Ben Bhraggie in 2005, and he had also paid his own respects to the infamous Duke of Sutherland...
One last little nugget, Keith, who is a personal trainer and headed to Beijing as a Team Canada Skeleton coach, felt his arm didn't look appropriately burly, in an early draft of the label. So we had the artist, Emily Chappell, 'bugs bunny' his arm... In case it isn't already apparent, nothing is sacred (especially when it comes to The Duke of Sutherland and Keith's pipes)!
And the rest as they say is history. On the back of every bottle, That Boutique-y Whisky Company includes the following text: "We are passionate about great whisky, we don't take ourselves too seriously and we LOVE a good story." No wonder these chaps are such a great fit to work with!
Andrew's Tasting Note
Nose: rich, honeyed and fruity; floral with notes of heather and golden grasses which transport me back to the top of Ben Bhraggie; leather, chocolate, candied orange, and spices; melons, apricots, and soft waxy tones; later it becomes doughy with bright berry fruits and honeycomb.
Palate: honeyed, rich, and very fruity with soft sherry notes and crisp spices; candied nuts, firm leather, and milk chocolate with cocoa nibs; more honeycomb, berry fruits, and a building waxy tones; creamy vanilla, cream soda, melons, and apricots; still a touch floral, more heather and early spring flowers.
Finish: long, coating, and spicy; Clynelish signature waxy profile coats the palate while notes, of heather, honey, leather, and fruits slowly fade away.
Comment: when we were offered this cask, there wasn't an opportunity to sample it, this was a take it or leave it proposition; and when you are offered a 20-year-old Clynelish at a halfway decent price with the opportunity to create your own label, it's best not to look the gift horse in the mouth; regardless we are very happy with the liquid and the label, and know you will be too!
That Boutique-y Whisky Company (TBWC) is part of the Atom Group, which also owns the UK retailer Master of Malt and a number of other subsidiaries. They are a dynamic and innovative firm, who by example invented the Whisky Advent Calendar concept. Established in 2012, TBWC is famous for its playful and colourful labels, which often feature prominent whisky industry figures, tell a story, and or elude to an inside joke. The labels are typically laced with hidden elements and "Easter Eggs."
TBWC bottles whiskies from around the world, though the bulk of their offerings are of Scottish origin. Most of their offerings are small-batch releases, Blended Malts, and Blends. Their "Head of Whisky" is Canadian Sam Simmons.
We are big fans of not only their whimsical labels but also the consistently high standard of liquid they bottle.
Browse all in-stock products from That Boutique-y Whisky Company.