Boutique-y Clynelish 20 Year KWM Cask
Region:Scotland > Highland
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 was joined by Sam and Dave from That Boutique-y Whisky Co. to talk about the whisky, and the provocative label!
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!