Behind the tenth window of That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s 2019 Advent Calendar we will be reviewing each day until the 24th of December was hidden a Strathclyde 31yo batch 4, bottled at 45% abv by that Boutique-y Whisky Company and the first single grain of this calendar. The black and white label details the chemical components created when the cooperage toasts the wood making the barrel, those substances being what’s behind the flavours we recognize in our whiskies. But boutique-y being boutique-y, you’ll quickly see that they cannot stay serious and scientific until the end and give a quicker explanation for those not that interested. And what about Strathclyde, a distillery many people never heard about? It’s a grain distillery located in Glasgow on the south bank of the River Clyde, in a district called Gorbals, and is pretty awful looking (it was an old cotton mill). It’s owned by Pernod Ricard (Chivas Brothers) and is used mainly as a component for Ballantine’s and Chivas blends. I could not find a price for this whisky.
Chardonnay. A swirl create small heads slowly fattening before becoming quick fat legs.
Coldorak: Vanilla and butter first, then honey and orange nectar juice (the cheap kind, not the 100% fruit juice kind) and that’s about it. Maybe it’s because of my cold, but I don’t get much on the nose.
Ainulindalë: It starts with some sort of prune and dates, very smooth, imperial even. Fruits taken care of. Behind that, a fresh floral smell, a bit lavender, a bit lilac, very vegetal which is surprising at this age. This all on top for the oak and some sweet spices, ginger especially, and a small teensy bit of vanilla.
Coldorak: Sweet and spicy arrival, with a sirupy mouthfeel. Fruits covered in honey and caramel, with a pinch of spices. The oak is discernable without being overpowering.
Ainulindalë: It first punches you with a spicy bite I wasn’t expecting. Ginger again, over dates and plums, and even the odd cherry in alcohol. I’d have not believed the ABV was that low judging from the punch it packs. Smooth texture, not waxy, not oily. A splash of caramel here and there, some dark chocolate and voila.
Coldorak: Prickling on the tongue, with caramel and oak, a warm and long finish.
Ainulindalë: The finish is sweet and smooth, all on dates and spices, complementing well each other, on top of this dark bittery chocolate with traces of oak.