Tuesday 28 January 2020

Tasted #478: Bladnoch x Boilermaker House Select Cask 18 Year Old

Aussie-owned Scottish distillery Bladnoch is one we've featured on the blog and socials before, but always covering bottles from their standard line-up (i.e. what you can buy at Dan's). What we tried recently however, is a little bit more special...

Bladnoch, in conjunction with Melbourne's temple of whisky and beer Boilermaker House have bottled a single cask, 18yo Bladnoch specifically for the bar...finished in Moscatel casks no less!

To quote the bar:
"In creating this release, Bladnoch’s acclaimed Master Distiller, Dr Nick Savage hand selected a collection of Bladnoch malts for the Boilermaker team to taste. In a private tasting, Cask 102 was specially selected by the team led by Greg Sanderson as the perfect malt for the Boilermaker House customer. 
In August, Boilermaker’s bar manager, Asher Spitz travelled to Bladnoch Distillery in the Scottish Lowlands to meet Nick Savage and Distillery Manager, Neil Bulloch and taste directly from the team’s selected cask. Finished in luxurious Moscatel casks, the malt shows notes of sweet baking spices and fruitiness on the palate.
Just 275 bottles have been made from the cask and will be on shelves at Boilermaker accompanied by a custom beer to celebrate the release."
Follow @TimeforWhisky.com on Instagram

Whilst the majority of stock has been kept for the bar, 30 bottles will be available for purchase, by ballot registration here. So should you? The team at Bladnoch were recently kind enough to send us a sample, so judge for yourself with the tasting notes below...

Bladnoch x Boilermaker House Select Cask 18yo Cask #102 (48.3% ABV, 18yo, Lowlands, Scotland)

Colour: Orange gold

Nose: There's a big hit of stewed fruits at first - poached pears, apricots, raisins (notes which continue throughout). There's a sweetness too - maple syrup perhaps.

Palate: More stewed fruits. Baked pears, apples, apricots. The oak is there, but balances well with the fruit. The first whisky it reminded me of was Glenmorangie's Bacalta, and that's not a bad thing! Peach and caramel pie follows up, making for a deliciously fruity dessert dram.

Finish: Relatively long and warming, with hints of cinnamon, star anise and dried apricots.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100.


Thanks to Bladnoch and Boilermaker House for the sample.

Wednesday 22 January 2020

Bar Review #24: House Welley Bar (Hong Kong)

For our 24th bar review, we visited HK's latest whisky haunt, House Welley Bar in the heart of Central. HK whisky lovers who visit will likely recognise the familiar faces of Vincent, Eric and Jason, known for their friendly hospitality and impressive whisky collections, which now form the basis of the bar.

The space is open, large, and features an edgy design with a noticeable departure from the "average" whisky bar (whatever that is these days). It works - it's a striking venue that places whisky at the fore, but at the same time feels comfortable and inviting.

Of course, you don't come to a whisky bar for the space or decor, you come for the whisky, and House Welley Bar doesn't disappoint there. The back bar is split by region and style (there are sections for "Speyside", "Islay", "Blended", "Japan" etc...) and reflects the tastes of the owners, who are all too happy to make a recommendation.

You'll find OBs, sure, but not the average ones you'll find at the supermarket. Here you're more likely to find single cask, limited edition, distillery exclusive OBs, alongside a number of interesting IBs, from bottlers both established and obscure. It's not just modern releases filling up the back bar either - vintage Clynelish, Bowmore, Macallan and others can all be found too.

During my visit I tried a stunningly fruity Cooley from SMWS (117.1 no less, in the old "paper label" bottle style), a secretive 29yo Scottish malt, a 30yo Islay Blended Malt (which tasted suspiciously like Bowmore) and the now-famous 25yo 1975 Macallan from Casa de Vinos (it's excellent, but give it a lot of time in the glass). Prices were reasonable, everything is available by the half-dram, and there were several more bottles I spied on the back bar for which I'll definitely be coming back!

Whether you're a whisky geek, or just starting out on your whisky journey, or anywhere in between, House Welley Bar will have something to suit your tastes, from an obscure IB, rare Japanese single cask, to a sought-after OB.

Note: At the time of writing (21st Jan 2020), House Welley Bar is open by private appointment only, but we hope that changes shortly.