New Whiskies

Batch 40

by
Batch 40 whiskies

Featuring two newies from Compass Box – one linked to the company’s transparency campaign – a wine-casked Benromach, Boutique-y things, and a surprising Highland Park. A strange Wicker Man theme emerges…

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Ben Nevis 19yo (That Boutique-y Whisky Co)

    Score 8.0/10
    Scoring explained >
    Ben Nevis 19yo (That Boutique-y Whisky Co)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    49.5%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Typically bluff Ben Nevis opening, with the requisite thick oiliness backed with roast chestnut and burnt, leathery elements. An old-style whisky, robust, nose-warming and ever so slightly dangerous. There’s game and prune elements alongside malt extract and a whiff of biker jackets.

    Palate

    Soft to start, now the sweetness of the distillate comes through. The texture is thick and palate-coating. Has good energy, with blackcurrant coming through retronasally. More structured with water.

    Finish

    Long and thick. Oily.

    Conclusion

    There is almost something wrong about Ben Nevis, but so right at the same time.

    Right place, right time

    Surrounded by Hell’s Angels in a garage in Fort William.

    Benromach Sassicaia 2007

    Score 5.9/10
    Scoring explained >
    Benromach Sassicaia 2007
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    45%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    The colour of a Provence rosé. A fair amount of peat to start, almost like an experimental dessert with smoke wreathing around blue and red fruits – some of them not quite ripe. Water brings out some dry grass, then slightly sappy wood.

    Palate

    The thickness of distillate that we now expect from Benromach. The smoke element is well-balanced, but you can’t help but get the impression that things are not quite knitted.

    Finish

    Green.

    Conclusion

    All the elements are there but, for me, they are not fully integrated.

    Right place, right time

    We light fires from the year’s fruit tree prunings.

    The Circus (Compass Box)

    Score 8.7/10
    Scoring explained >
    The Circus (Compass Box)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    49%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Rich, mature aromas. A concentrated reduction of fruit: peach and sultana tarte tatin, plum, heavy clover honey and oxidised elements which bring to mind an old Vin Santo. There’s a waxy underpinning with touches of whisky rancio. It manages to be rich, but restrained at the same time – an old man with a twinkle in his eye. There’s a slight nutty element, along with a waxy undertow. Don’t water.

    Palate

    A thick texture, sweet apricot jam, then beeswax and some macadamia. It has the slightly muted quality you get from old, rich but lower-strength drams. In time a violet element develops.

    Finish

    Waxy and gentle.

    Conclusion

    A blend of forgotten marrying casks filled with old vatted grain and old vatted malt. Has elegance and a sprightly exuberance.

    Right place, right time

    In the pub, the old guys sit around singing as the circus comes into town.

    Enlightenment (Compass Box)

    Score 7.9/10
    Scoring explained >
    Enlightenment (Compass Box)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Blended malt whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Lively and initially floral, with jasmine, sherbert dabs, then sour apple sweets and American cream soda. With water, there’s pear, lemon, vanilla and cucumber skin. Fresh and appetising.

    Palate

    Slightly thicker than the nose suggests, though there is this slow leak of Riesling-like green acidity, then marzipan.

    Finish

    Fresh, clean and sharp. Refreshing.

    Conclusion

    This will make a great spring highball. Keenly priced as well.

    Right place, right time

    The maidens dance around the May pole.

    Glenrothes 10yo (That Boutique-y Whisky Co)

    Score 6.7/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glenrothes 10yo (That Boutique-y Whisky Co)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    45.8%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Deep colour, suggestive of a pretty active cask. This is ‘Rothes on the nutty side, partly from the oak, and partly from the nutty cereal which usually sits underneath its extravagant fruits and spices. Reminiscent of a health food store, then some (less healthy) hard toffee, Dundee cake and a dense sweetness. A little sulphur with water.

    Palate

    A dusting of pollen on dark fruits, then the wood begins to come through along with some chocolate elements, walnut and barley. A slightly fat mid-palate. Loses impact with water.

    Finish

    Roasted hazelnut. Light turned earth.

    Conclusion

    Dense and nutty, but the wood and the spirit are both pulling in the same direction.

    Right place, right time

    Memories of last year’s harvest as the fields are ploughed.

    Highland Park 16yo (Gordon & MacPhail)

    Score 7.8/10
    Scoring explained >
    Highland Park 16yo (Gordon & MacPhail)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    56.6%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islands
    Availability
    The Whisky Exchange exclusive
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Light gold. Although there’s a slight hint of fragrant smoke in the background, this is Highland Park in sweet, even sugary guise: all cake icing, William pear, vanilla, light bergamot and patchouli, which moves into steamed syrup pudding, then a pine element. Leave neat as things flatten with water.

    Palate

    Intense but sweet, with a lightly thickening mid-palate. The smoke remains low, with the citrus elements adding freshness. Fresh and seemingly delicate, with a slightly dark undercurrent.

    Finish

    Clean, then lightly smoky.

    Conclusion

    In the same vein as Ice, a lighter everyday style of HP.

    Right place, right time

    There’s temptation lurking. Smoke from the bonfire drifts in through the window. The door opens…

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