Tag Archive: Boarders


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Malt Musings: Upcoming Whisky: From Raasay and Boarders

Something a bit different today, I am doing first impressions rather than full notes. The reason why is that these are two new whiskies from Independent Spirit‘s Raasay’s tasting night. Bias Warning: As before I was allowed to try these for doing notes by Independent Spirit for free. Anyway, I have a feeling these may be the follow on releases from Raasay’s While We Wait and Boarder’s Single Grain – however nothing is confirmed yet, so the final releases may be very different from what I tried and these may just be an intermediary step. So, more a state of play than anything else, but I figured the chance to do a glance on these should not be passed up.

Single Grain:

Visual: Pale gold.

Nose: Banana. Vanilla. Walnut cake. Still alcohol touched but smoother. Sugar dusting. Menthol. Toffee.

Body: Sweet toffee. Sherried Raisins. Mild alcohol presence. Water makes thick and viscous. Fudge. Rum. Treacle. Walnuts.

Finish: Sherry trifle. Dry oak. Water has alcohol air and spicy rum.

First Impressions: So, what I guess will be the next boarders release is here. Good news – the cardboard and rough elements are way down. Still a few notes when neat, but fair sorted out with water. It is much fruitier, but in a selective way – the Oloroso sherry oak is doing good work here bringing out lots of raisins and such like. Oddly it means that the brighter fruit single grain flavours are nigh completely lost.

Instead it gains a real thick, treacle, spiced and sherried trifle expression. I don’t think I’ve run into such a sherried single grain before and it gives quite an almost molasses like experience. It is a bit one note but intense. Water is still needed, but less so and to better effect.

It needs a bit more time in the oak for balance I feel – to hopefully give more subtlety- there are hints of walnut and soothing fudge now, but I feel with a bit more time it could build up to become something very nice. As is, it is like being shot out of a cannon – a heck of an experience, but needs the rest of the elements to make a while show.

Definite improvement, bodes very well.

Single Malt:

Visual: Rose wine.

Nose: Cherry pocked biscuits. Pencil shavings

Body: Rose wine. Still noticeable alcohol. Water adds vanilla fudge. Orange zest to marmalade.

Finish: Rose wine. Alcohol. Cherry pocked biscuits. Some smoke and menthol. Water brings malt chocolate, fudge and slight dried beef.

Conclusion: Now this definitely follows on from the While We Wait – it has the similar rose wine and cherry pocked biscuit character that makes me as sure as I can be that it is the inheritor to its mantle. It is slightly smoother, and even neat this is more recognisably whisky like that its precursor.

It seems more complex as well, slight smoke darker notes, slight orange zest lighter notes – more is coming out of the fray. It is still a bit alcohol dominated, even with water, but I’m finding myself enjoying this one a lot more. The more easily found whisky character and feel means that it isn’t just as one note with the rose wine influence.

Unlike the precursor I think I would return to this – the alcohol could do with some smoothing, but considering this is a high strength whisky I can give it some room on that. With water it is better, but not 100% removed, but I’m sure a bit more time will help that out. Another good bit of progress. Worth trying as is, and again, signs of good things to come.

Boarders Single Grain Scotch Whisky

Boarders: Single Grain Scotch Whisky (Scottish Single Grain Whisky: 51.7% ABV)

Visual: Deep yellowed grain.

Viscosity: Many fast thick streaks.

Nose: Sugared almonds. Definite alcohol. Vanilla. Rum and raisin. Water makes smoother and more nutty. More water adds slight lemon cakes.

Body: Quite smooth mouthfeel despite the alcohol. Rum and raisin. Cardboard. Water adds raspberry liqueur. Gin. Soft lemon cake. Quite viscous still. More water makes more lemony. Some squeezed orange. Peach syrup and tinned peaches. Even more water adds pineapple chunks.

Finish: Rum and raisin ice cream. Cardboard. Alcohol air. Water adds a quite medicinal air, nutty and slightly rough. More water gives orange, lemon, watermelon Jolly Ranchers and dried apricot.

Conclusion: You really have to lay on the water with a trowel for this one. At over 50% abv for a single grain whisky that isn’t a surprise, but it is still worth pointing out. Ya know, just in case. What is surprising is that despite a distinct alcohol character you can still feel the viscous yet smooth texture to the whisky even neat. A good sign there at the start.

The rest of it – not so good neat. A slight cardboard like character, definite alcohol – you can feel a nice rum and raisin character there but it is overwhelmed by the rougher notes.

Progress with water is initially a mixed bag- rougher nutty comes came out which are kind of unpleasant and the cardboard, while it lightens, never fully goes away. On the positive side the flavour style definitely improves – less alcohol, more rum and raisin, then slowly lemon cake. Then, with more water, a full fruity burst that seems like grain whisky’s speciality style. Out comes lots of lemon, watermelon, peach – all backed by the gentle rim and raisin.

So, good? Erm, well, even with a ton of water it has those cardboard backing and rougher edges. I don’t know the age of this, but it feels young, and while I have had some very good single grain whisky over the past years; Whisky that has shocked me away from my preconceptions of grain whisky, they still seem far more reliant on age for quality than their single malt counterparts.

So, not one I can really get into. Its good points are always layered over that weak backdrop. It needs a better base before the, admittedly ok, bells and whistles can work. So not worth it, especially at the slightly higher price point this comes at. It needs a few more years I think to work out the rough edges, then maybe its strengths can shine.

Background: Like Raasay before it, this is not made at its named distillery. Instead being distilled at an unnamed Highland distillery and finished in Oloroso sherry casks. It is said to be an example of what they hope their whisky will be like when it is done. Apparently this is the only single grain scotch whisky to be made from 50% wheat and 50% malted barley. So they say. Bias warning – this was gifted to me after Independent Spirit’s Raasay whisky tasting night for me to take home and do notes on. As always I will try to not let that affect my notes. Many thanks for the whisky. This was drunk while listening to Godspeed You! Black Emperor!’s Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven – very relaxing and vibrant music for doing notes.

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