Kensington Wine Market's 2023 Whisky Calendar UBER EDITION Day 1 - SMWS 42.73 – QUIET CONFIDENCE
Posted on December 4, 2023
Welcome to Door Number One of our very limited 2023 Kensington Wine Market Whisky Calendar: UBER Edition! This marks the first step on our 25 day/dram long journey through what we hope you will agree is some fantastic whisky. Creating the KWM Whisky Calendar each year is a labour of love (and stress, and blood/sweat/tears/etc) that only a few companies are masochistic enough to undertake.
… Wait – I feel like I said pretty much the same thing for our other whisky calendar… I did, didn’t I? Well, If you purchased the UBER Whisky Calendar, you already know the spiel, but you are also likely going through these upcoming days and weeks in a two-fisted fashion, with drams in both hands. Kudos to you on that, and apologies in advance for having to read my typing for 50 blog posts instead of a mere 25! Feel free to mute me as we go along through these missives by tuning out the typing and instead focusing on the pretty pictures along the way.
If you already opened up Door Number One on the main KWM 2023 Whisky Calendar, you are already aware of the Daftmill 15-Year-Old Cask Strength that we showcased there. But, what is the focus to Day One in the 2023 UBER Calendar? Today’s UBER drample is from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. The name of the bottle is SMWS 42.73 – QUIET CONFIDENCE, AND THE REASON I AM NOW TYPING IN ALL CAPS IS BECAUSE I AM SUPER EXCITED THAT WE ARE ABOUT TO TASTE A 25-YEAR-OLD LEDAIG!
That’s right, we are starting the UBER Calendar off with a young whisky, only just distilled back in 1995. Ledaig is not the name of a distillery currently, but it once was the name of Tobermory Distillery until the name change happened in 1979. Ledaig is currently the name used for Tobermory Distillery’s peated whisky releases, and that is what this sample from SMWS 42.73 is.
But wait… If you look at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s own flavour profile classification for this bottle, they say it is “Sweet, fruity & mellow”. That sure doesn’t sound like a peated whisky to me. What gives?
Sweet, fruity & mellow Ledaig, they say… Well, there could be a reason for that. Maybe this all has to do with time. Two-plus decades in the cask can change a whisky quite a bit. It can make a light whisky big, bold and over-the-top sherried in style given the right (or wrong cask), It can make A big, meaty and savoury whisky go tropical, fruity and funky just like your Uncle Dennis; who spent his career as a big, burley fireman, but now that he is retired you only see in flip flops and floral print button-up shirts. Just give it time 20+ years in a refill cask. Don’t believe me? I have an example of it here. Not of your Uncle Dennis, but a whisky that has softened with age.
Perhaps Uncle Dennis is an even more perfect example to use for this 25-year-old Ledaig. Give a rugged, peaty spirit enough time in the cask and a lot of that peat smoke will blow off, leaving a much softer and fruitier, but still smoky and coastal dram behind. Don’t believe me? I can’t say I blame you, but let’s give it a taste and find out together!
Scotch Malt Whisky Society 42.73 - Quiet confidence - 25-Year-Old - 49.7%
Scotch Malt Whisky Society Tasting Panel Notes
"This dram exuded a quiet confidence which induced a sense of calmness, waited for the right moment with utmost patience and here we are. The aroma was that of sweet tobacco, honey and soft waxy pieces of papaya as a resinous woody leathery scent cast a spell on us. Really gentle, really complex on the palate with salted caramel, coconut oil and pineapple fudge.
We were completely captivated, like listening to a song where the lyrics are almost whispered suggesting that you might hear a secret - delicate yet incisive! A drop of water, if you wish, as we then imagined joining meditating Buddhist monks in their chanting."
Evan’s Tasting Note
Nose: Softer than expected. Notes of lavender, orange peel, chalky Valentine’s Day candy hearts, roasted pecans and trail mix, pickled ginger, salty Dutch liquorice, undisturbed dunnage warehouse and a light coastal breeze.
Palate: A big, salty bite right up front that is slowly washed away by more chalky, powdery candy notes. Musty and dusty with notes of dried seaweed flakes, grilled shrimp skewers, clear mushroom soup, more salty Dutch licorice, aged Riesling wine, and a sip of mulled apple cider.
Finish: Soft, salty, and savoury, with flowers pressed between pages of an old book.
Comment: This is not your typical big, burly, and boisterous Ledaig, setting off fireworks and starting tire fires. It is a more soft-spoken whisky that emerged from the other side of misspent youth and a few years at a juvenile detention centre. Its days of acting out are behind it and it is comfortable in its own skin.
See you tomorrow for Day 2 in our 2023 KWM UBER Calendar!
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