For now, you can read on for my take on the bottles in the February 2021 Outturn below. Quirky (and possibly kinky) bottle names ruled the month in homage to Valentine’s Day. Maybe you will find a new love for yourself or somebody else within this list!
44.129 – Based on the colour of the whisky, this 15 year old Craigellachie looks to be quite a bit different from last month’s sherried-high-alcohol insanity that was the quickly sold out 44.117. How will MUSCLE SPROUTS compare? On the nose, it is musty with plenty of tea-like notes as well as shredded wheat cereal, ginger, lemons, lime peel, and a touch of Juicy Fruit chewing gum. On the palate, it has a zingy beginning before broadening into richer – like a sparkling wine changing into a Rieslings in the mouth. It has notes of both, along with more lemon and ginger, thyme, and other savoury notes that I can’t quite put my finger on. It manages to be rich yet delicate at the same time – like a really good Pho broth.
35.263 – The nose of this 12 year old Glen Moray carries much of that winey-oily-fruitiness that the distillery does so well. It also shows plenty of fresh, dusty grain notes as well as buttered whole-grain toast, chalky hard candies, golden delicious apples and ripe grapefruit skin. On the palate, it is bursting with juice and fruit with sunflower seeds, cracked pepper plus a drizzle of olive oil over it all.
12.42 – This is the first Benriach we have seen in a while from the SMWS Canada. GETTING FRUITY IN THE MALT BARN is 10 years old, which means it was distilled during Alistair Walkers’ time in control of the distillery and makes me excited to taste it! The nose shows coconut shavings, jujubes, milk chocolate, an Arnold Palmer (mocktail made from a 50/50 mix of iced tea and lemonade), and toasted almond shavings. The palate is round and creamy with pear pie notes (crust and all), lemon tarts, vanilla and oak tones, and a bit of angel food cake and white icing.
Big Swirl – This is the Blended Malt Scotch with a sherried edge that the SMWS has put together. It has a stated age of 10 years and is bottled at 50% ABV. On the nose, it shows raisins and dried cranberries, a bowl of Licorice allsorts, strawberries in whipped cream, molasses and hints of something more spice-driven. The palate reveals cranberry juice, freshly picked raspberries, a bit of peppermint candy cane, red velvet cake, cherry pie, mint leaves, and the slightest dash of cinnamon. This is a very well-put-together dram. Others might prefer the richer sherry of Exotic Cargo, but this is more to my liking.
7.244 – This is the first Longmorn we have gotten from the SMWS Canada in a while. Like many of you, I am still trying to chase the dragon from an excellent run of 7’s we had a few years ago, which included 7.167 – THE INDIAN SPICE TRAIN. Man, do I wish I had purchased a bottle of that. This WITCHCRAFT will be different than that dram, as it is the result of TWO ex-Bourbon Barrels that were married together in a first-fill PX Sherry Butt. I believe this the first time we have seen this type of ‘single cask’ from the SMWS. The nose is deep and rich with maple syrup, Earl Grey tea, root beer, vanilla pod, dates, and black licorice. The palate is dense, like Christmas fruit cake, but still manages to hit higher notes instead of being stuck in syrupy sherry. I get mandarin orange slices, brown sugar-glazed carrots, licorice tea, cherry juice, raspberry jam, and Twizzlers.
122.31 – 5 years old? Uh oh. But wait! This is a peated Loch Lomond? Now I am excited! Let’s give TARRY TARRY NIGHT a go. On the nose: yes, it is young. It has the peat plus starchy barley and wood pulp/cardboard that Loch Lomond seems to exhibit and that a love so much. It also shows an interesting combination of green tea with lime zest and a menthol cigarette held by some tall skinny model in a magazine advertisement from a 1990s Rolling Stone magazine note to it. Open up that magazine in your memory: it even has that slightly metallic printer ink on glossy magazine paper note to it. On the palate, it is juicier than you would imagine with passion fruit, freshly squeezed lime juice, pineapple slices, coconut water and minty mojitos. Plus, you are now for some reason eating that menthol cigarette advert from the vintage Rolling Stone mag. I love Loch Lomond and the wackiness they create – including this dram.
53.327 – We are back to a more typical peaty dram from Islay for the final sample of the Outturn. This Caol Ila is 10 years old. On the nose, KEEPING THE FIRE STOKED exhibits salty sea air, ozone, clamshells, dried seaweed snacks, and lemonade. On the palate, I get oatmeal with apple slices, a BLT sandwich, grilled scallops, and Fishermen’s Friend lozenges. For all of that, this is a very grain-driven Caol Ila. It has minerality, but it remains smooth and fresh on the nose and the palate.
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44.129 – MUSCLE SPROUTS
This 15 year old Speysider was matured in a refill ex-bourbon barrel and is 55.6%.
Flavour profile: Spicy & dry.
Outturn: 206 bottles.
Panel’s tasting note: “A muscular and typically forthright expression of this underrated Speysider. Sweet waxes, dried flowers, putty, lanolin, sunflower oil and gorse flowers were all initially noted. Additionally, there’s some salty young Fino sherry, flint smoke, damp shed earth and chamois leather. Water revealed pine cones, air freshener, potting sheds, chopped chives, freshly turned earth, soot and ham boiled in lactic stout beers. Sinewy and charismatic stuff!
The palate was immediately boisterous and lively with tea tree oil, vapour rubs, copper coins, vegetable bouillon stock, game meats, sheep wool and aged mead. Water tamed things a little, but it was still full of chamomile, vegetal notes, brown bread, autolytic yeasty notes, herbal and floral scented waxiness, barber grease, witch hazel and wine cellar must.”
35.263 – A DATE WITH A TART
This 12 year old Speysider is 58.8% and was matured in a 2nd fill ex-bourbon barrel.
Flavour profile: Sweet, fruity & mellow.
Outturn: 207 bottles.
Panel’s tasting note: “We found ourselves strolling through flower gardens surrounded by timber fencing and a vegetable patch that delivered wafts of fresh carrots. Flavours of dried dates, dark chocolate and ginger combined fruity and sweet notes with warming spice. Dried apricots and apples then formed into sweet tarts laced with vanilla as we sipped on black tea with sugar.
Water only darkened the date as blackberries danced with coffee beans and liquorice. Curious oily notes of Riesling wine sauntered alongside dried autumn leaves as seasoned oak surrounded black cherries and blackcurrant tarts. Finally we found bananas and barley lured further spice on the finish.”
12.42 – GETTING FRUITY IN THE MALT BARN
This 10 year old Speysider was matured in a 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel and is 58.9%.
Flavour profile: Sweet, fruity & mellow.
Outturn: 221 bottles.
Panel’s tasting note: “Rainwater dripped from the malt barn roof bringing a leafy freshness that mingled with nearby geraniums and green moss. Inside the barn we were getting fruity with blood oranges, nectarines and waxy apple skins. The sweet seduction of vanilla and milk chocolate introduced a palate that immediately proposed maple syrup, toffee and soft fudge. Then chopped almonds and hazelnuts frolicked with brioche bread among the toasty notes of sweet grains and malted barley.
A drizzle of water released apple crumble and cinnamon followed by coconut biscuits and lemon sweets. A lemon zing delivered citronella and grapefruit before vanilla sponge cake announced its arrival with glacé cherries and fine, oaky tannins.”
The latest iteration in the Society’s heresy experimental range is this 10 year old blended malt from a variety of sherry and bourbon casks, and bottled at 50%.
Flavour profile: Deep, rich & dried fruits.
Outturn: 1895 bottles.
Panel’s tasting note: “This experimental expression draws from a combination of whiskies matured full term in 1st fill Spanish oak sherry casks, as well as those matured in bourbon wood before over two years of marrying in 1st fill American oak sherry casks.
A classical sherry profile that bursts initially with red berry compote, wine gums, freshly brewed coffee, polished hardwoods, exotic spice mix, toasted nuts, brown toast spread with treacle and walnut wine. A splash of water brings wet leaves, strawberry tobacco, muscovado sugar, rhum agricole, sesame oil, black cumin seeds, lemon peel, toasted wood, rye bread and bitter chocolate.
In the mouth it’s a big swirl of dried dark fruits, menthol tobacco, strawberry wine, red liquorice, damp earth, roasted chestnuts, milk chocolate and fig rolls. Some reduction unleashes old herbal liqueurs, mulled plum wine, coffee and walnut cake, cola, cherry syrup and the lingering warmth of fruity red chili.”
7.244 – WITCHCRAFT
This 15 year old Speysider is 59.4%; after 13 years, two 2nd fill ex-bourbon barrels, filled on the same day, were combined into a 1st fill ex-PX butt for extra maturation.
Flavour profile: Deep, rich & dried fruit.
Outturn: 360 bottles.
Panel’s tasting note: “With the heavenly aroma we found ourselves in an old fashioned dunnage warehouse in Scotland smelling a very rare old vintage (añada) Amontillado sherry – celestial! On the palate dry and full-bodied (one panellist called it ‘massaging your tongue’), with walnut and toasted hazelnut husk and hints of butterscotch. Water brought out fresh oranges and bergamot oil before raisins and shaved toasted almonds took centre stage.
To taste, like a ‘rye witch’ cocktail using rye whiskey, Palo Cortado sherry, orange bitters, demerara sugar and Italian Strega (meaning witch) herbal liqueur. At thirteen years of age we combined two 2nd fill bourbon barrels, originally filled on the same day, into a 1st fill Pedro Ximenez butt.”
122.31 – TARRY TARRY NIGHT
This 5 year old Highlander comes in at 62.1% after maturing in a 2nd fill ex-bourbon barrel.
Flavour profile: Peated.
Outturn: 235 bottles.
Panel’s tasting note: “Raw, earthy peat smoke to begin. Then kippers! Followed by peppered game meats, salty bacon, smoky pub carpets, petrol, glacier mints and hot horseradish. Smoked salmon soaked in bitumen, roof sealant and hot tar buckets. Potent yet wonderfully mature for the age. Water brought us more mineral aspects and a bigger saline note. Fresh, sharp notes of lemon juice, sweet barley, cough medicines and potent English mustard.
The palate opened with a big, hearty sootiness, smoked earth, burlap, hot kiln air, more kippers, dense medical notes and wood ash. Some miso broth, iodine and natural tar as well. With reduction there came squid ink, dried herbal cough medicines, boot polish, camphor and the oily heft of a hot smoked salmon sandwich.”
53.327 – KEEPING THE FIRE STOKED
This 10 year old from Islay comes in at 58.9% after maturing in a refill ex-bourbon hogshead.
Flavour profile: Peated.
Outturn: 275 bottles.
Panel’s tasting note: “A variety of images came to mind nosing this sample neat. Smoked salted almonds, peat-smoked lobster tails and a steaming hot mug of Lapsang Souchong tea as well as the exhaust fumes of a tugboat. On the palate neat, a sweet peat smoke caramel explosion like taking the first sip of a mojito cocktail served with caramelized sugar-crusted key limes grilled over a screaming-hot peat fire.
Diluted, we were transported into a kiln where barley was being dried over a blasting fire just being stoked with peat slaps before we sat down to eat honey and nut cluster muesli.”
All of this information, plus the information on previous releases that are still available can be found on our website here. If any SMWS bottles show as being out of stock on our website please contact us – we might still be able to get more.