We had two excellent back to back Society tastings last night, and the lineups were superb. In my humble opinion, one of the best in recent memory. Unusually for a summer tasting we had three Islay whiskiess, but all of them fit well into a lineup of summer/breakfast style drams. The lineup was as follows:
- 125.67: Clean and innocent – 58.7% – 14 Year – First Fill Barrel – Highland Northern – Outturn: 193 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “The nose inspired sweet descriptors (meringue, barley sugars,toffee, honey, crÃƒÂ¨me brÃƒÂ»lÃƒÂ©e) and woody references (tea chests, sawdust, coconut, polished Steinway) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ also leather, lemon zest,banana, apple, elderflower and vanilla Ã¢â‚¬â€œ clean and innocent. With water, some perfume and tropical mix appeared. The unreduced palate had clove and nutmeg spice, sugar-coated fennel seeds and old-style wooden toys (sticky with love and sweets and chocolate and ice-cream and honey and custard)… more perfumed with water, we found orange blossom, suntan oil, guava, mango, peach and CadburyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s creme eggs. The finish was long-lasting Ã¢â‚¬â€œ like the memory of a first kiss. Made by sixteen men.” Drinking Tip: “This could turn a lazy Sunday into a perfect lazy Sunday” – $141.99
- 77.30:Ã‚Â Attractively accessible and mouth-watering – 61.9% – 9 Year – Refill Hogshead – Highland Northern – Outturn: 273 Bottles -Ã‚Â Panel’s Tasting Note: “The nose was attractively accessible, with barley sugars, cream soda, fondant sweets, shortbread and pastry with custard Ã¢â‚¬â€œ other notes included fresh linen, lemon, pear sorbet, candied angelica, orange zest, flowers and felt-tip pens. Some preferred it with waterÃ¢â‚¬â€œ tinned fruits in syrup, lime, under-ripe mango, daffodil stems, cream horns and malted cereal. The palate was straightforward and easy-drinking, yet mouth-watering; stewed apples, pears in syrup, vanilla, pineapple tarts, caramelised sugar, hessian and cayenne pepper. The reduced palate was softer and more Ã¢â‚¬ËœgivingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Ã¢â‚¬â€œtoffee, tablet, rice pudding, apricot jam, tropical fruits and sherbet fizz. The distillery complex includes a substantial maltings.” Drinking Tip: “Suited to an afternoon in springtime -aperitif perhaps.” - $115.99
- 9.78:Ã‚Â White chili chocolate – 59.3% – 11 Year – 1st Fill Barrel – Speyside – Outturn: 223 Bottles -Ã‚Â Panel’s Tasting Note: “Sweet notes dominate the aromas neat; brown sugar, golden syrup, toffee and the cream of coconut in a piÃƒÂ±a colada. With time notes of gingerbread and freshly picked blackcurrants appear. The taste has a devilish combination; just when a burst of fiery heat explodes in your mouth you get the creamy sweet sensation of white chocolate Ã¢â‚¬â€œ quite an experience. With water fresh, grassy and herbal notes on the nose and creamy on the palate, like a white chocolate lime mousse or a white Russian flavoured coffee with an after dinner mint. Enjoy experimenting adding water to this exciting example from the best-selling malt whisky in Italy.” Drinking Tip: “Have fun experiencing this one neat and then with the addition of water.” – $129.99
- 3.201:Ã‚Â Scented wood smoke, lavender & violets – 50.8% – 24 Year – 2nd Fill Sherry Butt – Islay – Outturn: 283 Bottles -Ã‚Â Panel’s Tasting Note: “The nose wafted scented wood smoke by us (Ã¢â‚¬ËœCaribbean beach bonfireÃ¢â‚¬â„¢) polished furniture, soft leather, marmalade on toast, toffee, cedar and carbolic. The palate also boasted wood smoke (and ash) tar and charred orange peel; one panellist was sinking into a leather armchair by a log fire, while another was at the Chelsea Flower Show (lavender and violets, I guess). The reduced nose was pretty straightforward Ã¢â‚¬â€œ rosemary pot-pourri, herbal tea and fresh linen; while the palate (nice viscous textures) combined iced gems and lavender soap with Islay cottage peat fires and a juicy, citric and floral finish. From IslayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s oldest distillery.”Ã‚Â Drinking Tip: “An unusual version of the make -guaranteed to provoke conversation and debate.” - $189.99
- 29.131: Buttercups, bothies & bbqs - 60.6% – 17 Year – Refill Barrel – Islay – Outturn: 203 Bottles -Ã‚Â Panel’s Tasting Note: “A rather unusual nose Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it suggested a coal sack full of sugar puffs, buttercups by rock-pools, a bothy (with old-fashioned oil lamps), vanilla, clove and barbecued honey-glazed charred mackerel. The taste was quite smoky and foody, with seriously caramelized onions shovelled on a mustardy hot dog Ã¢â‚¬â€œ also tar, ash, lavender and coal. With water, the nose achieved a good balance of smoke and sweet Ã¢â‚¬â€œ mustard seed, sweet bread and pork cooked in a pit, Samoan style. Even in reduction the mouth impact was big and tongue-roasting Ã¢â‚¬â€œ slightly burnt schnitzel with flower salad. From the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœlove it or hate itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ distillery.” Drinking Tip: “A nice warming bothy dram – or one to experiment with food pairings.” - $155.99
- 53.200:Ã‚Â A day at the beach – 59.8% – 18 Year – Refill Sherry Butt – Islay – Outturn: 589 Bottles -Ã‚Â Panel’s Tasting Note: “We found ourselves on the beach next to a fishing harbour and the boats are coming in landing their catch of scallops, crabs and langoustines. Aromas of fresh seaweed growing on the rocky shore and old overgrown wooden groynes are mingling with the harbour smells. The taste neat is like a Ã¢â‚¬Ëœpick-me-upÃ¢â‚¬â„¢, a sweet, salty and clean fresh sea breeze, oysters with Tobasco sauce and honey butter roasted scallops. With water warm like the engine room of a fish trawler or starting a barbeque at the end of a hot day. The taste is now of slightly ashy toasted marshmallows, lightly salted macadamia chocolate and in the finish freshly cooked rhubarb with an agave syrup.”Ã‚Â Drinking Tip: “In your beach duffle bag for a day at the seaside.” - $174.99
We also re-sampled 9.73: Frgihteningly easy to drink a 16 year old Refill Ex-Bourbon Speysider from Rothes’ oldest distillery. My favourites on the evening were 3.206, sister bottling to one I tried at the Vaults in Edinburgh in May. Second for me had to be the very uncharacteristic 29; much softer and not as medicinal as most society casks from this distillery.
There are many past SMWS releases still available. You can browse them all on our SMWS Pages.