Tonight’s Scotch Malt Whisky Society Canada range was superb, not a bad one in the bunch. The grain whisky G1.11 was a revelation for me, matured in a sherry butt this whisky was in my opinion the finest grain whisky we’ve had yet from the Society. It needed water, also a first for me, but it took it very well, and even with a drop or two it would still be over 60% at 21 years of age.
We had three Medal Winners in the range, from Whisky Magazine’s Icons of Whisky 2015. 93.61, 10.76 and 53.184. My personal favourite of the night was a mature but very delicate 71.38, you don’t often see whisky from this distillery, even from Independent Bottlers, and it was a gem! Here is March’s full range:
- 71.38:Â A cheese-board in a library – 57% – 27 Year – Refill Hogshead – Speyside – Profile: “Sweet, fruity & mellow.” – Outturn: 210 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “A tired bowl of fruit (including bruised apples and ripe peaches), backed by polished wood panelling, leather books and faded roses, then a scent of mild cheeses (Caboc, unripe brie, white stilton) and Melba toast. The taste reflects some of these scents: sweet, then â€˜cheese on a Cream Crackerâ€™. With water the cheese note shifts to fullfat creamy (Laughing Cow), with melon, green banana, peach skin and a hint of chestnut bath oil. Soft and sweet to taste, then faintly fizzy/peppery (Flying Saucers candies, spicy), with a long warming finish and a hint of banana Â Â yogurt in the aftertaste. This distillery supplies the heart malt for Ballantineâ€™s, so is uncommon.” Drinking Tip: “With cheese and grapes after informal supper.” - $215.99
- 35.87:Â Exuberant, confident, energetic, vivacious - 60.1% – 9 Year – First Fill Barrel – Speyside -Â Profile: “Young & spritely.” Panel’s Tasting Note: “The nose was lively, fresh, exuberant and confident with a full rainbow of colours â€“ toffee, marshmallows, vanilla slice and brown sugar; also tart apple pie notes, spring blossoms, dark chocolate, leather, tobacco, linseed oil and polished antique furniture. The palate was sweet and Bourbon-like, with toffee sponge, candied angelica, dark chocolate and dates, all balanced by the citric zestiness of lemon cake and green apple. The reduced nose became sharper and more stimulating â€“ cream soda, Â apple skins, while the taste seemed amazingly energetic and vivacious; sweet and fruity, like Bakewell tart. From the distillery named after the county.” Drinking tip: Â ”Would be a good ice-breaker, or the first dram at a picnic to enhance the excitement.” – $114.99
- G1.11:Â Iced mulled wine and Sorrento Limoncello – 65.1% – 21 Year – Refill Sherry Butt – Grain Whisky – Profile: “Spicy & sweet.” – Outturn: 384 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “The initial nose was a combination of oak shavings and Â linseed oil with sweeter aromas arriving very quickly. We discovered very ripe peaches and nectarines, toffee apple sponge pudding, Scotch pancakes, Bourbon vanilla buttercream and Terryâ€™s Chocolate Orange. Sweet flavours dominate on the palate neat as well, but at the same time zesty as a lemon or lime rind, mouth drying and fizzy like orange flavoured Tango popping candy. Adding a drop of Â Â water increases the sweetness on the nose; orange cream fondant, fudge, caramelized sugar, vanilla pods and candied orange and lemon peel. The taste is like an iced mulled wine with cloves and cinnamon and a true Sorrento Limoncello. This is a very elegant example from Edinburghâ€˜s only operating distillery. Drinking tip: “Celebrating the arrival of summer.” – $173.99
- 73.64:Â Anytime can be Christmas – 58.4% – 24 Year – Refill Sherry Butt – Speyside – Profile: “Deep, rich & dried fruits.” – Outturn: 532 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “Rich and mellow, with dried fruits (dates, figs, sultanas) and spices (cinnamon, ginger), Christmas cake, well anointed with sweet sherry and ginger wine. A voluptuous sweet taste at natural strength, with figs and dry chocolate; warming with a long finish. A drop of water continues the Christmas cake theme, with fruit-cake mix, icing sugar, candied peel (both orange and lemon) and the waxed paper wrap-around. The mouthfeel is very smooth, the taste sweet (but not cloying), slightly mouth-drying, with chocolate in the finish and hazelnut praline in the aftertaste. â€˜It conjures sleigh-bells in the snowâ€™ â€“ whenever you like!” Drinking Tip: “As a special treat.” - $223.99
- 93.61: Cal-Mac welder’s tea break - 53.3% – 14 Year – Refill Hogshead – Campbeltown – Profile: “Oily & coastal.” – Outturn: 288 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “On the nose, the sweet charabanc of sugar puffs, Crunchy-nut cornflakes, fudge cookies, honey and chocolate flapjacks collided into the savoury wall of smoky bacon crisps, barbecued prawns and baked ham. The palate was also a crash site â€“ big, rich and chewy, with cinder toffee, spiced sultanas and dark honey on toast scattered in a frightening wreckage of charcoal, ash, liquorice sticks, peat reek and industrial garages. The reduced nose suggested a welder on a Cal-Mac ferry enjoying a Daim Bar. The palate â€“ sweet and (we thought) acceptably dirty with a big spicy finish. From the â€˜quiet outsiderâ€™ distillery in Campbeltown.” Drinking Tip: “To aid the visceral enjoyment of a brutal rugby match.” – $154.99
- 10.76: Duelling banjos dram - 60.8% – 8 Year – Refill Barrel – Islay – Profile: “Peated.” – Outturn: 229 Bottles -Â Panel’s Tasting Note: “The unreduced nose had a definite kick – burning driftwood by boat sheds, canvas and leather (like a straight-jacket) and sucking salty smoke over oyster shells in a hookah pipe; but this duelling banjos dram had a pleasant side too â€“ cranachan, honey, pear, citrus and vanilla; lime pickle and coal-dust never far away. The palate offered big, sweet, nutty smoke, liquorice, toffee and dark chocolate â€“ grungy for sure, but tastier than expected â€“ fruity flavours swirling around in a briny, oily puddle and chipotle and Tabasco tingling away at the mouth, like a memory of combat. The distillery is near a wreck.”Â Drinking Tip: “A dram for a hard road or daredevil moments – step up to the plate.” – $112.99
- 53.184: Fairground on the beach – 60.4% – 19 Year – Refill Butt – Islay – Profile: Heavily Peated – Outturn: 505 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “The nose offered candy floss, cinder toffee, peat smoke, rock-pools, barbecues and donuts, evoking Port Ellenâ€™s occasional beach fairground. It also had lemon, ash, dark chocolate and bacon Frazzles. The neat taste was almost galactic in its vastness, with lots of smoke, intense spice, chocolate (violet creams, chocolate gingers, Crunchie) and flavours of roast pork (with crackling) and vegetable kebabs. The reduced nose combined maple-glazed ham (clove and pineapple) with wood-smoke by the sea-shore, tar, gym shoes and canvas. The palate now uncovered faint lavender, crispy seaweed, ash, black peppercorns, smoke, tar and something vaguely medicinal. From Islayâ€™s biggest distillery.” Drinking Tip: “Might put you in the frame of mind for a Huckleberry Finn or Bilbo Baggins kind of adventure.” – $170.99
These aren’t the only SMWS releases available. To browse past bottles still available follow this link on our website.