The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has been growing steadily since it was first launched in Canada in 2011. The world’s largest whisky club has been very well received in Canada and we hit a milestone in the last few days. The 1000th Membership in Canada was sold at KWM on Thursday, the night of the first of three April Outturn tastings. The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has branches in more than 17 countries with close to 30,000 members around the world. The Society bottles around 400 single casks of single malt whisky, single grain whisky and other spirits a year mostly from Scotland. The Society’s whiskies are always bottled at cask strength, with a uniue numbering system. For more info on the Society and its unique bottlings visit: www.smws.ca.
We’ve had a lot of great whiskies, and amazing monthly tastings over the last 3 1/2 years, and this month’s release was right up there. We had strong demand for all 7 whiskies. One of them, a very rare Japanese single malt, from a closed distillery is being raffled off to interested members as the demand far exceeds the supply of available bottles. Here are April 2015′s Outturn of Society whiskies:
- 48.43:Â Pepper crop-dusted over orchards – 55.5% – 12 Year – 1st Fill Barrel – Speyside – Profile: “Spicy & Sweet” – Outturn:Â Â 115 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “Our noses were tickled by pepper, mustard, straw mats and sawdust, but it settled to jellied fruits, blackcurrant chews, orange jelly, fruity toffee, tinned pineapple and syrup sponge with custard. With water, those black pepper clouds parted and the sun shone on ripened orchard fruits (apple, pear, peach, apricot, cherry). The palate offered a warm peppery tingle, hinting at nutmeg and chili; we also found honey, toffee, fruit pastilles, blackcurrant, lemon, ice lolly sticks and some biscuit-y dryness. In reduction, fruits of the forest were balanced nicely by hints of humbug, pepper, liquorice, leather and tea.” Drinking Tip: “A holiday dram – but not abroad and not fourstar – more like camping or RVing (unmatchablejoys and interesting challenges).” - $133.99
- 26.100:Â Galactic root canal treatment – 56.5% – 9 Year – 1st Fill Barrel – Highland - Profile: “Young & spritely” – Outturn: 224 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “The nose started off spirity â€“ white pepper, new pine and varnish; then lemon candles, lemon sherbet, liquorice, wood ash and old-fashioned rucksacks (canvas and leather) on a parquet floor â€“ perhaps the start of a spring-time excursion? Water calmed it down â€“ laundry, white chocolate, vanilla, milk bottle sweets and pretzels. The neat palate was definitely fierce â€“ somewhere between dental anaesthetic and Fireball XL5! â€“ Scotch bonnet chili, lemon zest, glue and Haribo gums. It became much sweeter in reduction â€“ lemon barley water, sweet and salty popcorn and St Clementâ€™s cocktail â€“ the heat now teasing and playful rather than fierce. This distillery replaced â€˜Broraâ€™.” Drinking Tip: “This definitely benefits from water – and even then would be a good â€˜bracerâ€™ or shot of Dutch courage.” - $112.99
- 9.84:Â Playing â€˜Sea Battleâ€™ in the garden – 55.6% – 25 Year – Refill Butt – Speyside – Profile: “Juicy, oak & vanilla.” – Outturn: 534 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “One Panel member found himself on the gun deck of an old wood-hulled warship with smells of ash, gun powder and spent cartridge, whilst others, more peacefully, are turning earth in their herb garden. The taste is hot and fiery â€“ the battleship is in action â€“ or we take a break from gardening on a sunny afternoon and enjoy rye bread dipped in olive oil. With water we take a rest sitting in a wicker chair on a warm cedar decking surrounded by pots of sage and heather. The taste now juicy, warm and pleasant like waffles with runny vanilla custard.” – Drinking Tip: “Somehow obvious: whilst playing â€˜Sea Battleâ€™.” - $219.99
- 132.6:Â Night Nurse nipped by piranhas – 63% – 12 Year – Refill Sherry Butt – Japan/Closed Distillery – Profile: “Deep, rich & dried fruits.” – Outturn: 553 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “We found an amazingly complex nose â€“ interesting sweetness (salted caramel, barley sugars, ginger snaps, melted chocolate) blended beautifully with laurel hedges, lacquered wood, dunnage warehouses, porridge, roasted hazelnuts, cherries and cigarette packets. The palate was drying, spicy, sweet and perfumed â€“ we identified dark chocolate, fig rolls, clove, cinnamon and ginger spice, orange peel, Night Nurse cold medicine, tobacco, tonka beans and cooked ham â€“ definitely interesting; we wanted more. The reduced nose was slightly more herbal (camomile, sage, eucalyptus) while the palate seemed sweeter, but still with miniscule piranhas of warm spice nipping at our tongues. The distillery is located in the Japanese Alps.” Drinking Tip: “To provide an invigorating spark-up.” – $289.99
- 3.217:Â A delicatessen shopping basket - 55.6% – 16 Year – Refill Butt – Islay – Profile: “Lightly peated.” – Outturn: 609 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “This had all the makings of a great feast of prosciutto ham, sundried tomatoes, roasted fish skins, sushi and brown sauce. A leather jacket stuffed into a canvas bag and a pouch of pipe tobacco. A damp forest with recently burnt heather and a shale beach. Much discussion ensued on the topic of ham – honey glazed or German peppered? We were all in agreement that it had delicious foodie characteristics in a warm plastic box. Lavender lip balm and orange peel were detectable above the blast of tar, sea spray, incense sticks and wet burlap.” Drinking Tip: “Drink neat or only a splash of water.” – $160.99
- 53.190: A fishing village up whisky cove – 56.8% – 17 Year – Refill Hogshead – Islay – Profile: “Peated.” – Outturn: 263 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “The nose conjured up fishing village scenes â€“ boat sheds, smoke houses, sea air, tarry ropes, puffer boats, lobster pots, seaweed and sea-food barbecues; also lavender and carbolic. The palate was masculine and tongue-roasting (pleasantly so) with smoke, tarry driftwood, brine, treacle, vanilla, honey-roasted pork, smoky bacon and chili. The reduced nose discovered swimming pools, coal fires, fish boxes on a bonfire, new car tires and oysters. Even in reduction, the palate was still big, but very enjoyable â€“ mouth-tingling spices, salt and pepper, citric smoke, grapefruit on prawn cocktail and hints of leather in the finish. We thought it very â€˜soundâ€™.” Drinking Tip: “Take a sip before jumping into the ocean – and a good mouthful after coming out.” – $155.99
- 29.140:Â Juicy, salty and sooty - 60.2% – 18 Year – Refill Barrel – Islay – Profile: “Heavily peated.” Panel’s Tasting Note: “Many would say this is the most pungent of the Islay malts, and certainly this cask supports the claim. Carbolic and coal tar soap, road tar and soot are the first notes, backed more subtly by Brazil nuts, raw monkey nuts and pine nuts, then tools in a garden shed, â€˜including lawnmower and grubby dungareesâ€™. The taste is very sweet, salty and very smoky: â€˜smoked hot-dog, with barbecue sauceâ€™, evolving into oysters with clamato sauce. More medicinal with water (foot baths, wet suits and rubber dinghies); not quite so sweet to taste and less salty, but still bags of sooty smoke.” Drinking Tip: “Last of the day.” – $172.99
These 7 whiskies aren’t the only 7 Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottles available at KWM, you can view past releases still available on our sites Society page.