November 2015 was an exciting release for the Canadian arm of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, launching 8 new single malts in place of the usual 7. Rob & Kelly the Canadian branch founders were concerned that the range was going to be a little disappointing (ha ha) so they released an extra dram… boy were they mistaken! There were some real gems this month with the releases from distilleries 3, 26 and 1 being my favourites in that order. Some of the other strong contenders included 53.222, 66.65 and 48.58. None of the whiskies disappointed with all of them being someone’s favourite. We saw good sales across the board for all 8 releases with a few coming close to selling out!
Here are November 2015′s Scotch Malt Whisky Society Canada releases:
- 5.42: Bathed in a baker’s shop – 59.5% – 13 Year – Refill Hogshead – Lowland – Profile: Juicy, oak and vanilla – Outturn: 274 Bottles – Panel’s Tasting Note: “One panel member came over all broody, reminded of bubble bathed babies wrapped in fresh towels. Others found it very juicy, bouncing with green grape, apple chews and lemonade lollies. Ginger gave a lively spritziness to taste, baby was then soothed by vanilla Jell-O pudding, and peanut butter on bagels. The addition of water opened spearmint, elderflower soap and brioche on waxed paper. Mother hen found her baby swaddled in a newly laundered crochet blanket, while the rest found sweetly iced christening cake decorated with white liies, lychee and pea shoots. A bonny, blooming bairn!” Drinking tip: “A christening perhaps?” - $145
- 1.185: Russian, Jamaican, Turkish, Thai – 54.5% – 30 Year – Refill Hogshead – Profile: Old & dignified - Outturn: 190 bottles - Panel’s tasting note: ”Opulent and elegant, the nose wove a textured fabric of sweetness (fudge, butterscotch, caramel, manuka honey, dark chocolate, peanut brittle) shot through by threads of garden exotics, tobacco leaf, sandalwood, After Eights and soft leather. The palate combined effervescent citric tingles with treacle toffee and old oak – Cossack-dancing Russian caramels smoked cigars while Jamaican gingerbread men limbo-danced on polished floors. The reduced nose evoked Botanic Gardens, cabinet makers, mint and lemon Turkish Delight and Thai spice. The palate – sweetly sophisticated with citric élan – strawberry, blackcurrant and lemon Life Savers, ginger snaps and tobacco – a Marypark marvel worth savouring.” Drinking tip: ”A captivating after-dinner dram (preferably on a large yacht)” – $286
- 48.58: Medieval jousting dram – 63% – 11 Year – 1st Fill Barrel – Speyside – Profile: Spicy & sweet - Outturn: 221 bottles - Panel’s tasting note: “The nose was many-faceted – waxy flowers and tree bark soon developed a fruity layer (apple, raspberry, fruit salad) eventually deepening into chocolate-coated toffee, cherry gateau and millionaires’ shortbread. The palate was a jousting contest between Sir Sweet (iced caramels, honeycomb, drinking chocolate, puff candy) and Sir Heat (dragon’s breath blast of chili and ginger). The nose turned even more attractive with a drop of water – coconut macaroons, meringues and iced gems, with tiny hints of salsa and wood. The palate was sweet and peppery – sugar-coated rose petals, malted milk-shake and jammy custard with a teasingly light dusting of pepper.” Drinking tip: “To relax with after the daily jousting tournament (aka work)” – $140
- 26.92: Hard-glazed pretzel sticks - 58.2% – 28 Year – Refill Butt – Highland – Profile: Spicy & sweet - Outturn: 491 bottles - Panel’s tasting note: “At first nosing very ashy, like a distant erupted volcano, soon followed by various lemon aromas; lemon oil, lemon zest and lemon drizzle cake as well as a yeastiness of rye sour dough. The taste neat initially fiery like hot volcano ash but swiftly replaced by sweet wood smoke. There is also an interesting battle going on between the saltiness of pork scratchings and the sweetness of a crystallized orange. With water the nose turns fresher like a sea breeze and fruitier with apricots, pears and apples. This engaging sample from the distillery situated in Brora, tastes sweet like a bacon breakfast cake with maple syrup but at the same time salty like a Salzstange.” Drinking tip: “Whilst watching your favourite sport on TV” – $219
- 42.15: Oscillations of light and shade - 58.6% – 19 Year – Refill Hogshead – Highland Island – Profile: Deep, rich & dried fruits - Outturn: 206 bottles - Panel’s tasting note: “The nose oscillated from light to shade – the light side including washing drying in the sun, pineapple, mango, banana split and golden syrup – the dark side had dried dates, coffee dregs, chili chocolate, black pepper, ginger, dark marmalade and feeding a Christmas cake with booze. The palate, even at natural strength, was very tasty, warming and pleasant – caramelized pineapple, Christmas pudding, dark cherries in syrup, toffee, caramel, dried fruits, some chili heat and woody dryness. The sweetness intensified with water (golden syrup, caster sugar, brandy snaps), but hints of bitter exotic fruits, ginger jam and treacle toffee balanced the sweetness perfectly.” Drinking tip: “While hanging out the washing or making a Christmas cake” – $195
- 3.237: Candle taking its last breath – 57.2% – 17 Year – Refill Butt – Islay – Profile: Oily & coastal - Outturn: 537 bottles - Panel’s tasting note: “A fairly robust nose, this one doesn’t hold back; oily smoky mackerels, treacle toffee, sherry soaked sultanas, banana bread, dark-fired tobacco, sticky barbecue ribs and salty pork scratching were just a few of the many descriptors given. Big on the palate –‘this is a butcher’s barbecue’, fresh meat from the local butcher; pork sausages, beef burger, chicken drumsticks all with a tasty homemade marinade. Adding water turns it into a Christmas cake trifle or a boozy crème brulee as both having received a very liberal amount of sherry! In the taste, deep dark chocolate loaf with a sweet strong espresso at the finish.” Drinking tip: “Late last night and the night before” – $180
- 53.222: The Three Little Pigs – 58.4% – 13 Year – Refill Hogshead – Islay – Profile: Peated - Outturn: 248 bottles - Panel’s tasting note: “Once upon a time there were three little pigs. The neat nose found the first one, a delightful hog roast with rosemary and apple sauce. There were toffee apples, smoked mackerels and wet charred wood. The second little pig was barbecued with apricots on the nose but tasted of crackling and maple cured bacon. Then came herbal notes, a sweet peat and burnt marshmallows. Water brought out old cigar smoke and foie gras on melba toast, and then the third little pig – stewed tenderly with honey and hoisin sauce. The smoky palate was both salty and sweet with a wonderful mouthfeel. And the big bad wolf lived happily ever after.” Drinking tip: “Dare we suggest to try this with pork, perhaps?” – $150
- 66.65: Holy smoke! - 62.7% – 10 Year – 1st Fill White Wine Hogshead – Highland – Profile: Heavily peated - Outturn: 270 bottles - Panel’s tasting note: “Smoky, peaty, medicinal were immediate comments before descriptors of smoky bacon crisps, peat fired barbecue with pork bellies, peppered pork sausages and grilled scallops next to witch hazel gel, Vicks VapoRub and a freshly brewed cup of turmeric tea. On the palate like a ‘smoke explosion’ or ‘breathing diesel’ – quite an experience! Behind that a well roasted chicken with fresh thyme and tarragon. Water released perfumed spices, burnt raspberry marshmallows and a Thai green prawn curry using coconut milk. The taste was like a sweet and sour pot roast. You either love it or hate it – most of us loved it!” Drinking tip: “One for the road – or maybe two” – $132
Don’t forget you can always browse available Scotch Malt Whisky Society Canada releases from past Outturns on our website… and stay tuned for the next Outturn!