Welcome to KWM Whisky Advent Day 25 – The Scotch Malt Whisky Society
We are switching up gears in more ways than one for the last day of KWM Whisky Advent 2015. Not only are you getting a bonus whisky this year on top of the 24 50mls, but it is also a 100ml bottle… think of it as a little extra Christmas Cheer for the big day today! There is also one other crucial difference, not everyone has the same whisky today. The Kensington Wine Marketed has been partnered with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society for more than 4 years, as their first Canadian retailer and outpost. They have been an important and growing part of our whisky experience and we wanted to find a way to incorporate SMWS whiskies into our calendar this year. The trick is that the Society doesn’t bottle 50mls, and the 100mls they produced are for the new member kits. But there was a two fold opportunity here.
This was an opportunity firstly, because not every casks yields the same number of bottles, the Society has small quantities of these 100ml bottles left over from the different batches of New Members Kits they produce. There were not enough leftover bottles of any individual single cask for all 384 KWM Whisky Advent Calendar drinkers to enjoy the same bottle. Knowing that we opted to go for a range of different whiskies, which is an appropriate way of looking at the Society. Because they only bottle single casks, and no two casks regardless of age, distillery or cask type are ever the same they literally never bottle the same whisky twice. Variety is as they say the spice of life. The second opportunity here related to the bottle size. Because it wasn’t a 50ml it wouldn’t fit into our existing calendar, but if we modified the calendar we could add it as a bonus 25th bottle for Christmas Day.
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is an Independent Bottler, but also the world’s largest whisky club. With around 30,000 members around the world and branches in 18 different countries the Society selects and bottles more than 400 casks a year exclusively for its members. You have to be a member to purchase SMWS bottles, but there are many member benefits including an award winning quarterly whisky magazine ‘Unfiltered’, monthly bottling lists ‘Outturns’, as well as access to members rooms around the world including London, Edinburgh, Tokyo and others. In Calgary we hold monthly tastings featuring the new releases, six to eight new whiskies every month. There are also two partner bars in Calgary, The Brasserie Kenington and One18 Empire where you can enjoy Society whiskies, and where members get a discount. There are also SMWS Canada branches in Victoria, Vancouver and Edmonton.
We were able to acquire six different SMWS whiskies for the 2015 KWM Whisky Advent Calendar. They are all single casks, bottled at cask strength. The Society doesn’t promote the individual distillery’s name to promote the whisky, rather its unique flavour profile. To keep track of them they have a numbering system. The first number identifies the distillery, the second number following the . identifies the cask number. By example the number cask 3.160, one of the six SMWS whiskies selected for Day 25 in the Calendar this year is the 160th cask of Bowmore (Distillery #3) bottled by the Society. The distilleries were assigned numbers in the order that they were bottled, beginning with Glenfarclas which has the honour of being Distillery #1. To date they have bottled single malts from well over 130 distilleries.
There is so much more to say about the Scotch Malt Whisky Society that cannot be said here today. For more information visit www.smws.ca or pop into Kensington Wine Market. The latter option also comes with the opportunity to sample some of the many exclusive Society whiskies we have! Unfortunately none of the exact Society whiskies in this year’s Calendar are available for purchase. They were only filled in 100 ml versions for the Membership Kits ($220), which are the new member’s gateway to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. The Kits come with three whiskies which represent the diversity of whiskies bottled by the Society. There is always something new and exciting.
Here are some details on the six Scotch Malt Whisk Society Single Cask whiskies in the 2015 Kensington Wine Market Whisky Advent Calendar. While the full size SMWS bottles have the cask type, distillation date and some other details on them, unfortunately there isn’t enough room on the smaller labels!
- SMWS 3.160: Islay beach scene – 59.9% – 10 Year – 1st Fill Ex-Bourbon - Islay - Panel’s Tasting Note: “The nose evokes pork chops and lemony prawns on a beach barbeque, then hints of buttery mint; fruitier with water, it also finds coconut and perfumed smoke. The palate has burnt heather and barbequed meats with fruit.”
- SMWS 30.60: A bench-mark – 57.2% – 19 Year – Refill Sherry Butt – Speyside - Panel’s Tasting Note: “Cinder toffee, prunes and Pedro Ximenez sherry-wine; some hazelnuts and Christmas pudding. Very sweet and tannic/dry, straight water raises more of the same, with glazed ham and charred cloves, and a voluptuous sweet taste.”
- SMWS 48.43: Marshmallow and chocolate eclairs – 58.9% – 9 Year – 1st Fill Ex-Bourbon Barrel – Speyside - Panel’s Tasting Note: “Scents of buble-gum and fondant become fruity and sweet. Hot to taste with orange peel and jalapeno chillies. Water softens it, melons, ferns, dusty marshmallows. The texture is soft and sweet: chocolate eclairs, toffee and lemon zest.”
- SMWS 76.82: Gunpowder Green and lava rock – 56.7% – 15 Year – Refill Sherry Butt - Panel’s Tasting Note: “A rich and complex nose – cinder toffee, vanilla, chicken in cream and taragon, balsemic onions, orange peel, jasmine, marigolds and brown sugar. The palate, aniseed, liquorice, lemon, white pepper, Cointreau and chocolate limes.”
- SMWS 121.29: A warm glow in church – 55.7% – 13 Year – 1st Fill Hogshead (unspecified) – Island - Panel’s Tasting Note: “The rich complex nose offers boozy prunes, creme brulee, honey flowers and raspberry, and with water iced caramels and marrons glaces. The palate is lively, yet silky, with orange zest, toffee, chocolate and warm spices.”
- SMWS 125.52 – 60.0% – 10 Year – 1st Fill Hogshead – Northern Highland - Panel’s Tasting Note: “An exceptional example of “Scotland’s favourite malt”, with ripe pineapple, fresh apple and coconut on the nose and Swiss chocolate-cream with fudge in the mouth. Unctuous.”
I hope you enjoyed the 2015 KWM Whisky Advent Calendar. I hope you and yours have a Happy Holiday, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!