Andrew was away on a very important honeymoon for this month so the attendees to our Scotch Malt Whisky Society Outturn tastings were stuck listening to my ramble on about whisky which comes in fancy green bottles.
We had three separate tastings to reveal this month’s SMWS bottles and each one was a great gathering with a variety of takes on the whisky tasted. I found myself especially enjoying a number of the bottles including:
SMWS 44.71 - A lovely spicy and sweet number originally from Craigellachie distillery.
SMWS 3.261 - A superbly balanced Islay malt that is from a little bit different in cask and style then recent SMWS Bowmore bottles.
And a special mention on SMWS 77.42 - A very good Glen Ord – this also happens to be the first cask finish bottling from SMWS Canada. It is a very well balanced Sauternes Cask finish in my opinion – the fact that it was a 2nd fill Sauternes Cask likely helps keep the wine from taking over. To me this one had just enough of the dessert wine’s influence without going over the top.
The favorites of the attendees were:
SMWS 33.143 - The first Society Ardbeg in a long while. This mature beyond its 8 years Islay is so popular that we will be drawing names out of a hat to see who gets a bottle. More information on this below.
SMWS 53.234 - The third of the Islay malts for the night – this Caol Ila packs a punch. At 64.1% ABV some found it to big and hot. Many others found it dangerously drinkable.
SMWS 71.42 - a sibling of the August Outturn’s 71.41 which prompted a rant by Andrew in the blog – this one shares some similar notes but doesn’t to be quite as divisive as the latter bottle.
More information on all of the bottles with the Society’s notes will follow below!
Here is the September 2016 Scotch Malt Whisky Society Outturn – in the order tasted:
44.71 – INVIGORATING AND INSPIRING – $144
This 11 year old Speysider is 58.3% after maturing in a refill barrel
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
Outturn: 222 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: ”The nose neat calmed our minds and immediately created a Zen like ambience. Descriptors of resins, cloves, musky, wood and the earthy scent of opening the door of an old-fashioned dunnage warehouse drew us in and we took the first sip. Now very different; candied ginger spice to start then, surprisingly, snowballing to a chili heat which left us all very much invigorated. Water released a bouquet of freesias; a combination of freshness and sweetness without being sickly and that slight hint of pepper. The taste was now all about being sweet and spicy in perfect harmony.”
Drinking tip: “For those meditative moments”
36.97: GINGER PASSIONFRUIT TRIFLE – $185
From a refill barrel, this 18 year old Speysider comes in at 57.9%
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
Outturn: 192 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The nose neat had a very homey feel, a bouquet of brightly coloured flowers, autumn berry crumble with citrus cream, coffee walnut whips, fruity caramels, burlap potpourri hanging bags and clean wood ash. The taste had a sweet, gingery, citric balance like a well-made flavoured IPA accompanied by dry roasted nuts, coconut almonds and homemade bourbon biscuits. With a drop of water it became very aromatic and exotic as if walking down the fruit aisle of a supermarket with the flower display at the end. The flavours were that of lemon & ginger tea and a ginger passion fruit trifle.”
Drinking tip: “Lazy Sunday afternoon in the garden”
77.42: PORTUGUESE CUSTARD TARTS – $160
From the Northern Highlands, this 14 year old whisky, at 58.4%, spent 13 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead and was then transferred directly into a Sauternes cask for the remainder of its maturation.
Flavour profile: Juicy, oak & vanilla
Outturn: 270 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “A slight artificial sweet and minty aroma greeted the Panel on the nose neat, like a juicy fruit chewing gum, mint toffees or kid’s orange flavoured toothpaste. With time turning deeper and richer and we got the satisfying scent of sweet porridge with orange, maple and pecan. The taste was both sweet creamy apple and oat puree, and eggnog with cinnamon, nutmeg and rum. Water added doughnuts, poached pears and marshmallows and the pleasant texture of yummy Portuguese custard tarts. After 13 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead, we transferred this whisky directly into a Sauternes cask for the remainder of its maturation.”
Drinking tip: “With a cup of coffee during coffee break”
71.42: SINBAD PREPARING FOR A JOURNEY – $178
At 17 years old, this Speysider is 57.5% after spending its life in a refill butt
Flavour profile: Spicy & dry
Outturn: 750 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: ”The invigorating nose gave us cinder toffee, crème brûlée, burnt sugar, maple syrup, smoky bacon crisps, pork crackling and patchouli; also something between an old-fashioned boat-builder’s yard and an Eastern rug shop – we thought of Sinbad preparing for a journey. Adding water brought Dairy Milk chocolate in a steamroller cab and an Asian dish of prunes and roast pork. The palate was big, tasty and dark – treacle cake, pancakes and bacon with maple syrup, caramel popcorn, vanilla ice-cream, chili chocolate, caramelized apples with pork; beef jerky and leather. In reduction – sweeter and more pleasant –tarte tatin, bacon, custard and cigars.”
Drinking tip: ”Not an all night drinking dram – but could be very useful after chopping logs in the snow”
3.261: RECORD SHOP AT THE RACES – $210
From Islay, this 14 year old is from a refill hogshead and is 55.7%
Flavour profile: ”Lightly peated”
Outturn: 234 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: ”Heather and lavender buttonholes on crisply starched shirts mingled with blackcurrant sweets and parma violets candies. Aromas of vinyl, plastic sleeves, new carpet tiles, fake leather jackets, hairspray and cider reminded one Panelist of record hunting. Another found distinctive pit lanes at Le Mons: motor oil, rubber, fumes, overalls and leather car seats. Collectively they discovered truffle honey on toasted pine nuts, melted toy soldiers and smoked ham studded with wild garlic. Water released tobacco, damp tweed, scorched heather and dried lavender. A burnt twig used as a dipstick, and new wellington boots. Red vinyl records stored in a mahogany chest of drawers.”
Drinking tip: ”It’ll take you back in time”
33.143: “THANK YOU AND GOOD NIGHT” – *LOTTERY DRAW* / $210
DUE TO LIMITED SUPPLY THIS IS A LOTTERY BOTTLE. A RANDOM DRAW WILL TAKE PLACE ON MONDAY, SEPT. 12TH. YOU MAY INDICATE YOUR INTEREST BY PLACING AN ORDER AND YOUR NAME WILL BE ADDED TO THE DRAW, BUT YOU WILL NOT BE BILLED UNLESS YOUR NAME IS DRAWN ON THE 12TH. YOUR NAME WILL ONLY BE ENTERED ONCE.
This 8 year old from Islay comes in at 59.9% and is from a 2nd fill butt
Flavour profile: Peated
Outturn: 582 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: ”Big licks of maple bacon, sticky pulled pork over hickory smoke morphing into gooey treacle toffee, liquorice and violet. Crispy skinned fish with barbecue sauce and tropical fruit kebabs roasted over white hot coals. ‘Properly good smoke!’ one declared, he was right. Char-grilled pepper and sweet potato muddled gracefully with sun-dried tomatoes and garden canes. Water brought out a delicious feast of charred pork crackling served with a Bloody Mary. The morning after cure theme continued with more bacon, blood orange, BBQ sauce and red pesto all served in a smoky greenhouse. Wicked but very good.”
Drinking tip: ”After dark”
53.234: SMOKE WITHOUT FIRE – $200
This 16 year old from Islay came from a refill hogshead and is a whopping 64.1%
Flavour profile: Heavily peated
Outturn: 270 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: ”There was a lot of smoke but without the fire; smoked bacon, smoked sea salt, hot and cold smoked salmon, smoked mackerel pâté, smoked scallops and smoked brown sugar. The taste neat had some chili heat, some sweet fruity sangria and, what should not be coming as a surprise, plenty of big, deep and penetrating smoke with some crackling homemade pork scratchings in the finish. Water released smoked plum lemonade (grilling the lemons before adding them), smoked apple chutney as well as Arbroath smokies with cream and mustard, while on the palate a never ending sweet smoke and savoury chili heat sensation.”
Drinking tip: ”Late in the evening”