On Wednesday and Friday of last week, we held our monthly Scotch Malt Whisky Society Canada Outturn tastings here at Kensington Wine Market. These three sold out tastings feature seven new SMWS Canada bottlings – all tasted blind.
The April Outturn was an interesting mix featuring two things I have not seen happen often in my short time running these tastings. Both have to do with the lineup itself.
First off – We tasted a total of seven society bottles. Not unusual on its own but what is unusual is that six of the bottles are all from Speyside. The seventh is from a Highland Island – it hails from one of my current personal favourite distilleries. This means that there are no Islay distilleries featured in the April 2017 Outturn. This has not happened often in my time running Society tastings here at KWM.
The other unusual thing is that we had a repeat distillery – meaning two of the Speyside bottles we tasted are actually both from the same distillery. It was fun to taste both of these side by side, especially since they were both quite different in age as well as overall style.
Enough of my rambling though. Without further ado, I give you the April 2017 SMWS Canada Outturn.
6.118 – CAVORTING IN FLOWER MEADOWS – $139
This 12 year old Speysider is 59.9% after maturing in a 1st fill barrel
Flavour profile: Sweet, fruity & mellow
Outturn: 162 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The nose was attractive and aromatic â€“ we were playfully cavorting in flower meadows, enjoying childish pleasures of strawberry marshmallows, fruit salad, vanilla ice-cream, candy necklaces and Jelly Tots â€“ one panellist wouldnâ€™t play and sat aside, huffily sipping dessert wine. The palateâ€™s main theme was fruit â€“ exotic fruits, lemony citrus and tropical punch â€“ but we also found toffee sweetness, warming wood and ginger spice. The reduced nose had more of the exotic fruits (papaya, honeydew melon, peach melba) and enough flowers to excite bee colonies. The palate became fruity and creamy â€“ a Creamsicle, with a surprisingly spicy stick at the end.”
Drinking tip: “Close your eyes and imagine flower meadows – or even palm trees”
48.82 – VIVACIOUS, ZESTY AND PENETRATING – $132
This 12 year old Speysider comes in at 57.5% after maturing in a 1st fill barrel
Flavour profile: Sweet, fruity & mellow
Outturn: 192 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “A fresh, lively nose, with white pepper, sanded wood, tinned fruit cocktail, stewed rhubarb and vanilla custard slice â€“ lemon shows up later (lemon balm, lemon meringue pie). The palate is vivacious, zesty, juicy and penetrating â€“ grapefruit, Rockets candies, dried pineapple and desiccated coconut; chili heat at the end. Water softens the nose, which becomes lightly floral and somehow creamier â€“ rose Turkish Delight, dandelion milk and candied angelica, with oak shavings and meadow grasses. On the palate, you can throw water at it and it retains its bittersweet fruitiness (peach liqueur, pear) and that white pepper and clove spicy tingle in the tail.”
Drinking tip: “A reviver – try it with ice for an extra tingle”
7.157 – CLEOPATRA MEETS ROBIN HOOD – $146
This 12 year old Speysider was matured in a 1st fill barrel and comes in at 60.9%
Flavour profile: Spicy & dry
Outturn: 186 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “For some the aroma awakened childhood memories: opening a pot of Cleopatra almond-scented glue for craft work or making a bow and arrow out of rosewood â€“ I personally always had a hazel bow. The initial taste was peppery hot like chipotle chili powder, soon followed by a classic French beurre noisette, capers and griddled baby leeks as well as cinnamon almond butter. Water released an array of spices; cardamom, star anise and caraway before sweet notes of crÃ¨me caramel and apple strudel with vanilla custard appeared and on the taste, salt and pepper ribs with a chili honey sauce.”
Drinking tip: “Listening to ‘Yesterday When I Was Young’ by Glen Campbell”
7.148 – WICKED VISCOSITY – $245
This 26 year old Speysider comes in at 61% after maturing in a refill hogshead
Flavour profile: Old & dignified
Outturn: 174 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: Wonderfully rich and indulging aromas of hot chocolate cake with toffee sauce, chocolate bread and butter pudding and freshly brewed coffee made this a very stimulating and enticing experience right from the start. Thick, succulent and creamy were just some of the adjectives used when tasted neat; carrot cake with lemon peel, raspberry spice cake and warm apple pie with hot vanilla sauce â€“ it was simply â€˜Yummyâ€™! A drop of water and the nose turned a little brighter, a little subtler, walking through blossoming orange trees in Seville and on the palate, wickedly viscous like coconut orange raspberry swirl muffins.”
Drinking tip: “Turn off and relax”
85.42 – PUT YOUR FEET UP – $170
This 16 year old Speysider is 57.9% after maturing in a refill butt
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
Outturn: 552 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “On the nose neat it was dark, dense and sweet like a mocha cake with a balsamic strawberry whipped cream filling, chocolate icing and topped with crunchy toasted hazelnuts. A lot less sweet on the palate, still dark and sticky but now more like a prune and date cake or spicy oven-roasted plums seasoned with cloves and allspice and toasted almonds sprinkled on top. Water released bitter orange, liquorice, chocolate covered prunes and a touch of wax. A lot more herbal now to taste like a Jagertee: strong black tea, red wine, plum brandy, over-proof dark rum and plenty of spices.”
Drinking tip: “When you get home after a long day out and about”
41.83 – SHERRY, SHERRY BABY – $120
This 9 year old Speysider was matured in a 1st fill Oloroso butt and comes in at 58.7%
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
Outturn: 546 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “Looking at the colour, noting the age and nosing it this one could not hide its provenance. Aromas of powdered ginger, ground cloves and cinnamon mixed with blood orange segments, dark sour Morello cherries and bacon frazzles making this quite an experience. Just wait until youâ€™ve tried it! Full-bodied with plenty to tell; wood spices, tart apples and plenty of sour cherries, but at the same time dark bitter chocolate notes. Diluted, spicier with slightly herbal aromas appeared as well as honey-like syrup from sun drenched figs and on the palate, goat cheese blended with mascarpone, roast beetroot and walnuts.”
Drinking tip: “Is it ‘Sherry o’clock’ yet?”
42.27 – SMOKED, AGED RIESLING – $125
This 9 year old Highland Islander was matured in refill barrel and is 59.4%
Flavour profile: Lightly peated
Outturn: 222 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “This nosed like an aged Riesling wine, off-dry with a balance of fruity, crunchy green apple, pears and citrus, and earthy mineral aromas with that typical hint of petrol in the background. Plenty of pure ocean salt and briny Greek olives on the palate neat but at the same time, sweet and fruity like a lemon pie, salted caramels and â€˜smokedâ€™ jelly beans. Water released a fruity peat smoke, more pears but also peaches poached in Riesling wine with tarragon and salted sour cream. The taste was now peat smoked grilled sardines in sweet and sour lemon pepper vinaigrette with Dijon mustard toasted bread.”
Drinking tip: “Perfect match with smoked fish and/or salted cheese”
That is the April 2017 Outturn. You can more information on these as well as other SMWS bottles on our website here.