2018 is flying by, as the years’ seem to do. Sometimes I only notice this in a negative way – by looking in the mirror and noticing the grey not-so-slowly taking over around my ears, creeping upwards through the rest of my mop and now full-on invading my beard. I supposed I could do something about it but it seems futile at this point. I might as well give in to the inevitable and start the search for the right cane instead – one might be needed soon enough.
On the bright side of time’s passage, I also get to witness the milestones that my two-year-old and nearly four-year-old kids’ pass on a nearly constant basis. I swear just yesterday they took their first steps and said their first words. Tomorow they will be asking for an allowance. The day after that bringing questionable dates home. Then comes graduation. And so it goes.
One of the other exciting ways to commemorate our collective inevitable and unstoppable march into the future is with Scotch Malt Whisky Society of Canada’s monthly Outturns!Sometimes you just need to take some a moment to sit down, relax, and taste your way through seven new drams. It helps keep things in perspective.
March has brought us a very interesting Outturn, featuring a Scotch Malt Whisky Society first: a Blended Malt. More on this Exotic Cargo below but know this is a ground-breaking move for the SMWS: it is the first time they have personally blended casks together and also the first time they have cut the alcohol down with water for any release. This might also be the first ever full-sized clear (non-green) SMWS bottle.
The lineup for March is also exciting for having two malts from the same distillery. This is something rarely seen in SMWS Canada tastings but this time around we started the tasting with an unpeated 10.x and then also capped the night with a peated version from the same Northern Islay distillery. It was an exciting and impressive way to showcase the range in the style that can be had from even one specific source.
Also worth noting is pricing – with only one bottle breaking $200 and four of the bottles coming in at $150 or less.
Tired of my preamble and looking specifics? Read on below! If you are looking for other available bottles from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society you can check out what we have available here. If any SMWS bottles show as being out of stock on our website please contact us – we can possibly still get more!
As always we would like to give a big thank-you to our neighbour’s Peasant Cheese for supplying the small bites for the tastings!
10.121 - ROMANTIC MOMENTS AT SUNSET
From Islay, this 10 year old was matured in a refill barrel and is 62.8%
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
Outturn: 199 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The initial nose was ‘all over the place’ – definite wood (sawn pine, balsa, star anise), undeniable sweetness (golden syrup, spun sugar) and some bitter salad suggestions. The palate had interesting perfumed notes and spicy heat, but the buttery fudge and cinnamon swirl sweetness helped it soar over any heat hurdles like a trim athlete. Water gave the nose attractive jellied fruits, Havana cigars and a deep, heady ‘rose gardens at dusk’ floral delight. The reduced palate was mouth-tingling, delicious, sweet and floral – Turkish Delight, coffee, perfume and tobacco – like a summer evening with someone special in a Greek seaside taverna.” $141.99
46.31 - SNIFFING A BEE’S KNEES
This 22 year old Speysider comes in at 54.2% after maturing in a refill hogshead
Flavour profile: Juicy, oak & vanilla
Outturn: 253 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The nose was sweetly seductive – toffee, caramel, fruity marshmallows, and carrot cake, but far from one-dimensional – it also had burlap, coconut, macadamias and insinuations of citrus. The palate offered fantastic, mouth-watering sweet acidity; plus exotic fruits, flowers and strawberry jam tarts – and the finish – teasingly dry with woody tannins, coconut and clove. Floral notes increased on the reduced nose – parma violets, lavender (someone imagined sniffing a bee’s knees) – not to forget pineapple, sherbet and granola. The palate now danced on our tongues – lively as lollipops and cream soda, with lots of interesting back-flavours (cardamom, anise, angostura) – engaging.” $224.99
44.81 - MAXIMUM MELODY
After 13 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead, this 14 year old Speysider was transferred to a virgin oak hogshead for the remainder of its maturation and comes in at 58%
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
Outturn: 260 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “Burlap sacks lay about in a seemingly random order. Some contained perfumed dried flowers such as rose, lavender, jasmine and carnation. Others were filled with spicy cinnamon, nutmeg and also dried coconut and sweet vanilla. We were convinced there was also a heavy amount of incense and fragrant soap present. We noticed wooden barrels containing sticky toffee, figs in syrup and delicious cocoa powder. There were many fruits – sultanas, lemons, mango and papaya to name but a few. A sweet aroma wafted by from a stall selling very boozy trifle, pear and raisin crumble and cherry pie with vanilla ice cream drizzled with maple syrup. The heady combination of flavours created a harmonious marriage that was easy on the senses and music to the nose. After 13 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead this was transferred to a virgin oak hogshead for the remainder of its maturation.” $157.99
M01 - EXOTIC CARGO
The first ever blended malt whisky from the Society is 10 years old; came from a parcel of 1st fill ex-sherry hogsheads and comes in at 50%
Outturn: 1937 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “A wooden ship is sailing through the tropics with an exotic cargo of spices, scented flowers, medjool dates and mangoes. The nose is deep, yet delicate – warming nutmeg and cinnamon spice; treacle tart and molasses; fragrant vanilla, lavender and rose with fruity splashes of cherry, mango and Madeira-soaked plums. The palate brings intense sweetness, moist ginger cake, treacle toffee, dark chocolate, marmalade and Turkish Delight, vying with tannic wood, chili spice, liquorice, walnut and leather, with a dry, ashy finish. The wood and spice edge forward after adding water – without compromising the balance. Close your eyes and drift away on this sherry-soaked cruise into paradise.” $125.99
28.33 - TEMPTATION TO THE DARK SIDE
This 8 year old from the Southern Highlands comes in at 60.4% after maturing in a refill butt
Flavour profile: Deep, rich & dried fruits
Outturn: 637 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The nose offered us chocolate and orange biscuits, orange muscat and marmalade, sherry-soaked trifle sponge and roasted chestnut kernels, with an intriguing hint of Barbour jackets. The palate was big and intense – singed wood, currants and now the shells of the roasted chestnuts – also crystallized orange, leather and maybe duck a l’orange. The reduced nose brought Pedro Ximenez sherry, cough mixture and a burning hay-barn before turning back to marmalade and suggestions of vanilla. The palate was now rich, sweet and very dark – molasses, aniseed, figs and dates, with some tobacco, camphor and teriyaki beef on the finish; umbrageous, ebonized and fuliginous.” $116.99
4.231 - HARBOURSIDE TAKE-AWAY
This 12 year old Highland Islander comes in at 58.6% after maturing in a refill hogshead
Flavour profile: Oily & coastal
Outturn: 301 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The nose – we were enjoying Chinese sweet and sour pork by an Orkney harbour – dried seaweed, ferry boats, heather and vanilla ice-cream in the air. The palate started sweet but quickly became bold, salty and tongue-tingling – tarry ropes, tangy apple sauce, very dark chocolate and hints of smoke. On the reduced nose we were still on the harbour but the catch was landed and the tide out – barnacle-encrusted boats, fish boxes and Sou’westers – also some lemon and salt. The reduced palate combined lavender, heather and honey with liquorice, roasted chestnuts and Arbroath Smokies (a delicious local smoked haddock specialty).” $167.99
10.109 – ‘WESTERING HOME’
From Islay, this 8 year old is 60.9% after maturing in a refill barrel
Flavour profile: Peated
Outturn: 210 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The nose, though subtle, nevertheless suggested mainly masculine images – a died out bothy fire, or that apposite cliché of an old-time sailor on a rope-strewn deck, dressed in old woollens, sou’wester and oilskins; hands on a polished wheel. The palate delivered intense smoke, scorched wood, tongue-numbing spices (curry powder, cinnamon, ginger) and some toffee sweetness. On the reduced nose, the ship had come to shore – beach bonfire barbecue cooking mackerel, rock-pools and perfumed sweets. The palate now found some sea salt, lavender and lemon – the raw masculine smoke much more appropriately balanced by satisfying sweetness – now actually quite easy-drinking.” $129.99