The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has been on our shelves and in Canada for over 6 years now. Earlier this month was the 79th monthly Outturn and the Canadian chapter of the SMWS has brought in around 500 single cask releases over that time.
Since its inception 35 years ago in 1983, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society has primarily bottled Single Malt Scotch from single casks, at cask strength and un-chill filtered with no colouring added. They have bottled Single Grain Scotch from distilleries all over Scotland as well. Over the years this singularÂ focus has expandedÂ to include bottlings from numerous distilleries outside of Scotland such as Ireland, Japan, India, and the USA. Nothing has been bottled from Canada yet though…
They have also expanded into bottlingÂ other barrel-aged spirits such as Rum, Cognac, and Armagnac. The Society also recently released its first Blended Malt.
And now we have before us its first Spirits release. Five bottles have come to Canada for this special release, and only one of them is a Scotch. Even more curious: one of them, of all things, is a Gin.
Before leaving you with the tasting notes I want to thank everybody who attended these special SMWS tastings as well as Peasant Cheese for providing the small bite compliments for us to nibble on during.
GN1.1: Gee wiz
The Society’s very first gin from a distillery in Glasgow and coming in at 50.1% after spending a few months in a 2nd fill barrel
Outturn: 255 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The very clean, green and fresh aroma of juniper was soon followed by lime juice with a dash of eucalyptus syrup and a hint of sweetness fromÂ sugar coatedÂ lemon flavoured candy. Plenty of sweet perfumed flavours greeted us on the palate neat gently balanced with green peppercorns preserved in brine and a sprinkling of Herbs de Provence. Diluted, we got transported into a pine forest by the sea with Dover sole being prepared using chopped fresh herbs, fleur de sel and grated lemon zest, whilst in theÂ finishÂ it reminded us of a sweet/salty fresh lemon soda.”Â $102
A2.1: Amarena amaretti
ThisÂ 6 year oldÂ Armagnac is 57.5% after maturing in an Armagnac barrel
Outturn: 573 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The nose draws you in with enticing sweetness and fragrant fruits â€“ stewed plums, ripe figs, Amarena cherries, dark chocolate, marzipan and plum jam. It later develops toffee, cola cubes and Liquorice Allsorts, with an intriguing background of leather, tobacco, resinous wood and Persian rug shops. The palate is complex and satisfying, with a lively tongue tingle of orangeÂ sodaÂ and woody spice (nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, anise, toasted oak). The fruits are earthier now â€“ prunes, syrup of figs, orange oil and dark cherries in syrup, with an interesting undertow of black tea and Amaretti biscuits.”Â $198
C4.1: A tantalizing tightrope
This XO Cognac comes in at 57.5%
Outturn: 478 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The panel found this a most sophisticated nectar with light and fruity pear drops, fermenting apples, gooseberries and dessert pears with floral lavender oil, violets and a twist of fresh eucalyptus leaves. Then heady linseed oil on printer paper, artistâ€™s varnish and almond oil came to the fore closely followed by freshly sawn pine wood and a dew sprinkled Limousin oak forest at dawn. The superbly clean palate trod a thin tightrope between fruity and dry as black cherries, fresh pomegranate, physalis andÂ chiliÂ heat performed their dance. With water came herbal notes of rosemary and sage with rhubarb liqueur and dusty tannins.”Â $210
C3.2: Strolling through bliss
This XO Cognac comes in at 60.9%
Outturn: 554 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “Strolling past a ladyâ€™s new oak dressing table in a glorious summertime garden, the air carried sweet scents of delicate perfume on a silk scarf with a cloud of dusty talcum powder that blended with the floral bouquet from the beds of carnations, geraniums and pink roses.Â Wild flowersÂ gave way to rosemary and lots of freshÂ mintÂ surrounded by coconut matting, juniper berries and angelica. There was a wicker basket containing fresh carrots, still clad inÂ dryÂ earth that sat beneath an apple tree. Opening a pack of praline chocolates we sat beneath a tree of black cherries to shelter from the hot sun.”Â $220
G4.14: Absolute enchantment
This 33 year old single grain whisky comes in at 50% and after 32 years in ex-bourbon wood we transferred this to a 2nd fill toasted oak hogshead for the remainder of itsÂ maturation
Flavour profile: Old & dignified
Outturn: 178 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “This was an absolute enchantment â€“ attractive, balanced, vibrant and full of interest. The nose had banana toffee, crÃ¨me caramel, cinnamon swirls and butterscotch; with additional hints of fresh wood, apricots, porridge and antiseptic. The palate echoed that sweetness (chocolate, fudge, custard creams) but also found undertones of tobacco, Fishermanâ€™s Friends, spiced rum, nutmeg, orange peel and sugar-coated fennel seeds. The reduced nose added crystallized ginger, demerara, iced caramels and vanilla. On the palate â€“ coffee and walnut ice-cream mixed with understated muscle rub â€“ easy-drinking, complex and relaxing. After 32 years in ex-bourbon wood we transferred this to a 2nd fill toasted oak hogshead.”Â $260
Many SMWS bottles tend to sell out fast due to popularity. If you are looking for an older release it might still be available though. You canÂ check out what we have in stock here. If any SMWS bottles show as being out of stock on our website please contact us â€“ we might be able to get more.