July is upon us and Canada Day has passed.Â That usually means one thing for many in Calgary: bring on the Stampede breakfasts and the Stampede hangover. But for SMWS members it also means something else: Another round of SMWS Outturn fun!
Quite the lineup this month. Here is a quick stat-based rundown:
- Only one bottle coming in at a price north of $200.
- Four of the seven bottles are priced at less than $150.
- One Campbeltown distillery bottling from a number we have not seen much of recently. The last bottling was in the Fall of 2017 and was an excellent young bottling that did not last long on the shelves. How will this 93 stack up to the previous one?
- Two Islay distillery bottles, both under 10 years in age.
- A Cognac first seen in theÂ Special Spirits Release this past May to round things off.
Also worth noting is the diversity of style showcased in the first four of the lineup. The 9.126 is lush and vibrant in style – a crowd-pleaser of a cask strength single malt. The 112.19? You might not have anything like it in your collection. To me, this is a very unique whisky. The 36.135 also shows differently than many bottles out there – the Society’s own tasting notes can attest to that, which seem to be taken directly from a dinner menu or Foodies’ blog post. Don’t let the strange notes stop you from trying it though – for many this bottle was one of the highlights of the night.
All that being said, let us go talk a bit more aboutÂ 112.19. This particular distillery number comes with an interesting bit of background information from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society headquarters.
112 hails from one of the few distilleries being codified by the SMWS under multiple designated numbers depending on the style of spirit created. There are a few other distilleries that receive multiple classifications, one of the more famous being a fan-favourite Campbeltown Distillery.
Here is what the SMWS says about this particular Highland Distillery’s case:
“The Society already has two different codes for bottlings from this distillery â€“ 112 and 122. Both were produced using its distinctive straight neck pot stills, which were designed specifically for the distillery when it was built in 1964. The stills have a pot still base and a straight neck. The spirit still has fixed plates, while the wash still doesnâ€™t.
Hereâ€™s where the difference comes in. Bottlings with the Society code 112 were distilled using a process of still head cooling, which creates higher collection strength for the alcohol and a lighter, more malty spirit.
Bottlings with the code 122 were distilled without using the process of still head cooling, resulting in a lower collection strength for the alcohol and a fuller-bodied, fruity character. Most of them were also heavily peated. We believe the difference in the process â€“ and the difference in the whiskyâ€™s character because of it â€“ merits the different numbers weâ€™ve assigned to the bottlings.”
All of this information, plus the information on previous releases that are still available (such as the extra bottle we put in our lineup – previously released SMWS C4.1) can be foundÂ on our website here. If any SMWS bottles show as being out of stock on our website please contact us â€“ we might still be able to get more. As always we would like to give a big thank-you to our awesome neighbourâ€™sÂ Peasant Cheese for supplying the small bites for the tastings.
Enough with the preamble. On with the program!
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9.126 – Ice cream in an orchard
This 11 year old Speysider is 56.7% after maturing in a refill barrel
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
Outturn: 189 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “Sweetly floral aromas filled the air as if we were walking through a blossoming orchard. Heather, violets, hibiscus and roses combined in a heavenly amalgamation with ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Behind the perfume lurked a juicy core of plums and apricots with apples, sweet pears and runny honey. Water revealed aromas of sticky toffee pudding and banana fritters with rum and raisin ice cream, whilst the palate developed notes of soft leather, sandalwood and fresh herbs. The woody character continued into freshly felled trees with the familiar fragrance of natural vanilla. The finish embraced a waxy feel with the lasting freshness of lemon zest on mint ice cream.” $137.99
112.19 – Quirky, kooky, funky
This 17 year old from the Southern Highlands comes in at 56.2% after maturing in a 2nd fill barrel
Flavour profile: Juicy, oak & vanilla
Outturn: 250 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “This is a bit of an oddball, straight out of left field â€“ it may be kooky but itâ€™s cooking with gas, idiosyncratic but copacetic â€“ the nose has cereal and grassy notes, biscuits (digestives, lemon puffs, Hobnobs) and sherbet lemons; putty, clean plastic, emulsion, sanded wood and cigar ash. The palate is sweet and viscous with more biscuity flavours, but also quirky, funky features â€“ anise, cinnamon, sorrel, Angostura and faux leather. Water makes it creamier and sweeter, both in the nose and on the palate â€“ the latter finding a wink and an inkling of Haribo Tangfastic fizz.”$174.99
93.79 – Oiled up and frisky
From Campbeltown, this 10 year old was matured in a 1st fill barrel and is 56.9%
Flavour profile: Young & spritely
Outturn: 197 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “It was immediately sweet and oily as walnuts and hazelnuts mixed with clotted cream over pears poached in rum. However, cutting through the oil came the mouth-cleansing freshness of menthol and spearmint alongside salted lime sorbet and green bark. The palate carried a hot spice with cloves and cinnamon whilst the sweetness of baked apple pie dried towards burnt banana skins, peanuts and dry wood. Effervescence was present with Angostura bitters in champagne and a garnish of garden mint. The addition of water released a sweeter and lighter side, retaining the frisky freshness but with a more maritime emphasis with oyster shells, fish boxes and clean sea spray.” $129.99
36.135 – Exotic, exciting, edgy
This 19 year old Speysider comes in at 56.7% and was matured in a refill barrel
Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet
Outturn: 138 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “We were preparing an Indian spiced salad using dry curry leaves, fenugreek and mustard seeds, mango chutney, red chili, coriander and mint. To drink we had jasmine scented green tea accompanied by Caribbean spiced gulab jamun – golden fried balls of milk pastry soaked in honey and saffron syrup. With water we got aromas of a bowl of Malaysian birdâ€™s nest soup (you might want to try it before looking it up) and Moroccan pickled aubergines with garlic, coriander and cilantro. The taste, zesty avocado salad with roasted walnuts, celery and mustard cress sprouts all washed down with a glass of sweet spiced red vermouth de Jerez.” $193.99
10.125 – Charred sticks in a honey pot
This 9 year old from Islay was matured in a refill barrel and is 61.1%
Flavour profile: Lightly peated
Outturn: 224 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “A mineralic edge of crushed flint combined with salty sea breeze and freshly sanded oak with its vanilla laced sweetness being reminiscent of pink wafer biscuits. A delicate smoke shrouded the glass like charred bonfire embers but with a sweet coating of runny honey. With water a light fruitiness evolved with freshly juiced blood oranges and tangy gooseberry tart beside a rock pool. The palate carried a delightfully nutty character with salted pistachio nuts wrapped in a creamy blanket of thick milk shake and cranachan. Blackcurrant jam and sultanas followed before a lasting finish of sea salt on lemon skin.” $137.99
53.244 – Vanilla Chimney stacks
This 7 year old from Islay comes in at 58.8% after maturing in a refill hogshead
Flavour profile: Peated
Outturn: 306 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “An abundance of delightfully sweet and light aromas enticed us into a world of tinned fruit cocktail syrup, roasted chestnuts and custard tarts with singed pastry edges. Delicate smoke came through like a vanilla chimney stack and the final remains of a beach bonfire being quenched by salty sea waves. The palate was juicy and big with sweet barbecue smoke and bramble jam mixed with honey roast peanuts. Sooty dust joined sticky cough sweets and liquorice on a platter carved from salt infused driftwood. Becoming even sweeter with water it carried a nutty appeal until the end with fine wood tannins, soft leather and smoked German beer on the finish.” $147.99