Scotch Malt Whisky Society August 2018 Outturn

What an Outturn this month! We had an awesome range of malts, one of which has a significant footnote to it… We kicked things off with an unusual single grain whisky, G15.2, distilled from malted barley. Think of it as Scotland’s answer to the Nikka Coffey Malt. It has a lovely, soft and complex profile for a young whisky, with a profile that feels like a lovechild of malt and grain whiskies.

Another curiosity of the range was a re-release of whisky from 5 years ago, 73:53: Springtime freshness; spicy warmth. 3 cases of this whisky were recently discovered, so it was decided to feature it as the 7th man in the Calgary tasting. Priced at 2013 levels, it is a bargain. Only 3 left at the time of writing.

The highlights of the tasting were 3.306: Summer on Islay, 2.106: Devilishly opulent and 50.98: Honey on oak. The latter is a release from the Society’s “Premium Collection”. It is very tropical, creamy and complex. It also held it’s alcohol well after 27 years, at 59.3%. Here is the full August 2018 Outturn:

  1. G15.2: A beautiful, bright, summer afternoon* – 56.9% – 7 Year – Refill Barrel – Highland – Flavour Profile: Juicy, oak & vanilla - Panel’s Tasting Note: “The sweet floral aroma of jasmine was soon followed by fresh Madagascan vanilla pods and white nougat laden with candied lemon peel and blueberries on a crisp rice-paper base. On the palate neat, comforting and soothing like a freshly brewed chamomile, honey and vanilla tea with a light peppery spiciness in the finish. After adding a drop of water even fresher – ‘a beautiful bright summer afternoon’ with the scent of eucalyptus and thyme next to a rosebush in full bloom, whilst to taste now juicy fruity wine gums, apricot custard Danish pastries as well as sweet jasmine rice pudding with shredded toasted coconuts.” – $135
  2. 44.87: In a summer garden - 59.9% – 10 Year – Refill Barrel – Speyside – Flavour Profile: Spicy & sweet - Panel’s tasting note: “The nose was clean and fresh – grassy, ‘real’ vanilla ice-cream and lemon-flavoured Turkish Delight – it was like a door into a summer garden – we could almost hear the bees humming. The initial palate had the uncomplicated sweetness of custard creams and fruit gums, but it was definitely lively – toasted oak, cinnamon and nutmeg, with an almost medicinal heat on the finish (menthol and eucalyptus lozenges). The reduced nose seemed more herbal (sorrel) with some lemon and pineapple. The reduced palate was sweeter and juicier – interesting combinations of juicy fruits and spicy heat – like raspberry and ginger or lime chutney.” – $133
  3. 54.58: Glowing embers of satisfaction – 55.6% -15 Year – Matured in Ex-Bourbon 14 Years / Finished in a First Fill Red Wine Barrique – Speyside - Flavour profile: Spicy & dry - Panel’s tasting note: “A fruity, aromatic nose of apricot Danish, orange sherbet and trail mix (dried pineapple, papaya, banana and coconut, with plump sultanas); subtle hints of pipe tobacco in a leather pouch. The palate achieved a balance between sweet, rich and buttery (Eccles cakes, bread and butter pudding) and drying spice (ginger cake, sugar-coated fennel seeds, curried raisins). The reduced nose was juicy and appealing – dragon fruit, manuka honey and pineapple. The palate – toffee apple, ripe peach and raspberry brownie, leaving glowing embers of satisfying spice in the mouth afterwards. Transferred after 14 years in ex-bourbon wood into a first-fill red wine barrique.” - $169
  4. 73.53: Springtime freshness, spicy warmth - 58.9% – 10 Year – Refill Sherry Butt – Speyside - Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet - Panel’s tasting note: “We found pleasant springtime grassy, floral notes on the nose (elderflower) – then fruity (lemon, fruit bonbons, strawberry) ginger and white pepper spice and eventually buttery nutty notes (macadamia). The palate was sweet, chocolatey and creamy (chocolate éclairs) with custard, sugary lemon, some floral flavours and considerable spice warming the after-taste (chili, nippy pepper). The reduced nose developed deeper floral notes (lily of the valley) orchard fruits, lemon curd, pineapple and some washing powder or expensive fabric conditioner. The reduced palate was simple but nice – fresh (lemon sorbet) but with gentle ginger warmth following behind.” – $110 – Only 3 bottles left at the time of writing!
  5. 50.98: Honey on oak – 59.3% – 27 Year – Refill Barrel – Lowland - Flavour profile: Spicy & sweet - Panel’s tasting note: “The nose starts with pineapple and vanilla – then bees are buzzing around a Highland cottage fuchsia hedge; time brings out brown sugar, crème brûlée, bramble jelly and wood shavings. The palate has intense sweetness (pears and peaches in syrup, marmalade, watermelon) matched by warm, tingling spices of pink peppercorn, cumin seeds, liquorice root and pipe stems. With water, the nose has sunny golden syrup, manuka honey, black forest gateau and sawmill sweepings. The reduced palate achieves a pleasing balance between salted caramel chocolate, Turkish Delight and exotic fruits and an almost pulsating finish of numbing clove, sour cherry and barrel staves.” - $360
  6. 2.106: Devilishly opulent – 61.3% – 10 Year – Matured 8 Years in Oloroso Sherry/ Finished in a PX Sherry Butt - Flavour profile: Deep, rich & dried fruits - Panel’s tasting note: “On opening the doors to the dunnage warehouse we were greeted by the familiar waft of old oak mixed with strong spirit and the smell of clean earth that was reminiscent of strolling in a pine forest in springtime. Sweet notes were in abundance as caramel wafers became pink wafer biscuits with sticky warm fudge. Soft leather and sweet tobacco merged with the rich fruitiness of figs, dates and raisins lavishly coated with opulent dark chocolate. Then heaps of spice appeared with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger marmalade on rye bread that was joined on the palate by chewy toffee. The prolonged finish was sweet and fruity and now with the presence of herbal notes and scented wood. After spending 8 years in an ex-Oloroso butt this was transferred to a 1st fill Pedro Ximenez butt for the remainder of its maturation.” - $174
  7. 3.306: Summer on Islay – 59% – 18 Year – Finished in a 2nd Fill Toasted Oak Hogshead/ Matured in a 2nd Fill Hogshead – Islay - Flavour profile: Peated - Panel’s tasting note: “A well-rounded nose of incense smoke and heather moor-burn softened by vanilla, tutti-frutti and orange fondant creams – with almost imperceptible hints of spearmint, leather and tobacco. The palate begins with a whack of intense muscovado and Danish pastry sweetness, before finding earthy notes of staves, roast parsnips, burnt heather and a lick of salt. The reduced nose gets sea water and ash (tide-flooded beach bonfire), honeycomb candy, heather honey and ice-cream – quite an experience! The palate becomes tasty and rewarding – Mon Cheri chocolates, lebkuchen, mango coulis and euthymol toothpaste.  Transferred to a toasted hogshead after 17 years in ex-bourbon wood.” - $242 – Only 3 bottles left at the time of writing!

*A new code for the Society emerges in the form of G15. This single cask, single malt, grain whisky is made from 100% malted barley. What?! Yes—a unique whisky produced in Scotland’s most unusual distillery. It’s legally a grain whisky, but using malted barley in non-traditional squat column stills, instead of pot stills, to create this spirit. G15 is the result of distillation in a continuous Coffey still, but instead of running a grain (like wheat or corn) distillate, the stills are fed with 100% malted barley wort.

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