After some crazy snow in early October, we had a relatively mild rest of the month by Calgary standards. As I write this in the beginning of November, it looks like mother nature is trying to once again set things right by dropping the temperature to below freezing and making that white stuff fall once more. Looking outside reminds one that it might be a good idea to stay warm indoors and keep some good company on hand, along with a new favourite green bottle or two…
And boy, do we have some warming and welcoming tinted bottles to choose from this month. The Scotch Malt Whisky Society of Canada once again has put together a very interesting group of seven to taste our way through. This time around sees a battle between the fleshy, fruit forward and easy drinking malts and the more tightly wound, mineral-driven drams. As always there are a few stats worth noting:
The November of 2018 Outturn includes:
- Only one bottle priced over $200. That bottle is understandable price-wise, as it does contain a 24 year old single malt.
- One bottle from the rarely-seen distillery number nine. This is only the second time it has made its way to Canada in SMWS form.
- A RUM – for the first time in a long, long while – and by SMWS standards this Rum is incredibly drinkable. The 57.5% ABV seems low-strength compared to past SMWS rum offerings… It is also quite complex.
- Two peated malts, but no Islay to be seen. What we received are a very interesting and quirky 66 and a wonderful smoky, oily and citrusy concoction from one of my personal favourite distillery numbers which is 42.
- And last but not least: this is the second month in a row with now 35s to be found in the lineup. When will the Glen Moray drought end? Your guess is as good as mine!
Tired of my preamble and looking specifics? Read on below! If you are looking for other bottles from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society you can check out what we have in stock here. If any SMWS bottles show as being out of stock on our website please contact us – we might be able to get more.
As always we would like to give a big thank-you to our awesome neighbour’s Peasant Cheese for supplying the small bites for the tastings.
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9.142 – GENTLE AND SOPHISTICATED
This 24 year old Speysider comes in at 49.2% after maturing in a refill barrel
Flavour profile: Sweet, fruity & mellow
Outturn: 150 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “A delicate, sweet, fruity and floral earthy aroma filled the air when we poured this sample. Descriptions of a bed of roses, cherry blossom orchard, herb garden and the sandy clay floor inside a sherry bodega made us all very much look forward to having a sip. A gentle vanilla buttercream and lemon curd beginning became a teasing, lively, pleasant spicy tingle of fresh fruit (peaches and apricots) with fromage blanc and a spiced honey sauce. Add a drop of water, if you wish, and even more mellow on the nose as well as on the palate; violet and rose creams accompanied by a glass of demi-sec Champagne.” $249.99
96.16 – THE MERCHANT OF ALSACE
This 11 year old Speysider was matured in a 2nd fill barrel and is 55.2%
Flavour profile: Sweet & spicy
Outturn: 204 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “This distillery is more commonly known for sherry maturation these days so the panel was both eager and curious to try this example from refill bourbon maturation. We found a vibrant nose full of mille-feuille, vanilla foam, sliced pineapple, black cherries in brandy, fresh pastries and an eventual slide towards mineralic, gravelly qualities. Water brought notes of rosehips, Turkish delight, marjoram, lime curd and pink lemonade. The palate revealed notes like crushed ivy, jelly beans, lavender icing, lychee, young Gewurztraminer and turmeric. Water softens everything and opens up herbal ice cream, tamarind, green oak, toasted mustard seeds and ripe apricot.” $145.99
7.177 – SWEET SNUGGLE
This 13 year old from Speyside comes in at 58.1% after maturing in a refill barrel
Flavour profile: Sweet & spicy
Outturn: 183 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “There was an array of aromas on the nose neat. We smelled dusty rosewood antique furniture, expensive waxed leather shoes and a floral designer fragrance. The taste neat had plenty of spice to start followed by the sweet heat of sticky toffee pudding and thick cut marmalade on hot buttered toast. Diluted, the soft scent of cinnamon swirls, pecan Danish and freshly brewed Earl Grey tea all served on an antique finished rosewood tray made us all feel very comfortable and cozy. On the palate now so smooth like a banana cream pie with a gingersnap cookie crust.” $149.99
54.62 – WASABI MARZIPAN
This 9 year old Speysider was matured in a 2nd fill barrel and is 61.2% abv
Flavour profile: Young & spritely
Outturn: 204 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The nose employed a spicy kick from cinnamon, nutmeg and mace to introduce green apples and grapes packed into wooden crates made of freshly sawn wood stacked on a damp earth floor. Moving through pine forests we discovered sweeter aromas of marzipan and strawberry laces with the thick texture of walnut oil. The palate was crisp and vibrant with a kick of fresh ginger and wasabi that became sweet like digestive biscuits and buttered malt loaf. A cooling wave washed through the mouth like candied mint leaves before turning dry on the finish with the introduction of quinine and powdered spice on a wooden chopping board.” $145.99
R11.2 – ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS
This 7 year old Jamaican rum was aged in a refill barrel and is 57.5% abv
Outturn: 309 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The nose neat offered plenty of sweetness; passion fruit soufflé in a brandy snap basket, mixed berries sorbet with vanilla shortbread cookies and rum crème caramel. However there were also slightly oily, maybe pickled olives or even petrol, aromas lurking in the background – but absolutely “no problem man!” On the palate this rum has plenty of spice; ginger pasta with curried sweet potatoes or wasabi-crusted chicken breasts dipped in a teriyaki sauce while in the finish a lingering salted dark chocolate and orange mousse. With water definitely a little petrol garage forecourt or a gas fired barbecue but the spice was now balanced with plenty of the sweet goodness we got on the nose neat – absolutely fabulous!” $157.99
66.115 – BURNT TOAST IN A BOOKSHOP
This 11 year old Highlander was matured in a refill hogshead and comes in at 59.2%
Flavour profile: Juicy, oak & vanilla (with a touch of peat)
Outturn: 287 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The nose conveyed the welcoming appeal of walking into an old bookshop, abundant in curiosity and linseed oil ingrained deep into well-used wooden shelves. Soft leather-bound books mingled with a light peppery tingle before turning over to floral features and clementine commentaries with the soothing scent of citrus oil. The palate was an extended volume that expanded into burnt butter, smoked cream and the singed skin of an orange. Toasted crumpets and granola breakfast cereal combined with sticky toffee to create a chewy and pleasing mouth feel. Water turned a page to release sweeter icing sugar and jelly sweets with a soft finish that brought our attention back to the bookshelves.” $149.99
42.44 – WINTER WARMER
This 9 year old from the Highland Islands comes in at 58.5% after maturing in a refill hogshead
Flavour profile: Peated
Outturn: 232 bottles
Panel’s tasting note: “The nose evokes a beach bonfire barbecue on shell sand – maple-cured bacon and Portobello mushrooms sizzling away; someone is smoking Sobrani cigarettes and there are creamy custard tarts for after. The palate is pretty straightforward – balancing simple sugary barley sweetness with mineral, shale-like smoke; it has a slightly oily mouth-feel. Water shifts the nose to coal tar soap and creamy, nutty smoke. The palate is now much sweeter and better balanced – imagine smoked bonbons; a touch of citrus starts to come through – lemon, clove and Fisherman’s Friends on the finish. A dram for inner warmth before chopping logs in the snow.” $154.99