Summer is in full force and August is here.
Half-n-Half is this month’s theme – pairing whisky with beer.
Matching suds with bottles of green glass
Is it a Society lover’s dream, or will it just kick their ass?
‘Hauf & Hauf’ is the theme for August with changed up the way we typically run an SMWS tasting. The SMWS Canada consulted Calgary SMWS member and beer writer Don Tse to help create the pairings, based on the style of whisky and the beer itself.
Here is what the SMWS has to say on the Hauf & Hauf concept:
“This month, we’re all about the joys of pairing a Society whisky with a beer, and celebrating the enhanced enjoyment that we can get by matching one with the other; there’s a huge satisfaction to be discovered from savouring the big, robust flavours of a single cask dram alongside a thirst-quenching and complimentary beer.
The term half-and-half (sounding more like hauf-n-hauf in Scotland) refers to the half pint measure of beer taken alongside a measure of whisky. The appreciation of a beer and spirits chaser is common around the world, as you can see with the popularity of beer and schnapps in Germany, or the boilermaker in the United States, with a shot of Bourbon alongside, or even dropped into, your beer glass.”
That covers the theme, but what about the whisky itself? Here is a rundown of what is in the Outturn for August:
- Distillery 12 makes another appearance, only the second time we have gotten a bottle from this Speysider from the SMWS Canada. Spoilers: it is a darn fine young whisky.
- The Willy Wonka-est of all Scottish Distillery’s is showcased yet again, for possibly the fifth month in a row? 112.33 is about as straight-forward as bottles from this Highland distillery get. That isn’t to say it should be overlooked…
- Distillery 24 makes it’s return to Canada after three years or so? I cannot remember running an Outturn with a Macallan in the lineup in my time hosting the tastings.
- Also in the lineup is distillery 13. Seeing Dalmore and Macallan in one Outturn? Crazy. This was one of my personal faves for the Outturn – it shows a good amount of dimension on the palate.
- Distillery number 4 has been showcased often this year, but this is the first bottle in a while to be from a Sherry Butt, which tweaks the style into interesting directions.
- Rounding out the tasting was a 53 from Islay – and one of the best 53s we have seen recently in my opinion.
Curious about the seven new bottles? Read on below – but first I would like to thank the always wonderful Peasant Cheese for providing the small bites to go along with our monthly pilgrimage up cask strength whisky mountain. A big thank you and shoutout to Shawn, KWM’s own Beerguy for jumping in on the tastings and giving us a rundown on the beer pairings. Also, don’t forget we have plenty of past releases you can browse anytime on our Scotch Malt Whisky Society Pages.
Twitter and Instagram: @sagelikefool
12.18 – WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT
This 8 year old Speysider comes in at 54.8% after maturing in a refill barrel.
Flavour profile: Young & spritely.
Outturn: 174 bottles.
Panel’s tasting note: “A sweet fruity aroma of ripe apples or grapes was soon followed by a warm apricot-cranberry sauce, as well as quince and rosewater jelly. Lively, sparkly and fizzy neat with plenty of freshly grated ginger spice, balanced by the sweetness of a Belgium dark chocolate almond praline.
When we added a little water, the scent was more like pieces of cherry soaked in Kirsch whilst on the palate it had turned into a completely different experience. Now thick and creamy like vanilla custard sauce and strawberry blancmange, and in the finish a ‘brioche à tête’ with a rosewater glaze and a sprinkling of crispy freeze-dried raspberries.”
Don selected St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout to pair with this bottle, saying “Hints of chocolate are perfect to accompany all these subtle fruits.”
112.33 – PURE COZINESS
This 17 year old Highlander was matured in a 2nd fill hogshead and is 55.8%.
Flavour profile: Juicy, oak & vanilla.
Outturn: 291 bottles.
Panel’s tasting note: “On the nose neat like toasted rye bread with plenty of salted butter, coarse cut bitter orange peel and a hot mug of vanilla spiced herbal tea – pure coziness. Warm, sweet and spicy on the palate; patchouli pure essential oil, juicy orange gummy bears and with a very unusual finish of bitter Arbutus honey (strawberry tree).
With water, a creamy sweet aroma of pineapple chunks in fruit juice as well as vanilla poached pears. To taste, now well balanced; fruity, floral and herbal combined with mellow vanilla notes which tone down the warm and spicy wood flavours and this made it a truly relaxing treat.”
Don selected Hoegaarden Whitbier to pair with this release, stating: “The original Belgian whitbier is viewed by many as liquid bread. Light malt, gentle citrus notes and a hint of clove will compliment this dram beautifully.”
24.132 – ENGAGING WARMTH
This 16 year old Speysider was matured in a 1st fill barrel and is 58.4%.
Flavour profile: Sweet & spicy.
Outturn: 227 bottles.
Panel’s tasting note: “Sweetness hits the nose first – honeyed Baklava, sponge toffee and rainbow drops; then comes tangerine, red apple, raspberry and cloudy lemonade, followed by spring flowers, laurel hedge and hints of pepper. The palate is also sweet (jellybeans, Battenberg cake), with some tangy orange zest and kiwi and a really spicy finish (pepper, chili chocolate, aniseed gobstoppers).
The reduced nose presents an even more attractive perfumed sweetness (petits fours, mango, melon balls), while the reduced palate has engaging sweet and spicy warmth – pastries and cakes straight from the oven; clove rock, ginger snaps and sugary espresso dregs.”
Don chose the New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale to pair with this single cask, writing “The perfect balance of roasted malts and fruity hops will serve as a foundation to the diverse tapestry of flavours in this dram.”
13.64 HAPPY IN THE POTTING SHED
This 10 year old Highlander comes in at 59.9% after maturing in a 2nd fill barrel.
Flavour profile: Spicy & dry.
Outturn: 225 bottles.
Panel’s tasting note: “The air was dry and dusty and tickled the nose like white pepper. Old leather gardening gloves sat on a bench beside dried flowers and a bundle of heather. There was a box of potatoes, freshly dug up and still attached to clumps of clean earth.
Sweet notes came from tins of lemon bonbons and chalky fruit sweets with squidgy marshmallows whilst a gentle spice came in the form of ginger and creamed horseradish sauce. Fruity flavours drew from tomato plants and apricots with rye bread before the finish delivered pine cones and dried mushrooms dusted with cocoa powder and sitting on a bed of wood chips.”
HAPPY IN THE POTTING SHED was paired with Steam Whistle Pilsner. As per Don: “Crisp, effervescent and lightly hopped, pilsner will contrast this dram and refresh the palate for another sip.”
4.249 – THE MERMAID’S MARMALADE
This 13 year old from the Highland Islands was matured in a refill Oloroso butt and is 64.6%.
Flavour profile: Deep, rich & dried fruits.
Outturn: 592 bottles.
Panel’s tasting note: “The smell of burning driftwood combined with salted toffee and liquorice before taking on the charred character of barbecued orange and sausages. Salty seaweed created an interesting interplay with peanut brittle before taking on a suggestion of fruit with cherry chocolates.
Ginger cake and rum introduced spicy notes that formed into aniseed and rye bread. Thick cut marmalade brought rich fruit that echoed fine warm Cognac and developed a singed note like burnt raisins in a fruitcake. Charred spice rounded out the palate with hint of cinder toffee rolled in ash and fresh ginger.”
This Orkney Malt was paired with a smoked porter, or Rauchbier. Don said “Reach through the smoke in this beer to enjoy what lies beneath. Light malt sweetness and notes of toast will complement this dram.”
53.266 – SALT ‘N’ VINEGAR KELP
From Islay, this 10 year old comes in at 60.8% after maturing in a refill hogshead.
Flavour profile: Peated.
Outturn: 272 bottles.
Panel’s tasting note: “Notes of twiglets and marmite-smothered toast greeted the Panel at first nosing. Along with vinegar-soaked fish and chips, salted crab meat, mercurochrome, nettles, elastoplast and burnt caramel. With a little water we also found a rusted shipwreck, pin-sharp lemon juice, lime cordial, dense heathery smoke, silage, smoked tea and burning kelp.
The mouth was pure mezcal with peated olive oil, camphor, liquorice chews and smoked lavender. Water added salted toffee, peanuts, tobasco, bacon lardons, menthol cigarette ash and grilled scallops.”
Part of the SMWS August of 2019 ‘Hauf & Hauf’ theme, this bottling was paired with a beer that was selected by Calgary SMWS member and beer writer Don Tse. Don paired this Islay malt with Dageraad Burnabarian, stating “Lightly must with notes of honey and Grand Marnier and a sparkling effervescence, this beer will serve as a contrast against this beautiful whisky”