Winter is coming. Or so they say. We have already seen snow on the ground, though most has since melted. In Calgary, and in many parts of Canada, that means it could be any month between January and December. Doesn’t really narrow it down much, but looking at the Calendar tells me that we are indeed now in October.
Our busy fall season is now in full swing here at Kensington Wine Market, and we received clear evidence of that in how quickly the four Outturn tastings for October sold out. If only there was enough time in the day, we probably could have sold through a fifth tasting as well.
With October being busy, November will be absolute chaos when it arrives, with the four Outturn tastings being sandwiched around a sold out Whisky Festival. Fun times. Are we getting close to peak whisky? Is such a thing even possible? I have my doubts, but only time will tell.
Back to the present Outturn. Here is what October and the SMWS Canada have given us to salivate over:
- Our second SMWS Canada bottling from the underated distillery 115 (Knockdhu, also known as anCnoc). 8 years old and flawless in my books. Creamy, oily and fruity with a bit of spice. So well put together at such a young age. This will likely be sold out very soon, if it isn’t already. I would suggest looking at 12.18 – WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT as an equally-as-good alternative. BenRiach and Knockdhu both seem to have the combination of young single malt and well chosen oak casks dialed in – or at least the SMWS knows how to pick great casks from both of these distilleries!
- Toffee and Turf from Lowlands distillery #5 was a fun second bottle in the lineup, exhibiting candied red fruit notes (Twizzlers and Nibs!) before moving through big spice and then earthy notes on the palate. The nose is great, and the transitions it goes through on the tongue are a lot of fun to experience. This is my favourite SMWS bottling from distillery 5 that I can recall tasting.
- The third bottle in the tasting lineup is the first SMWS bottle we have seen in Canada from distillery #113. This workhorse distillery was purpose built to make single malt to be used in blended Scotch, and even indie bottles are rare. At seven years of age, THYME FOR A BANANA offers what you would expect based on the name – a combination of fruity and herbaceous character at a solid price.
- We jumped from the very young to the respectably aged with A BRIDE IN A WAXED JACKET, which to me comes across as a remarkable mashup of Glen Grant and Clynelish in style. This 25 year old is a complex combination of wax, fruit, musty dunnage, and more. I guess I haven’t tasted enough from distillery 46 to really peg its style down, but this one is excellent no matter what it tastes like.
- The fifth bottle in the lineup was just slightly younger at 21 years old, having spent time in two casks which previously held different styles of sherry. That sherry cask influence shows in spades, but the distillery character on SUCCULENT, SCINTILLATING AND SUBSTANTIAL is not covered up at all. Sherry cask fans need to check this one out.
- We head into peated territory with FULL STEAM AHEAD!, but the peat is soft and very well balanced by the big, sweet malty notes throughout. This is a gorgeous bottling from a Highland distillery that specializes in peated single malt.
- We finally landed on Islay with the last bottle in the linup, titled SPOT ON! The name says it all. This has all of the earmarks of the distillery it hails from in my opinion, in all the right ways.
Those are my thoughts on the Outturn. A big thanks as always goes to our neighborâ€™sÂ Peasant Cheese for supplying the food compliment for the tastings.
Read on below for the Society’s own tasting notes on each bottle, plus pricing info.
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115.11 – FRESH AND FLIRTATIOUS
This 8 year old Speysider was matured in a refill barrel and comes in at 59.3%.
Flavour profile: Juicy, oak & vanilla.
Outturn: 227 bottles.
Panel’s tasting note: “The nose is essentially fresh and flirtatious â€“ lemon sherbet and lemon puff biscuits, grass and vanilla; deeper notes of fruit loaf and Eccles cakes lurk behind, but are eventually superseded by orange blossom, new oak and pine forests. The palate is a sweet, fruity, citrus zingy thing â€“ lemon and lime sorbet, passion fruit, orange jelly, fruit Mentos and blackcurrant lozenges; though the aftertaste picks up a bit of leather, tobacco, cumin and coriander heat.
The reduced nose â€“ vanilla sarsaparilla, apple, pear and ripe blackcurrant. The palate â€“ still fruity (apple pie, blackcurrant jam, gooseberry), but with cheeky pickled ginger and wasabi spiciness later.” $142
5.66 – TOFFEE AND TURF
This 15 year old Lowlander comes in at 55% after maturing in a 1st fill barrel.
Flavour profile: Sweet & spicy.
Outturn: 208 bottles.
Panel’s tasting note: “Following the trails of aroma led us along paths of lush grass encapsulating the freshness of green vegetation that occasionally took a detour to tomato plants in a greenhouse. A sweet layer of toffee and fudge floated above a creamy undercurrent of melted butter whilst a waft of pineapple squash introduced soft fruit.
The addition of water kicked into the air a puff of dry dust, perhaps from sun-baked flowerbeds as it mingled with the floral bouquet of sweetly scented flowers. The palate delivered an invigorating dash of chili spice that interchanged with peppermint to create a tension between hot and cold. Green bell pepper revisited a crisp vibrancy that was balanced by vanilla custard before finishing with paprika sprinkled over new wood.” $199.99
113.19 – THYME FOR A BANANA
This 7 year old Speysider is the first release from distillery no. 113 for SMWS Canada, and comes in at 62.2% after maturing in a refill barrel.
Flavour profile: Sweet & spicy.
Outturn: 254 bottles.
Panel’s tasting note: “Attractive aromas of dried flowers and lavender joined the delicate yet woody spice of sandalwood that had been polished with linseed oil. Complex notes of mixed herbs initially suggested herbs de Provence but later condensed into rosemary and thyme on roasted parsnips.
Soft fruit jelly sweets mixed with apple and pear tarts on a palate that embraced the sweet spice of chili jam and camphor. Then came the distinctive character of ripe bananas baked with milk chocolate and a sprinkling of cocoa powder. The finish returned to herbal domains, embracing fennel seeds before cooling tones delivered a pinch of peppermint.” $135
46.62 – A BRIDE IN A WAXED JACKET
This 25 year old Speysider was matured in a refill hogshead and comes in at 53.8%.
Flavour profile: Sweet, fruity & mellow
Outturn: 268 bottles.
Panel’s tasting note: “A typical old Speyside nose â€“ you could be at a wedding â€“ fruit cake (with icing and marzipan), floral bouquets, custard slice, sugared almonds, melon, beeswax and banana split. The palate combines bread and butter pudding and Swiss roll with sherbet lemons, citric peel and refreshers, waxed paper and some wood spices.
The citrus builds on the reduced nose â€“ orange zest, orange blossom, pear baked with honey and clove â€“ and it continues the waxy note (waxed jackets, sand candles). The palate is now beautifully integrated â€“ chewy toffee and nougat, honey, melon and maraschino cherry, with teasing sherbet dip-dabs and tickling ginger spice.” $293.99
30.106 – SUCCULENT, SCINTILLATING AND SUBSTANTIAL
This 21 year old Speysider, bottled for the 2019 Speyside Whisky Festival, spent 19 years in an ex-Oloroso butt before being transferred to a 2nd fill PX butt for the remainder of its maturation, and it comes in at 57.2%.
Flavour profile: Deep, rich & dried fruits.
Outturn: 681 bottles.
Panel’s tasting note: “On the nose neat bags of prunes, figs and raisins, like a rich dark fruit cake with finely grated lemon and orange zest, plenty of brandy and/or dark rum. The taste, undiluted, was big, substantial and chewy – deeply caramelized burnt sugar toffee with chocolate and toasted walnuts.
When we added water the aroma of sweet succulent sultanas alternated with a slightly burnt spicy gingery note, whilst on the palate a fascinating/scintillating array of flavours like cinnamon, vanilla and eucalyptus, and in the never-ending finish chocolate covered macadamia nuts. After 19 years in an ex-Oloroso butt we transferred this whisky into a 2nd fill PX butt.” $271.99
66.131 – FULL STEAM AHEAD!
This 12 year old Highlander was matured in a refill hogshead and comes in at 57.5%.
Flavour profile: Lightly peated.
Outturn: 247 bottles.
Panel’s tasting note: “We were inside a classic steam locomotive cab with the train driver and the fireman crossing the Glenfinnan viaduct on our way to Hogwarts, no, in fact to Mallaig. Cold, coal dust and ash was all around us but we were snug in a soft cashmere blanket.
When taking a sip neat it felt like the stoker feeding coal into the firebox of the boiler. After we replenished water, we passed â€˜the silver sands of Morarâ€™ at full steam and arrived at Mallaig where we had smoked mussels as well as â€˜burntâ€™ carrots and parsnips, enjoying the view to the islands of Eigg, Rum and Skye.” $173
53.272 – SPOT ON!
This 11 year old from Islay comes in at 57.8% after maturing in a refill hogshead.
Flavour profile: Peated.
Outturn: 313 bottles.
Panel’s tasting note: “As soon as we poured the sample a salty, sweet, smoky maritime aroma immediately filled the room – like smoked herring in a sour cream sauce made with apple vinegar, chives and mustard. Smoke and sweetness perfectly balanced on the palate like a â€˜smoky spotted dickâ€™ (dessert made with suet and dried fruits) served with custard â€“ a smoky version doesn’t really exist, but it does now!
With a drop of water the scent from a nearby peat fire reached us on the quayside where we were mending lobster pots. During a well-earned break we sucked oysters with a sweet soy and ginger dressing.” $204.99
All of this information, plus the information on previous releases that are still availableÂ 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.