Tag Archives: Scotch Malt Whisky Society

SMWS Cask 39.99

SMWS Cask 39.99 Springtime in Andalucia
58.9% ABV
23 Year Old
Speyside Lossie Region
Distilled April 1990
Refill Hogshead

What the Bottler Says:
‘What a nose’ and ‘I could smell this all day’ were just two remarks before we noted aromas of toasted malt loaf with melted butter, freshly made peanut brittle, brandy snaps, raisins, sultanas and chocolate liqueur over apple and custard crumble – pure decadence. The taste is classic monkey bread oozing with warm caramel and cinnamon, chopped walnuts, raisins and brown sugar. With the addition of water the nose is still rich and complex with a distinct whiff of salty sea breeze just like a Manzanilla Pasada Sherry. The taste is fresh, sweet and salty; Brazil nuts, toffee, red liquorice and a never ending finish of a well-made Arugula salad with honey-drizzled peaches.

Drinking Tip: When you have time to let your mind wander

What Richard Says:
Nose: Rich, sweet, and malty. Old brandy, powdered sugar covered chewy fruit confections, and wheat germ.
Palate: It’s even richer and more decadent in the mouth than on nose. It kind of reminds me of a Payday candy bar. Heavy on the nuts and caramel. There is also a heavy undercurrent of raisins and other dried dark fruits.
Finish: A slightly dry, nutty, cereal finish. It’s not terribly long but it lingers a bit. Water leaves the finish more salty than nutty.
Comments: This is a very compelling and complex dram. I don’t really love it. It’s not something I would reach for often. However, exploration is rewarded. There are many layers of flavor, nuance, and depth to be found here. This dram is a deep dark cave that screams “Spelunk me!”
Rating: Stand Out

We would like to thank the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America for sending a sample for the holidays. Our apologies for the review delays. Holiday head colds were unavoidable.

SMWS Cask 95.19

SMWS Cask 95.19 Enigmatic Duality
53.2% ABV
17 Year Old
Speyside Spey Region
Distilled August 1997
Refill Hogshead

What the Bottler Says:
The nose appealed to us all – but in surprisingly different ways – some go tropical fruits – dried mango, kiwi, lingen berry sorbet and ‘waxed lemons in the Tuscan sun’ – others detected deeper elements of tar, seaweed and even a wisp of smoke. That enigmatic duality persisted with water – pink peppercorns, horseradish, honey, ‘lightening over herb gardens’ and toasted pistachios. The palate was immediate and powerful – mouth-coating waxed fruits, heather honey and creme brulee wrested with peppery heat, hints of bonfire ash and carbolic. In reduction, we found aloe vera, menthol, Fisherman’s Friends, clove, hickory and fried sage leaves – good sweet-savoury balance.

Drinking Tip: A curiosity dram – have fun perplexing your friends.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Herbaceous and outdoorsy in a very inviting way. It reminds me of wildflower fields in North Georgia, pine forests, and Ricola lozenges. There is a bit of muted sweetness and essence of the sea floating in the background but nothing that makes you stand up and take notice.
Palate: In your face with a meaty salty sweetness. It’s rich and chewy with a nice rich mouthfeel. There is a spicy nuttiness that plays well with the other notes.
Finish: The finish is short and to the point. There is very little to linger on here.
Comments: I can’t say this is really recognizable as a standout for a specific distillery but it is intriguing. There are some nice counterbalances going on in this dram. Sweet, savory, rich, and spicy. Very nice indeed.
Rating: Stands Out

We would like to thank the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America for sending a sample for the holidays. Our apologies for the review delays. Holiday head colds were unavoidable.

SMWS Cask 93.61

SMWS Cask No. 93.61
58.3% ABV
Date Distilled: June 1999
US Allocation:
January 2015 Outturn Release

What the SMWS Says:
On the nose, the sweet charabanc of sugar puffs, Crunchy-nut cornflakes, fudge cookies, honey and chocolate flapjacks collided into the savoury wall of smoky bacon crisps, barbecued prawns and baked ham. The palate was also a crash site – big, rich and chew, with cinder toffee, spiced sultanas and dark honey on toast scattered in a frightening wreckage of charcoal, ash, liquorice sticks, peat reek and industrial garages. The reduced nose suggested a welder on a Calmac ferry enjoying a Daim Bar. The palate – sweet and (we thought) acceptably dirty with a big spicy finish. From the ‘quiet outsider’ distiller in Campbeltown.

Drinking tip: To aid the visceral enjoyment of a brutal rugby match.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Wow what an interesting dichotomy playing out here. The smoky and savory are close dance partners with the sweeter confectionery notes all while sherry cream plays the chaperone.
Palate: Damn that’s good. The alcohol is there but it is so rich and viscous you hate to add water. That confectionery sweetness from the nose carries into the front of the palate with a rich honey that fades into more of the campfire notes.
Finish: The proof gives it a little heat but after that clears the throat it leaves you with a pleasant sooty woody finish.
Comments: This is a great dram but it drinks at a much higher proof than your typical single malt. Add the water but do it drop by drop until you get it just right. A couple of drops too much and you’ve killed it. It turns bland, uninspired, and the richness is gone.
Rating: Must Try

SMWS Cask No 36.67

SMWS Cask No. 36.67
Speyside, Spey
59.9%% ABV
Distilled June 2004
US Allocation: ? Bottles
January 2015 Outturn Release

What the SMWSA Says:
A good example of whiskey transformed by water – we didn’t know what to make of the nose – quite fruity (baked apple, fruit salad, watermelon, lemon curd, pear-drops) with an odd assortment of other aromas – Hawaiian pizza (pineapple, ham, pizza dough) pine forests and model kits. With water, suddenly the sweetness was released – caramel wafers, honeycomb crunch ice-cream and vanilla fudge. The unreduced palate seemed sweet and sour – pineapple dusted with chilli and salt, peppery Cream Soda and a slightly metallic finish – but water settled it down to zesty key lime pie and biscuity flavours – intensely tasty. Named after Speyside’s biggest mountain.

Drinking tip: As an aperitif or to awaken the senses.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Aromatic fruit cream with pears and pineapples being the most prevalent. Water opens up a honey sweetness and a back note reminiscent of craft root beer.
Palate: Surprisingly rich for a young malt with a wisp of smokey wood. Water mellows the heat but also the richness. It’s very easy to drink when you add the water but it settles into more of a malty note that has less dimensions to it.
Finish: It finishes much for malty and cereal like than expected. Not unpleasant but it leaves me wanting a drink of water.
Comments: This dram has a bit of a love/hate relationship to water. It mellows the alcohol and makes it more drinkable but also makes it more bland. The nose is better with water but the palate is a bit worse off. Play with the water on this one with care.
Rating: Stands Out

Review sample provided courtesy of the SMWSA and is available to society members through their website or 800.990.1991.

SMWS Cask 93.47

SMWS Cask No. 93.47
59.7% ABV
Distilled April 2002
US Allocation: ??
Valentine’s 2014 Release

What the SMWS Says:
The nose seemed unusual – salted almonds and rice crackers; seaweed, sushi, and Earl Grey tea; smoked sausage, tar, hospitals, garage workshops and farmyards. The unreduced palate was enormous – tar, smoke and ash – big time; also salty liquorice, menthol, Arbroath smokies and the seaweed found in Japanese rice crackers. Adding water brought the nuttiness and sweetness forward on the nose; we also identified flying saucers, soap and dried strawberries. The reduced palate was still interesting but more tamed – vanilla sweetness, tongue-tingling ginger and cured sausage with subtle caraway and mace flavourings. The distillery is owned by the Loch Lomond Distillery Company.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Briny delight. Kind of reminds me of nori with light smokiness and a hint of heather.
Palate: This drinks much easier than it’s proof would lead you to believe. There is a little more of that salty brine, very nutty, and a flavor that reminds me of overly strong black tea.
Finish: This finish clings to the tongue forever. Tar like smoke and sea air.
Comments: Exceptionally interesting. I might not make this a staple in my whisky cabinet but it makes for a very conversational dram.
Rating: Stands Out

Review sample provided courtesy of the SMWSA and is available to society members through their website or 800.990.1991.