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Sunday, 26 October 2008

SMWS November Nosings...

Well, the clocks have gone back and you know it's that time to stick the heating on and start stashing some cash away for Christmas- it always has a nasty habit of creeping up on you, requiring unfounded last minute panic spending! Anyway, to keep this brief, the nice people at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society have sent us 4 of their new November releases for our delectation and delight. Back in July we featured a pair of fine bottlings- a Littlemill and a Mannochmore, which have no doubt totally sold out now. The next lot of bottlings are in equally short supply, so certainly won't be hanging around for long...perfect for that early christmas present perhaps??

33.72 Mellow Treat - Age: 10 Years - 57.2% Cask: First Fill Barrel - Distilled May 1998 - 255 Bottles

Nose: There is no pretence about which distillery this comes from. One whiff and you know where you stand: On a grassy knoll over looking Port Ellen...
A deep nosing finds a huge peat hit mixed with plenty of sweet saltiness with hint of heather. A lot more vanilla essence in this nose than on previous 10's from this famous distillery.

Palate: Sherbet, Champagne and smoke (like a good music industry party...!). This is the sweetest Kildalton area whisky I have ever had. The First fill nature of it shines through.

Finish: The sweetness lingers like saccharine in the mouth. There are touches of black cherry jam and over ripe plums.

Overall: A solid expression which is very, very sweet at the end of the palate and in the finish. Needs water which dulls the overall sweetness and enhances the fruits.

125.17 Indulgent Sofa Treat- Age: 12 Years - 57.8% - Cask: Second Fill Hogshead - Distilled August 1996 - 242 Bottles

Nose: Salt is the first thing to hit your nostrils with this whisky, from the 2nd most northerly distillery in Scotland. There is a real youthfulness in the spirit which belies the 12 year old age of this dram. Some green apples and water melon 'jelly belly' jelly beans are present and the longer it spends in the glass, the better this nose gets. Pour a dram BEFORE going to work and let this sit in the air until work is over for the day. Then you will get the full benefit of the rich, flowery aromas in the glass.

Palate: The sweetness of the water melon and the green apples of the nose come to life on the palate. There is also rich summer fruit pudding with red berries of all types stewed together in hearty juiciness. This is really tasty!

Finish: A hint of red chillies and the fruit just slides away gently into the back ground, with the fire of the alcohol content leaving a long ending to an enjoyable dram.

Overall: An excellently fruity dram which we found to be really, really tasty. With water, the nose and the palate are not quite what they were, but the finish is a little more subtle with the fruity flavours lasting like a yummy boiled sweet.

26.27 An Absolute Cracker!- Age: 25 Years - 55.8%- Cask: Refill Hogshead - Distilled May 1983 - 177 Bottles

A quick swirl of the glass and suddenly we're in familiar territory. This dram is from the second most northerly mainland Distillery. An initial hit of beeswax leads you into diced apples with a squeeze of lemon, golden syrup sponge cake with a dusting of cinnamon. Its so creamy, yet fresh and zesty you just can't wait to dive in for the first mouthful.

Palate: An excellent rich mouth feel immediately leads to a real sweetness- it's like biting into a toffee apple on bonfire night, sweet brittle caramel with crisp, juicy fruit on the inside, again with the presence of the cinnamon. slightly honeyed notes come through and a little more zesty lemon, but the whole package sits together so well in the mouth. Great stuff.

Finish: Like the dying embers of a fire, this really fades out gracefully over time, with real chocolate fudge notes and a zingy ginger spiciness coming through on the death.

Overall: As the name suggests- this is an absolute cracker, hardly surprising when you consider the heritage of the distillery its from. So much more refined than some of its younger brothers and very unique. Something tells us that the 177 bottles are already being greedily eyed up...

29.73 BFD (Big Friendly Dram) - Age: 11 Years - 58.6% - cask Refill Hogshead - Distilled October 1996 - 295 Bottles

Rather like 33.72, there's no mistaking this when you get your nose in there, but it's all done in a very subtle way, gentle peat, iodine, cream soda and vanilla all compete for your attention against some slight hints of oily creosote- not as obvious as its younger, more well known brother but certainly as pleasing.

Palate: Whilst the nose is slightly delicate and sophisticated, like the local vicar, the heart is a grimy engine driver, all expletives and firey passion! More grit and grime fill the mouth, in the best possible way, then comes the sweet fudge and baked apple, and barbeque sauce which is not expected.

Finish: More sweetness and Manuka honey make this a very odd dram indeed, but a very very good one, nonetheless!

Overall: The 4th in a line of cracking drams from the SMWS. as with the others, don't expect them to be around for too long though- you'll be sorely disappointed...