Dram Review: SMWS 116.19 Yoichi 余市 “Tobacconist by a Sweetie Shop”

[61.3%・20 Years Old・Distilled in 1994・SMWS Bottling・Single Cask Release of 526 Bottles]

Nose:

Saucy and buttery, caramelised popcorn, a pinch of furikake amidst the brown sugar and maple syrup. It’s intense and marvellous, rich creamy tobacco together with a splash of lime as the woodworking ambience sets in.

Palate & Finish:

A robust showing of prunes and dates with some aggressiveness from the pepper and the rubbery smoke followed by a softening sweetness from the cola gummy bears.

Chocolate and leather, black liquorice, toffee apples, with traces of peat and tobacco.

Thoughts:

The virgin oak influence is very potent in this provocative Pappy-esque Yoichi, but with that added personal pleasure that is peat.

☆ ☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: SMWS 35.188 Glen Moray “A Complex Delight”

[55.2%・25 Years Old・Bottled in 2018・SMWS Bottling・Single Cask Release of 222 Bottles]

Nose:

Bourbon char and creamy vanilla wrapped in a tropical perfume.  Spirit-y but still rather poised as a deeper floral note develops.

Palate & Finish:

Honeydew nicely transitions to more of a floral presence, a chewy mouthfeel of milk chocolate and liquor soaked cherries.

Dark alluring cherries in the finish dressed in chocolate dust, the spirit-y notes continue..

Thoughts:

One of those ones that shines from the distillery and certainly one of the better ones bottled by the Society in the past few years, rather on point..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: SMWS 73.90 Aultmore “Pear Flans in a Patisserie”

[54.6%・16 Years Old・Bottled Circa 2017-2018・SMWS Bottling・Single Cask Release of 240 Bottles]

Nose:

Playful oomph of creamy custard and pear crumble stirred with a hint of rose water. Some minerals as it grows a tad milky and farmy.

Palate & Finish:

Lightheartedly sweet at first as the nashi pears and aloe vera really pop but then the thicker farmy toffee note hits. Bakkwa intersecting the crispness of the fruits.

Flashes of spiciness in the finish, a hint of hard water perhaps.

Thoughts:

Interesting interaction between the light and heavy, a bit of a thinker’s dram for a leisurely afternoon. In saying that I wouldn’t mind something less intellectual but crisper though..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: SMWS 27.109 Springbank “Guns on the Grouse Moor”

[58.3%・Distilled in 1998・Bottled in 2015・16 Years Old・SMWS Bottling・Single Cask Release of 738 Bottles]

Nose:

Perhaps not a surprise for a Springbank matured in a Gorda cask, the nose is driven by meat broth and salted meat, with a tinge of gun powder sulphur in the mix, thick confectionary layer giving an oily sweetness, rounded with more and more minerals in time.

Palate & Finish:

Brightly cask influenced with citrus and honey, a dirty juicy burst with the spirit imparting wee peaty and grassy notes. Notes of cardamom, minerals and candied orange cake as chilli and pepper spices cut through.

A laid back sweetness in the finish seasoned with minerals, the malt proves to be satisfying in time.

Thoughts:

Well, this is sulphured, but in all honestly not too adversely so, one could argue the dram benefitted from it as it gives a fairly weighted mouthfeel..

✓ [Recommended if you like the distillery/style]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: SMWS 1.183 Glenfarclas “A Vibrant Enigma!”

[48.0%・48 Years Old・Distilled in 1965・SMWS Bottling・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

Rich honey with a beautiful and transcending polished wood note indicative of its age, undoubtedly a result of a deep imprint of the oak over the years, certainly in a class of its own. It has this armagnac like earthiness with the richness of syrup cured fruits on display. Silky smooth, yet there is a hint of toasted barley note to prove that this is still a whisky after all. A lot of older whiskies have lost the distillery’s touch from years of oak influence but this one is one of the exceptional ones that still bear the family crest of Glenfarclas proudly. Overtime it becomes more fragrant with a maraschino cherry note.

Palate & Finish:

The first sip reveals an abundance of sweet oranges that have been prepared for a Christmas cake. A display of strength still in the doses of Cointreau and dark chocolate truffles. The oak reveals itself but elegantly acts only as a supplement, bringing about the fragrant notes. Cherry preserve provides a vibrant touch with some nuttiness and an enticing hint of after eight to finish off.

Thoughts:

This one is said to be matured in ex-bourbon cask for 48 long years but I seriously doubt so based on how magical this was, a refilled bourbon barrel is not supposed to shape a whisky like that. this is absolutely one of the absolute best whiskies I tasted in 2015, I do agree with some that perhaps it is the arguably best whisky Glenfarclas has ever produced.

It’s a whisky one mustn’t have if they are in a hurry, time matters little as this is like a kiss from a mysterious femme fatale; the dark cherry sweetness is mesmerising and lives on in the memory, even after all these months, there is still a little bit of your taste in my mouth.

☆☆☆ [Most Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: SMWS 66.66 Ardmore “Ginger Makes Fred Smile”

Tasting Notes

SMWS 66.66 Ardmore “Ginger Makes Fred Smile” ☆ [Recommended]

Style: Ginger and Spicy

Nose:

Huge, dry notes at the front – Autumn leaves in early winter breeze, followed by a robust scent of vanilla yogurt, full cream milk with a swirl of honey and figs. Ginger spice kicks in with a hint of ashy peat and salted caramel.

Palate:

Honey caramel first touch and the devilish ginger steers in and took charge. Flooded with spiciness like a sea of fire… This is one of the spiciest Whisky I have ever tasted! Leftover an underlying layer of smoking wood ash and peat, then my attention was then brought back to the sweetness which has never left – chocolate fudge, toffee, toasted oak and sweet malt lingering, ginger bite towards the end.

Finish:

Fantastic finish – freshly peeled ginger skin! Dry, sharp, raw and earthy! Soft chocolate notes has sustained well to support the texture.

Thoughts:

Big big fan of this whisky. Enormous character with a marvellous charge of dryness and spiciness with great strength, which is adequately supplemented by the swaying caramel sweetness, striking the perfect balance… My favourite go-to SMWS bottling so far, it is already half way through in less than 2 months! Boy I should have bought more than one bottle of this…

[61.8% • 2014 • Aged 10 Years • Independent Bottling • Cask Strength • Single Cask • Non Coloured • Non Chill Filtered • Limited Release • 261 Bottles • First Fill White Wine Hogshead]

-Esmond

Dram Review: SMWS 64.55 Mannochmore “A Sultry Soirée”

[55.8%・24 Years Old・Distilled in 1990・Bottled in 2014・SMWS Bottling・Single Cask Release of 173 Bottles]

Nose:

A savoury barbecued meat note on the nose with a slight hint of anise sharpness. Waxy with thick doses of honey, toasted vanilla cream and white chocolate sauce. Cinnamon and caramel notes intertwined within. Some fruity notes in there as well such as watermelon and orange blossom.

Palate & Finish:

A really special palate, mango sauce at first. melted vanilla ice cream, sugar cured watermelon just like from the cake from Black Star Pastry. A slight hint of raspberry collie and banana toffee.

A exhilaratingly spicy finish of chilli and pepper with some barley notes, vanilla and fruity sweetness keeps sipping through.

Thoughts:

Truly a great whisky, is this the best of 2014? Well, I can think of a couple other SMWS expressions that would be in the same conversation, but that’s just a testament to the impeccable quality of their products.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: SMWS 43.3 Port Ellen

[64.7% • 10 Years Old • Distilled in 1981 • Bottled in 1991 • SMWS Bottling • Single Cask Release]

This is a vintage SMWS Port Ellen that was bottled all the way back in 1991.

Nose:

On the nose, apricot and honey, a touch of coastal breeze, very pleasant on the nose. Vanilla and caramel with a hint of smoke to make it more complex. Traces of iodine barely detectable in the back end amidst notes of lollies.

Palate & Finish:

Some wood-fired barbecue meat notes surfacing after a while.
Intense spices upon the first sip, pu erh tea and chilli spices tangling on the tastebuds. It is also juicy and citrusy on the palate, youthful fruits such as lemons and papaya come to mind. Notes of cinnamon and salted caramel in there as well.

A long peaty finish, leaving a puff of smoke in the aftertaste. It’s chewy and woody and it is mouthwatering.

Thoughts:

A.K.A. “A young fellow from a bygone era”

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

 

-Nicholas

Dram Review: SMWS 33.119 Ardbeg A Gumtree Bonfire Barbecue on the Beach

[58.5% • 10 Years Old • Bottled in 2012 • SMWS Bottling • Single Cask Release of 219 Bottles]

I had this Australian exclusive which doubled as the most powerful and unique Ardbeg expressions I have had to date:-

Nose:

The nose is ashy with seaweed and charred oak notes. It really is like a Bon fire. Some Brazilian roast meat, some light sweetness here and there. Smoked salmon notes comes through with time along with a fuller medicinal notes.

Palate & Finish:

Sweet at first on the palate with a touch of peppery spices. Then POW, a massive hit of big peat and WOOF a numbingly hot wave of chilli. The smoke and peat spices stay put for a long while.

A touch of fructose in the finish with some delicate vanilla grind but the ashiness just keeps going and going.
Having a full dram of this is like getting your tastebuds hammered by a chunk of burning peat with every sip.

Thoughts:

What a powerful beast.  Extraordinary.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas