Friday, 5 September 2014

SMWS September Outtrun Micro-Notes

I didn’t think this outturn looked particularly promising (aside from the ancient Dufftown and the infant Bunna) but I was wrong.  Some solid buys in here (note that if I write buy, it doesn’t mean I bought it, but that you should.  I probably have bought it though).

G4.7, Flying saucers and foamy shrimps, Cameronbridge, 34 years old, 51.9% A+
Nose - Sweet, gentle grain.  UHU glue, foam sweets (starmix), strawberry shampoo.
Body - Sweet and soapy, yes definitely the foam shrimps, extraordinarily sweet and sweetshoppy
Finish - Long, very sweet but balanced.  Is there any point, though, in this being a 34 year old whisky?  Very drinkable though. 

BUY – but only if you’re a grain enthusiast. 

26.104, Runny honey and chilli pepper, Clynelish, 14 years old, 58.5% A-
Nose - Toasty cereal, some pork chop, burnt toast and honey, spicy wax and dried bananas.  With water, smoother and fruitier.
Body - Very spicy and hot.  With water, more toffee.
Finish - Long, menthol, very oily, numbing.
Overall - a lovely nose, too much spice on the palate.

121.75, Indian potpourri, Arran, 14 years old, 53.7% A⊕
Distilled on the first day of the millenium!

Nose - Quite dry, the non-violet parma violet sweets (what the hell are they called?), fruity- juicy red fruit and peaches.  The fried bits (sev) from bombay mix.  With water, more floral and even better integrated.
Body - Bold and oily, toffee apple. 
Finish - Long and numbing, rather good.


9.91, A whispering dram, Glen Grant,  23 years old, 53% A⊕
IMG_20140904_175310912Nose - Toffee sweet, cut red cherries, bright, sweet cut grass.
Body - Beautiful honey structure, lots of wax and oil - quite bright.  Lightly spiced and well balanced.

This is another solid, mature Glen Grant and very nicely put together but doesn’t excite me enough to get a buy.



35.112, Perfect storm of flavours, Glen Moray, 17 years old, 51.8%A⊕
IMG_20140904_181356542Nose - Toffee, grain sweetness, but structured and has a lightly sulphured, almost hoppy note to it.  Rather lovely nose.
Body - Unexpectedly dry and quite hot - almost a Sichuan meal with Sichuan peppercorns, red chilli, wok burnt rice and garlic and green pepper.
Finish - Long, numbing but toasty and balanced.  Rather good, challenging and interesting. 

The palate doesn't really match the nose but it works and comes together, particularly with

some water.  Nobody can work out where this has come from – it doesn’t appear to be in the new outturn, I can find it as an old release (the cask number is low) so presumably this will be in a top up?  It’s designer cask – something to do with Buffalo Trace experiment tree selection I think?   I may have just misunderstood – we’d been drinking.  It is good, I almost bought it because of the weirdness, but then went for the 35.120 instead, which is simply better.

35.120, Sugar and spice and all things nice, Glen Moray, 12 years old, 58.1% A⊕
Refill ex-chardonnay cask

IMG_20140904_183704342Nose - Darker, muskier, grainier, stilled sulphured. Almost sherried - a real oloroso wine edge.  The mentioned fried onions is there and light and works rather than being unpleasant.  Finally the sweet wine oak reasserts. 
Palate - Even toastier.  Long and oily, this musky onions edge isn't, honestly, unpleasant it works with the sweet oily intensity and is more of a sulphured, tannic edge.


59.51, A refined cocktail, Teaninich, 30 years old, 51.5% A⊕+
IMG_20140904_191437057Nose - Incredible intensity, just the most fantastic nose.  Old wooded panels, Sauternes, beeswax polish, herbal, menthol, musk, new leather belt, extremely shiny and fruity and berried.  Polished staircase.  With water, even more exciting, enticing and gripping, with ancient peat and more wax.
Body - Bright, sour and solvent, dark toffee and nuts, lemon refreshers.  With water - rounder and sexier.
Finish - Pear, licking oak wood, wood oil.  Lingering French polish.

It’s a very good one in a long line of 30 year old SMWS Teaninichs. 

BUY but only if you’re in the market for this kind of thing.  Better value elsewhere.

73.66, Toffee and humbugs in a tea chest, Aultmore, 24 years old, 57% A⊕+

IMG_20140904_194628994Nose – Ripe, intense sherry, marzipan, plum, plum skin, raw Christmas pudding.  Orange candle wax, candied fruit, dark marmalade.

Body – Winey, beautiful almonds and orange juice.

Finish – Long, bright and rich beeswax.  Apricot and almond tart.

This and the Glenlivet are probably the best value, top-of-the-middle end buy in the outturn, if you see what I mean!


91.20, The rumbling thunder of contentment, Dufftown, 37 years old, 46.9% A⊕⊕


Nose – Intense, wooded complexity, polish and toffee leather, new shoes, incredible varnish – herbal and musky. Like a well cared for 50s car – wax polished fenders, old leather and oil.

Body – Toffee, very light peat, old wood.  Reminds me of an old Glen Garioch.

Finish – Incredibly mellow and old, lightly waxed.

Needs further inspection.  It’s very good, and quite a lot of money.  Tempting.


2.88, Cinderella weeping over matchmakers, Glenlivet, 20 years old, 47.1% A⊕+

IMG_20140905_103650424Nose – Lovely petrol, truffle honey, butter, Jenga blocks, rose petals, rosemary, crackling.  A floral, light, approachable and expensive nose – deeply lovely.

Body – Oily toffee, apple wood, refreshers and heather honey.

Finish – Fried potatoes, woody herbs and liquorice root.  Black pepper and granary toast.  Challenging, exciting and lovely.

With water, even better balance and contrast, and more honey.  Good complexity.


3.225, Galleon attacked by pirates, Bowmore, 16 years old, 57.2% A⊕+

IMG_20140904_204820221Nose – Dark, ripe, salt and vinegar, honey on gorgonzola, marmalade and bonfires, burning wax torches, gunpowder.  Wonderful stuff.

Body – Flawless, intense pear and peat, water biscuits with butter.

Finish – Long, cereal dominated, incredibly numbing.

With water, more salt and vinegar, more jellied eels, devilled whitebait.  Lots of red berries – richer and seriously delicious.


26.105, Bumblebees by the sea, Clynelish, 29 years old, 57.6%, A⊕+

Nose – Balance.  Wax, sweet shops, grass, cardamom, incredibly sweet lemon and polished waxy grapefruit.

Body – Oaked, waxed lacquer and vanilla.  Floral, beautifully oaked and a little salty.

Finish – Surprisingly short, but not unsatisfying.  Wonderful.

I toyed with this, it’s probably better than the Teaninich.  Phil bought this round so no photo.


53.212, Peat smoke and Para Handy puffers, Caol Ila, 22 years old, 56.4%, A⊕+

IMG_20140904_214657801Nose – Dark salt and vinegar crisps (can’t stop noticing this now), dark sherry (it’s refill bourbon cask).  Sour, rich, dirty, just a beautiful Caol Ila – another one!

Body – Toast and vinegar.  Stunning, balanced and bright, lovely peat.

Finish – Long, wood wax, wood and musk.

I’m buying this as a long term option.  This supply of mature single cask Caol Ila stunners can’t continue forever!


My palate is probably in tatters now and I’m certainly a little worse for wear, but just the one more – we can’t miss this!

10.77, Beware of the monster, Bunnahabhain, 6 years old, 61.4%, A⊕

Nose – Numbing alcoholic citrus, lemon ash, wood fires, joss sticks, brine.  Damp cardboard, jellied eels and lemon juice.

Body – Coal tar, bring and lemon, whitebait again, crisp fried lemon, smoke and chewed lemon rind.

Consistent balance and intensity on this one.  If you were going to buy it you probably already have as it sold out on the site this morning in about 20 seconds.


One for the road!  The Jura from a while back, oddly unpopular and still available.

31.27, Bold sailor’s dram, Jura, 25 years old, 52.4%, A+

IMG_20140904_222846186Nose – Sharp but interesting, bright orange zest and light oak and peat, bread and marmalade, cut cherry.

Body – Juicy, but lacking intensity (although it has a lot to prove on top of the previous drams).  Orange zest, salt and light peat.

Finish – Long, ripe oranges.  With water, riper, lots of grapefruit, great peat integration.  Lovely dram.

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