The “rest of the November outturn” is ridiculous, the largest outturn in SMWS history, making the whole of November come in at about 50 casks. Whittling that down to 10 to try here wasn’t easy and there were a lot left behind. Hopefully I’ll get back there soon enough for it to be useful.
Save some money for December though, there’s some big, weird and old whisky coming in a small parcel on December 5th. God I hope we get out of January ok!
SMWS 5.39, A vibrant promise of spring, Auchentoshan, 15 years old, 58.7% A+
Body - Hot, almost plasticky, spicy, real barley sugar. The same heat, less integrated sugar on the palate with water.
Finish - a cough sweet edge, medium, very sweet, slightly lip smacking. Very good but last week's was better (and quite different to this).
SMWS 42.14 Hot water bottle, Ledaig, 9 years old, 60.1% A⊕
Nose - Deep wood and waxy bright cask, with bright tequila and agave top notes. Very sweet, almost tropical backing to this. Absolutely lovely. More relaxed with water, lots of sawdust. Has the character of a far older whisky.
Body - Covornia cough mixture immediately, then very spicy and darkly sweet with loads of wood and some peach. Herbal.
Finish - Medium, a little astringent - quite long and quite a lot of bitterness at the end. A remarkable whisky, quite odd with youthful fire and a lot of old character.
SMWS 35.105 Santa's Christmas stocking, Glen Moray, 17 years old, 55.9% A
Designer cask here means that it’s taken from the Mark Twain forest. The wood is taken from the north edge of the forest trees, which has less sunlight and so grows slower with denser wood.
Body - Very sweet, very spicy, good citrus zest - lots of wood with water.
Finish - Quite short, bit one dimensional and sweet shoppy - almost too zesty. Lovely initial delivery and lots of xmassy zest but doesn't hang together on the finish.
SMWS 41.60 Fun to chase, Dailuaine, 25 years old, 49.6% A⊕+
Body - Beautiful arrival of flowers, mango, banana and lime juice. Good balanced sulphur and wood, lovely oil. Just a beautiful whisky.
Finish - The intensity is short, but the finish is long, very gentle with mango and lots of waxy wood.
SMWS 30.82 For a moment of intensity, Glenrothes, 24 years old, 49.1% A⊕
Nose - Beautiful sherry but lovely structure. Some UHU glue, some light fruit cake and marzipan, a little wet acrylic paint. Burnt sugar on the nose - like slightly overcooked fruit cake. Very well balanced.
Body - Quite soft sherry delivery immediately, good tannins thereafter.
Finish - Quite long, light sulphur, a finally bitter orange zest. Lots of fruit.
A fabulous, intense nose with everything you want from a sherried whisky - balance, structure and not just fruit and nut bar. But then a slightly disappointing delivery - too soft and a little damp. A shame. Still a great whisky but a lot of money for a bit of a let-down in the delivery.
SMWS 46.26 Killer bee surf wax, Glenlossie, 21 years old, 54.4% A⊕
Body - Endlessly fruit and peachy, great sulphur balance.
Finish - Long, very fruity, very juicy, amazing intensity. A challenging heat at the end but balanced by the peach juice.
SMWS 4.194 Lip-smacking and mouth-puckering, Highland Park, 18 years old, 53.3% A⊕+
Nose - Balanced. Leather and cigarette tobacco, apple sweets, just a balancing edge on the nose. Wonderfully complex, elegant, restrained but delicious. With water, less intensity and more oily coastal notes. Very good.
Body - Beautifully spicy, juicy toffee and lovely sulphur. Even more balanced with water, seriously delicious and the peat starts to come through.
Finish - Long, drying and balancing wood and toffee. Very special.
SMWS 53.214 Seafood cocktail, Caol Ila, 17 years old, 57.8% A⊕+
Body - Rich, very sweet and beautiful fruit. Parma violets, total balance and structural peat. With water, more medicinal and dustier sweets - love hearts.
Finish - Very long, sweet, balanced, sulphurous, drying finish. Another epic 53.
SMWS 3.231 This little piggy went to market…, Bowmore, 24 years old, 53% A⊕
Nose - Sweet, Parma violets and refreshers. Some malt, some earth, quite manly? Light meat and peat, some cola bottles, quite restrained but on intense investigation a really beautiful, elegant character, particularly with a little water. Give it a while to open up. Don't try it straight after a Caol Ila, either.
Body - Parma violets again, quite rich and dusty/meaty. Sweet toffee and balanced sulphur, some pear, a little cake.
Finish - Long, mainly sweet but not cloying, a gentle landing. An almost peatless delivery.
I didn't appreciate this at first, but I ended up not being able to stop drinking it. A good whisky.
SMWS 3.228 A deep, brooding masterpiece, Bowmore, 26 years old, 46% A⊕+
There’s always one, no matter how many times I check, that I forget the photo on! And this is the pick of the bunch too. This is an venerable, deep and elegant Bowmore. Worth every penny.
Nose - Bright orange, incredibly fruity, orange juice, floor polish, chewy mints, nut toffee, lightly phenolic. What an incredibly intense, fruity and dynamic nose - bright and deep. With water even fruitier.
Body - Parma violets, massively. Very fresh and fruity. Dusty, spicy peat behind this, and very old coastal wood, like a sub baked groyne.
Finish - Very lightly ashen on the finish, long and parma with plenty of beautifully drying sulphur and a lingering dusty refreshers edge. Tropical. Absolutely epic.