Thursday, 4 December 2014

SMWS December 2014 Outturn

When will it end!  The excellence continues, I can’t take much more of this…

I’m not sure which of these will make it onto the website, some of the Japanese malts are very limited.  Everything here is a BUY.  Just see if you like the notes or the distillery.  If you do, excellence is assured.

SMWS G12.1 “Oh so sweet”, Nikka Coffey Malt, 58.9% A⊕

Cask: Re-charred hogshead

Age: 11 years

Date Distilled: 6 March 2003

20141204_164219Nose - Light, juicy sweet red cherry. Lightly mineral, banana skin - seared banana and brown sugar. A little bit of petrol.

Body - Incredibly sweet, quite spicy, juicy and very bright, lovely oils, lots of retronasal orange juice. With water a bit more petrol.

Finish - Orange juice and stone, between a malt and a grain in depth of flavour, well balanced and good intensity.


SMWS 25.66, Rosebank, Bette Davis doing DIY, 57.8% A⊕

Cask: Refill ex-bourbon hogshead

Age: 23 years

Date Distilled: 14 November 1990

20141204_165023Nose - Restrained power, tequila/agave on the nose. Beautifully elegant malt tones, rich but restrained. Reminds me of making xmas pudding (not the cooked one, the base ingredients - lemon and orange zest). With water, the raw chopped almonds in the pudding come through and candied peel. No dark flavours from the cooked pudding though.

Body - Incredibly bright, orange zest. Quite spicy. With water, much more rounded, but still extremely powerful.

Finish - Long zesty oils, very powerful and bright. Surprisingly intense. A highly challenging and fascinating whisky, but not exactly luxurious.


SMWS No. 1.183, A vibrant Enigma!, Glenfarclas, 49.8% A⊕+

Cask: Refill ex-bourbon hogshead

Age: 48 years

Date Distilled: 7 July 1965

20141204_170117Nose - A beautiful sherried colour for a refill bourbon - what year did this have bourbon in it?  Could have been the 50s! Unsurprisingly intense but not overdone on the nose. Woody herbs, hedge, raisin, sushi rice and konbu, old wood. There's something fungal here, with damp, old, fallen tree, stewed tea, windfall apples and pritt stick.

Body - Amazing and intense sweetness, bright apple and pear, very floral, almost like air freshener at the end of the delivery.

Finish – Very, very long, lingering metallic notes, like licking a coin. Then long, long wood sweetness and sap. A remarkable whisky, not over wooded. Beautiful.

BUY if you can stretch to it, it's a bargain at £489 for a 48 year old of this intensity.

SMWS 24.127, Northern Lights, Macallan, 47.7% A⊕+

Cask: Refill ex-bourbon hogshead

Age: 23 years

Date Distilled: 16 April 1991

20141204_171525Nose - Austere, oaky, acrylic paint, malty, peachy - very rich and thick, like a hobnob biscuit. Beautiful toffee malt sweetness. Lovely.

Body - Ripe peach and orange, balanced and toffeed. Quite light but persistently sweet.

Finish - Peach stone, balanced and gentle, orange juice and zest. Lovely.


SMWS 5.42, Bathed in a bakers shop, Auchentoshan, 59.5% A⊕

Cask: Refill ex-bourbon hogshead

Age: 13 years

Date Distilled: 11 October 2000

20141204_172542Nose - Sweet and lightly dusted malt. Tile cement, window putty, fresh growing barley and blueberry muffin.

Body - Bright, spicy, lemon toffee, then really spicy and a bit one dimensionally sweet. Water opens it right back up though, bringing out the elusive waxy, woody note I'm getting more and upping the integration.

Finish – A really lovely wax and sulphur note develops, lingers and comes back in waves. With water, a very long finish, great sweetness and integration.

Lovely - another Auchentoshan buy. If this wasn't in such epic company….


Cask No. 124.5,  Juicy fruits and spicy oak, Miyagikyo, 66.7% A⊕⊕

Cask: First fill hogshead

Age: 23 years

Date Distilled: 12 Dec 1990

20141204_173448Nose - Deep, deep fruit, dark cherry toffee and cherry cake. Rich, rich, beautiful balanced sherry. Amazing. Even better with water on the nose, even more complexity and waxy wood, and clean new planed oak furniture. Wow. The empty glass gives intense prunes.

Body - Ripe, bright wood, oily, bright and fruity as well as being dark, loads of chocolate coconut. Intensely oily and toffeed.

Finish - Really long, sweet, dense toffee wood, sweet, sweet varnish. Pineapple burps. But very balanced - some of the most intense, balanced whisky I've ever tasted. Amazing.


SMWS 120.7, Sweet, fragrant and satisfying, Hakushu, 55.5% A⊕+

Cask: First fill Bota Corta butt

Age: 14 years

Date Distilled: September 2009

20141204_174621Nose - Ripe but restrained, overripe fruit and dark sherry. Very sherried but not overdone on the nose. A little musky, with bright deodorant notes in there. Beautiful, even if it's a very tough act to follow the 124.

Body - Lovely, long, gentle development, with the dark toffeed fruits and the sherry is very well integrated.

Finish - Long, lingering, balanced sweetness. Again, intense but very polite. Lovely stuff (quite like The Whisky Exchange sherried balblair). This is a seriously lovely whisky.


SMWS 4.199, Boy scouts and bikers, Highland Park, 56.2% A⊕+

Cask: First fill ex-bourbon barrel

Age: 14 years

Date Distilled: 15 October 1999

20141204_175610Nose - Back to blighty. Sweet cereal, unripe melon, fresh cut flower stalks and deep down, some sweet nut toffee.

Body - Fabulously sweet, unexpectedly so given the austere nature on the nose. A kick of spice but it's all so wonderfully integrated. An extremely good delivery.

Finish - Very long, ripe and a slight structural hint of peat balancing the intense sweetness, with long ripe fruit coming through finally and some great tropical notes from the wood component. Just wonderful on the delivery, perhaps a little closed on the nose.


SMWS 2.91, Buck’s Fizz and Gewurtztraminer, Glenlivet, 61.1% A⊕

Cask: Refill ex-bourbon barrel

Age: 12 years

Date Distilled: 16 April 2002

20141204_180705Nose - Much lighter than the previous whiskies but still a lovely warm, waxy malt - yet another cracker. Some deodorant in there, floral and nicely wooded, just a hint of spirit sulphur. With water, the titular white wine comes through and some drier, earthier notes.

Body - Bright wham bar, balanced but very sweet, with gentle mint chews and a touch of earth.

Finish - Long, balanced, beautiful. Lingering toffee. A beautiful, gentle, but deeply sweet dram, lovely balance and an absolute cracker.


SMWS 119.13, Fathoms deep, Yamazaki, 60.2% A⊕

Cask: 1st fill bourbon

Age: 11 years

Date distilled: May 2003

149 bottles

20141204_182007Nose - Younger cereal, top notes of sweet, soft toffee. Fried parsley. Pith.

Body - Young and intense, but deep and seriously wooded. Quite spicy. A really delicious delivery.

Finish - Very long, oily, oaky, spicy but clean. Oiled wood working tools. Long and intense, with the profile of a very old whisky and the fire of a much younger whisky. Remarkable.


SMWS 120.8, A surge of sweet peat, Hakushu, 63.1% A⊕+

Cask: 2nd fill hogshead

Age: 13 years

Date Distilled: December 2000

20141204_182904Nose - Bright, gentle cherry with a lovely peated edge. Ripe conference pear. Varnished pine furniture and pecan chunks for smoking. Balanced, polite and beautifully put together. Strikingly fruited and cakey.

Body - Spicy. Beautifully sweetly waxed. More cherry, loads of candle wax. Absolutely beautiful.

Finish - Long, sweet soft toffee, deep fruit and wax. Dark, dark and elegantly peated. A total cracker.


SMWS 3.234, Scallops cooked on a puffer shovel, Bowmore, 57.5% A⊕

Cask: Refill ex-sherry butt

Age: 16 years

Date Distilled: 25 September 1997

20141204_184644Nose - Bright, seaside toffee, seaweed and light peat. Quite restrained. Some rope, some drift wood, some ozone, the merest hint of peat, you get the idea. This is quite closed in the bottle though, big hopes for this once opened up…

Body - Oh man… beautiful refill sherry Bowmore. Fizzing refreshers, parma violets. Floral.

Finish - Very dry, massive tannins, coastal, balancing sweetness and pot pourri, lingering herbal notes and classical Bowmore.

This is unexpectedly old for its age, I would have pegged this as a 20 something on the delivery.


SMWS 53.216, BBQ in pine-clad dunes, Caol Ila, 60.6% A⊕

Cask: Refill ex-sherry butt

Age: 21 years

Date Distilled: 13 July 1993

20141204_185356Nose - Light - some plastic cement, marker pens. Spent fireworks. Old wet burnt wood and coffee. And very bright and fruity in its own way - peach tea.

Body - Now it's intensely peated, with burnt pine needles, burning oak and deep rooted, ancient sweetness.

Finish - Long, long and loads of cigarettes and wood. Reasonably brutal but very satisfying.



  1. I just got my shares of the Rosebank 25.66 and the Macallan 24.127.
    Looking forward to tasting them :)

  2. Still waiting for the 120.8 & 119.14 to land in London... wonder when that might be? Lovely notes - I thought the 120.7 was a stunner!