Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America Christmas Outturn Tasting Notes – Scotch Whisky News

Carsebridge 35yo 1976 (53.6%, SMWS, G2.2, Refill barrel, USA 60 Bts., +/-2012)  

A Vaudeville Act 

From a grain distillery closed in 1983…always sad to see a distillery closed. Sweet corn on the nose with some alcohol with some nice oak spice (black pepper, snuff etcetera) and with some time in the glass it opens quite nicely. Some hints of Canadian whisky in the nose. The taste is sweet corn, some good dry cocoa powder and then some creamy goodness, caramel cream or similar but with a vegetal note. Some American moments in there also. The finish is much like the taste but with some liquorice thrown in there for added pizzazz.

Water only adds to the honey crème brûlée effect. Very nice.


Score 85 points

Glen Grant 8yo 2002 (62.1%, SMWS, 9.62 First fill barrel, 149 Bts., +/-2012) 

Mouth Watering Sharp & Sweet 

On the nose there’s a sharpish note, like young goat’s cheese along with lots of cask influence in the form of leather and tobacco (unlit of course). A little menthol perhaps?  Time in the glass brings out a little honey. The undiluted taste is very much of pears and wood shavings (a little pencil lead too) and then it takes off but the pear is very predominate. With some water things calm down somewhat and the pear becomes slightly smoked (just a hint – perhaps it’s simply the cask effect. Moments later it’s pears in sweet syrup (is there any other kind??)

The finish starts off with the pears but ends with the leather and tobacco, a little more of the tobacco at this point. A little dusty malt too. Long and chewy.

Big and aggressive and well worth it.

$85 (only)

85 points

Springbank 13yo 1998 (57.6%, SMWS, 27.97, refill Gorda, USA 180 Bts., +/-2012)

Glazed cashews and lemon lollies 

On the nose there’s rich cream sherry, a good heft adds to the initial impression. There is also a good sugar sweetness present (the ‘lemon lollies’ in the title is very apt. While the ‘glazed cashews’ is also apt it needs modification ‘glazed chili pepper cashews’ is more evocative and correct (IMHO). The taste is also very much of the rich cream sherry with some tobacco rolled in. It’s also quite dry and very malt chewy. It’s unusual and good. The finish is very much of the nose and the taste, either there’s great balance or the sherry have taken over from the distillery character. Late moments of malty chewiness, much like an Isle of Arran.

No matter about the distillery character it’s quite good.


Score 86 points

Ledaig 7yo 2005 (62.7%, SMWS, 42.10, refill barrel, USA 60 Bts., +/-2012) 

Straighforward Sweet & Spicy  

Clean sheets, green nettles, tweed couches and hints of coal smoke are all found on the nose and when taken altogether contributes to a pleasant nose. Time in the glass brings out more of the ‘green’ notes so before it takes over let’s move onto the taste which is quite good but a tad bitter. But water brings out more of the green and some very nice sweetness but the bitterness is still present. Think green twig. The finish is good and long and vibrant and active and chewey and very good. The peat smoke arrives late and compliments the bitterness some what, taming it a little. Late, late into the finish there is a sensational malt moment….

All’s well that ends well…


Score 78 points

Laphroaig 20yo 1990 (58.2%, SMWS, 29.104, Refill sherry butt, USA 120 Bts., +/-2012 

Not for wee boys

On the nose there’s some really, really nice peat smoke and some really, really nice sherry notes along with some brown sugar and a very good richness. Oh so very nice Laphroaig with sherry! Sherry and peat smoke, sherry and peat smoke! The taste is dry, like wood shavings, and then the sherry comes climbing aboard with the peat smoke in hand. Oh the glory and the rapture this is sensational! Chocolate intermingles with the rest to form an unbeatable combination. The finish is perfectly tuned to nose and the taste and is quite long.

A glorious Laphroaig to be sure…


Score 91 points

Samples kindly provided by the SMWS of America.

December 2012 Outturn

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