Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America Late August Outturn – Scotch Whisky News


Below decks on HMS Victory

Cask No. 29.97
Islay, South Shore

The panel’s experience is summed up above, with the sub-head “wood, smoke, blood”! The first aroma is of treacle toffee, then smoky bacon crisps, then a musky note, like truffle oil. A dry nose and tannic, and very masculine. The taste at natural strength is intensely sweet, then immediately full of coal smoke, coal tar and hessian. At reduced strength it remains big and bold and smoky, but now with Daddy’s Sauce and well-worn leather saddles; the taste remains very sweet, but this is now balanced by a hoppy bitterness and a shake of salt. Intense, tarry, smoky – just what we hope for from this distillery, whose motto was ‘Love it or Hate it. No Compromise’.

Drinking tip: After the match, in the locker-room

Colour: Deep rosewood
Cask: Refill sherry butt
Age: 20 years
Date distilled: October 1990
Alcohol: 59.1%


Handbags and popcorn

Cask No. 17.29
Highlands, Orkney

Amazingly layered despite its youth with aromas of stewed apples & pears with a touch of spice, salty popcorn, cardamom, creamy vanilla, Tutti Frutti, lemon sherbet, watermelon, marzipan, bubblegum, mangoes and honeydew melon. To taste we found it was hot, fizzy, tannic, slightly numbing like mouthwash but zesty and sweet, salty (think the brine from a jar of green olives), fruity (fresh pineapple) and creamy. It holds up extremely well with water becoming fresher with grassy notes, new leather handbags, toffee popcorn and ozone. On the palate there was whipped cream, peppermint, eucalyptus and artificial sweetener. From Orkney’s lesser known distillery.

Drinking tip: With pre-dinner nibbles

Colour: Straw gold
Cask: Second-fill hogshead
Age: 9 years
Date distilled: January 2002
Alcohol: 56.1%


Attention-grabbing spicy wood

Cask No. 28.23
Highlands, Midlands

The nose gave us hay, grass, wood-sap, sawdust, some delicate floral notes, peppery spice, blackcurrant jam and lots of nuts (macadamia, almond, hazelnut). The palate had toffee, chocolate and treacle, but it was the spicy wood that grabbed our attention – chilli, Victory V’s, oak tannins – ‘like licking an old cask, without the splinters’ someone said. The reduced nose had toffee and lots of scented wood – cedar, pine, grape stems, saunas. The reduced palate seemed sweeter – raisins and chocolate-coated Brazils – but still with the woodiness of long years in cask – chewing on sticks, resinous, spicy; a delicious dram from Blackford village.

Drinking tip: Share with someone who understands and appreciates good whisky – and give it time

Colour: Yellow gold
Cask: Refill sherry butt
Age: 21 years
Date distilled: November 1989
Alcohol: 57.5%


Oak shelves in a library

Cask No. 38.20
Highlands, Speyside (Rothes)

The nose was beautifully heart-warming, with aromas of porridge oats, sweet buttery pastry, macadamia and lemon, with ‘oak shelves in a library’ providing a sense of tranquility. The unreduced palate was tasty and mouth-filling, with dark Madeira cake and gingerbread, oaky tannins and spices (clove, cinnamon, pepper). The reduced nose had apricot, crêpes with plum jam, leather, stage make-up (greasepaint, glossy lipstick) and the floor of a eucalyptus and orange forest. The palate became a fabulous mixture of toffee and spice with some fruit and a lasting tingly heat. This distillery was first named ‘Glen Grant No. 2’.

Drinking tip: A pre-theatre dram – or while browsing in an old library

Colour: Beautiful burnished oak
Cask: Refill hogshead
Age: 16 years
Date distilled: May 1994
Alcohol: 57.4%


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