TAKING THE STRAIN
The story of yeast strains might not be the most engaging one you hear on a distillery tour. But that could be set to change when you consider the possible influence on flavour from different strains, finds Tom Bruce-Gardyne.
THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
You can savour a Society whisky on its own, of course – but why not mix it up a little with a long drink such as a classic Highball? SMWS spirits manager Euan Campbell has some suggestions from October’s Outturn.
Cask No. 58.39
LIP-SMACKING AND TONGUE-TINGLING
PROFILE Young & Spritely REGION Speyside AGE 8 Years ABV 62.1% CASK TYPE 2nd fill ex-bourbon barrel
The nose had banana toffee, millionaire shortbread and ice-cream parlour sweetness; white pepper and humbug heat, tarragon, thyme and straw flip-flops by a holiday hotel swimming pool. On the palate, toffee, chocolate-coated raisins, milk chews and curiosity cola led on to tongue-tingling spice (clove, liquorice, chocolate ginger biscuits, sugar-coated fennel seeds). The reduced nose combined pain au chocolat and chocolate éclairs with milk thistle, daffodils, trampled ferns, wintergreen and bay leaf. The palate became easy and lip-smacking – jellied white fruits, underripe banana, chocolate limes and brandy snaps, gently warming aniseed balls, moist gingerbread, Victory V’s and a menthol and eucalyptus finish.
Cask No. 9.178
A LEATHER CYBERMAN
PROFILE Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits REGION Speyside AGE 23 Years ABV 55.3% CASK TYPE 1st fill ex-oloroso hogshead
A dense, leathery and resinous style of sherried whisky. We immediately found lots of anthracite, bacon jam, raspberry coulis and chocolate-covered pecans and Brazil nuts. Earthy, unctuous, deep and leathery. In time it revealed a salty oloroso edge and notes of maraschino cherry juice and furniture wax. With reduction we found fruit scones, mixed nuts, Battenberg cake, cherry Bakewell and rosewater. The palate was immediately rich and stodgy with notes of Guinness cake, dark umami liquid seasonings, medicinal travel sweets, rosewood shavings and Lapsang Souchong tea. Water brought out a more sumptuous and easy richness of treacle sponge, nutmeggy rice pudding, boozy dark chocolates and stem ginger in syrup. Back in 2016, we combined selected hogsheads from distillery number 9 before returning the single malt to first fill oloroso hogsheads. This is one of those hogsheads.
Cask No. 4.258
MAKE MINE A MAGNUM!
PROFILE Oily & Coastal REGION Highland AGE 15 Years ABV 56.9% CASK TYPE 1st fill re-charred barrique
The initial nose was wonderfully - and classically - herbal and mentholated. Lots of pointed notes of menthol tobacco, mint tea, bouquet garni, smoked sea salt, wet beach pebbles and sandalwood. Wonderfully evocative and fresh. A little water brought a pure and superbly fresh coastal vigour. Lots of wintergreen, myrtle, sheep wool oils and mineral salts.
The palate was initially lightly smoky, sooty and full of limestone, putty, camphor and citrus pith. Tiny hints of blood orange, olive tapenade and bonfire embers. Water revealed sweeter cereal notes, cinnamon toast, cooling wort, peppery waxes, roast asparagus and wispy peat. Matured for 13 years in a bourbon hogshead before transfer to first fill STR barrique.
Cask No. 108.26
A KILN FULL OF KIPPERS
PROFILE Lightly Peated REGION Speyside AGE 7 Years ABV 64.8% CASK TYPE 2nd fill ex-bourbon barrel
The sweet reek of applewood smoked kippers filled the air as a chimney sweep's broom flicked a puff of soot that settled onto fresh muscles and scorched oak. A wonderful harmony appeared that married peat turfs and walnuts with burnt ribs of pork and mint covered lamb chops. Water unearthed salted liquorice, burnt barley and pine nuts with a hint of dark fruits and spearmint. Clean and fresh flavours encompassed thick wood ash and cracked charcoal but now with a treacly sweetness that touched on strawberry jam before settling on sticky fondant icing.
THE HAUF’N’HAUF WHISKY AND BEER HIT LIST
Find your perfect whisky and beer combination from every one of our flavour profiles with our Hauf’n’Hauf hit list, from Ester Fest to Full Shilling.
If you missed out on last month’s Gathering celebrations don’t worry – there’s still time to get involved wherever you may be.
Enjoy drams from our special celebratory bottlings as you watch our Virtual Tasting by ambassadors John and Dean on our SMWS Silverscreen YouTube channel. All you need to join us is an exclusive Gathering Discover Pack, some glassware and water as you require it. Get your pack now on our website.
Next Outturn Preview
CLASSIC CREATURE COMFORTS
Enjoy shelter from the storm with next month’s ‘Coorie-in Collection’ of new whiskies, alongside some classic home comfort suggestions. The perfect remedy for the season.
WHISKY & FRIENDS - THE PERFECT PAIRING
Do you have a friend who loves single cask whiskies as much as you do? Invite them to become part of the Society and they will get 20% off their initial SMWS membership fee, while you’ll receive £20 in online vouchers for each successful referral – it’s a win-win!
Member vouchers can now be used against renewal.