Whisky can feel like a seasonal drink to some people, especially with the sense of a ‘warming winter dram’ in the glass during the darker months. But for me, there’s a huge amount of enjoyment to be had in having a lighter whisky in the garden during what passes for summer in Scotland, and this month’s Outturn offers a great selection of drams – whether it’s dreich or delightful outside.
National Day Cocktails
SPIRITS OF INDEPENDENCE
If you needed any further excuse to break out your cocktail shaker this summer, July holds several international days of celebration to raise a glass to. Helen Brownless from the SMWS DRAM-cierge team has compiled a list of easy-to-mix cocktails to help you celebrate in spirit this summer to mark the national days of Canada, the United States and France.
Cask No. 138.13
COME EAT ME WITH A SPOON...
£58.70 / €78.90
PROFILE Juicy, Oak & Vanilla REGION Taiwan AGE 6 years ABV 57.0% CASK TYPE 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
We found a rich and enticing aroma full of spiced rosewater, red chilli, treacle pudding and red liquorice. Sweet, vibrant and with a sense of textural richness. In time we noted passionflower, nutmeg, exotic fruit teas and flower honey. A superb complexity.
With water we got peaches and cream, molten marshmallow, new leather, precious hardwoods and a myriad display of roots and herbs. The palate when neat displayed a superbly rich, textural weight and sweetness. Runny honey, barley sugars, young dessert wines, custard and marzipan. Water brought out banana bread, cough medicine, fruit syrups, tinned exotic fruit salad, bubble-gum and pollens.
Cask No. 53.409
THE NAKED TRUTH - PUZZINGLY DELIGHTFUL
£70.30 / €94.40
PROFILE Peated REGION Islay AGE 11 years ABV 59.2% CASK TYPE Re-fill ex-bourbon hogshead
We all felt we couldn’t get any closer to the naked truth of what that spirit was like - savoury aromas of fresh extra virgin olive oil infused with smoky olive wood aromas which we then stirred into a chowder. To drink we had a Conditum Paradoxum, an ancient Roman spiced wine with honey, pepper, mastic, laurel, saffron and dates, all we needed to add was smoke, plenty of smoke.
We certainly got that following the addition of water with burning hay, a pine forest on fire and pre-harvest, the burning sugar cane fields. On the palate petrolic, oily, and smoky with the redeeming sweetness of white Rhum Agricole from Martinique.
Cask No. 35.314
A FUSION OF MINT AND RHUBARB
£57.00 / €76.60
PROFILE Light & Delicate REGION Highland AGE 9 years ABV 60.3% CASK TYPE 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
Aromas of autumn leaves and plum skins led us towards kirsch before morphing into Armagnac and finally spicy rye whisky. The palate was delightfully fruity with nectarines and stewed rhubarb complimented by fresh hints of mint and dill.
Adding water developed the rhubarb character into a sweet, biscuity crumble, alongside over-ripe pineapple, cherry sweets and peach schnapps topped up with lemonade and a garnish of mint leaves. Flavours now carried a funky edge of fermenting fruit and the zing of lemon meringue pie. Sugar-coated hazelnuts joined coriander seeds, while the finish arrived with hints of menthol, tea tree oil and pine sap.
THE EXPERIMENT: CAN YOU HANDLE IT?
You should know by now that we’re always up for doing something a little different at the SMWS. If that means taking a bunch of glasses, coating them in different materials and using them for a blindfolded tasting, count us in. As part of our ongoing exploration of whisky and the senses, Tasting Panel chair Kami Newton put the concept of texture to the test for this month’s Unfiltered, with some intriguing results and a lot of fun with two adventurous Society members who were very much up for the experiment.