- 115.4 Proof
- 8 Years
- 1st Fill Ex-Bourbon Barrels
I was gifted a membership this past Christmas to the Scotch Malt Whiskey Society. In case you've never heard of it or don't know exactly what it's about, the SMWS is a group that selects and bottles mostly Scotch whiskey, but other whiskeys and even other spirits as well. They are always single barrel and always bottled at cask strength. Rather than include the name on the label, though, they use a numbering system to identify the distillery as well as the sequentially numbered release from that distillery. For instance, this bottling is Cask No. 46.93, meaning it is from Glenlossie and it is the 93rd release from that distillery. While SMWS doesn't publish the codes, they're pretty readily available with a simple Google search.
As I mentioned, I was gifted a membership, which gives members exclusive access to bi-monthly releases from the SMWS. In buying a membership, you're paying for the access to these bottles. The SMWS has a great reputation for some stellar picks, though, so when I got this gift, I was thrilled. And I was even more excited to learn that I got a bottle with my membership. I didn't have a hand in selecting which bottle, but given the cost to me, I was thrilled nonetheless.
On the nose I got a healthy dose of pipe tobacco, something I commonly find in Speyside single malts. I also got some earthy notes of leather and a black peppery spice. There was a bit of counterbalance from a bright, citrus-like note, kind of like lemon. There was an undercurrent of vanilla as well. However, there was also a bit of an off-putting note, something funky like rotten fruit or the remnants of spilled wine. It was so good up to this point.
Luckily, however, that note did not carry over to the palate. Rather, I was immediately hit with a nice combination of citrus and black pepper. In fact, the citrus note was a bit more complex than what I got on the nose. It was kind of a lemon and orange mix, but there were also some welcome melon notes, like cantaloupe and honeydew. In fact, the more I drank, the more that the honeydew note seemed to really come forward. The black pepper spice provided a nice balance to this sweet and citrusy note as well.
Something that also really came through and that I didn't get on the nose was a strong grassy note. Grassy could mean any number of things to any number of people. It could mean like hay in a barn, freshly mowed grass, more of a lemon grass, etc. In this case, though, when I say "grassy," what I mean is like the tall, dry grass you'd find in a field in the countryside. It sounds obtuse, I know, but that's where my mind went.
There was also this note that I got, particularly towards the end that was like a mix between white wine and crackers. It was lightly bready and certainly grapey, almost like a Chardonnay soaked saltine. It never went the way of the rotten fruit note that I got from the nose, luckily. However, while I acknowledge that there are those that would appreciate this flavor, it just wasn't for me. It just went a bit too funky and didn't seem to work with everything else that was going on.
Quite frankly, this reminded me a lost of White Label Dewar's. Of course, Dewar's is significantly less expensive. But, I do enjoy Dewar's, and I did enjoy this. Because I got it for free, I didn't have to worry about sticker shock, but I might have had I paid for this one.
While this particular bottle may not have been my particular jam, it was still fun, and it absolutely made me want to try other bottlings, whiskies that might be a bit more in my wheelhouse. Or maybe I'll try something different if it catches my eye. Who knows? I've already picked up one more bottling, and I'm sure there will be more to come.