Sunday, November 21, 2021

Scotch Malt Whiskey Society Black Oak 8 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky

- $95
- 100 Proof
- 8 years
- Speyside

For the past year I've enjoyed a membership to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, a Christmas present I received last year. Well, "enjoyed" might not be the right word, as I actually haven't really purchased much through them. I find the bottles are certainly on the higher end from a price standpoint, shipping is also expensive, and each bottle seems to take forever to ship. So I really haven't taken advantage of the membership like I thought I would.

However, I did jump at the opportunity to purchase this particular bottle when it came around. While the distillery isn't disclosed, this is an 8 year Speyside single malt that was aged in first fill ex-bourbon barrels, and then "married" in Gascon black oak barrels that formally held Armagnac. I can't say I've had an Armagnac finished Scotch before, which is primarily what compelled me to purchase this particular bottle.

The nose was full of rich brown sugar and baking spices. It had a bit of nutmeg and a light not of cinnamon to it. There was a healthy amount of sweet tobacco leaf that seemed to pair with a candied orange note that I really enjoyed.  There was something else, though, that was bright and crisp but odd and out of place. It was a sort of melon note that was fleeting but kept coming back.

As to flavor, my first note was that it wasn't strong in flavor at all.  It was subtle and delicate. Given that my only experience with Armagnac finishes has been finished bourbons or ryes, I attributed it to that more than anything. But, I did wish I got more of the Armagnac influence than I did. That was what I came for, after all, but it just wasn't there. 

This whisky did have some bright notes of peach and pear, and later on I was getting delicious notes of apricot. This was all layered over a light brown sugar sweetness as well as a honey note. In fact, I even got a bit of orange marmalade at times.

In addition to those brighter, sweet fruit notes, I got something bready, almost like a spice cake. That, paired with the fruit notes, gave it a sort of baked peach flavor as well. It was rich, sweet and spicy all at once.  

However, it remained light and subtle in flavor, and I wished these flavors were a bit more bold. That would have provided for a bit more complexity.  I also wished that the Armagnac influence were more present. That is really where this one disappointed a bit.

Grade: B-

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