I can already hear the moans and groans when I say this (I’m looking at you Ed of The Dogs of Beer blog!), but we have fallen way behind in our whisky reviews! I know I know. Poor us. Or perhaps I should say, “Pour us another drink!”.
Over the past few weeks, we received two packages of whisky samples (five from their October Outturn and five from their Holiday Outturn) from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America which Limpd and I have divided equally. Here are the five that I picked, three of which I will review in this post:
- Cask No. 25.63 aka “Poire et poivre”.
- Cask No. 26.84 aka “Moorland after rain”.
- Cask No. 33.113 aka “Sweet, peaceful dreams”.
- Cask No. 85.23 aka “Burnt granary toast with bramble jelly”.
- Cask No. 128.3 aka “Chestnut puree and new hiking boots”.
Let’s get down to business…
- Appearance: Pale gold color.
- Aroma: Very light and fruity. At full strength, I’m getting granny smith apple, pear, and coriander. There’s also a bit of mint, eucalyptus, and, anise. With a bit of water there’s a whisper of pipe tobacco.
- Taste: Slightly oily mouthfeel. Flavors coat from the middle to the tip of my tongue with a moderate white pepper spiciness. At mid-palate, there’s a good bit of green apple tartness coming through with some of those herbal notes playing backup. Short but soothing finish with more of those mellow herbal notes coming through. With water, the pepperiness mellows a bit and lets the fruity/herbal notes dominate.
- Age: 21 Years
- Cask: Refill Hogshead
- ABV: 59.8%
Conclusion: Per whiskyportal.com, this cask is from Rosebank, a Diageo owned Lowland distillery that has been closed since 1993. I am pretty sure that this is my first dram from this distillery. Overall, I found this to be a very light and easy drinking whisky, even when sipped at full strength. I enjoyed drinking it, but I doubt that this would ever be my first choice. Good, but a bit underwhelming. The Society has dubbed this a summer-time dram. I agree 100%!
- Appearance: Golden yellow with a slight amber hue.
- Aroma: Herbal and mildly medicinal notes with a whisper of smoke. Eucalyptus. Wintergreen. Iodine. Sea spray. Rosemary. A hint of peat and even butterscotch. A bit of water accentuates the minty and salted butterscotch notes.
- Taste: Everything that I picked up in the nose carries through to the palate. There is a wintergreen heat (like a fresh Lifesaver Wint-O-Green mint that nips at your tongue a bit when you crunch it) mixed with salted butterscotch (or caramel perhaps), and bit of sweet pipe tobacco. The flavors are more or less consistent from beginning to end. Long and soothing finish with a pleasant herbal aftertaste. A bit of water intensifies the wintergreen spiciness by just a notch.
- Age: 21 Years
- Cask: Refill Barrel
- ABV: 49.1%
Conclusion: Per whiskyportal.com, this cask is from Clynelish, a distillery located in the Northern Highlands that is part of the Diageo empire. This whisky was more to my liking thanks to the mildly sweet and salty notes. Who doesn’t love a bit of sweet and savory after all? Not a powerhouse by any means, but very enjoyable.
- Appearance: Looks like we’re back to that pale golden color again.
- Aroma: Peat smoke in the form of cigar ash is front and center. A bit of burnt sugar shows up along with green apple, licorice, and menthol. Water intensifies the licorice notes.
- Taste: Very warm and peppery at entry with lots of smoky licorice flavors. Medicinal flavors (iodine and rubber gloves) intensify at mid-palate. Peppery and somewhat astringent finish with that smoked licorice lingering for a really long time. Mellows quite a bit with a good slosh of water. This allows the green apple and burnt sugar notes to come through.
- Age: 8 Years
- Cask: First-fill barrel
- ABV: 60.4%
Conclusion: Once again I have referred to the whiskyportal.com to find out which distillery made this whisky. This time around, the distillery in question is Ardbeg of Islay. Given this whisky’s sweet and smoky notes, I probably should have guessed that Ardbeg would be it. As is typical of a young peated whisky, the smokiness is right where it belongs, i.e. front and center. If you don’t like peat, then this probably isn’t the whisky for you, but if you’re like me and welcome the multilayered smokiness that is Islay whisky, then I think you will enjoy this whisky. I certainly did.
Thanks again to Gabby Shayne (click here to meet The Whisky Sisters) of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America for sending us these samples.