Booze Review

Whisky Review – Scotch Malt Whisky Society Cask No. 16.32, Cask No. 128.3 and Cask No. 129.1


November 2012 SMWSA 2

As I start most of these posts, a couple of weeks ago, G-LO received the following five whisky samples from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America:

  • CaskNo. 16.32  aka “Leather armchairs and old wardrobes”.
  • Cask No. 25.63 aka ““Poire et poivre”.
  • Cask No. 106.18 aka “Bottled essence of summer”.
  • Cask No. 128.3 aka “Chestnut puree and new hiking boots”.
  • Cask No. 129.1 aka “A Smoky, Peachy, Yoghurt of Loveliness”.

I have to say that I am starting to love these monthly shipments and I have to admit that G-LO’s ability to work the twittersphere has become credit-worthy. Anyway, G-LO chose Cask No. 25.63 and Cask No. 128.3, and gave me Cask No.16.32, Cash No. 106.18 and Cask No. 129.1.  (He had taken three from the October shipment. So, now we are all square.) As all three had the same golden color, I decided to go in numerical order and began with Cask No. 16.32. But first, the tasting notes from the Society for Cask No. 16.32:

The nose was certainly savoury (salty bacon, roast parsnips, beef in red wine reduction) but also sweet (buttery croissants, marmalade, toffee) with hints of coke embers, engine rooms, tobacco, struck match, floral notes and ‘old wardrobes’. The palate was rich and substantial, oozing unctuous sweetness, but with balancing spiciness – maple syrup, treacle and a Jamaican Christmas cake. The reduced nose offered zesty citric peel, candied fruits, salty toffee, leather armchairs and coffee. The reduced palate was an amazing dessert, combining lemon meringue pie, sticky toffee pudding and icing sugar-dusted biscotti dipped in espresso. The distillery houses the Famous Grouse Experience.

I found the “Leather armchairs and old wardrobes” to have the following characteristics…

  • Appearance: Yellow gold with good legs.
  • Aroma: Menthol, candied sugar, cinnamon rolls and alcohol.
  • Taste: Sweet with a pepper that tingles on the tongue. There is no burn and a very nice warming in the back of the throat.
  • Age: 10 Years
  • Cask: Refill port pipe
  • ABV: 57.2%

Despite the fact that this was cask-strength, there really wasn’t a need to add water. With water, the alcohol was cut even further and more of the candied sugar and menthol came to the forefront and maybe a little toffee. According to whiskyportal.com, Cask No. 5.35 is from the Glenturret distillery. The distillery is owned by Highland Distillers, a private held company owned by William Grant & Sons and the Edrington Group.

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The second sample was from Cask No. 106.18 and the tasting notes from the Society are as follows:

Our noses found poignant floral perfumes, shrubberies and pine tree freshness. We also detected ripe fruits (apple, mango), candles, cinnamon, clove and honey on buttered toast. The palate was chewy and delicious; fragrant wood, flowers and tropical fruits (lychee, apricot, passion fruit) mingled with sweet toffee flavours to draw sighs of contentment from the panel. The reduced nose, with tutti-frutti ice-cream, lime, sawn wood and aromatherapy oils made us think of warm summer nights. The palate now carried rose and lemon-flavoured Turkish Delight with stem ginger spicy warmth in the tail-flick. The distillery houses the spiritual home of Johnnie Walker.

I found the “Bottled essence of summer” to have the following characteristics…

  • Appearance: Golden yellow with average legs.
  • Aroma: Sweet berries and cream, florals and a little bit of honey.
  • Taste: Sweet, fruity, a little woody with slightly spicy tinges and mild heat.
  • Age: 27 Years
  • Cask: Refill Hogshead
  • ABV: 52.6%

This was a very mild whisky and really didn’t need any water. With water, the aroma became more of candied fruits and honeysuckle. The taste was even milder with a lot of sweetness and just a hint of smoke. According to whiskyportal.com, Cask No. 106.18 is from Cardhu, a Speyside distillery that is a part of the Diageo empire.

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The final sample was from Cask No. 129.1 and the tasting notes from the Society are as follows:

Your speed boat rockets out of Leith; you’re heading for 60 knots; the city disappears behind; the clouds part. The noise of traffic dies down; the hubbub and stress are left behind; your mind floats to aromas of barley fields and eucalyptus in rainforests; the only sound is the ticking of the engine; the dominant flavours are the Arbroath smoky, butter beans and tzatziki on the sandwiches you packed. Think of incense, forget the rat race, cut the engine… and enjoy the finish of the smoky, peachy yoghurt of loveliness as you float into open water.

I found the “A Smoky, Peachy, Yoghurt of Loveliness” to have the following characteristics…

  • Appearance: Golden yellow with average legs.
  • Aroma: Peat and sugar.
  • Taste: Strong, with a lot of smoky sweetness and a lot of heat in the finish.
  • Age: 5 Years
  • Cask: First-fill barrel
  • ABV: 60.2%

This was not a mild whisky and required water. With water, the smoke in the aroma is tempered and the nose is a bit sweeter. The taste is less alcohol and more smoke with a fair amount of sweetness in the finish. According to whiskyportal.com, Cask No. 129.1 is from Kilchoman, an Islay distillery that opened in 2005. As the number would indicate, this is the first cask from Kilchoman that comes under the Society’s private brand.

Of the three, I liked the Cardhu the best; followed closely by the Glenturret. While the Kilchoman is a fine whisky, I am just not a fan of the smoky, peaty flavors that Islay is known for. I realize that this is probably my loss but there are plenty of other whiskies out there to fill the void.

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Thanks again to Gabby Shayne (click here to meet The Whisky Sisters) of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America for sending us this sample. 

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