Booze Review

Whisky and a Cocktail Review – SMWS Cask No. 3.188, The Camping Trip

SMWS Cask No. 3.188

“Never go in against a Sicilian when whisky is on the line!”– G-LO

I enjoy Roulette, March Madness and Super Bowl pools, and even buying a lottery ticket every so often, but I would never consider myself to be a gambler. Like most people, I don’t like to lose, so unless there’s a chance that I will at least break even, I keep my gambling to a minimum. But every once in awhile, a sure thing comes along and I just can’t resist making a wager…

Several months ago, during one of our late night dram sessions, the conversational tangents found their way to one of the few topics that I can actually talk about extensively without sounding like a complete idiot (note the word complete), i.e. movies. Somehow we started talking about Quentin Tarantino, which led to us talking about Reservoir Dogs, which led to Limpd insisting that Mr. Tarantino did not direct it.

As I said two sentences ago, I know a thing or two about movies (well, I used to know a lot more, but my knowledge of anything made after 2004 is pretty much useless unless it was made my Pixar or Dreamworks Animation. Such is the life of a father of two!), so I of course corrected him and said that it was his directorial debut. He insisted that he was right, so I of course rebutted with the tried and true, “Do you wanna make a bet?”. Being a gambling man, Limpd replied with the tried and true, “Certainly! I’ll bet you a bottle of whisky.”.

I am rarely 100% sure about anything, but this I knew. I remember when Reservoir Dogs came out. I remember The Philadelphia Inquirer comparing it to Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets. And I especially remember how I didn’t care for the film when it first came out (I have grown to like it very much over the years). Like I said, this bet was a sure thing, and thanks to the geniuses behind IMDB (we’ll call them our virtual referees), the bottle of whisky that you see in the above photo is mine. Many thanks to Limpd for honoring his bet!

And now for a bit of whisky research…

Here is what the Scotch Malt Whisky Society has to say about The Camping Trip:

Remember the last time you were camping? The smell of the dew touched grass in the morning a distant memory as the sweat, deep heat and old tent pierce your nostrils. An oily smoked fish caught earlier in the day mixes with the aroma of roasting marshmallows and ash. The barbecued green peppers, mushrooms and lemon dressing on the palate make way for heat and lavender. When the water is added, the campfire smoke intensifies, the petrol used to light the fire maybe wasn’t such a good idea as it catches the nose, but that won’t retract from the comforting beach aromas and the budget chocolate bar you’ve been sitting on all day.

One more nugget of knowledge about this whisky: per The Whisky Portal and their handy dandy Scotch Malt Whisky Society distillery decoder, the whisky inside this particular bottle was sourced from the Bowmore Distillery on Islay.

Let’s find out if Limpd gave me a winner…

  • Appearance: Burnished copper color.
  • Aroma: The nose is much more subdued than I was expecting. While the smokiness is definitely there, I don’t find it to be overpowering. Definitely more of a smoked fish or meat kind of smokiness. Also getting a good bit of sweetness with hints of butterscotch, vanilla, and nutmeg.
  • Taste: Slightly oily mouthfeel, but not much in the way of viscosity. Starts off with a dried fruit sweetness backed with vanilla and cinnamon. At mid palate, the peat smoke makes an appearance with cinnamon and chili pepper heat starting to build. Ends on a slightly medicinal note with a good bit of sea spray, iodine, and anise coming through. Long, soothing finish.
  • Cask Type: Refill Sherry Butt
  • ABV: 58.8%

If I had to compare this to another whisky, I would have to say that it’s like a Bunnahabhain 12, but with a good bit of peat smoke added in. The Sherry cask influence is readily apparent, but thanks to the peat smoked barley, the sweet notes of a Sherry cask matured whisky are toned down quite a bit. I particularly enjoyed how the flavors evolve as you work your way through a healthy pour. If you like a lightly sweet and smoky dram, then this is the whisky for you.

But wait! There’s more…

The Camping Trip Highball

The Camping Trip Highball

  • Ice
  • 1 part SMWS Cask No. 3.188
  • Lemon Peel
  • 3 parts Sparkling Water

Instructions: Fill a tall glass to the rim with ice. Pour in the whisky. Drop in the lemon peel (remember to give it a squeeze in order to release the oils). Fill it to the rim with sparkling water. How simple is that?

I’m not one to water down my whisky, particularly when it’s something as delicious and flavorful as The Camping Trip, but ever since trying the Whisky Highball made with Hakushu 12 at the Suntory event in NYC this past May, I’ve been curious to try this cocktail again.

Since we are in the middle of a mini heat wave as I am writing this, I decided that I would try The Camping Trip as a Highball in addition to trying it neat for this review. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy an icy cocktail on a warm summer night? Overall, I found The Camping Trip Highball to be an interesting and refreshing diversion from my usual whisky drinking regimen. Since this is a cask strength whisky, there was still plenty of flavor in my glass after watering it down with sparkling water. While the smoke is definitely toned down, it still manages to come through, but instead of the usual charcoal smokiness, it’s coming through as licorice or anise flavored. I also like what the lemon peel brings to the table since it adds a subtle citrus element to this libation. While I definitely enjoyed this drink, I doubt very much that I will have it all too often. This goes down WAY too easy, which means that I could probably drink at least two or three of these within an hour. If that isn’t a recipe for disaster, then I don’t know what is. Proceed with caution, especially if you’re a fast drinker like yours truly.

6 replies »

      • And, now I have another reason to dislike the over-hyped director. Of course, I am usually just looking for an excuse to buy a bottle so I really can’t complain about the bet. After you had enjoyed the 3.184, I was looking hoping this one would be a reasonable replacement.


        • You did well Sir! 3.188 sure is tasty. And yes, Tarantino is a bit overhyped. Pulp Fiction is hands down his best. Reservoir Dogs and Jackie Brown were pretty solid too. The rest? Hit or miss.


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