Scotch Malt Whisky Society Virtual Tasting (April)

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Who else has double, or even treble, booked when it comes to virtual events? It's easily done bearing in mind the sheer number now available. And I'm not just talking about whisky events. It just so happened that on the evening of the latest SMWS virtual tasting, I was also signed up to a business webinar. Whereas I tried to watch both simultaneously, I quickly acknowledged my limitations and, in the end, opted to catch up on the whisky later by way of the facebook replay. 

The tasting was hosted by Society ambassadors Mads, Olaf and Kami. And for this tasting, as there was an outdoors theme, they were joined by Graeme from the Hipflask Hiking Club. At the time of writing, there are still a handful of tasting packs still available of the SMWS site and if you’d like to watch the replay - either with or without the drams - you can do so HERE on Facebook or HERE on YouTube.

So, here are my thoughts and tasting notes (in the order they were tasted). There are (affiliate) links to those still in stock and just be aware that you need to be an SMWS member to buy these bottles. If you’re not a member, then follow this link to find out more on how to join: CLICK. This link is also an affiliate link - just so’s you know; I like to be transparent about this.

48.118 Trekking In The Jungle

7 years, first fill ex-bourbon barrel, 60.6%, distilled at Balmenach Distillery - sold out

NOSE: Sprite followed by lemon drizzle cake and Love Hearts sweets. A note of freshly cut grass in the breeze follows shortly afterwards.

PALATE: creamy texture; fresh and slightly herbal note - a little bit like Fisherman's Friend sweets. On the finish it's quite dry which balances out the sweetness.

OVERALL: this packs a wee punch and needs a fair bit of water (which is to be expected at this strength). I'm not sure about trekking in the jungle - I never have. For me, this dram is more like a wee stroll in the park.

G8.17 Candles, Kumquats And Polished Oak

31 years, refill ex-bourbon hogshead, 59.7%, distilled at Cambus Distillery - £115 available HERE

NOSE: initial hint of cream soda followed by manuka honey and a slight note of furniture polish. There are some nice, old notes (think of old wallets and old books) in the background mixed with some vibrant, fresh apple and pear notes.

PALATE: slightly oily texture; hints of tinned clementines with Carnation milk. Scottish tablet and Toffee Pennies emerge after a while mixed with runny honey and dark chocolate, especially into the finish.

OVERALL: a wonderful mix of 'new' and 'old' notes on both the nose and palate.

26.160 Fruit Market – Candy Store

9 years, second fill bourbon barrel, 56.7%, distilled at Clynelish Distillery - £56 available HERE

NOSE: Refreshers and Sherbet Dip Dabs first of all with kiwi covered in double cream following shortly afterwards. There are fresh and vibrant notes of green apples and unripe pears.

PALATE: slightly waxy texture. Feels older than 9 years; there are notes of gooseberries that I only usually get with older whiskies or more active cask maturation. Water really brings out notes of fresh mango and salted caramel on the finish.

OVERALL: this is a lovely dram; really well balanced and great for the summer (if it comes back - current weather situation on the Costa del Leith: pishing it doon).

82.31 Give Free Rein To The Imagination

9 years, second fill bourbon barrel, 61.9%, distilled at Glencadam Distillery - £52 available HERE

NOSE: notes of milky breakfast tea followed by lemon bonbons and icing sugar. There's a hint of damp earth in the background together with just the slightest hint of burnt rubber.

PALATE: creamy texture; there's a fair whack around the chops with some fresh ginger here. With water, there are hints of turkish delight followed by almond butter. It's quite drying and just a wee bit tart in to the finish.

OVERALL: there's too much of an imbalance here for me which is a shame as I think Glencadam is one of the most underrated distilleries out there.

42.52 - Wood Smoke Through A Porthole

13 years, refill ex-bourbon hogshead, 58.3%, distilled at Tobermory Distillery - £68 available HERE

NOSE: notes of a coastal breeze followed by Frazzles and a BBQ on the beach. Grilled pineapples and a freshly made bacon butty.

PALATE: slightly oily texture; notes of gammon with grilled pineapple followed by toffee apples on Bonfire Night.

OVERALL: not too shabby at all; a decent peaty number without the indecent Islay price tag.

This selection offers a decent variety of flavour profiles. I've never been trekking in the jungle and have never eaten a kumquat so can't comment on the accuracy of either of those bottles' names. But Fruit Market - Candy Store is spot on and I think that, together with the Cambus, were my favourites in the lineup. Many thanks to the SMWS team for sending me this pack to review.


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