SMWS May outturn – a very modest 6 dram selection this month! Greville Street got sent 6 additions alongside so the [fabulous] London team intuitively integrated those too, including a diamond 30yo Glenburgie – one to finish with perhaps? Then again, there’s a Laphroaig to experience also. Let’s get started.
Glen Moray 1994 22yo SMWS 35.185 [242 bts] 57.5% WB0
1st fill toasted oak ex-bourbon hogshead. Entitled ‘Frightfully delightful’.
- N: As for 1st fill toasted ex-bourbon casks – yep it reeks of the building blocks, yet it could also be entitled ‘Fruitfully delightful’. Those fruits however quickly turn to honey & butterscotch. Im still hanging onto the fruits though they have subsided greatly since the first 5 minutes. With water, there are a still a few lime cubes yet the resinous oak/pine planks sing ever more clearly, though a dunnage/paste base emerges with rose petals and [sweetened] beetroot!
- T: Again, fruity butterscotch on rich cereal bars, greatly overshadowed though by the toasted bourbon oak sugars, eventually moving to roasted marshmallows and some cinnamon bubblegum. With a little water & then some more, honeyed varnish, linseed oil<flaxseed oil, camera lens cleaner [what is that solution?], sweet olive oil, nutty flapjack,….. The astringency seemingly never lifts, despite now 50% water added, but leave it for another 15 minutes and its just about right with only a few [ethanol] prickles. Let it settle some more and you’re back to a soft butterscotch dram though still with the cask steering. There are similar young [Strathclyde] grains with similar [cask-led] profiles, though they may well lack the depth to cope with such dilution.
- F: Long unravel & finish starting with flaxseeds before moving to bourbon>bubblegum=chocolate. That 1st fill cask never relents, though those 22 years in bourbon continue to release ice-cream van confectionary at steady intervals. Flawlessly clean tutti fruity<vanilla ice-cream at the death.
- C: Whether youre a fan of aged malts in 1st fills is one thing, yet it’s hard to fault this mature Speysider in it’s own right. Dilute heavily and leave to settle for full entry.
Scores 87 points
Lets move onto a similar aged Speysider from a refill bourbon hogshead.
Glenlossie 1992 23yo SMWS 46.45 [240 bts] 52.7% WB85.50
Entitled ‘A Two Way Street’, its a 23yo Speysider from a refill ex-bourbon hogshead
- N: A funkier nose that the Glen Moray with lighter, more estery notes. The wood is understandably more subdued by comparison. To the fore are the sugary soft fruits, a little plimsole, oily/tar, tamarind hay, oxidised [light] lemonade, damp barley with equally damp bracken & moist foliage, a touch of peat/farm and touch of lemon balm.
- T: Ok, its going in ‘that’ direction. We are talking of a sugary-sweet dram with fruity confectionary and a light vegetal/coppery funk. It’s similar to a Clynelish i have currently open, though thats even more straight ahead on the sugar front. There’s then a little vegetal sweet cacao becoming waxy. The yummy concoction is wrapped up in an equally desirable mouthfeel.
- F: Vegetal confectionary funk. Waxy raisins with a fruity tannic chew and a very light touch of raw chocolate. Like the Glen Moray, there’s a long finish. There’s a finale of newly-picked sweet garden peas.
- C: I just realised i had this before, last month in fact when I had a similar reaction to this Glenlossie, namely i liked it immediately and again ‘over thinked it’. [Again], its a very good dram and im tempted to get a bottle as its terribly comforting [oh, so English].
Scores 87 points
Longmorn 1985 30yo SMWS 7.128 [72 bts] 54% WB0
Refill ex-bourbon [Diamond dram], woohoo – and entitled ‘A Sonata of Sapidity’. Some definitions of sapidity: Perceptible to the sense of taste; having flavour; having a strong pleasant flavour; pleasing to the mind; engaging.
- N: Well, that sure is sapid! At strength its rather closed, but those staves>spirit reveal toasted honeyed light buttery butterscotch, burnt sugars, treacle, floral honey and the like. Seems like a very active refill giving off images of wide varnished floorboards, a little braised melon and a touch of peppery/spicy heat=roasted fennel. The woody/papier note remains firm.
- T: Theres a large abv hit before those wonderful floral wood oils begin to creep out. Only a little water is needed as H20 tends to quash the floral side which in itself is somewhat temporal. Water also delays the secondary oily wave but it comes either way. Its surely peppery with a herbal/fennel putty base but the highlight is the woody oily sugars.
- F: Waxy/buttery mouthfeel with more fine-ground pepper & cinnamon candy wrapped in butterscotch-encrusted oak and more [sweet] roasted fennel.
- C: A very active refill cask delivers a lively and moorish Longmorn. The cask is a bit heavy, resulting in a dense delivery and finish – but to be clear, this is a fine whisky. So, using the value system discussed with PS, do i like it? – yes. Do i want another dram? – yes. Do want a bottle – yes. Do i want another bottle – no, one is enough. Unfortunately price is a prevalent factor for me so I’ll move straight on to my forth and final dram – after all, i’ve work to do shortly after all this booze.
Scores 86 points
Laphroaig 1999 16yo SMWS 29.191 [234 bts] 59% WB0
Entitled ‘Explosion in a granite factory’. Refill ex-bourbon.
- N: Ok, i’m going to keep this concise-ish. We know Laphroaig is from Islay and heavily peated/farmy etc,… Its a little dry, no TCP, with leanings towards flaxseed oil, seed husks in general, wet straw bails, hydrated juicer fibre, sweet vinegar,….. farmy smoke, some salted oysters, smoked vegetal – courgettes, chard,…. some vinegary oiliness.
- T: Subtlety full bodied as in its soft [very soft arrival considering], yet hugely salivating, expanding in the mouth from arrival. A little peppery>less saltiness & sweet vegetal concluding.
- F: Sweet bitter-sour vegetal buttery dried grasses & powdered fennel. There’s a sweet-sour vegetal smoke throughout but no more-or-less influential than a piece on the chess board – albeit a rook or a knight against a lone bishop. Despite its dryness, theres an underlying watery sugar-icing that continues to coat the palate,… a touch of cocoa.
- C: I think i achieved my objective in keeping these last dram notes short?! – mainly by ignoring the obvious. This malt in short is on heavily sweetened vinegar/oil with a pickled-BBQ’ed courgettes/chard seasoning, and there you have it. Not exactly ‘my style’ go whisky, yet one I can’t really fault. It’s ‘magic’ is in its soft & super-subtle enormity.
Scores 87 points
An outturn with quality over quantity.