An SMWS 1,2,3 with Ashe-ly

En-route to other joyousness, Ashley and i popped into Greville street on Friday for a few ‘June drams’.


Aberlour 2007/2017 9yo SMWS 54.48 ‘Tropical mango vanilla cupcake’ [215 bts] 59.6% WB

1st-fill ex-bourbon


  • N: A resinous cask with lots of fresh summer fruits, scratch & sniff stationary/sheets, and vanilla lemon essence that suggests (sawdusty) sponge cake. Overall a synthetic nose with sour-sweet new oak.
  • T: Waxy peach acetone gives a funny twang alongside a strange dryness also,… A few more notes of lavender and grandmas [rose] soap will do ya.
  • F: More waxy peach acetone, a strange [now] vanilla dryness and an underlying sour- bitter.
  • C: So so.

Scores 80 points


Glenrothes 2007 9yo SMWS 30.97 ‘Dancing on a Volcano’ [627 bts] 64.7% WB

1st-fill Spanish oak Ex-sherry butt


  • N: Similar to the ‘Dark-side’ Tulli WB, which has fast become a solid reference for big=dark youthful sherry numbers much like this. Accompanying usual suspects include leather, creamy raisins,… you know, its a young Rothes.
  • T: Sweet sherry, burned butterscotch, leather ‘boing’ – really over done [oloroso] actually, even by Rothes standards.
  • F: More sherry boing.
  • C: At the limits of reason but the Tulli deals with those limits far better.

Scores 82 points


Highland Park 2004 12yo SMWS 4.226 ’Smoked plum lemonade’ [627 bts] 64.5% WB

Refill ex-sherry puncheon


  • N: Savoury/salty/oily number with herbal (vegan) bacon, soy sauce marinated greens, ferrous metal (bastard files), an (aged) relaxed onion fennel freshness and fruity, savoury-sweet, waxy vanilla & tannins. The cask character lies just behind, one ‘layer’ back.
  • T: Intense peppery/abv hit – desperately wanting water. Ashley got plums, blind – top marks! With water: surprisingly sugary (in a good way), and less herbal with salivating, hydrated green veg, sweet veg=potatoes and briney/salty shallots – yet despite those savoury notes, it’s the sweetness which is most surprising following on from the nose. Bit chalky into the finish, somewhat aspirin/grainy.
  • F: More sour>sweet on the finish and some caramel & chocolate with chalky witch hazel.
  • C: If you havent tried the current official 12yo lately, youre far better off with this decently matured, single cask malt with decent form. Best Highland Park I’ve had in ages, official or independent.

Scores 87 points