As I was saying [WLP], after Phil’s SMWS Takeover, many of us inevitably continue the drinks and chats downstairs. Only brief tasting notes accompany.
Tormore 2010 7yo SMWS 105.25 ‘Emperor’s Mess’ [251 bts] 56.7% WB84
- N,T&F: With fine clarity, this is a sweet-bitter bourbon-matured new make-y young malt that easily evokes its destined blend,… Chivas Regal? It is [SW]. No complaints. Just don’t expect any deep drama.
- C: This reminds us Tormore can make whisky but that it’s made almost exclusively for blends.
Scores 78 points
Mannochmore 2004 12yo SMWS 64.93 ’Tutti Frutti Spiced Cream’ [227 bts] 57% WB85.67
- N: From a certain saltiness comes a suggestion of sweet oysters. Add ground black pepper.
- T: Salty and peppery, exacerbated with water.
- F&C: Soon, tar and liquorice. I get distracted away from the note-taking but I’ve pretty much got this summed up anyways.
Scores 79 points
Blair Athol 2007 11yo SMWS 68.33 ‘My Heart’s in the Highlands’ [264 bts] 54.9% WB0
In keeping with this impromptu ‘made almost exclusively for blends’ theme, let’s see if this Blair Athol can bring something extra.
- C: A light one possessing Athol’s familiar toffee-d distillery character. Delivers well and consistently throughout. Very decent.
Scores 84 points
Dalmore 2007 11yo SMWS 13.74 ‘Baa baa bleak sheep’ [201 bts] 58.3% WB79
- C: This may well have spent some years in active oak before a slow down in 2nd refill, or maybe the refill cask was still fairly active. The result anyhow is a whisky that’s subtlety appealing from the off. ‘Sweet and husky’ is all I wrote for descriptors. A better whisky than the dull [Glenfarclas] whiskies I’ve bought of late.
Scores 84 points
Taken home to savour over, here are my more detailed notes for the two samples Phil generously gave us as party bags treats.
- N: G1.7 was the SMWS’s first sherried grain [as I noted on the label]. A refill ex-sherry butt is credited, but I’d wager this had also spent time in bourbon oak. With only a small blob of [U-hu] glue [in comparison to the more gluey G6.9 – WLP87], this is a sweet-spicy husky number with a cinnamon-coated [liquorice] stick, light chocolate/cocoa and > fudge. The second wave of descriptors talk of lush dried fruit cinnamon biscuits, rhubarb [crumble] & custard [candy] with [tutti-fruiti] > ice cream, a pinch of nutmeg, a suggestion of asafoetida, fig rolls and a gamut of wood and paper products. Be patient and be rewarded with occasional fancy fruity flashes and deeper gooey sweet delights. It’s one alluring nose, especially for a whisky lover that’s abstained for eight days. It is Burn’s Night after all! Let’s dive in.
- T: Initially, I liken this to an old and consolidated, gluey, cocoa and honey-rich blended whisky. Subsequent sips yield a similar conclusion yet the arrival is even fuller [with rich bitter > sweet cocoa], and the travel more straight-ahead with a controlled black pepper and cinnamon trigeminal effect. Over time, the travel becomes shorter and far more laid back, more a meander albeit with a husky peppery co-driver. A chocolatey mouthful is easily achieved with just a few drops of water in the mouth.
- F: A short journey granted, but with a long lingering finish. Amazingly, adding water doesn’t exacerbate the spiciness. After the controlled heat comes more oozing [woody] bitter > sweet cocoa, rich vanilla-y metallic honey and sugar paper.
- C: I’ve not had a great deal of North British, but this is right up there with the best of what I’ve previously tried. The nose sets it all up. The rest falls into place with just the right amounts of things that may clash with different ratios.
Scores 88 points
Laphroaig 1989/2010 20yo SMWS 29.83 ‘Kissing a Balrog’s Bum’ [561 bts] 52.3% WB87.05
It’s been a while since I smoked. I often wonder why that’s the case when so many are so very good. Again, a refill ex-sherry butt is credited but I believe the SMWS is now crediting the previously used cask too – at last!
- N: There’s that familiar vegetal aniseed-y/watercress/ > nutmeg allium onion-ness straight off the bat, underlined by straight & not at all intrusive bourbon cask-like activity at the core. In fact, I’d say the cask element was neutral and simply oaky – so a proper refill! Are those violets in the background? Yep! Besides this, there’s all manner of fuels, fires and BBQ delights.
- T: Tastes as you’d expect after the nose. Needs some kind of water management straight away. It’s instantly sweeter with water [in the mouth], with more violets for confirmation. Light meaty sooty soaked violets in fact with a hint of allium-like liquorice. There’s a little pepper, but in comparison to the previous G1.7, it’s next to nothing but a light seasoning.
- F: Becomes bitter into the finish as the vegetal peat and char effects come to life. Concludes with sooty > meaty violets in smoky sugar water.
- C: A thoroughly decent peated whisky that’s not been messed around with. The SMWS has had oodles of cracking Laphroaig, the place to go for excellent and affordable single cask offerings. Drink and enjoy.
Scores 87 points
With thanks to Phil and the Greville Street Massive.
Further reading: philipstorry.net