A quick dissection of the August Outturn from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society!
1. SMWS 39.195 “Starch of the Penguins” 13 year old refill ex-Bourbon cask: 59.1% A rather lovely initial aroma of fresh fabrics, laundered linens, sunflower oil, flatbreads, buttered toast and a wee hint of pocked-melted Penguin chocolate biscuits. This overall starchy and malty quality really works nicely with these further notes of lemon barley water, herbal toothpaste, pomegranate, star fruits and banana pudding. Reduction brings out elegant floral aspects such as bog myrtle, heather flowers, meadowsweet and gorse. Then back to cereals with grist, putty, anthracite and trail mix. In the mouth this one opens rather surprisingly on hessian, clover, mint julep with posh ginger beer, bread pudding with sultanas, dried mushrooms and touches of wax and canvas.
2. SMWS 46.84 “Velvet Complexity” 17 year old 2nd fill ex-Oloroso cask: 58.7% Pure ancient balsamic, sultana puree, sweet black coffee, chai tea, star anise, five-spice, aged plum wine, pine resin, damp hessian in a dunnage warehouse, sweet back cherries, caramelised muscovado sugar and aged sauternes. Superb notes of rancio increase with time. Water brings out subtle notes of onion seed, lemongrass and coriander leaf. Then foie gras on rye bread, orange oils, cocktail bitters, passion fruit syrup and aged Navy rum. The palate is superbly slick and rich. Natural tar extracts, bitter espresso, molten dark chocolate, cherry cola, cranberry jus, walnut wine, aged pu-erh tea, cannabis resin, Bovril eau de vie and pre-phylloxera Marmite. This was matured for 15 years in an oloroso sherry butt then transferred into a second-fill ex-oloroso Spanish oak sherry butt to add an extra layer of velvety complexity.
3. SMWS 53.324 “Lighthouse to Smokehouse” 8 year old 1st fill ex-Bourbon cask: 57.7% A sweet perfumed smokiness mixed with sea air and washed over oysters and crab meat sprinkled with chopped dill and parsley. Applewood-smoked fish hung beside peppered pickled herrings and soft leather whilst sweet notes came from mango, vanilla and salted popcorn. Then water landed us face-first into the saltwater of a rock pool. With sand in our hair and squelching shoes we lit a beach bonfire to dry damp wool and burn marshmallows on the ends of driftwood sticks. Finally, as beach sand mixed with melting ice cream cones we watched waves crash against the seaweed covered rocks beneath the lighthouse illuminated by a glowing sun as it kissed the Hebridean horizon.