SMWS 76.118

SMWS 76.118SMWS 76.118, We Love Whisky, non-chill filtered, 49.5 % ABV.

Another of the offerings from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.  This one, from a single cask from Mortlach, a Speyside distillery.  This Whisky has been aged 27 years, dating back to 1987.  The Society classifies this whisky falling into the broad category of “Sweet, fruity and mellow”.

The nose is very pleasant, with sweet and floral notes.  I find elements of toffee and citrus underneath the clear single malt character.  The first sip is more aggressive on the palate than the nose would suggest.  A reminder that it is, after all, a whisky.  The palate entry is spicy, with pepper.  A second and third sip bring out more fruit and citrus elements as the initial spicy overlay mellows.  The finish is medium to long, with a lingering warmth, and subdued peat.

I wonder, if on first sip, that I look a bit like an owl … my eyes large in reflection of the surprise at the first introduction to the palate.  This whisky has the maturity of aging, that brings a refinement in the overall experience.  It is smooth and sophisticated.  A whisky that is likely to appeal to many, and disappoint few.

It would go very well with a little cheese, I am thinking a nice ash cheese, a few crackers, and some apple slices.


Jack Rose Dining Saloon

Jack Rose Dining SaloonI recently returned from a trip to Washington D.C. One part of that visit was discovery of Jack Rose Dining Saloon, 2007 18th St NW, Washington, D.C.

They have over 2400 whiskey choices, and the largest single malt collection I have seen anywhere.  You can get some idea of it by looking at the Whisk(e)y menu on the website.   But, the online menu only tells part of the story.  A very knowledgeable bar staff, and they feature both one and two ounce pours, with clear pricing for each.

I found out about this great location through the Single Malt Whisky Society list of bars that include SMWS drams on the menu.  Indeed, that portion of the menu is impressive.

If you find yourself in Washington D.C. with a little free time, and you enjoy whisky, I would recommend finding your way here.  I was fortunate to be in the neighborhood just as they opened, it is clear that they fill up quickly, so if you plan to add in food you may want to make a reservation.

SMWS 53.207

SMWS 53.207 celebrateSMWS 53.207, Cod Wrapped in Parma Ham, non-chill filtered, 58.7 ABV.

This is my first review of a bottle from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS).  I wrote a little about SMWS a while back, and now am exploring what they have to offer.  SMWS provides select single cask offerings.

SWMS makes it clear that they do not place the distillery name on the bottling, since a whiskey from a single cask will be distinctive from the distillery single malt offerings.  But one can easily determine the origin of the cask.  In this case, the bottle number indicates that this whisky came from a Caol Ila cask.  It was aged for 20 years in a refill ex-sherry butt cask.

I do enjoy the tasting descriptions that come from the SMWS panel that selects the Society offerings.  Here is what they said about SMWS 53.207, “The smell of sweet peat smoke greeted the Panel; aromas of singed heather and a fresh sea breeze mixing with battered sausages and grilled cod wrapped in Parma ham. In the taste we have moved inside a beach hut sheltering from the rain; lamp oils with sandalwood fragrance are being lit, some are smoking pipes with aromatic tobacco, others cigars. With water the aromas are back outside; the salty sea breeze and over the white embers of the barbeque, glazed honey and mustard sausages as well as king prawns are waiting to be eaten. The taste is now sweet, fried honey bananas, fruit kebabs and grilled pineapple skewers.”

I fear that my tasting notes reflect a more pedestrian writing style, and – as usual – I do not find the same exact mix of nose, palate and finish as is described by others.

Even if I did not know the distillery numbers, the nose on this whisky would certainly point to it’s Islay origins.  Peat with smoke and an apple-like element.

The smoke comes on strong on the palate.  The combination of flavors reminds me of a very smoky blue cheese and applewood smoked bacon.  Second and third sips more of the sweet notes, a little grilled pineapple.  I really need to get some blue cheese to try with a dram of this whisky.   I think it would be a fun combination.

The finish is intense, long and warm.  Oily smoke giving way to salty peat and lingering warmth.

For those who like Caol Ila, and Islay whisky generally, would likely enjoy a dram of SMWS 53.207.  Unfortunately, while there were 572 bottles when this whisky was released in 2012, they are now sold out.  That is the fun of the SMWS offerings, you are getting a unique whisky that, once consumed, will never be reproduced.

I will enjoy this one while it lasts.

Glenmorangie Tùsail

Glenmorangie TusailGlenmorangie Tùsail, Private Edition, non-chill filtered, 46.0% ABV.

I have been curious about this latest Glenmorangie private edition offering as it is an interesting departure from their usual offerings.  Tùsail is made using an old strain of barley, called Maris Otter, which is more traditionally used in the brewing English ales.  It provides a very distinctive taste profile.

The nose has some unique notes of earthiness, malt-like, along with orange and ginger.

The palate has an earthy sweetness.  That sounds odd when I read it, but somehow that is the dual personality I find in this whisky.  I find it to have initial malty, biscuit tones with orange, toffee, and ginger emerging. The Glenmorangie heritage is evident, but with strong malt and barley grain foundation.

The finish is on the sweet side, lightly spicy fading to dry grain. A short to intermediate finish.

While I sometimes enjoy a nibble of chocolate to complement a single malt, sipping this dram makes me think more about getting some Carr’s Whole Wheat Biscuits as the food pairing.  Not in a bad way, just different.

Like the Glenmorangie Companta, it is a special expression from this distillery that shares a common heritage, but comes with a fun twist.  On the balance, an interesting whisky that I will enjoy.