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.