SMWS 1.192

SMWS 1-192

SMWS 1.192 – Syrup Sponge in a Lumberjack’s Pocket

This SMWS bottling is from a Genfarclas distillery cask.  The whisky was aged for 22 years in a refill ex-bourbon hogshead cask.   It was bottled in 2015 at 56% ABV.

I always enjoy the rich descriptions of the SMWS tasting notes.  Here is what they had to say about SMWS 1.192.

“This dram smelled like a barista’s apron (coffee,brown sugar,chocolate) with further sweetness of honey, cinder toffee, dried dates, apricot jam and syrup-smothered pancakes, but always balanced by polished wood and a sawmill wrapped in Fablon. Waves of sweetness flooded the mouth-toffee,salted chocolate,honey,boiled sweets and lollipops and it had very attractive cigar box goodness. The reduced nose continued the wood and sweetness theme – syrup sponge pudding a lumberjack’s pocket. honey nut cornflakes (including the sunshine), butterscotch and maple syrup- completely sensual and elegant. The reduced palate was deliciously tasty and sophisticated- candy floss and passion -fruit.”

Not surprisingly, I find a different mix of elements in my tasting notes. There is a sweetness here, but more citrus based, I get scents of orange and apricot.   There is also a light peat smoke element.  As one who is fond of Glenfarclas whisky, I do find here is a real familiarity in the nose, just not as much of a sherry element.

The first sip is a strong reminder that this is bottled at cask strength.  The aggressive burn of 56% ABV brings a sweet, hot, spicy first wave to the palate.  Under that, as the burn subsides, I taste orange-chocolate, cinnamon, and light smoke.  The mix of light peat, spice, and sweet fruit lingers, I suspect it is that combination that contributes to the “Syrup Sponge in a Lumberjack’s Pocket” descriptor. The finish is medium-to-long.

When I add water, I find even more familiarity with a Glenfarclas whisky profile.  On the nose there is a bit more complexity, maybe adding a little vanilla.  On the palate, less burn brings out more of the spicy elements, and adds butterscotch to the flavor mix.  On the finish, I find elements of liquorice flavor added. Overall, this is a whisky that benefits from adding a little water, cutting the cask strength enhances the flavor profile while still delivering a strong whisky punch.

I read that there were only 264 bottles of this fun whisky.  I will enjoy my good fortune of having acquired one.

Säntis Malt, Edition Dreifaltigkeit

Santis Malt

Säntis Malt, Edition Dreifaltigkeit.  52% ABV.

I have been enjoying sampling some single malt whisky from places other than Scotland, the comparisons with Scotch are fun and highly varied.  A while back, one of the blogs that I follow mentioned a single malt whisky from Switzerland that sounded very interesting.  After doing a bit of looking around, I was able to find a reasonably priced bottle where my curiosity exceeded the concern with shipping costs.

The whisky?  Säntis Malt, Edition Dreifaltigkeit.  This is a single malt whisky produced by a family-run distillery that is known for brewing beer in Switzerland. The Edition Dreifaltigkeit is a cask-strength single malt whisky, 52% ABV.

This is a very smoky whisky and I have enjoyed reading about the process that brings it’s unique profile.  The malt is smoked in three stages; beech, oak and peet smoked.  The peat comes from a local moor and the water from Alpstein Mountains.  It is aged in very old oak beer casks that have been smoked.

They have been distilling whisky since 1999, producing low volume due to limited availability of the aged beer casks used to age the whisky.   It has gained some attention, particularly being named the “European whisky of the year” in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2010.

On the nose, the smoke is prominent.  But it is not your peat phenol smoke.  The smoke more roasted, charred oak, with a kind of BBQ-like sweetness.  After it sets a while, I find minor elements of sweetness, scents of vanilla, and perhaps a bit of glazed ham.

On the palate, it is very smoky, but in a way that is unique from the smoke of a Talisker or an Islay scotch.  My first flavor impression, is like slightly burnt BBQ chicken skin.  Burnt flavors up front, with a bit of a BBQ sauce sweetness underlying.  It has an oily coating mouth feel, perhaps why chicken skin came to mind as the foundation for the burnt flavors.  The residual is a bit tarry, akin to the aftertaste of having smoked a cigarette.  Adding a drop or two of water cuts a bit of the cask strength, and mellows out the smoke a little.  With that, I get more of  the smoked ham element now, which I find less aggressive on the palate.

The finish is short, smoky, with some subtle vanilla notes.

Am I happy that I tried this whisky?  Yes.  It is a very good, well balanced, whisky with a distinctive taste profile.  I will enjoy sipping it and sharing with friends with my affinity for appreciating the enjoyable range of whisky available today.

Would I purchase another bottle?  Probably not. The decision to not pursue another bottle would be conditioned cost, profile and my curiosity about other awaiting discoveries.  While the base cost was reasonable, when you add the shipping costs, you are in the price range of some of the nice 12 year aged single malt scotches.   So, I would likely either invest in the next Scotch whisky, or stroll on to the next world single malt whisky that I just have to sample at least once.