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Balmenach Distillery Cambus Distillery Clynelish Distillery Glencadam Distillery Highlands Region Independent Bottlers Island of Mull Ledaig from Tobermory Distillery Scotch Malt Whisky Society Scotland Speyside Region Whisky from 100 to 200 euros Whisky from 50 to 100 euros

SMWS: April 2021 Outturn

Reviews of April bottlings from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Being a member of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society as a European, and more specifically as an Italian, is no longer easy: like everything that comes from the United Kingdom, thanks to Brexit, obtaining their bottlings or even just their monthly tasting boxes has become an arduous task.
To overcome this problem, a version of the shop dedicated specifically to the European Union has been opened, from which it’s possible to buy their products by having them shipped from the German section.
All sorted? Not quite.
I take as an example my personal experience with this tasting box from the April outturn, purchased at the time of release and arrived at the beginning of June: even if the shipment to the end user starts from within the EU, evidently the hurdle of forwarding from the parent company still remains.

But let’s come to these five single cask bottlings, interesting and varied as always, which I decided to try in a single article.
As always, I leave you with a link to a useful guide to retrieve the distilleries of origin from the SMWS codes.

SMWS Fruit Market – Candy Store 26.160

Origin: Highlands (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Gradation: 56.7%
Ageing cask: Ex-Bourbon second fill
Chillfiltered: No
Added colouring: No
Owner: The Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Price: € 70.00
Official website: www.smws.com  
Vote: 86/100

Tasting notes

Herbaceous and spicy tones on the nose, with nutmeg punctuating a rich basket of fruit (tropical and otherwise, such as pineapple, coconut, peach, apricot, pear), along with marshmallow, vanilla, lemon zest, tea leaves. Slight exuberance of alcohol in length.
The alcohol content is tingling but not excessive in the mouth, with a lively peppery character on a soft, sweet body that picks up on the fruity notes but with an accent of yellow citrus fruit that softens the mellowness. Candyfloss, honey, panforte.
The finish is quite long and spicy, with bitter and sweet tones.

A young bottle (nine years old, distilled on 19 September 2011), lively and with personality, which although it doesn’t yet present some of the distillery’s peculiarities, knows how to make itself known and loved for a very entertaining play of imbalances and balances.

Reviews of Clynelish whisky in the blog


SMWS Wood Smoke Through a Porthole 42.52

Origin: Isle of Mull (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Gradation: 58.3%
Ageing cask: Ex-Bourbon hogshead refill
Chillfiltered: No
Added colouring: No
Owner: The Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Price: € 80.00
Official website: www.smws.com  
Vote: 88/100

Tasting notes

The nose is as chunky and dirty as you’d expect, with smoked herring and burnt wood embracing mouldy cheese and pickled olives, titillating the nostrils. Pear and baked apple provide support, with a touch of tropical fruit (pineapple, banana), grapefruit and sugar glaze, all caressed by splashes of ocean.
The sweet tones grow in intensity on the palate, with a stronger spice (ginger, white pepper and coriander) on fruit (peach, apple, pineapple), candyfloss, honey, balsamic toasted pine candy (which if they don’t exist, someone should invent them). Still very savory and maritime, with the burnt wood more muted but still present to flavor the scents.
The finish is long and savoury, with a return of smoked fish with sparkling orange, spices and a pleasant balsamic note.

Distilled on 29 March 2007, this thirteen year old fully embodies the spirit of one of the quintessential filthy distilleries, with a peated, oily dram that tickles and entertains, a must have for those who enjoy coastal, smoky expressions.

Reviews of Ledaig whisky in the blog:
Cadenhead’s Ledaig 22yo
Chorlton Whisky Ledaig 10yo
Ledaig 10yo
Ledaig 18yo
Ledaig Rioja Cask Finish
Valinch & Mallet Ledaig 10yo
Valinch & Mallet Ledaig 2008 13yo
Valinch & Mallet Ledaig 25yo
Wilson & Morgan Ledaig 2008


SMWS Trekking In The Jungle 48.118

Origin: Speyside (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Gradation: 60.6%
Ageing cask: Ex-Bourbon first fill
Chillfiltered: No
Added colouring: No
Owner: The Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Price: € 52.00
Official website: www.smws.com  
Vote: 86/100

Tasting notes

The nose is a triumph of vanilla and peach, a very sweet creamy fruit tart. Shortcrust pastry, red apple, apricot, icing sugar, honey and a slight acidic note of yoghurt (also fruit) in the background. Delicious.
The alcohol content is massive but if it was practically absent on the nose, on the palate it announces itself with an initial burst of pepper that introduces a warm marsala wave. We are still in the confectionery area, a tasty trifle that doesn’t fail to present a rougher side, of leather and tobacco (there is also a slight impression of smoke). Lemon cream, ripe yellow fruit, a whiff of balsamic.
Medium-long finish with balsamic touches of vanilla, lemon, honey, sugar paste, almonds.

Distilled on 12 November 2012, this is a young whisky that despite having spent seven years in a heavily loaded cask, manages to show personality and structure, making for a fun and stimulating dram.


SMWS Give Free Rein To The Imagination 82.31

Origin: Highlands (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Gradation: 61.9%
Ageing cask: Ex-Bourbon second fill
Chillfiltered: No
Added colouring: No
Owner: The Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Price: € 70.00
Official website: www.smws.com  
Vote: 75/100

Tasting notes

The nose is rather acidic and pungent, with plenty of green apple, pear, grapefruit, almond and a hint of propolis in the background.
In the mouth the alcohol content makes itself felt, after the initial rush it picks up the thread of the nose with the acidulous note remaining in the background, grafting impressions of vanilla, sugar paste, yellow fruit (apple, pear), lemon, almond. Hints of wood on the length, with light spicy touches.
The finish is moderately long and dry, with almond, apple and lemon.

A grim and grumpy, angular whisky, which in this sense cannot be said to be lacking in personality, but as happens with people, sometimes you just don’t click. A firmer cask would perhaps have made it more rounded.

Reviews of Glencadam whisky in the blog:
Cadenhead’s Glencadam 26yo
Glencadam 10yo
Glencadam 13yo
Glencadam 15yo


SMWS Candles, Kumquats and Polished Oak G8.17

Origin: Lowlands (Scotland)
Type: Single Grain Scotch Whisky
Gradation: 69.7%
Ageing cask: Ex-Bourbon refill
Chillfiltered: No
Added colouring: No
Owner: The Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Price: € 130.00
Official website: www.smws.com  
Vote: 85/100

Tasting notes

The nose is elegant and persuasive, with a soft caress of coconut accompanied by apple, pear, tangerine (or, to be fair, kumquat as the name suggests), vanilla, honey drop, pine nuts and a warm waxy note. Lemon zest and wood spices complete a silky, summery profile.
In the mouth it finds the same elegance, driven by a touch of ginger that blows on apple, custard, glazed cereal, honey, candied orange. The significant ageing brings out the length of the seasoned wood, which blends well with the hints of wax and propolis that form the background to the drink.
Medium-long finish of wood, honey, lemon, apple.

Distilled on 12 June 1989, this 31 year old shows its ageing with great dignity, with an elegance rarely found in single grains and at a price that can only invite you to the taste.


Reviews of Scotch Malt Whisky Society whisky in the blog:
SMWS A shape-shifting chimera
SMWS In a Sunny Lemon Grove
SMWS Magical Fairy Dust
SMWS Nectar In a Hip Flask
SMWS Pomegranate Gremolata
SMWS Tarry Tarry Night
SMWS The Peat Faerie 7yo Batch 04
SMWS Uncle Monty Goes Burgling

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