This post is really a follow-up to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society unboxing article from a while back. Essentially, these are the whiskies that I was sent as part of the welcome pack. In that context, these whiskies are an introduction to the SMWS‘s offer, and a statement of intent from them. I waffled on for far too long in that original post to actually taste those drams, but now I’ve finally cracked them open.
3.224 ‘Time for bed’ – Bowmore, 17 Years Old
Colour: old gold. On the nose: engine room; a lovely smokey industrial quality. Smokey, rather than peaty – the ashes of a BBQ. Cigars. Once you blow away the smoke there is some lovely medicinal stuff coming through. Caramel. Brine. Buttery shortbread.
In the mouth: oopmh, my word that’s a treat. The texture is rather lovely – not velvety, but flip it around your mouth and there’s such a nice weight to the liquid. The smoke has such an ingrained quality, in a way that reminds me of the Octomore range. This is an old fire at the end of the night. All the flavours are tightly packed and need a little teasing out: Lapsang Suchong, Christmas ham, strong orange marmalade. That brine is still noticeable as is the medicinal quality of the nose. Gosh, rather lovely!
35.89 ‘Spell-binding and breath-taking’ – Glen Moray, 17 Years Old
Colour: yellow gold, amber. On the nose: stewed apples, fudge, really nice mango note hiding behind the sweet front.
In the mouth: now that’s an autumnal dram. Baked apples, flapjacks, cinnamon, dark syrup, pumpkin pie, toasted almonds, all covered in cream. There’s a not-unpleasant metallic edge to it, perhaps brought up by the high strength, but this feels a little different.
9.77 ‘A distinguished gentleman’ – Glen Grant, 25 Years Old
Colour: old gold, wheat. On the nose: sweet pear juice, butterscotch, Werther’s original. Clotted cream. Lovely, but not the most forthcoming nose.
In the mouth: despite the strength there’s a wonderful mellowness about this. The flavours are so tightly packed together. Again pears, apples, cider vinegar. Summer chutney. Woody. A little vanilla perhaps. Very clean and dry. Quite a short, sharp finish despite the strength. Ever so charming and polite, and a nice dram to end the three.
If we were talking about the world of brands, part of what makes a good brand is consistency. Consistently delivering what you say you’re going to deliver, whatever that may be. It’s reliable. It’s just what you do. Well, I’ve had quite a few offerings from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society now to say that it is a great brand. You know what you’re going to get, and that’s consistently great whisky, delivered at high strength, right into your face. Given the amount of whisky I’ve tasted in the past year or so, it’s easy to spot a flaw, but there really isn’t much to criticise about the SMWS – other than the fact that my bank account is going to take a serious hit now I’m a member.