Due to the speed at which of many Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottlings sell out, I tend not to review all that many of them – on account that they’re no longer available. And for the most part when they sell out, they’re being consumed as opposed to surfacing immediately on auction sites. However, the first SMWS release from a new distillery is always worth noting. Plus it’s a bourbon whiskey, which I don’t often review on here admittedly.
And so I’ve finally opened B3.1 – ‘A little box of treasures’, which the first society release from Rock Town distillery in Little Rock, Arkansas. The distillery was only founded in 2010 as the first legal distillery in Arkansas since prohibition. It produces an artisanal whisky and sources its grain from within a 125-mile radius. Rock Town has already made a name for itself, notably by being the top micro-distillery in the 2015 edition of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible. Not bad for being just a few years old.
There were only 238 bottles of SMWS B3.1, and I snapped mine up when I was at the London member’s room with Whisky Rover at the end last year. B3.1 is a 3 year-old bourbon bottled in 2014 at 53.9% ABV. It cost £55 at the time, which is a bargain in my book.
Colour: chestnut/russet. On the nose: heavenly. Creme brûlée. Fudge. Wood shavings. Toasted, aniseed note. A little minty. Then surprisingly floral after a while, with distant aromas of tangerine and oranges. Assam tea.
In the mouth: really beautiful spirit, this. A lot of the nose comes through again, but for me the that toasted, aniseed note is quite prominent (and very tasty) at first. Some very tangy fruits – redcurrants, blackcurrants, elderberry. Then vanilla and oak notes that you’d typically expect. Earl Grey tea. Freshly ground black pepper, with a dash of lime in there. Sawdust. Quite dry in the mouth, with some red-wine style tannins providing a long and spicy finish. Complex stuff.
Just a lovely, lovely whiskey. I could nose it all day long! £55 was exceptional value for this single cask bourbon. Needless to say I’ll be keeping my eye out for more from Rock Town – you should too. Meanwhile, here’s a video about the distillery.