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SMWS August 2020 Outturn

Our month’s membership-log kicks off with the annual dilemma that faces a growing proportion of members i.e. whether to renew for another year?

For the first time that I can remember, the Society sent out an early bird offer during July with the bonus of a 10% discount on the annual membership. The promise of another adventure-packed year honestly, isn’t enough on its own, nor a bonus bottle with renewing for just £89.10. Always taking that extra moment to sell you something else, those who did renew also had the option to purchase a 7 year old entitled, Lemon Odyssey, an exclusive mix of 1st fill and 2nd fill casks: not a deal maker.

The deal-breaker for many readers I’m sure is more of the same. However, to their credit, the Society in recent months seems to have finally accepted that there is an opportunity to change for the better. Mistakes have been made and are being made, but there seems an effort to interact more with members and talk about many of the issues that they have raised. So, I’m viewing this as a transitional period and in doing so, giving the Society the benefit of the doubt. The hardest task will be to produce more quality each month within their outturns. During our 2020 coverage, we haven’t been able to taste everything, but of what we have tried the majority fall in the realm of below-average – average to good.

My own renewal, or should I say, that of Malt, isn’t due until early September. An impetus to bring in some much-needed cash flow during these COVID-19 times and also plug the alleged dwindling UK membership. A friend pointed out during our May outturn article, buying or renewing a whisky membership isn’t a priority right now. And with the threat of a recession looming, disposable income purchases will become less. With the storm clouds on the horizon, or overhead for some, tough times are very much on the agenda.

Just missing out on our July article, was the news that ballots are in for the forthcoming SMWS.1 releases, of which, there are 2 on the horizon. A new online timer and basket feature will be tested during the next outturn, giving members 15 minutes to purchase their selection. On the flipping issue, the update featured some positive steps:

‘We fully appreciate how frustrating it is to see a bottle that could be opened and enjoyed, appearing on auction houses straight after release – we feel exactly the same way. With this in mind, we have already taken steps to avoid this happening, sadly having to cancel some memberships due to open flipping.

Now rest assured, we don’t want to create any divide amongst members, but this simply isn’t in the spirit of the Society and we want to do as much as possible to stop this.

We’re now investigating packaging options as a deterrent – this may mean numbering bottles and allocating the number to the member’s details or other means which will add to the deterrent or tracking.’

Good news and hopefully a more inclusive membership experience rather the haves and have nots approach we’ve seen in recent years.

Members also had the option to try for free at a venue, Cask 35.265: Meditation and medication and 7.246: Conversations and ruminations and bottles of these were made available online later in the month. A step forward, and taps into what I said last year regarding the 10 year old Ardbeg, which as a thank you to members was only available by the dram at venues. That thank you would cost £13.50 for a pour. I queried why not send members a wee thanks? Now, with this new offer, you’re able to take something away. Of course, encouraging you to brave social distancing and travel, but at least it is a step forward. I resisted either bottle, which came with an attractive member discount of £15, instead preferring to stick to the theme for this month and the promise of something else. Oh, and there was a ballot for 144.1 Searingly sweet purple smoke, with over 600 entries and a small allocation, chances were slim and it came to pass. As long as the ballot system is fair, then, there can be no complaints.

In what is becoming tradition, we begin our look-back with an older SMWS release and I’ve plucked a bottle from my own stash to step back in time.

SMWS 23.7 – review

A Bruichladdich, distilled during February 1981, bottled during July 1991 at a strength of 58.6% and that’s yer lot for detail!

Colour: a light honey.

On the nose: sugary, almonds and fruit pastilles. A delicate cinnamon and spent tea leaves. Soft apples, vanilla and pears. A gentle caramel, which underlines the relaxed nature of this dram despite being 58.6% strength. Not a complex nose by any stretch, but there’s an enjoyable simplicity to it.

In the mouth: the vanilla takes a backwards step leaving a lovely resinous texture and prickly mouthfeel. Pine nuts, more almonds and the aforementioned fruit assortment. Oatcakes, ginger and some orange peel. The finish is a mix of rubber leaf and black pepper.

Score: 7/10

When the August preview email landed on the 16th of July, there were on paper, a couple of potential purchases. However, it felt like the right opportunity to engage with one of the Society’s tasting packs. These are a more recent side-dish on the Society menu. Where members and non-members can purchase a pack of five (25ml) sized drams in a handy Dram Team-inspired box. Then, you can sit down in the comfort of your own home and even drop in on a live tasting, if you’re feeling lonely and in need of company.

Given our post-COVID-19 landscape, this is a sensible option and more inclusive with non-members, who can pay £35 for the set and members dishing out £32. Indicative of recent Society moves to be more welcoming and encourage an online community. Our Patreons, supported our coverage by purchasing this sample pack and I tried these in my own time, but will be dropping in on a session to see what it is all about. As the UK tasting stream is set for the 13th August (and the pack arrived on 21st July), we’ll come back to the event itself in September’s update – subject to renewal. Although, the expectation was that the August tasting pack should feature whiskies arriving that month…

However, this aside, the advantages are tangible. The packs give you the option to try before you buy, which is something many haven’t been able to do easily if you weren’t near a venue. Not everyone wants to return to a fully-fledged normal existence currently either and who can blame them? And with money tight, it also offers a more affordable option and as not everyone can afford to buy a handful of bottles or make speculative purchases; especially when faced with varying quality. From my time at the SMWS bars, prices are only going 1 way and our opening dram would have devoured a large chunk of your £32 budget if you were looking to replicate this set in a venue.

The outturn itself featured 21 casks with an average age of 14.6 years. To many it looked good on paper, but in my mind, it just left me somewhat cold. I’m not going to pay £270 for an Auchentoshan, even if the tasting panel are raving about it. Which takes us back to the ability to try before buying, whether via packs or in venues.

SMWS 7.242 Magical fairy dust – review

Distilled on 20th May 1993 and bottled at 26 years of age. This Refill Ex-Bourbon Hogshead, produced 224 bottles at 52.1% strength and this release retailed for £185.

Colour: a light gold foil.

On the nose: surprisingly alive after 26 years with a real presence. The aromas are a classic Speyside melting pot of vanilla, white chocolate, wafters and a sweet pastry dough. There’s also orange segments, gooseberries, nutmeg and golden syrup.

In the mouth: the opposite of the nose in that this is very gentle, perhaps refined to some. Juicy fruits with pears and apples, wine gums, pancakes and a dusting of sugar. I’d like to tell you much more but in reality this is not a complex whisky.

Score: 6/10

SMWS 58.38 In a sunny lemon grove – review

Distilled on 10th September 2012 and bottled at 7 years of age. This 2nd fill Ex-Bourbon barrel, is an eye-watering 62.4% strength and this release has yet to appear.

Colour: light gold.

On the nose: punchy, very young. Memories of bobbing for apples, old newspapers and butterscotch. Sherbet, some diluted lemon elements and no, this doesn’t smell like the lemon groves I visited in Italy. Dried orange, banana skin and marzipan. Water is very beneficial. Providing some sweet cinnamon, pine nuts and more fruit.

In the mouth: light and bursts of sweetness alongside vanilla. There’s banana on the finish and it is grain-like in parts and woody as well. Feels unsettled. Water is again advisable with fresh natural yoghurt, lemongrass tea, digestives, pepper and a dark fruit that is reminicent of blueberries.

Score: 5/10

SMWS 112.54 Uncle Monty Goes Burgling – review

Distilled on 21st March 2001 and bottled at 18 years of age. This 1st fill ex-red wine barrique, at a pleasant 54.2% strength.

Colour: blushed gold.

On the nose: honey, cardamon and paint stripper. Apricot, walnut oil and a metallic note that kinda reminds me of excessive days spent rubbing brass. Damp wood, shoe polish, crackers and orange rind. Some floral elements as well, black caraway seeds, with the barrique taking a firm hold here. Water brings out more oils and especially orange.

In the mouth: honeycomb, red liquorice and golden syrup. Yeah, its gone all sweet. Marmalade, orange pips and a touch of rubber towards the finish. Water brings out ginger, but I felt overall it wasn’t hugely beneficial given how limited palate-wise this one is.

Score: 5/10

SMWS 122.31 Tarry tarry night – review

Distilled on 22nd April 2014 and bottled at 5 years of age. This 2nd fill ex-bourbonbarrel, bottled at a vigorous 62.1% strength.

Colour: apple juice.

On the nose: a dense vegetative peat with some fleeting coastal elements. Soya sauce, charred wood, bacon crisps and a wet woodland walk. Limes with apple and smashed porcelain. Some mint leaf and porridge oats. Water brings more order but the peat still dominates. Wet rope, cinnamon and freshly scraped sap.

In the mouth: all about the peat really, that’s all you’ll really taste here. Some BBQ and burnt aspects. Tarragon, bacon bits and, yes, some tar-like qualities. Adding water brings out more smoke, aniseed and dirty chip fat with plenty of peat still evident.

Score: 5/10

SMWS 135.23 A shape-shifting chimera – review

Distilled on 19th August 2009 and bottled at 10 years of age. This 1st fill Ex-Bourbon Hogshead, produced 228 bottles at a robust 60.8% strength and this release retails for £48.20.

Colour: light honey.

On the nose: sharp lemon, mustard seeds and wet flannel greet you initially. Some Pink Ladies and grapefruit following. A dram that needs time to let the alcohol settle. Vanilla custard, pinewood, freshly grated parmesan and dusty old curtains. Adding water unlocks a pleasing toffee aspect and varnish.

In the mouth: very creamy, some vanilla toffee and biscuits. A little ginger on the finish and some wood bitterness. Very limited portfolio. Doesn’t really go anywhere. Apples and sawdust, while adding water I felt wasn’t that beneficial; revealing its limitations.

Score: 4/10

Conclusions

7.242 (Longmorn) left me somewhat bemused. A big age statement and fancy exterior raised my expectations. The reality is, I’ve had better releases from this distillery in the teenage bracket. I don’t think the cask is the greatest and things have taken a great deal of time – too long in fact – to accumulate flavours and aromas. Still, an enjoyable, good dram, but nothing more. You’ll get more value in the SMWS outturn at half the price.

58.38 (Strathisla) is a solid dram with flashes of moments that sadly slip through. Lost building blocks, kicked over by being snatched too soon from the cask. You don’t see much Strathisla these days and I do prefer this over what Chivas is content to push out the door. Yet, you cannot shake off that sense of lost potential.

112.54 (Loch Lomond, Inchmurrin), is a rudimentary whisky, where the short-term finish has been brought in to bring turbo charge the experience. And it dominates proceedings, which is a shame, as I quite enjoy the distillery bottling of Inchmurrin 18 year old. By nature, Inchmurrin is a touch sweeter, but here that hand has been overplayed and whilst this is satisfying enough, it doesn’t venture outside of the realm of average.

122.31 (Loch Lomond, Croftengea), is all about the peat and as the most heavily peated of all Loch Lomond’s whiskies, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. At just 5 years of age, the peat dominates. Any complexity is yet to mature into proceedings. So, if you’re after a peat blast and refuse to pay ridiculous Islay prices and it is only peat that you’re wanting – this is for you.

135.23 (Loch Lomond, Inchmoan), doesn’t really change shape and one of the poorer Inchmoan’s that comes as a disappointment. It’s more of Ronseal whisky, or ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’ if you weren’t around in the early 90s. Pretty inoffensive. I can also hear Mark saying there are millions of casks like this in Scotland right now, before talking about mud or something. But he’s right, for once. It’s ok, a little boring (hence 4) and one dimensional. You’ll already have a couple of whiskies like this in your home. Question is ladies and gentlemen, do you need another?

Something to consider overall, as August passes by and my inbox fills with renewal notices.

Please note any SMWS links are for your convenience only, as we don’t subscribe to their commission program.

CategoriesSingle Malt
  1. Avatar
    Darren says:

    In my 25 year whisky journey I have not once been tempted to join SMWS. Pay to join a society to be able to buy what I would describe personally as average whisky for a premium price. No thanks. Here in the UK we have a plethora of great independent bottlers to choose from and it comes as no surprise that membership is dwindling. They are clearly pushing overseas markets where the choice is more limited particularly in the USA.

    I am no flipper and still have no regrets opening all those pre war Macallans and old Karuizawa’s a decade or so ago. However whilst I understand actual producers concern at often receiving the same or less margin than a flipper I do not understand independent bottlers chagrin. Buying a whisky that someone else has produced at one price and selling it for more is after all their business model!

    1. Jason
      Jason says:

      Hi Darren

      Thanks for commenting. Yes, an increasingly hard sell in the UK for sure. All about offering value and something different, which I don’t think they’ve been able to establish in recent times. The whisky isn’t any better or exclusive than many of the indies we have access to here.

      Abroad, eventually, those indies will spread their wings. And then there will be a real dilemma, as they do need to revisit the membership model sooner rather than later.

      Cheers, Jason.

  2. Avatar
    Gordon Homer says:

    Always good to see your reviews Jason , The Longmorn sounds like a right disappointment especially at £185 ! (Jesus you used to be able to buy 35-40yo for a lot less…..) I’ve just bought Multiples of the ‘Secret Speyside’ 18yo Longmorn which I find very good . So they are thinking of Numbering / Tracking releases , that will be interesting….. A few of us suggested it for the Ardbeg Committee release many moons ago when going straight on to E-bay was the thing , nowt never came of it (too complicated they said….) . I see the SMWS has dropped the price of membership to £65 (wasn’t it a ton at one time ?) , still not interested especially if they are going down the Ballot road !

    1. Jason
      Jason says:

      Hi G

      Thanks, good to hear from you as well and your epic whisky collection!

      Yes, it does seem to be a positive change from the SMWS. The problem is ridiculous everywhere right know. Take an auction site right now that has 84 Waterford’s and almost 30 Bimber’s. Anything they can do to ensure bottles go to those that want to engage with the liquid can only be a positive.

      Yes, it was a ton, but they’ve brought in various options. Even at £65, I’m thinking that’s a couple of solid bottles or 1 potentially very good purchase. The whole experience is becoming disenchanting.

      Cheers, Jason.

  3. Avatar
    Alan says:

    As a member of the SMWS for 28 years (continuous) I joined in the pre-internet days when it was much more difficult to obtain cask malts especially being far down south and in the cleaner air away from the any big city. It was a fairly good deal to join – I got a full 70cl welcome bottle (91 Dufftown I believe) in the price, which made joining about £10-15 when this was factored in, a bargain I thought. They also did not bottle average whisky, I still well remember a fantastic Amoroso butt 32 year matured Springbank that was released in 1998 – it was older than I was! It was also a reasonable price, it would have to be for me to buy it. They had a great diversity of bottles from different distilleries as well as a large amount of stalwarts that regularly came onto the list, they were doing a good job and prices and service were all acceptable. I did worry when Glenmorangie took them over, but they did a good job as well, at least Ardbeg appeared quite often and at a reasonable price – I drank a lot of it in the noughties.

    But that was then, and the past 5 years have been less succesful as far as I’m concerned, the renewal is not too much of an issue for me, just over £60 and a £20 off voucher if buying a whisky over £65 are something I can stomach. However, the quality of bottlings has nosedived and prices have gone up! The old stalwarts ( 3 and 4 come to mind) have disappeared, age has come down ( I used to normally buy 10-16 year whisky, now it seems to be down to 6-12 years) most of the really older bottlings are stratospheric, the service is a bit chaotic, the website is under pressure and the web maintainers are out of their depth ( witnessed by me being able to get a free bottle of whisky because they made a mistake- I am at least thankful for that, but my continued membership should not be based on how many mistakes they make that I can capitalise on). Few if any of the most recent bottlings have been truly great and quite a lot are average and bland, their buyer seems stuck on a few distilleries and needs to wake up.

    I really do hope they can turn it around, but I feel some of the staff/owners think they are right and everyone else is wrong. Will I hit 30 continuous years a member – I’m not sure.

    1. Jason
      Jason says:

      Hi Alan

      Thanks for the synopsis on your long membership. I’ve heard similar tales and thoughts on the state of the SMWS. I think we can all accept good casks and such-like are harder to source nowadays, but the quality has dipped somewhat lately and the prices have gone beyond what many consider fair.

      The turning point does seem to be – as you’ve rightfully suggested – the new owners along with the management buyout. I’ve heard SMWS ambassadors boast about how much they’ve spent on their inventory. The size of the figure doesn’t matter in the slightest, if its not been spent wisely or managed. The current staff I know and ex-staff, enjoy the Society, but things have changed and not for the best in their words. There seems to be something misaligned internally, to put it mildly, as more longterm members drift away, or at least debate whether to continue.

      It’s a difficult decision for me as well. From a personal perspective, it is a resounding ‘no’, as I can get better whisky and value elsewhere, but from the point of view of these articles, they serve a purpose as we purchase the whisky like you and any other member. That’s the way it should be. And I think there’s a good idea somewhere within the SMWS experience. Rather than patches, quick fixes and another rebranding exercise, a whole new vision is needed and that might mean wholesale changes.

      I haven’t bought anything from the latest outturn as of yet and I cannot say I’ve missed it with so many other releases recently, or in the coming weeks.

      Cheers, Jason.

      1. Avatar
        Alan says:

        I have bought a few this month after missing last months list – I’ve never been a whisky hoarder and believe it should be bought to be drunk (other than a G&M Kinclaith miniature that I have had unopened for 25+ years now) so I can run low and get a bit needy at times. I have the ever dependable Caol Ila, and the 2 cask deal Clynelish and Blair Athol ( a malt I don’t believe I have ever tried in 30+ years of malt drinking ) coming – we shall see if they are good ones.

        Maybe I need to check out more independents, I’ve only really tried Cadenheads, but their cask selection has also reduced since the mid 90’s as well.

        1. Jason
          Jason says:

          Blair Athol should be good, always one I keep an eye out for. As for the Kinclaith good luck! As they can be a bit soapy from some I’ve had.

          Yes, Cadenhead’s and some of what I had last year and pre-lockdown, wasn’t their usual standard. There are some really good bottlers out there doing great things on their own terms.

    2. Avatar
      The Lowlander says:

      Hi Alan,

      Although I haven’t been a member as long as you (about 15 years in my case), I can only agree with every word you have said.

      As you say the Bowmore (3) and Highland Park (4) whiskies were always there in abundance every month at a good price, nowadays you hardly see as many of them. They seem to be more interested in pushing out more blended malts!

      The biggest bug bears for me are charging a lot of money for a lot of younger age statements and the quality of the bottlings.

      Literally the only thing that has kept me a member (for now) are the tasting rooms and the tasting events. But now we are in the post Covid-19 world, tastings aren’t really the same experience anymore, and to be fair, that is something completely out of the control of the SMWS, however as a member it is something to take into account when renewals come up.

      I was hopefully that the members survey would have some positive outcomes regarding the whisky and member rooms i.e. better value for money bottles, older age statements, cheaper dram prices at the bar, a complimentary dram on your birthday etc. but it seems they were just looking at feedback for how to sell their bottles online and getting members to grass people up for flipping bottles online.

      New members who join and who become a bit whisky savvy quickly realise they can get better value from places like Cadenheads or buy from other Indy bottlers. I know this is the case for at least 4 people who let their memberships lapse after a couple of years.

      As you say, since the management buyout in 2015 from Glenmorangie, the SMWS has been going downhill for longtime members.

      If any of the management do read our comments on MALT Review, I can only hope they take them on board, because a lot of long time members I know are about to ditch their membership, as it was only the tasting rooms that kept their membership going, not the value for money of the bottles.

  4. Avatar
    Alan says:

    Thanks Jason and Lowlander, the Kinclaith I’ve tried a few years ago, and the G&M 1966 which is the one I have was better than the 1967 it had a nicely dry slightly spicy gingeryness (is that a word?). The Blair Atholl is really quite good, not a real intense flavour experience, but very well made and matured.

    I think the nail is in the coffin now for the SMWS though as I’ve just had to endure the queuing system they have. I logged on before the mid August outturn release and waited for over 15 minutes before being allowed into the site, I was number 760 in the queue! If I’d had my blood pressure taken they would have whisked me off to hospital as an urgent case!
    I did (just) manage to get my bottle of Ledaig I wanted ( a long long time fan of Ledaig since it was just a curio from an almost defunct distillery). However I noticed that the 4 Highland Park which has not been on the list for about 2 years was ruined – sorry ‘finished’ and thus not what I joined the SMWS for, as was the 52 Pulteney – what a waste of some good whisky!

    They are doing some really odd things and just not getting it right, also the timings of some releases is unfathomable. two Glen Grants released together when we have not seen them for 6+ months? Two really old Knockdhu (An Cnoc) released within a few days when the first had not sold that well? It may be nice but £300 nice – no way! And yet more blooming Glen Moray! Someone is out of control but not surprising when you see the amount of money they wasted on the Cognac – how many barrels? Now they have had to reduce it in price – If I’d wanted to join the single cask Cognac club I would have!

    I’m not impressed at all now.

    1. Jason
      Jason says:

      Hi Alan

      Glad you liked the Blair Athol, its always one to look out for and normally not ruined with a finish.

      Yeah, I’ve not bought anything this month. I’ve put my money elsewhere. It was summed up by the Lady of the Glen Jura, that was 28yo and retailing for £170 last week. The very next day, the SMWS announced a 30yo Jura finished in a wine cask for 3 years and yours for just £385? It just underlined how out of touch things are becoming. Never mind something so good that needed to be put in a 1st fill wine cask for 3 years…???

      I think we’ve, and we’re, seeing the shortcomings of their cask buying programme in the bottle and the limitations of maturation. As much as I’d like to recommend the experience, I just cannot.

      There are better indies out there, doing better releases, for a more realistic price. That’s the future.

      Cheers, Jason.

  5. Avatar
    Alex says:

    I tried all of these with a family member last night and was incredibly disappointed. I suppose those who are very experienced with whisky may find these delicate but among the two of us, we found them all thin and boring. Sure, when you throw peat at something you get those big flavours straight away but that malt didn’t offer anything for me aside from that. For me the highlight was the red wine finished one but it has a long way to go to match other red wine finished whisky I’ve tried like those from Green Spot. I thought I needed two packs for this tasting but didn’t turn out that way. Now I have 5 samplers of incredibly thin whisky to attack at some point in the future. Not a good first impression of SMWS.

    1. Jason
      Jason says:

      Hi Alex

      Not a great start, the SMWS unfortunately do specialise in mediocre or average releases right now. Despite their rhetoric. The liquid reveals all.

      The life of a UK member right now is unpredictable at best. Other independents are doing a better job and don’t charge a membership fee.

      Cheers, Jason.

  6. Avatar
    Stephan Buse says:

    I’m still happy with my SMWS-membership in relation to their bottlings, but I had to figure out what whiskies will work for me: sort of casks, age, abv, description and the flavour-profile will have to form the right combination. Interesting: I never bought any of those bottles you are reviewing on malt-review except 112.54. 112.54 scores 88 from 100 by me. I bought about 40 different bottles the last twelve month but you did not review anyone but 122.54?
    My conclusion: You are buying the wrong bottles!

    1. Jason
      Jason says:

      Hi Stephan

      We’ve bought about 20 bottles in 2020, maybe 1 we’d recommended. That’s a poor return even if you’re randomly purchasing bottles. I don’t subscribe to the 100-point system as it camouflages average whiskies and is pro-industry. I’d buy #41’s all the time, but it doesn’t make for good coverage or reading, now does it? Variety works well, not just the bottles everyone chases – there’s enough of that online already.

      Cheers, Jason.

      1. Avatar
        Stephan Buse says:

        The whiskies from Loch Lomond Group, Blair Athol, Glen Moray, some Clynelish and Auchentoshan, a few Ardmore ,…. these are my favourite distilleries at the SMWS. Imho these are not the bottles everyone chases, most of them are never covered online. None of my bottle is covered by malt-review but 122.54.

        1. Jason
          Jason says:

          It’s a question of maths isn’t it and money. We’re buying these each month, we buy a great deal of what appears here daily. Sure, we’d love to cover everything, but it’s not possible. And we did cover a Clynelish last month (a distillery people do chase), but I presume you missed out on that bottle?

          You’re buying your favourite distilleries each month. Each month we have a theme, whether it’s finishes, tasting pack, festival, bourbon, rarely seen distilleries. Not our favourites, more of a random assortment. Ardmore appears almost every month as does Glen Moray. It wouldn’t make for great coverage if we did the same distilleries now would it?

          1. Avatar
            Stephan Buse says:

            It is a question of money, that`s why i buy some but i don`t buy each Clynelish bottled by SMWS. Also the 26.143 was part of a package. And the other part i didn`t like. By the way, i am a connoisseur not a collector. I want to drink my whiskies, i don`t want to pass them to my inherits.
            While i don`t think you have to cover everything on the market it is interesting for me that most of the bottles i purchase from the SMWS is not covered by you. And while i am still satisfied by the outcome of the SMWS you won`t recommend most of them. That`s why i think that i am buying the right bottles for me and maybe you would recommend more if you would by the same bottles.
            By the way: Why ist the 100-point-system worse than your system? That is an intriguing question for me. My wines i also score by the 100-point-system and i am convinced by this system if the user is using it severely.

          2. Jason
            Jason says:

            Hi, Stephan

            Well, if they are releasing circa 25 bottles per month, excluding some bonus releases, that’s a great deal in 9 months. Especially if you’re sticking with specific distilleries, which we’re not. Part of the SMWS is exploring relatively rarely seen distilleries such as Fettercairn, which we did a couple of months ago. We want to explore these ignored distilleries, break out from the norm.

            If you’re a regular, then you’ll know, we went over the 100-point thing last year. In reality, it is more of a 15 point scoring system utilised in whisky. Almost everything falls into 78-93, which for many of our readers isn’t reflective of what they’re tasting and buying. In summary, an average whisky deserves an average score, otherwise, most of the range is gathering dust and never gets used. Hence why 5/10 is the pivotal point for us. Not I guess, 85/100.

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