Tasting Notes: SMWS Outturn #87 (January 2019)

#135.4 Lip Smacking Seduction
Loch Lomond. 17 years old (distilled July, 2000). Highland. 56.2%ABV. 2nd Fill Barrel (248 bottles) $230 (includes all taxes)

NOSE: lots of oak up front, then some floral notes, a bit of fennel, a bit of brown sugar and oatmeal, lots of cucumbers, a hint of fresh cut grass and a kind of savoury deli-meat funkiness lurking in the background.

PALATE: lots of spicy oak notes and white pepper, a little anise, a bit of pie crust and pastry sweetness eventually.

FINISH: starts off hot and spicy then mellows to sugary pastries and pecan pie but unfortunately the sweetness doesn’t really linger for long

OVERALL: not bad. The lip smacking dryness and dominant spicy notes make things a bit too “puckery” for my taste but there’s some depth and complexity that comes along eventually and for the first dram of the night, it definitely wasn’t bad. 82 POINTS

#70.26 Cool as a Cucumber
Balblair. 9 years old (distilled October, 2008). Highland. 60.1%ABV. Refill Barrel (204 bottles). $180 (includes all taxes).

NOSE: florals and heather, fresh cut grass, some vanilla, licorice allsorts, oregano, a sort of deli-meat savoury funkiness that seems characteristic of a lot of Highland whiskies.

PALATE: oak, white pepper, fennel and a bit of honey

FINISH: starts off pretty spicy and dry then mellows nicely to gently warming and sweet. Doesn’t last as long as I would have liked.

OVERALL: a decent Highland whisky. It’s pretty young so there’s lots of vibrant spicy notes and not much sweetness or mellowness but it’s decently drinkable. Would probably be quite nice as a summer whisky. 80 POINTS

#9.134 Making a Hazel Bow
Glen Grant. 11 years old (distilled September, 2005). Speyside. 57.1%ABV. Refill Barrel (168 bottles). $172 (includes all taxes).

NOSE: florals and perfume, fennel, vanilla, cut grass, bandages and medicinal notes, Parmesan cheese

PALATE: oak, white pepper, brown sugar, oatmeal

FINISH: starts off kind of mellow and sweet but finishes with a burst of intense peppery spice and dryness that keeps pulling me back for one more taste.

OVERALL: a very nice whisky. Lots of oak spice and heat but nicely balanced with complex floral notes and sweetness. 85 POINTS

#46.57 Relaxing in a Sauna
Glenlossie. 24 years old (distilled November, 1992). Speyside. 53.6%ABV. Refill hogshead (214 bottles). $325 (includes all taxes).

NOSE: tropical fruits, florals and perfume notes, lemon and citrus, dusty earth notes, oak and cedar shavings,

PALATE: waxy mouthfeel, canned peaches, wood spice, coriander, pie crust and chocolate chip cookies,

FINISH: long, warm, smooth and elegant… melt in your mouth delicious.

OVERALL: nicely balanced, lots of character, lots of wood spice and pepper heat balanced with pleasant sweetness and some nice depth but at $325 a bottle I’ll not be picking up a bottle any time soon. 88 points

#96.16 The Merchant of Alsace
Glendronach. 11 years old (distilled June, 2006). Speyside. 55.2%ABV. 2nd fill barrel (198 bottles). $182 (includes all taxes).

NOSE: pineapple, pears, pastries and floral notes, some not unpleasant perfume-y notes.

PALATE: lots of tropical fruits like pineapples and mangoes, brown sugar

FINISH: spicy and warm with a nice ripe tropical fruit sweetness.

OVERALL: a pleasant, easy-drinking whisky but nothing particularly earthshaking or revelatory. 84 points

#68.12 Beeswax on a Cello
Blair Athol. 8 years old (distilled October, 2009). Highland. 58.1%ABV. Re-charred hogshead (240 bottles). $175 (includes all taxes).

NOSE: florals, oak and cedar wood notes, tobacco, Parmesan cheese, savoury BBQ notes, that heather and deli-meat funkiness I’m coming to associate with Highland whiskies.

PALATE: sweet cherry cola, coriander, fennel, oak spices, cedar shavings

FINISH: long and smooth and mellow with a lovely sweetness and spices dichotomy at the end.

OVERALL: a lovely, well-balanced, surprisingly complex whisky with lots of florals, sugars and spices vying for your attention but never quite getting it. 88 points

#93.90 A Masculine Enigma
Glen Scotia. 16 years old (distilled February, 2001). Campbelltown. 53.1%ABV. Refill hogshead (175 bottles). $247 (includes all taxes).

NOSE: pungent maritime notes of iodine and sea salt, smoky peat, coconut, delicate florals, spicy oak and BBQ

PALATE: burnt drift wood, old leather, sea salt and briny notes, smoked fish, sugary desserts and milk chocolate.

FINISH: smooth and mellow. There’s a rough edge to the whisky from the salty maritime influences but the peat reek is quite delicate and the overall effect quite pleasantly drinkable.

OVERALL: very nice. A distinctly different peated whisky. Not necessarily one I’d drink every day but definitely one I wanted in my collection. 89 points

#53.250 Smoked Salt Orange Peel
Caol Ila. 11 years old (distilled July, 2006). Islay. 58.4%ABV. Refill hogshead (292 bottles). $229 (includes all taxes).

NOSE: sea salt, heather, peat, smoke, BBQ meat and silly putty

PALATE: cherry cola, peat, BBQ meats, creosote, fennel, licorice allsorts, burning driftwood

FINISH: lovely, smooth, peaty, smoky and sweet all at the same time.

OVERALL: a pretty typical Caol Ila and deliciously drinkable albeit not particularly different from a lot of other Caol Ila releases. 88 points

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