The Scotch Malt Whisky Society – Tastings, Tuesday 9th November 2010

Whisky Tasting – Whisky Boys invited to Scotch Malt Whisky Society (Queen Street) November 2010 Outturn.

It was around 4 pm on this very cold and wintery evening that Jim and Nicola caught the train from Croy bound for Edinburgh Waverly to visit the SMWS luxurious premises at 28 Queen Street in the centre of our capital for a evening of tasting some of the best Single Cask, Single Malts in the world.


We had a little time before our 6 pm appointment, so we popped into the Jekyll and Hyde pub, which is just around the corner from SMWS.

We duly arrived and headed up stairs to the Hunter Suite where we were met by the ever smiling Olaf, who once again is our host for the evening, also we were joined by Helen Stewart (the SMWS Brand Manager) who was going to have a few tastings as well.

Born out of a love of whisky, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society was established in Edinburgh in 1983. Now, over 25 years on, the Society is internationally recognised as one of the most reliable sources of the finest and most exclusive single cask, single malt Whiskies.

Some of the most scrupulous noses in the business, in the form of the Society’s respected Tasting Panel, allow only the very best single cask Single Malt Whiskies to make the cut.  Bottling more than 200 single casks every year from a range of more than 125 distilleries, the Society has made a huge contribution to the appreciation of Single Malt Whisky in the last 25 years.

There were a total of six guest tasters that night, and the table was laid out with tasting glasses and water for our drams. The tastings now began with our host Olaf, in his usual smiling and enthusiastic way introducing us all to how he selected the five drams for tonight’s tastings.

Life is a Cabaret, old chum…Cask No. 7.60, A 24 Year Old Longmorn Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky from a Refill Hog, 52.3% Alc/vol, one of only 220 Bottles, Priced at £69.40 for a 70cl bottle.


Jim’s Tasting

Nose…Big notes of leather and spice not too much fruit but quite pleasant.
Taste…Sweet with a spicy heat, with some drying dark chocolate.
Finish… Medium to long the sweetness is still there and a little oak is showing.

Nicola’s Tasting

Nose…Cheap perfume with a little sweetness.
Taste…Lightly perfumed, quite a warmth coming in, some spice.
Finish…Medium, loved this sweet Speyside.

Sumptuous and stunning…Cask No 121.38, A 7 year Old Arran Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky, European Oak Cask, a Refill Butt, 61.6% Alc/vol, one of only 668 Bottles, Priced at £39.20 for a 70cl bottle.


Jim’s Tasting

Nose…Christmas fruits and spices, lamb tagine with olives, and there is some sherry in there.
Taste…Lots of dried fruits, dark chocolate and spiced oak.
Finish…Medium finish, clean, sweet and spicy.

Nicola’s Tasting

Nose…Rich rum and raisins, with warm spices.
Taste…Burnt fruit, plum chutney, sticky toffee, quite nutty.
Finish…Medium finish but with nice sweet fruit and spice lingering.

A string quartet of flavours…Cask No. 128.1, A 6 Year Old Penderyn Welsh Single Malt Whisky, 55.6 Alc/vol, One of only 233 Bottles, Priced at £49.50 for a 70cl Bottle.


Jim’s Tasting

Nose…Strawberries, wine gums and a touch of Cavonia medicine.
Taste…Wooded spice, strawberries and cranberries, with the slightest hint of smoke.
Finish…Medium finish, red fruits still on the palate, but there is something missing in this dram.

Nicola’s Tasting

Nose…Quite a wee bit of citrus fruit.
Taste…Lambrini with Shloar wine cooler style of drink, and a little perfumed wood.
Finish…Medium finish, not a lot left to chew over.

Morning Dew on Islay…Cask No. 127.5, A 7 Year Old Port Charlotte Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 66.8% Alc/vol, One of only 243 Bottles, Priced at £43.70 for a 70cl Bottle.


Jim’s Tasting

Nose…It is like standing on Port Askaig harbour with the sea spray washing over you, and down the beach the small bonfire was well alight.
Taste..Full of smoked seafood, oysters and clams, a sweet pepperiness, chocolate and tobacco are also in there.
Finish…Long and delicious, like a seafood platter from the Port Charlotte Hotel, wonderful.

Nicola’s Tasting

Nose…Beaches and sea breezes, with smokey peat.
Taste…Oyster and Tabasco juice, wow, too much smoke, think I can only have the one.
Finish…Medium to long finish, but don’t enjoy the heavy smoke/peat too much.

Chocolate Caviar…Cask No. 33.96, A 10 Year Old Ardbeg Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky, a Refill Sherry Butt, 56.9% Alc/vol, One of 668 Bottles, Priced at £57.30 for a 70cl Bottle.


Jim’s Tasting

Nose…Salty peat reek, like walking down Bowmore High Street in the Winter with all the chimney’s belching peat smoke and some sea spray form Loch Indaal.
Taste…Sweet and salty, sherry is there, but with a pure peatiness that only comes from Islay.
Finish…Long finish, does it ever end, smooth with a peat coated palate, unimaginably fabulous.

Nicola’s Tasting

Nose…So much peat and smoke, I want a sweet Speyside, I don’t think this one is for me.
Taste…Too powerful for me, heavy on the smoke and peat with salt and sea spray, I think I will give this dram to Jim.
Finish…Very long and heavy with smoke.

That was once again a fabulous tasting, always enhanced by the enthusiasm of Olaf, who was jetting off the next day to Switzerland to hold some tastings in the SMWS branch, how lucky is he, Jim wants his job.

The evening carried on with a great steak pie supper followed by cheese and oatcakes, the chat continued on all things Whisky and the up and coming Glasgow Whisky Festival that Helen was still trying to get a ticket or two for.

We then moved down into the SMWS’s bar where we all enjoyed a dram or two and the chatting continued. The Whisky Boys love this venue and the Whiskies we have to taste, made more enjoyable by Olaf and his staff.

The Whisky Boys can only wait and look forward to another wonderful evening, thanks again to Olaf and all the staff at the fabulous Scotch Malt Whisky Society.


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