SMWS Outturn May 2024

SMWS Outturn May 2024 goes live on Friday 3rd May 2024

Calling All Flavour Hunters – The Scotch Malt Whisky Society releases (outturn) several single cask bottlings of Scotch, Whisk(e)y, Rum and Gin, to name a few, usually on the first Friday of every month.

See below the full list of bottles being released for the May 2024 outturn. If you are not a member, Don’t worry you can join the SMWS here but be quick several of the bottlings sell out as quickly as the day they are released.

(Here is a quick link to last month’s SMWS Outturn: SMWS April 2024 outturn).

Calling All Flavour Hunters May 2024 Outturn bottles:

Cask No. Distillery 12 Rare Release – Heritage Puddings Follow Breakfast

58.4% ~ 2nd Fill & New Oak Bourbon & HTMC Barrels ~ 10yo ~ Speyside ~ £65.00

As chef presented us with honey nut cornflakes crowned with kumquat and molasses, we finished dipping bacon-wrapped croissants in wheat beer. On the palate, cinnamon toffee apples were served with farmhouse cider, a pecan danish and toasted coconut chips dipped in chocolate, all washed down with a glass of apple juice. Water offered a rustic nose, evocative of heritage puddings swimming in condensed milk and topped with chantilly cream… read more

Cask No. Distillery 39 Rare Release – Cross-Atlantic Destinations

58.4% ~ Re-Fill & 1st Fill Bourbon, Oloroso & PX & Hogsheads ~ 15yo ~ Speyside ~ £90.00

A new pair of leather sandals baked in the heat of the sand on a sun-drenched beach in the Algarve. The whisp of wild fennel, limestone and thyme drifted in the air. The palate took us to the other side of the Atlantic, slicing into a Jamaican ginger cake topped with candied rose petals and toffee, raspberry jam and browned butter. Water pulled the toffee forward and introduced jasmine alongside dark brown sugar on the nose. A gentle oak spice underlined the palate now, complemented by blackcurrants and cocoa powder, chewy pretzels and crème pâtissière… read more

Cask No. Speyside Batch 2024 – The Writing Bureau

53.1% ~ 2nd Fill Bourbon Barrels ~ 30yo ~ Speyside ~ £175.00

Our eyes danced across an old writing bureau, the shine from its green leather-topped desk being casually absorbed by the woodwork’s patina. On the nose, lime zest was woven into honeydew melon, joined by a puff of sherbet and the arrival of polished antique furniture. The palate was intense, full of waxy apples and pears, creamed coconut, quince paste and spiced witbier. A trickle of water pulled forward lime pastilles and elderflower as we walked into a botanical garden’s hothouse. It is here we write our best stanzas. The palate was custard tart, cubes of Turkish delight and pears… read more

Cask No. Distillery 85 Rare Release – Freeform Jazz

57.5% ~ Re-Fill & 1st Fill Bourbon & Spanish Oak Oloroso Hogsheads ~ 15yo ~ Speyside ~ £90.00

Using burnt twigs we stirred coal tar and beech wood-smoked nectarines into a medicinal potion of chamomile and syrup. Then to the mix came figs infused with hickory smoke, sweet mustard and orange segments, before in went barbecued brisket to simmer. A dash of water caused the flames from burning heather to tickle the rind of bacon dipped in treacle as the skin of juicy pineapples bubbled and popped. Our attention now turned to sticky ginger cake and walnuts in brioche buns, fresh from the oven and finished with bramble jam, coffee beans and sprigs of thyme. The starting point for this small batch was two bourbon hogsheads of single malt Scotch whisky… read more

Cask No. Distillery 48 Rare Release – Tawny Garibaldi

49.8% ~ Re-Fill & 1st Fill Bourbon & American Oak PX Hogsheads ~ 14yo ~ Speyside ~ £85.00

We walked through the deep, dark forest, stepping over moss-covered tree roots and troupes of wood mushrooms. As the wind whispered through the dense evergreens, the aroma of steamed raisin pudding with a tawny port wine sauce emerged. We followed our noses and found a little gingerbread house with vanilla-based frosting, supported by tonka beans, cinnamon sticks and garibaldi biscuits. When we added a couple of drops of water the scent of chocolate-coated dark red cherries flirting with turrón ice cream and PX raisins dominated, while on the palate we enjoyed blueberries freshly picked from the woodland… read more

2.139 – Feeling Peachy

57.5% ~ 1st Fill Ex-Bourbon Barrel ~ 17yo ~ Speyside ~ £114.00

The nose conveyed lots of fruity garden vibes: collecting windfall apples, picking brambles in the sun, rosemary, verbena and fruits in a wooden bowl. The palate lingered over old-school fruit-flavoured boiled sweets, Edinburgh rock and lemon drizzle cake, before a warming finish of stem ginger, hot cross buns and cardamom. In reduction, the nose found tinned peaches and apricot danish pastries, sandalwood, potpourri and a spicy mix of cinnamon toast, liquorice and ginger cake… read more

5.128 – Stirred with Sugarcane

54.7% ~ 1st Fill Ex-Bourbon Barrel ~ 20yo ~ Lowland ~ £137.00

Almond tarts topped with raspberry jam. White chocolate shavings on a warm croissant. The nose was full of heady sweet notes, think honey and varnish. The palate, likewise, was full of vanilla, orange oil, plum conserve and a blend of nutmeg and soft brown sugar. Introducing water offered caramel stirred with sugarcane and poured into a wellington boot. It was more buttery now on the nose, and with more fruits on the palate…. read more

9.154 – Pickled in an Orchard

54.7% ~ 1st Fill Charred Red Wine Barrique ~ 14yo ~ Speyside ~ £82.80

Juicy and sumptuous aromas led us into an orchard filled with a rich variety of ripe fruit. Cinnamon and white chocolate offered an intense sweetness that was balanced by spicy fruit pickle and plums. Freshness came from mint and citrus fruits that combined with a hint of leather and malt milkshake. Succulent fruit returned with sweet pineapple and soft cherry cake as the palate turned towards waxy oranges and pickled ginger. Finally we indulged in chocolate covered brazil nuts and sticky orange liqueur …. read more

10.241 – Sound of Singing Sand

58.8% ~ 2nd Fill Ex-PX Hosghead ~ 9yo ~ Islay ~ £79.50

We were all in agreement nosing neat – a bowl full of herby chicken and bacon lardons with a red onion mash next to a green lentil curry. On the palate, we sat on lovely sun-warmed stones at the beach listening to the calming sound of “singing sand” and eating salty crackers with a smoked tuna dip. Dilution delivered an aroma of peat-smoked marshmallows and charred lobster meat combined with an emerging freshness of sea salt and citrus…. read more

16.93 – Chewing on a Pirate’s Wooden Leg

63.9% ~ Re-Charred Hogshead ~ 9yo ~ Highland ~ £60.00

The nose was a lively evocation of tar barrels, engine oil, race track tyre marks, a Guy Fawkes bonfire, over-toasted nuts and meat loaf (not the bat out of hell one). The palate conveyed charred wood, peat embers and caramelised brown sugar, with an ironic pairing of strong menthol lozenges and “chewing on a pirate’s wooden leg” (salty, with tarred leather). The reduced nose combined garden bonfires and cheroots in an ashtray with creme brulee and well-done currant buns… read more

16.94 – Marmalade Tanker Fuego

64.4% ~ Re-Charred Hogshead ~ 9yo ~ Highland ~ £60.00

A tanker full of marmalade was ablaze on a freshly laid tarmac road. The nose was big on salted caramel too. To taste, thyme and peanuts were joined by charred blackcurrants, rapeseed oil and a touch of chilli flakes. Offering water added cold-smoked sugar snap peas to the nose, along with charcoal and German hunting schnapps, before the palate focused on clove, charred cinnamon sticks, ginger wine and smoked pumpkin… read more

19.89 – Marzipan Meditations

54.6% ~ 1st Fill Ex-Bourbon Barrel ~ 19yo ~ Highland ~ £125.00

Relaxing on a mattress of vanilla sponge we drifted off into a dreamy world of mellow marzipan surrounded by dried rose petals, baked apple and bread and butter pudding generously coated with cinnamon sleeping powder. Sweet memories of toffee apples and fudge revived the sensations of crystallised ginger, nutmeg and dried coconut, before lemons and limes met aniseed and curry leaves. Adding water brought lemons, grapefruit and hot tomato plants to the fore, while marzipan murmured in the background alongside linseed and beeswax… read more

39.274 – Marmalade Pipe Tobacco

57.8% ~ 1st Fill Ex-Oloroso Hogshead ~ 16yo ~ Speyside ~ £106.90

Deliciously sweet aromas encapsulated sugared almonds, marshmallows and red liquorice before fruity notes of dried apricots, ripe apples and sultanas joined pencil shavings and beeswax polish. The palate was a big and chewy affair as figs, dates and toffee collided with pipe tobacco mixed with marmalade dusted with cinnamon, cocoa and a splash of oloroso. Water brought out oxidised sherry notes of hazelnuts and walnuts with creme caramel and the oily character of cured ham… read more

48.164 – Dark Fruit Feedback Loop

54.2% ~ 1st Fill Ex-Oloroso Butt ~ 17yo ~ Speyside ~ £97.00

The nose on this one was immediately impactful and brand spectrum, with notes including raspberry jam, a fat, rum-like worm tub funk, powdered cinnamon and ginger, and also clove-studded baked apples. We also found treacle, crushed hazelnuts and malt extract. Water brought more rum notes, pine sap, toffee sauce and dusty coal scuttles. There was a scattering of dried exotic fruits in the background too. The palate opened with rich and emphatic notes of hessian, orange muscat wines, fennel seed and salted liquorice… read more

53.443 – Fishing Boat in a Car Wash

61.5% ~ Re-Fill Ex-Bourbon Hogshead ~ 10yo ~ Islay ~ £75.00

We were at the beach, peat smoke wafting from a nearby smokehouse and sun-dried seaweed; the children had candy floss and ice cream chocolate wafers. We tasted a big smoke and brine combo, peppered hot-smoked salmon, tabasco sauce on oysters, tar, ash, chimney soot and a dry halva-like sweetness. The reduced nose combined smoked sea salt, rosemary and bitter lemon with winkle gatherers and waders and a fishing boat in a car wash (maritime, but clean). The palate offered muscovado sugar and treacle scones, wood smoke…read more

53.445 – Nothing To See Here

56.7% ~ Refill American Oak PX Hogshead ~ 15yo – Islay ~ £99.00

The Panel were dismayed to encounter such a deliberately terrible whisky! To look upon the colour you might imagine this was a stunningly concentrated dram infused with deeply syrupy peat aromas. Or that it may contain notes such as ancient balsamico, natural tar liqueurs, herbal wood smoke and root beer syrup. Alas! It is dreadful and must be avoided like Vogon poetry. In happier circumstances water might have brought further notes of umami paste, salted honey, iodine drops and menthol tobaccos… read more

55.92 – Dows What It Says On The Tin

57.2% ~ 1st Fill Ex-Oloroso Hogshead ~ 15yo ~ Highland ~ £95.00

Does exactly what it says on the tin, with aromas of oak, leather, sweet tobacco, marzipan and mulled wine, as well as figgy bread and butter pudding. On the palate, spice emerged quickly in the form of a dark, creamy, spiced rum caramel sauce and spiced baked figs with ginger mascarpone. After reduction we lit a cigar while, in the same room, someone was sanding down an old table, the tin of light oak wood stain open by the side. To taste, frozen wild berries poured over a vanilla blueberry ice cream… read more

71.100 – Afternoon Banana

50.2% ~ 1st Fill Ex-Bourbon Barrel ~ 14yo ~ Speyside ~ £78.00

First nosing suggested candy floss, banana chips, sweet flower nectars, shoe polish and melon cordial, with a little malted milkshake and fruit loaf – easy, sweet and very enjoyable. With water we picked up gorse flower, sandalwood, sunflower oil, marshmallow and a delicate nutty vibe that included walnut whip and hazelnut cream. The neat palate was fruity and sweet up front with lychee syrup, banana liqueur, bubblegum, jasmine flower and notes of bourbon cocktails… read more

85.78 – A Real Tonic

57.6% ~ 1st Fill Ex-Oloroso Hogshead ~ 14yo ~ Speyside ~ £85.00

We found ourselves walking through a pine forest eating parkin and golden syrup flapjacks before we made a break and started a barbeque with Texas-style baked beans and sausages. A wonderful texture on the palate neat, with the dark sweetness of cherry fondant chocolates, maple pecan pie and cinnamon butter. After reduction we found that an enticing herbal note appeared, like in candied fennel seeds and ground coriander but also cocoa powder and a hint of sweet mint… read more

93.207 – Harbourside Hoopla

52.0% ~ 2nd Fill Ex-Bourbon Barrel ~ 32yo ~ Campbeltown ~ £750.00

The nose was a colourful collage of sea salt, dried kelp and pecorino romano; wasabi, rosemary and Assam tea; chamois leather, teak oil, pipe tobacco and toasted marshmallows – endlessly entertaining. The palate transported us to Campbeltown harbour, watching hessian sacks of grain being unloaded from an old paddle steamer, while we chewed tobacco, dried apple rings, fresh crab or smoked salmon, according to our preferences. Adding water brought a canvas-rigged sailing ship into the harbour; mariners in waxed jackets gave us peaches and orange blossom honey… read more

95.97 – Smile and Wave

55.9% ~ 1st Fill Ex-PX Barrique ~ 15yo ~ Speyside ~ £92.40

We found ourselves walking through a market in Madagascar where the scent of spices such as saffron, cumin, nutmeg and wild red pepper permeated the air at the same time as warm, smooth notes of vanilla. To taste, we recollected flavours ranging from marzipan, walnuts and sultanas to dried figs and dates, ginger and cinnamon. After reduction we baked a tea cake, almond croissants and apricot tarts, while on the palate were initially creamy, sweet Turkish delight and puff pastries… read more

G15.23 – Tuck Shop Treats in an Old School Desk

60.6% ~ 1st Fill Ex-Bourbon Barrel ~ 8yo ~ Highland ~ £50.50

The initial nose had lemon and unripe melon, then some sweetness (marzipan, fudge, jam) and vaguer earthy hints (prosciutto, tobacco, balsamic). Our palates were awakened by zingy, zesty notes of orange, lemongrass and tart grapes before deeper, darker elements appeared – figs, treacle toffee, cigars and leather, with ginger, black pepper and incense to finish. The reduced nose sweetened considerably – brown sugar, crème brûlée, coffee cake and chocolate caramel chews in an old school desk… read more

R11.9 – Rumbustious

67.1% ~ Re-Fill Ex-Islay Barrel ~ 9yo ~ Jamaica ~ £67.50

Initially plenty of fruity aromas, bananas and pineapples complemented by a vanilla sweetness and hint of macadamia nuts. There was smoke lingering in the background, growing in time. It reminded one panellist of a friend as he unrolled his well-used leather pipe and tobacco pouch. To taste, boisterous and unruly, heavily ashy and peppered, smoked jerk chicken and biltong. After reduction the scent was that of ash rolled watermelon, varnished fences, or indeed varnished pineapple cubes, while to taste there was sweetness and smoke in perfect harmony… read more

RW3.8 – Don’t Think Twice!

58.0% ~ 1st Fill Charred New Oak Barrel ~ 4yo ~ New York ~ £60.00

Don’t read the label before you have tried it! A sweet, heady, musky bouquet of floral perfume notes in combination with wood polish and oriental spices was followed on the palate neat by a flavour being equally oily and spicy as well as sweet and grainy with a tremendous texture. Following reduction, warm comforting aromas as we baked an Alsatian pain d’épices with rye flour, generous amount of honey and spices while to taste a mixture of vanilla, oranges and hazelnuts with a cranberry, apple ginger finish… read more

RW6.2 – Aquavit-Spiked Fig and Lemon Verbena Jam

51.0% ~ New Charred Oak Barrel ~ 6yo ~ Finland ~ £80.00

This was a real foodie dram on the nose. A spicy root beer barbecue sauce followed by olive oil, cranberry and apricot scones gave this a real umami vibe. This was reinforced on the palate, as we found sweet, sticky and savoury char siu pork belly burnt ends and, in the finish, caramelised spruce tip syrup. After the careful addition of water, there was an initial gentle hint of tobacco which was beautifully balanced by the scent of beeswax and marzipan… read more

Underwater Barbecue

50.0% ~ Bourbon and Spanish & American Oak Oloroso Hogsheads ~ 12yo ~ Blended Malt ~ £70.00

This small-batch blended malt was created by bringing together the worlds of bourbon and oloroso cask maturation, along with spirit from the islands of Orkney and Islay. There are Spanish and American oak influences in here that complement the savoury smoke, leaving a post-barbecue glow. A gustatory dram, sure to delight peat heads and foodies alike.

This had a bountiful aroma at first, one chock full of smoke-laced flowers, liquorice, smouldering heather, sweeter sherry impressions and singed orange peel. We also found deeper tones of barbecue smoke, coconut shavings, suncream and silky trails of distant peat smoke… read more

Cask No. Distillery 5 Rare Release – Philosopher’s Stone

54.0% ~ 1st Fill Ex-Bourbon Barrels ~ 20yo ~ Lowland ~ £137.00

The aroma transformed us instantly as we slowed down to enjoy banana bourbon syrup, salted caramel sauce, candied grapefruit peel and Indian guava cheese. On the palate, the guava was in a cocktail spiked with pineapple-infused rum and freshly squeezed lime juice: totally tropical. Following reduction, we enjoyed lemon and raspberry macarons with a glass of cloudy lemonade, while the taste was that of pudina coconut chutney and Tuareg mint tea prepared and served in a traditional ceremonial form. This dram gave us plenty to think about, with one Panel member even starting to philosophise over the meaning of life…. read more

Cask No. Distillery 29 Rare Release – Sm’oak!

56.3% ~ Refill Bourbon Hogsheads & First Fill STR Oloroso Barriques ~ 25yo ~ Islay ~ £550.00

Let’s start with the most obvious one, and here it was the prevailing feature – oak and smoke! Think tobacco, burnt toast, venison, peanuts, tofu, plums and coal tar. On the palate there was no respite: incredibly smoky, like beef jerky and Mexican ancho chillies dried over hickory-smoked wood, as well as a plate of smoked tofu pad thai. Additionally, that medicinal, maritime flavour was always lurking in the background. Following the addition of water we opened an old smoker barbecue pit, added smoked olive oil to barbecued langoustines and black cardamom to a hot dog. To taste, we tucked into a beef massaman curry and smoked mackerel maki rolls…. read more

Cask No. Distillery 10 Rare Release – Smuggler’s Bacon

58.4% ~ Refill & 2nd Fill Bourbon & PX Hogsheads ~ 10yo ~ Islay ~ £85.00

In the coastal cave the smugglers hid among a hoard of smoked peanut brittle, brunswick ham and sweet pimento peppers. Carefully opening a packet of bacon crisps to sprinkle over their pea and ham soup, they had to be careful not to make too much noise. They quietly cracked open a few smoked German beers and waited. After a drop of water they could spy the old canvas sails of the smuggling lugger, and smell the barrels of fennel, caraway and coriander seeds that were stashed on board. Reunited with their fellow bootleggers it was time to celebrate with smoked salami, Arbroath smokies and luscious goat’s cheese rolled in ash and apricots…. read more

Cask No. Distillery 4 Rare Release – Take Me To The Chippy

54.7% ~ Refill Bourbon, HTMC & Oloroso Hogsheads ~ 20yo ~ Highland ~ £195.00

Secretly what we all yearn for as we dine black tie, the Panel were handed a burgeoning bag of chippy chips with salt and a dash of balsamic, topped with crispy seaweed and chilli jam. It’ll be all right on the night, after all. The palate of this paper-wrapped meal was full of seaweed, sunflower oil and salt-encrusted potato chips, with a side of mussels poached in 80 shilling ale and clementine juice. Water served to add a squeeze of lemon, buttered corn bread and a bowl of crab and wakame salad, leading the Panel to extol its taffy-like texture and full body…. read more

Cask No. Distillery 55 Rare Release – Rhubarb and Fig Crumble

58.2% ~ Refill & New Oak Bourbon & Chinkapin Barrels ~ 8yo ~ Highland ~ £60.00

We imagined making delicious orange and kumquat marmalade as we cooked pork loin in cider and poured ourselves a pint of heather ale. The taste was floral, with a full malt body and plenty of herbal spice, as well as cracked black pepper on tinned fruit salad. Following reduction, the fruity aroma of ripe red apples arrived ahead of the scent of toasted almond flakes, rhubarb and fig crumble before a freshly brewed cup of rosehip and cranberry tea emerged. On the palate, the tea changed to a sweet hibiscus accompanied by milk chocolate and pear mille feuille, preceding churros in the finish…. read more

Cask No. Distillery 149 Rare Release – Furtive Gherkin

62.4% ~ 1st Fill Ex-Bourbon Barrels ~ 8yo ~ Highland ~ £80.00

The Panel were immediately plunged into scrubbing an old barbecue grill. But on the side were lemons, buttery samphire, tangy pickles and chutney, and crackers with sea salt and black pepper. We also got whiffs of smoked ham and a summery coastal tang. Reduction brought out delicate threads of smoke, distant beach bonfire embers, engine oil and kippers smashed on to toasted brioche. When neat, the palate was sweetly lemony and smoky, with fish pâté, pickled cornichons, charred fennel, jalapeños in brine and clam broth. Water added layers of texture and thickness in the mouth, while bringing out gristy porridge notes, and other elements including lavender honey and a gherkin lurking in a dirty martini…. read more

Cask No. Distillery 68 Rare Release – Bafke-Off

53.5% ~ 1st Fill & Refill Oloroso and Bourbon Hogsheads ~ 14yo ~ Highland ~ £92.00

A heady aroma came brimming with confectionery and baked pastry vibes. Some clear impressions of pomegranate molasses drizzled on lemon sponge cake were joined by coffee crème caramel and hints of aromatic VORS oloroso. This evolved nicely to cherries, marzipan and orange liqueurs. Water brought out notes of rum fudge, ginger cake, peppermint tea and a wonderfully deep leather and tobacco combo. The neat palate opened up with hot cross buns, a deep and satisfying spiciness, booze-soaked trifle and a smörgåsbord of fig jam, cinnamon pastries and a lovely, syrupy texture evoking runny honey and fruit compotes…. read more

6.62 – Brusque and Broad-Shouldered

54.94% ~ 1st Fill Ex-PX Hogshead ~ 16yo ~ Speyside ~ £106.90

At first we got juicy, booze-soaked sultanas and raisins. Then botrytic grapes, game stocks, dunnage earthiness and salted caramel. The sherry influence was drying, leathery and full of mineral oils and rancio. Lovely stuff, we agreed! With reduction it became fattier and wider in profile, along with some notes of aromatic mulling spices, coffee grounds, bitter dark chocolate and rum ‘n’ raisin ice cream. In the mouth we found darkly fruity flapjacks, cocktail bitters, further big and generous earthy notes, dried mint and salted liquorice…. read more

6.64 – Spanish Castanuts

56.2% ~ 1st Fill Ex-Oloroso Hogshead ~ 16yo ~ Speyside ~ £106.90

We collided at some speed into a wall of plums, bruised apples and spicy chorizo before rebounding into the safety of soft leather, fruitcake dough and earthy rhubarb crumble. Hazelnuts, walnuts and burnt coconut began to rain down from above, smashing into mounds of muscovado sugar and cocoa powder. With just a few drops of water a more refined vista appeared, one that bound bananas and fresh figs to cured ham and toasted pine nuts…. read more

6.70 – Today’s Headlines

55.8% ~ 1st Fill Ex-Oloroso Hogshead ~ 16yo ~ Speyside ~ £106.90

Newspapers sat in a tray of treacle that soaked up the news as a glass of port was poured nearby. The palate was a slice of malt loaf liberally covered in chantilly cream and toffee sauce, and decorated with pencil shavings and blackcurrants. Water offered the nose a hessian sack full of raisins, dates and plums as the tap was opened on a barrel of golden syrup. The palate was now full of dark fruits being mixed into a spiced pumpkin latte, topped with toasted almonds…. read more

6.72 – Fruitful Mellifluosity

56.9% ~ 1st Fill Oloroso Hogshead & 1st Fill PX Hogshead~ 17yo ~ Speyside ~ £115.00

The starting note for this small batch was two bourbon hogsheads of single malt Scotch whisky. At 13 years of age one cask was transferred to a first fill Spanish oak oloroso hogshead, and the other to a first fill American oak PX hogshead. The casks were then married together before bottling. The nose majored on an array of fruits (banana, glacé cherries, sultanas, orange peel, lemon bonbons) bound together with the mellifluous sweetness of fudge, honeycomb and butterscotch…. read more

12.81 – Embrace the Untamed Spirit

57.8% ~ 1st Fill STR Barrique Ex-Oloroso ~ 14yo ~ Speyside ~ £98.40

Transferred after 11 years from ex-bourbon wood into a first fill oloroso barrique, the nose evoked Spanish tapas bars – jamon Serrano and bread on polished wood, with complementary aromas of red wine, coffee beans and spiced ginger cake. The neat palate was an untamed sherry beast – cinnamon, ginger and clove, charred staves, cigars and liquorice root; sweet notes suggested hazelnut chocolate and sherry trifle made with blueberries. The reduced nose found pears poached in red wine, honey on pancakes and brogues warming before a log fire…. read more

18.48 – Two for One

60.9% ~ 1st Fill Ex-Oloroso Hogshead ~ 15yo ~ Speyside ~ £85.80

Initial nosing drew notes of cherry bakewells, hessian, toasted pecan nuts, red apples and old leather. A rich, but precise and spicy nose. Some water evoked notes of fig jam, peppery watercress, chamois leather, cured game meats and dried herbs, plus a wee saline tang of black olive tapenade. We agreed it was more complex with water. The palate when neat was wonderfully salty and earthy; lots of salted almonds, cellar mulch, pipe tobacco, walnut oil and dark chocolate. With water we found bitter citrus piths, apple seeds, toasted almonds, aged amontillado sherry and earthy black teas…. read more

18.55 – Lost on Coffee Canyon

59.6% ~ 1st Fill Ex-Oloroso Hogshead ~ 15yo ~ Speyside ~ £92.40

In the depths of a fathomless cavern we found walnuts, hazelnuts and ginger biscuits lurking among blankets of soft chamois leather, planks of polished mahogany and piles of coffee beans. Underground springs bubbled mulled wine and treacle from the rocks of jagged toffee, which trickled down on to pebbles of dried stone fruits and sticky toffee pudding. A few drops of water released almonds, sultanas and raisins and they tumbled over the dried orange peel and apple tobacco that clung to the rocks. The stream of spicy mulled wine thickened to become creamy custard as it oozed over blackcurrant crumble and tiramisu topped with chocolate and hazelnuts…. read more

24.169 – Bonkers for Conkers

53.8% ~ 1st Fill Ex-Oloroso Butt ~ 33yo ~ Speyside ~ £2,499.00

A deep russet hue led us straight into an autumn landscape with aromas of polished horse chestnuts, rosehip, birch branches, prunes, dates and figs. Tasting neat the first thing we noted was “still plenty of zing”, followed by flavours of hay-smoked roe deer with blackberry and beetroot beautifully balanced by a fresh berry chantilly cake. After reduction, we found cedar, tobacco and dark chocolate notes next to the scent of roasting chestnuts. On the palate were orange oil, raspberry and blackberry jam, ahead of a long finish from a tiramisu with conker coffee liqueur…. read more

35.339 – Medicine for the Soul

57.8% ~ 1st Fill Ex-Oloroso Hogshead ~ 16yo ~ Speyside ~ £97.20

After 13 years in ex-bourbon wood, and being transferred into a first fill Spanish oak oloroso hogshead, you get medicine for the soul. On the nose we found prunes and ripe figs, blackcurrant cordial, vanilla, sandalwood and Carmen’s tobacco factory. The palate was dry, but with a rich seam of flavours to explore: dates, coconut, toffee apples, black grapes, cherries and licking a cigar box or a flamenco dancer’s clean leather heels. The reduced nose had German Christmas cookies, treacle scones, a gypsy guitar and blackcurrant bushes growing in a humidor…. read more

35.350 – Baptised on Oloroso

60.5% ~ 1st Fill Ex-Oloroso Hogshead ~ 16yo ~ Speyside ~ £97.20

Dried apricots, sultanas and figs joined toffee and fudge before meaty notes of ibérico ham and peppered sausage emerged alongside kalamata olives, dark chocolate-coated ginger and snuffed out candles. On the palate, the ham was dusted with cocoa and tobacco mixed with roasted chestnuts, burnt raisins and plums rolled in sea salt. Adding water brought out the oxidised sherry notes of bruised apples and pears with soft leather, marzipan and the rich fruit of marmalade, apricots and apple brandy. Now bitter chocolate coated walnuts, almonds and toasted pine nuts before salted toffee and shortbread morphed into eucalyptus oil on the finish…. read more

36.205 – All the Fun of the Flicks

59.1% ~ 1st Fill Ex-PX Barrique ~ 16yo ~ Speyside ~ £96.80

The nose brought sweet, dark enticements (Christmas cake, armagnac plum tart, salted caramel) and Hemingway’s old-style, wood-panelled tapas bars (smoke, black olives, almonds, membrillo). On the palate we found sherry splashed on a villainous undead pirate’s table and delicious sticky sweetness (dark chocolate, cherry cake, sultanas, creme brulee). The reduced nose supplied caramelised brown sugar, figs, treacle and gingerbread, while a leather-jacketed action hero sat down to charcuterie in the tapas bar. To taste now, liquorice, dry salty oak and lighting up cheroots taken from behind pirates ears… read more

36.211 – Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cask

54.7% ~ 1st Fill Ex-PX Barrique ~ 16yo ~ Speyside ~ £96.80

Intense and full on, with big notes of dark chocolate, cherries and oak – we imagined eating a slice of black forest gateau in those typical cathedral-style warehouses of a sherry bodega. There was plenty of sherry goodness on the neat palate, with raisins, tobacco, toffee, caramel, old oak and old leather-bound cask ledgers. After reduction, a more savoury note appeared as we got peanuts, pickled ginger, shortcrust pastry and chutney. However, always in the background was that sweetness of caramel brownies. The taste resembled flavours of salted chocolate fudge cake and a bitter liqueur based on wormwood from Croatia called pelinkovac…. read more

39.274 – Marmalade Pipe Tobacco

57.8% ~ 1st Fill Ex-Oloroso Hogshead ~ 16yo ~ Speyside ~ £106.90

Deliciously sweet aromas encapsulated sugared almonds, marshmallows and red liquorice before fruity notes of dried apricots, ripe apples and sultanas joined pencil shavings and beeswax polish. The palate was a big and chewy affair as figs, dates and toffee collided with pipe tobacco mixed with marmalade dusted with cinnamon, cocoa and a splash of oloroso. Water brought out oxidised sherry notes of hazelnuts and walnuts with creme caramel and the oily character of cured ham. The palate was now much creamier, as milk chocolate and treacle-coated raisins, watermelon and burnt marshmallows combined…. read more

39.290 – Delish!

57.0% ~ Two 1st Fill Oloroso Hogsheads ~ 17yo ~ Speyside ~ £115.00

We Panellists donned our aprons before cooking up a beef and red wine stew, which we served with sautéed apple slices in a pan with plenty of demerara sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. On the palate, we bit into ginger and mace-scented orange bread and took a spoonful of our olive oil ice cream. After a drop of water, luscious scents filled the air as we made sticky toffee pudding, chocolate brownies and treacle scones, while tasting churros waffles with a fudgy chocolate sauce. The starting point for this small batch was two bourbon hogsheads of single malt Scotch whisky…. read more

44.164 – Honey, Ham and Lamb

62.9% ~ 1st Fill Ex-PX Hogshead ~ 16yo ~ Speyside ~ £98.30

Cinnamon butter melting on warm croissants joined salted caramel and heather honey while Iberico ham and glazed pork were served with green melon. Custard tarts emerged on the palate before chestnuts and praline combined with apple pie richly flavoured with cinnamon, nutmeg and orange skin. Deep notes became amplified with water as roast beef, grilled haggis, and sage and cranberry sausages joined leather and sandalwood incense. A thick and viscous texture now wrapped around roast lamb and glazed pork while parsnips and carrots were roasted with cinnamon and nutmeg…. read more

44.168 – A Warlock with Elbow Patches

58.1% ~ 1st Fill Ex-Oloroso Hogshead ~ 20yo ~ Speyside ~ £150.80

At first nosing we found heather honey, menthol tobaccos, aged sweet wines and old leather, plus mineral oil, sultanas, rancio and dark honey. Water evolved things nicely towards polished shoe leather, hickory smoke, game meats, herbal cough syrups and spiced honey cake; rich, robust and complex. The palate evoked damp, earthen-floored wine cellars, leaf mulch, aged black tea, pipe tobacco and beef stock, with a tang of camphor and crushed peanuts in the background. Water brought out exotic hardwood resins, long-aged sweet chenin blanc, white mushrooms, overripe oranges and lanolin… read more

44.172 – Skip the Light Fandango

56.7% ~ 1st Fill Ex-Oloroso Hogshead ~ 20yo ~ Speyside ~ £150.8

The nose had honey and nut cornflakes, sticky buns, moist gingerbread and peanut brittle, orange boxes and cherry cola in a leather shoe. The intense, deep palate had pastel de nata, syrup of figs, dates and stewed prunes with custard to begin, leaning later into earthier notes of thyme, oregano, tobacco strands and wine-stained flamenco floorboards. The reduced nose went from golden syrup, maple candies and hot fudge sundae to sawn oak and orange groves. The palate now combined demerara sugar on roasted peaches and honey on fresh figs with salted peanuts and cigarette ash…. read more