22 November 2012

21/11/2012 Christmas outturn at the SMWS

We have not visited in a while after trying the whole October outturn in one sitting, splashing out at the whisky show and a disappointing November outturn. We were also bracing ourselves for the Christmas outturn and its debauchery of bottles (around 40 again, this year).
A mid-week session might seem daring, but we have no fear -- and no ambition to try everything.

As expected, PS is at the bar. It is packed, surprisingly. Ah, well. Fixou joins us a couple of drams in, which is a welcome surprise.

Cameron Bridge's new packaging.
(I do not own the copyright to this. Please get in touch if it needs removing)
G4.2 28yo 1984/2012 Attractive spirit in a cloak of oak (55.4%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 218b) (me): another month, another grain (but always you). Who am I to complain? Nose: an all-out bakery assault, full of dough. Lovely. Cereal dust, toffee. With water, it settles on hard, Greek vanillia (βανίλια). Memories aplenty. To think I have not been to Greece in twenty years exactly! Mouth: fleeting mirabelle plum, bakery again, βανίλια (look at me! I can write Greek characters!) Finish: here comes a strange, slightly bitter note that, with PS's help, we identify as poppy seeds. It then lingers on toffee, custard and distant citrus. It is not without a resemblance to the yellow, round, caramel Quality Street. It is great and I buy one. 8/10

77.29 25yo 1987/2012 Marmalade, Cornflakes and Bagels (58.6%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 266b) (me): not a usual distillery, therefore it has to be tasted. Nose: fiercely herbal to these nostrils. Fruits of the forest then emerge (PS), hazelnut, mostly, then elderberry. It finishes with bakery aromas and flowers, with a hint of vanilla. Mouth: pepper and plant stems. Finish: lots of herbs again, unripe fruit (greengage). 7/10

13.45 7yo 2005/2012 Sassy reverberations (58.6%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 174b) (JS): another lesser-spotted distillery in the indie world, and particularly at the Society for the last couple of years. Nose: chock full of wet leather, surprisingly animal. There is also a little bit of candle wax and pastel crayons. Mouth: a good balance of velvet and pepper. Finish: leather, marmalade, some candle wax again. Not a big fan of the nose, but the rest is decent. 6/10

31.24 24yo 1988/2012 Lively as an acrobat (54%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 255b) (me): PS got this one for me. Nose: Ooooh! That is animal! Milk chocolate, green tea, tons of bacon -- smoked rashers, to be precise. Mouth: smooth and easy with a slight sting. Finish: long, with lots of smoke and actually quite fruity.

26.89 27yo 1984 An exotic tearoom experience (56.6%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Sherry Butt, 485b) (Fixou): nose: some elegant wax, pears, custard. It is not the animal invasion I have come to expect from Clynelish. Much better, in fact. Mouth: waxy, soft and mellow. Finish: more wax, candied apples. Another one of those all-too-rare, great Clynelishes.

41.55 8yo 2004/2012 Bath time Treat (59.7%, SMWS Society Single Cask, ex-Bourbon Barrel, 252b) (JS & PS): nose: fruit, balsa wood, lavender, bakery, pâte à choux. Mouth: another good balance of velvety pepper. Finish: sweet and lovely, this. Bakery ahoy.

26.85 19yo 1992 Complex, captivating and Chrismassy (58.7%, SMWS Society Single Cask, 220b) (Fixou): Fixou and PS embark on a Clynelish tasting. Not being a fan, I do not take part, but try to sample each of them so as to not go home an ignorant fool. Nose: bakery, berries. Mouth: velvety to Death, pepper (they do seem to all taste the same, do they not?) Finish: long and elegant, shoe polish and leather conditioner. 7/10

26.71 25yo The Great Outdoors (57.3%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Sherry Butt, 464b) (Fixou): nose: apples, pears. Mouth: velvet again, peach. Finish: very distant coffee, very little fruit.

44.55 22yo 1989 Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason (52.9%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 288b) (JS): the latest Craigellachie was so good that JS bought a bottle. Will this live up to the expectation? Nose: herbal and flinty. With water, it evolves towards moss on stone. Mouth: still herbal (verbana? tarragon) with a whole lot of jam. With water, it becomes... Wait for it... Watery. Finish: easy and mellow. With water, rocks, flint with an aniseed touch. 7/10

64.40 22yo 1990/2012 Gingery heat and oaky tannins (53.7%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 172b) (me): nose: in the eternal words of Michael Jackson: Jam! Honey, soaked Boudoir biscuit, dessert, whipped cream. 'Five floors of different things' (Fixou). Mouth: fruit juice, syrupy, but not too much so. Finish: everlasting marmalade and jam. Excellent. 8/10

Puns and jokes start to fuse, showing that it is way past our bed time -- "Evil Eye Cherry"
PS -Push it! Push it!
me -Pu-push it real good!

29.128 21yo 1990/2012 Deep, dark and hugely entertaining (58.8%, SMWS Society Single Cask, C#10840, 601b) (Fixou): nose: little ash and lots of fox skin. An old granny's arse (Fixou, in poetic mode). Mouth: velvet, even corduroy. Finish: long, ashy, yet the animal skin is what comes out most. Terrible nose, average rest. 5/10

G5.7 19yo 1993/2012 All Day American Breakfast (64.6%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 237b) (me): nose: ginger bread. Mouth: vanilla, more ginger bread -- this is excellent. Black currant. Finish: more ginger bread and lovely goodness. A cracking middle-aged grain.

Someone had 7.79 and 66.37, but I did not try them.

Excellent times. We did not go through the whole outturn (obviously!), probably overdid it already, yet what a quality moment!


  1. OT: I'm debating between the Lochside 46 from TWE 2011 that you own and the Carsebridge 45 from TWE 2012 which you've tried. I read that older Lochside's are similar to older grain whiskys. The Lochside is almost twice as much in cost. Do you much prefer it to the Carsebridge? Thanks for any thoughts!

  2. Hi James,

    They are both excellent, yet if you can only afford one, I would probably recommend the Carsebridge. Possibly the best grain I have tried so far.
    I love grains, as you likely could tell, and have tried a fair amount. You seem to be looking for a good grain: this is really special.

    The Lochside is fantastic too, but definitely not a grain. Tried it a while ago alongside both malt and grain Lochside and, if anything, it was closer to the malt, I thought.

    If you can afford it, though, get both.

  3. Thanks, that is helpful insight. I'm in the US and have never tried an old grain, but I have a sweet tooth so I think I might favor the flavor profile.

    I'm putting together an order from TWE, so I'll include the Carsebridge with the PL1 and Amrut Intermediate Sherry that I have on hold.

  4. I trust you will like it. Looking forward to your feedback.