8 September 2014

06/09/2014 September outturn at the SMWS

The manager has left, yet it does not mean the shop has ground to a halt. Far from it, actually. Big outturn, this month.
The venue is very busy. It is clear the holiday season is over and members are interested in the rare releases on display this month. Let us get cracking!

91.20 37yo 1976 The Rumbling Thunder Of Contentment (46.9%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 58b): is that not a low outturn? Nose: it starts out waxy and fruity (apricot), develops marzipan notes, before moving towards jasmine, thyme and hawthorn. Mouth: citrus, wax and more apricot -- lovely! It has a perfume quality to it, ethereal and fragrant. Finish: elegantly fruity again, reminiscent of a nice, subtle perfume. How I love those old casks in which the ABV has naturally sunk below 50%! Second Society Dufftown for me and it is a star. 9/10

26.105 29yo 1984 Bumblebees By The Sea (57.6%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill ex-Sherry Butt, 548b): old Clynelishes bottled by the Society can be magnificent creations. In fact, they are pretty much what convinced me to give that distillery another chance, after a few less-than-convincing experiences. Nose: wood, sawdust, pine board, an Ikea warehouse -- where are the distillery's characteristics? Flowers emerge, after a wee while, forsythia, to be precise. Mouth: velvety, silky. Polished oak and peach dominate the palate. With water, peach is even more assertive. Finish: sharp wood returns, backed by more juicy peach. Superb. With water: seems better than neat, still rather peachy. Wonderful Clynelish, for those who do not crave the house style (and are not afraid of wood). 8/10

Enter plates of cheese.

50.58 24yo 1990/2014 A Seesaw Of Spring Cleaning And Scones! (55%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 90b): this one is not on the list, was not part of any outturn and never was at the bar either. It popped up as a Web-site exclusive in August; a few lucky members took a gamble, one brought a bottle today. Nose: pastures. Field flowers and cow dung, that is. Butter, buttercups. Mouth: much hotter than the nose suggested. Dandelions, red chilli and juicy grass. Finish: it becomes very flowery again, bursting with kerria japonica and daffodils. At second sip, overripe fruit -- that clogged-sink/hiking-boot impression I frequently mention. Brilliant Lowlander. 8/10 (Thanks Barry for the dram)

59.51 30yo 1983 A Refined Cocktail (51.5%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 140b): nose: tons of wood (resin, sawdust, wood shavings) and quite a bit of yellow fruit (apricot), Then come cinnamon sticks, dried galangal and other dried spices. Mouth: mellow and subtle, with stone fruit. Black pepper makes an appearance, then green-wood bitterness settles in. Finish: ample and coating, white pepper, wood shenanigans alongside apricot flesh that becomes bolder and bolder with time. Beautiful expression from this lesser-known distillery. 8/10

9.91 23yo 1990 A Whispering Dram (53%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 254b): nose: bay leaves, tarragon, thyme infusion, yet also some fruit: grapes, apples, apricot (it is an apricot day, be warned), hot plums. Mouth: razor-sharp, Acidic, grape-y. Finish: more white grapes, yet this time, it is soaked in cola -- what!? A rather fitting name, since this is not very loud. 7/10

Arran 15yo Easan Biorach (52.4%, OB for Lochranza Hotel, b. ca 2014): nose: venison, cured meat, boiled beef dice, beef stock, OXO broth -- do you think this is a sherry cask? Caramel also, but less. Mouth: more tamed, less animal. Melted chocolate in diluted beef stock. Finish: star aniseed, mint chocolate, marinated venison. Quite strong, but it works for some. Barry hates it, however. 6/10 (Thanks Whisky Cyclist for the dram)

G4.7 34yo 1979 Flying Saucers And Foamy Shrimps (51.9%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 175b): nose: well, it is a grain, so lots of wood shavings, coconut and that jazz, but also peppermint. The Old Man of Huy usually hates peppermint, yet it works perfectly, here. Mouth: superb balance, quite mellow with subtle custard and cinnamonsticks. Finish: more mint and bakery goodies. Love this, as does everyone: not even 17:00 and all bottles are gone. 8/10

26.104 14yo 1999 Runny Honey And Chilli Pepper (58.5%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 233b): nose: this one is more akin to what one would expect from that distillery, ie all sorts of wax. Mouth: simple, but powerful and efficient, full of hot wax (for vinyl junkies). Finish: wax, wick -- again, simple, but efficient. Naturally, this one suffers greatly from the comparison with 26.105. 7/10

66.57 10yo 2004/2014 Asian Delight (59.1%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 214b): time to shift gears, since the alcohol is starting to take its toll on the palate. Nose: farmyard scents, wellies (JS). Again, simple, but lovely -- provided one likes countryside smells! Mouth: becomes fruity quite quickly (dried figs and apricot) -- oh! it is not a 1992, but it is a refreshing complement all the same. Finish: mild peat, farmyard again, fleeting soy sauce, then ashes. This is remarkably well made indeed. 8/10

3.225 16yo 1997 Galleon Attacked By Pirates (57.2%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill ex-Sherry Butt, 617b): nose: this clearly burns the nostrils. However, behind the alcohol, I detect rubber, gunpowder, pears and even game -- that will be a hunting day in Autumn, I suppose. Mouth: leather, weathered gamebag (one-track mind, or what?) Finish: some peat, at last, alongside black cumin and After Eight, as well as cola. The finish is neverending too. A bit heavy on the sherry, yet not bad. 7/10

53.212 22yo 1992/2014 Peat Smoke And Para Handy Puffers (56.4%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 291b): nose: truckloads of manly peat, farmyard tractor wheels, mud. This is nice and adequate for the state I am in. Mouth: lively, neatly green, which is strange, considering the age. Bitter, but balanced. Finish: more bitterness, as well as palate-coating peat. 7/10

The bar as one rarely sees it
JS has another go at 91.20: it is still as good.

Good times. Probably too much to drink and the venue was busier than my preference, but the selection this month is very, very good. Best we have had in a while.

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