Is it possible for someone to be too busy to sit down and drink whisky? If you’d seen my schedule for the last six weeks the answer would be…wow. But, I managed to sneak in a few tastings of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America’s September offerings in over the course of those weeks. After knocking out a ridiculously surprising offering from a grain distillery this evening, I’m ready to rock the notes and hopefully tempt your noses, mouths and toes and cockles.
Cask No. 2.81 – 15 Yrs. Old; 59.9% alcohol
Moss, orange, perfume, raisin coffee cake, musk; With water: Breakfast tea, butterscotch pudding, raspberry, pressed leaves
Woody, sulfur, lemon Pledge, ; With water: Hot spice like Red Hots, walnuts toasted in brown sugar and butter, chewy wood
Metallic, sulfur; With water: Fiery, charcoal
I really liked this dram. The aromas and flavors were wildly diverse, which I found appealing. To continue with that diversity, I suggest pairing it with foods ranging from soft and tangy cheeses to delicate and flaky grilled fish.
Cask No. 125.48 – 12 Yrs. Old; 52.1% alcohol
Color: Yellow topaz
This makes me smile. Orange,cereal, rose water; With water: New leather loafers, honey, orange almond cookie
Yum. Yum. Malt, orange, kiwi, blackberry, hibiscus, faint spearmint. Bring it to me!; With water: Nutmeg, green tea, malt, leather
I can’t pay attention to the finish. Too happy from the taste; With water: Very warm and embracing. Coating.
Oh, I just loved this one! This is why I drink whisky. There was so much happening here and all of it was wonderful. Even at cask strength it was simply lovely. I wouldn’t bother pairing this whisky with anything. In fact, I wouldn’t bother sharing it with anyone. This is one of those bottles you reach for when you’re alone, pour a responsible, yet delightful dram, sit back and smile about friends, life and living.
Cask No. 23.72 – 9 Yrs. Old; 66.4% alcohol
Color: Light gold
Peat that seems to come more from the water used by the distillery than from peat smoke; cedar, nice smoke, rich fruit – pineapple in a honey syrup; With water: Charred wood, sherried nuttiness, soft mint
Very tingly, but not only from the alcohol, pears in syrup, slight candied orange, leather glove used while cutting wood; With water: I could not find a balance with water, despite different percentages of reduction. What I did get was chewy ash, brown butter sage sauce, and a lot of esters. I lost the fruitiness
Very hot and returning; With water: biting
As soon as the aroma hit me at full strength and with that first drop of high alcohol on the palate, I thought, “Bruichladdich.” It reminded me of whiskies I sampled in the warehouse there (and I was correct). Despite the high proof, I loved it at full strength, though you have to be delicate on the nose and palate. I struggled to find the right water balance. Rather, I failed to find the right balance. The official tasting notes say, “Don’t rush it.” I agree. I think you should let it sit for one minute per percentage of alcohol you reduce it by. I finally found the profile had softened and become more subtle after I let it sit for 20 minutes with a 20-25 percent water reduction. I still preferred it cask strength. Ride the thunder if you can.
Cask No. G1.8 – 21 Yrs. Old; 62.9% alcohol
Fresh apricot pie with syrup, new grain, clean, fresh hay, delightful, fudge, and in a way, almost like a bourbon; With water: S’mores – graham crackers, marshmallow, chocolate, dried rose petals?
Chewy, nice wood, fruit cocktail; With water: Great spice and more chew – like tobacco chew, crème brulee with a hearty dusting of cinnamon, burnt toasted flakes
Nice, a bit chalky; With water: Fiery
This grain offering surprised me. I didn’t think it would be as complex as it turned out to be when it hit the glass. Sacrilege, I’m sure, but I kind of want to add a dash to a lemon caper butter sauce for a white fish. Or a dash in a cream of potato soup. I think interesting things would happen. As for drinking it, I found it holds up very well on its own and would be a nice complement to a personal collection that is looking to add grain.
These offerings are available to SMWSA members. Information on their website at http://www.smwsa.com/.
On a side note, SMWSA is holding its fall Extravaganzas throughout the U.S. starting next month. Below you will find the dates and locations for the events. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here https://www.amerisurf.com/singlemaltextravaganza/form_tickets.html. Enter the promotional code WGR2012 to receive 10 percent off the ticket price for non-members. These events are great ways to sample a number of different drams, including rare ones from the SMWSA.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
JW Marriott Hotel
1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004
Thursday, November 1, 2012
The Union League Club
140 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Friday, November 9, 2012
Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
1700 Ocean Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
The Intercontinental San Francisco
888 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Please contact SMWSA for Seattle Extravaganza information
Thursday, December 6, 2012
The Seminole Hard Rock
Hotel & Casino
1 Seminole Way
Hollywood, FL 33314