Outturn February 2021

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NEW WILL RELEAS AT M BE ONL ES FRID IDDAY AE INE AY 5T DT, H FEB

Outturn Blasting off: Friday 5 February Issue 01, 2021

EMBRACE NEW WORLDS OF FLAVOUR Fall in love with flavour this month, embrace a new world of flavour and fun whisky experiences.

FIND YOUR PERFECT PARTNER AT SWMS.COM.AU


CONTENTS Ambassador’s Address Matt Bailey .......................................... 3 Cellarmaster’s Note Andrew Derbidge............................. 4

Malt of the Month Cask No 113.36 Honey salad........................................ 6 Summer Mix-up! What we should mix at home this year. ............................. 12 Events Feb Virtual Tasting.......................... 23

OUR BOTTLINGS SWEET, FRUITY & MELLOW Cask No. 39.199 (Vaults Collection) Polishing melons.........................................................................

LIGHTLY PEATED

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SPICY & SWEET Cask No. 95.40 Food for thought..........................................................................

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Cask No. 53.322 (Vaults Collection) Carpe Diem.....................................................................................

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Cask No. 93.143 Blackadder’s cosmic Tardis. ................................................. 17

Cask No. 16.46 Texas BBQ brisket....................................................................... 17

Cask No. B3.6 The wee orange beastie............................................................ 18

12 14

RUM Cask No. R2.11 Goat farms, esters & vinyl funk.......................................... 19 Cask No. R13.2 Ready-made marmalade....................................................... 19

JUICY, OAK & VANILLA Cask No. 113.36 (Malt of the Month) Honey salad...................................................................................

Cask No. 145.1 A sweet kiss from a smoking mermaid.......................... 16

BOURBON

OLD & DIGNIFIED Cask No. 29.273 (Vaults Collection) Do not go gentle into that good night............................

Cask No. 138.4 Autumn leaves on smouldering bonfires...................... 16

PEATED

DEEP, RICH & DRIED FRUITS Cask No. 35.267 A wooden sweet factory.........................................................

NEW RELEASES WILL BE ONLINE AT MIDDAY AEDT, FRIDAY 5TH FEB

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KICK OFF INTO THE NEW W RLD A HAPPY (BELATED) NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!

I’m not one to look back often. What happened, happened. What you tasted, experienced, saw, heard, is a moment in time and an experience to enrich the soul, but looking back doesn’t serve too useful a purpose, especially in the context of great single cask whisky, at least. Pining over a particular whisky that was in an Outturn 3-4 years ago, or eagerly awaiting the next certain code to pop up, I find, is a really good way to miss some of the hits that pass you by. I’ve talked about this in the past. Don’t be a code hunter; instead, focus on flavour. But the real lesson here is that I tend not to pine over particular codes or casks that were from years gone by: I just like to remember the place, the people, the conversation, the ‘gel’ of the day or evening where it was enjoyed. The sharing, the discussion, the learning, the people you meet. Isn’t that what being part of a real whisky club is all about, after all? But getting back to looking forward. That’s what we’re especially focused on this month. What does all the above look like in 2021? To call the last 12 months tumultuous would be an understatement, but if there’s anything positive to take from it it’s the tremendous sense of community online that’s flourished even more so. It’s the little things, but also the big things, that have really shaped what the Society looks like lately. A lapsed member rejoined the Society midway through last year and sent me a little message saying that their decision to rejoin after being out for a while was simply the amazing

community and virtual tastings and livestreams and wealth of whisky education that we’re doing. Made my week. This brave new world of whisky tastings is upon us, both in-person and virtually. Virtual whisky tastings existed before Covid of course, but they were the exception, not the rule, and they were often fairly nonreciprocal affairs. A host would use a webinar format, it wasn’t broadcast, questions were trimmed and squeezed at the end, and when it ended, that was it. In the past 12 months our virtual tastings have had live Q&A’s, special guest hosts, blind tastings, member catchups, live music acts, in-depth interviews, and after parties! The game has changed, the experience is evolving, but the love of great whisky and community that the SMWS provides stays the same. So for 2021, it’s a bit of the same, a bit different, a bit of game changing. We’re evolving, we’re offering even more, we’re keeping virtual events, we’re adapting our in-person events, we’re keeping safe, and we’re planning some seriously exciting experiences for you to be a part of. Raise a glass with me, share in the enjoyment of great spirits, and slainté!

CONNECT WITH MATT E: bailey@smws.com.au @smws_matt

Matt Bailey ~ SMWS National Ambassador

PSST… SPEAKING OF AMAZING VIRTUAL TASTINGS, TAKE A LOOK AT PAGE 23 FOR OUR FEB VIRTUAL. WE’RE REALLY KICKING OFF THE YEAR WITH A BANG!

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WHAT’S IN A YEAR?

The start of a new year inevitably draws comparisons and look-backs to the year before, and thus 2021 won’t have to achieve much to look good in the eyes of its predecessor! That statement holds true in a very “universal” sense when looking at the far-reaching impact of COVID on the world at large, but it’s very interesting when you narrow the focus and look specifically at the impact of the pandemic on the whisky industry. Yes, there were obviously plenty of negatives that had deep and invasive impacts on the industry: Production was stopped or interrupted at some distilleries; bottling halls were closed; and supply chains were affected at almost every step from paddock to bottle. Whisky tourism is a major industry and side business, not just for the distilleries and their Visitor Centres, but also for the villages, pubs, and accommodation businesses that support it. These came to a grinding halt, leaving many out of work or with drastically reduced incomes. Within the industry, many were placed on furlough. As I write this, the UK has just entered another lockdown, and so the situation will not improve for some time yet. However, necessity is the mother of invention, and some aspects of the industry adapted and morphed to keep the wheels spinning. Virtual tastings, livestreams, home tasting packs, and online content all exploded in this regard, and it’s widely acknowledged that many of these activities and strategies will now stay on as the norm. It’s a very interesting prospect for the big brands and their marketing 4

budgets, and I wonder if we (as consumers and whisky fans) might end up being a little short-changed out of it in the long run? For example, given consumers now accept virtual tastings and livestreams as a viable alternative, why would a big brand pay to send their global ambassador from Scotland to Australia and put them up in hotels for a week as they embark on a national promotional tour to host a series of tastings in the main capital cities? For a fraction of the cost, they could simply arrange taster packs and get everyone to tune in to a livestream from a single broadcast from Edinburgh. Will the role of global ambassador evolve from jet-setting celebrity and entertainer to mere television host? As is the way with the whisky industry, some of the things that occurred these last 12 months may not be fully realised for 12 years. A drop in production levels now means shortages of mature stock later. It’s an oft-overlooked paradox with whisky…. producers need to look forward, whilst consumers should actually look backwards. If you buy a bottle of Glen Bagpipe 12yo in 2021 and really enjoy it, you need


to look back to 2008/2009 to see what the distillery was doing then to create the magic. I’ve written about aspects of this in the past: Some of us remember the agony of there being no Lagavulin 16yo available in Australia (or prices going from $80 per bottle up to $130 per bottle overnight) in around 2008 or so, all because the distillery shut down for extended renovations 16 years earlier. Similarly, right this very moment, there is much angst and fervour amongst Glendronach enthusiasts trying to secure personal stocks of sherried bottlings, noting that the distillery was closed from 1996-2002, and then-owners, Pernod Ricard, stopped filling into sherry casks from 2005 onwards. My point is that, as a long-term consequence of COVID, some distilleries may have to manage their stock and cask inventory carefully when it comes time to release 10yo or 12yo bottlings in 2030 or 2032 respectively. Perhaps more interestingly, will we detect changes in spirit character, style, or quality in 10 to 12 years’ time when we come to taste whisky that was produced and laid down during COVID’s reign?

As for the Society, 2021 certainly looks like building upon 2020’s events. Investment in casks and laying down stock remained reasonably constant last year, and – as I write this – we have not one; not two; but three shipments currently on the water bringing new bottlings to Australia. (One of them having left from a port in the USA….watch this space!) Our themes for Outturn are forecast for the year, and groundwork is being laid for tasting events on the assumption that COVID restrictions will be loose enough for us to facilitate and host them. So here’s to 2021….may your drams be winners at every post.

Andrew Derbidge ~ Director, Cellarmaster & NSW Manager

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MALT OF THE MONTH

Once a hotbed of illicit distilling throughout the 18th and 19th century, the Braes of Glenlivet is full of wonder, beauty, and distillery 113. A fully-automated workhorse distillery built in 1972 by Seagram to try and chase the success of stablemate, Glenlivet, distillery 113 shares an equal highest elevation record in Scotland, making for a light, fun, floral and fascinating malt. Rarely seen as a single malt, let alone as a single cask release, don’t miss out on our first Malt of the Month for 2021!

HONEY SALAD

REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

2nd fill bourbon barrel

AGE

8 years

JUICY, OAK & VANILLA

DATE DISTILLED

05 January 2012

CASK NO. 113.36

OUTTURN

209 bottles

ABV

61.8%

REDUCED FROM $165

AUS ALLOCATION

54 bottles

Limit of one bottle per Member until 12th February

The initial nose suggested to us the warmth of ginger nut biscuits dunked into chai tea. These soft spicy qualities were further underpinned by hot cross buns, dry cereals, brown toast with butter and some vibrant notes of golden syrup and citrus flowers. Reduction brought custard creams, sweetened herbal teas, hyacinths and honeysuckle. The neat palate was rich with barley sugars, orange pith, lime cordial and malty red ale notes. Wee background touches of dried tarragon, chalk and travel sweets popped out too. Water offered up ripe yellow fruits, custard made with young dessert wines, runny honey, camphor and aromatic new leather.

$139.00

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VAULTS COLLECTION A whisky like this is all about texture and time. Drizzled honey, apples, caramel and beeswax. A throwback to another era in the Speyside region. A cautious era of post-crash Scotch whisky production, distillery 39 is prized by blenders, but older examples like this just ooze grace and elegance. Blink and you’ll miss it.

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POLISHING MELONS SWEET, FRUITY & MELLOW CASK NO. 39.199

$710.00 REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

2nd fill toasted hogshead

AGE

30 years

DATE DISTILLED

16 October 1989

OUTTURN

177 bottles

ABV

49.0%

AUS ALLOCATION 24 bottles

TH COL E VAULT LECT S ION SPE FINI CIAL SH

Wonderful textures embraced us from the start as beeswax polish and scented candles surrounded soft melons and a poached pear. Rich runny honey and butterscotch then merged with soft leather and toffee apples before more tropical tones appeared. Then lemon sherbet with hints of peppermint washed over fresh oak and caramel wafers before joining mango and glacé cherries. With water came an abundance of apples, pears and guava with citrus oils forming a whirlpool that sucked us down into the dark sweetness of stewed prunes, dates and chocolate éclairs. Oily and mouth-coating textures remained well into the finish where they were joined by maple syrup and mint chocolate.

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REGION

Speyside

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

CASK TYPE

2nd fill bourbon barrel

AGE

9 years

DATE DISTILLED

15 September 2010

SPICY & SWEET

OUTTURN

226 bottles

CASK NO. 95.40

ABV

66.2%

AUS ALLOCATION

24 bottles

$160.00

Someone had the fitting image of baking a pizza in a wood fired outdoor oven on a sunny terrace in Italy. Lip-smackingly sweet with an extra kick of spice – we all had a slice of extra crunchy barbecued Hawaiian topped with tangy barbecue sauce, gooey mozzarella, fresh pineapple chunks, pickled jalapenos, bacon and red onions. When we added water it was tea time with flapjacks, chocolate biscuits and coconut macaroons. On the taste however it was a Bavarian breakfast – white sausages with sweet mustard, a warm pretzel and a cold wheat beer.

A WOODEN SWEET FACTORY DEEP, RICH & DRIED FRUITS CASK NO. 35.267

$449.00

Limit of one bottle per Member

IUM PREMEASE REL

10

REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

1st fill toasted hogshead

AGE

25 years

DATE DISTILLED

24 November 1994

OUTTURN

174 bottles

ABV

57.9%

AUS ALLOCATION

18 bottles

The nose had sweet, enticing, bourbon-like aromas – honeycomb crunch, salty-sweet Tiffin with sultanas and raisins, roasted pumpkin, jasmine, sandalwood and men’s hand moisturiser – along with Darjeeling tea leaves, toasted almonds and a leather workshop. The neat taste was immense, intense and mouth-drawing – woody and dry but with the considerable sweetness of toffee apple sticks, churros dipped in chocolate, candy corn, maple syrup pancakes, crystallised oranges and port over ice-cream. In reduction, the nose evoked a sweet factory built with wood, stewed fruits, brown sugar, apples, pears and piña colada. The palate fascinated us with salted fudge, treacle, chocolate gingers and cinnamon buns with raisins.


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VAULTS COLLECTION An Islay distillery that needs no introduction. Seeing an age statement from distillery 29 is becoming increasingly uncommon, let alone a 25 year old single cask statement in the Old & Dignified profile. Well before Beam/Suntory, well before Quarter Cask, and around the same time as Prince Charles gave the distillery his Royal Warrant, this was distilled. A piece of Islay history soaked in umami and mystery. Limit one bottle per member.

IUM PREMTLING BOT

TH COL E VAULT LECT S ION

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DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT OLD & DIGNIFIED CASK NO. 29.273

$850.00

REGION

Islay

CASK TYPE

2nd fill bourbon barrel

AGE

25 years

DATE DISTILLED

4 April 1995

OUTTURN

174 bottles

ABV

57.4%

AUS ALLOCATION 18 bottles

Limit of one bottle per Member

A stunning nose greeted us, full of elegant and subtle aromas of newspaper ink, smoked sea salt, seaweed broth, umami paste, green olives, white pepper and passionflower. Further wee touches of lemon peel, Earl Grey tea, lighter fluid, fennel seed and rosewater. Elegant, classical and totally gorgeous. A little water revealed petrol, dried wildflowers, smoked citrus fruits, canvass, sardines in olive oil, sourdough starter, root beer sweets, horseradish and a warming, peppery waxiness. In the mouth this one opened on crystallised fruits, pink grapefruit, smoked thyme, dried herbs, melon cordial, dried papaya, toasted sunflower seeds, smoked olive oil, fragrant peat smoke and herbal-infused medicines. Reduction brought seawater, black pepper, wafts of pure kiln smoke, anthracite embers, grilled scallops with lemon juice, squid ink, sandalwood and Marmite on brown bread. A remarkable whisky, reminiscent of old times for this great distillery and wellsuited to midnight rumination.

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VAULTS COLLECTION

Old, sherried, Islay, whisky. Those four words alone are enough to send a shiver down the spine. Sitting very snugly in the Old & Dignified flavour profile, this old Islay single cask has been slumbering away for thirty long years before being plucked out by the tasting panel and presented here. An immense distillery known for its consistency and clean smoke, it’s safe to say you can watch the second hand on your watch slow with a sip of this as you ‘seize the day’. Limit one bottle per member. 14


CARPE DIEM OLD & DIGNIFIED CASK NO. 53.322

$1090.00

Limit of one bottle per Member

REGION

Islay

CASK TYPE

Refill sherry butt

AGE

30 years

DATE DISTILLED

18 April 1989

OUTTURN

444 bottles

ABV

51.7%

IUM PREMTLING BOT

TH COL E VAULT LECT S ION

AUS ALLOCATION 24 bottles Wow! Words cannot do it justice but imagine a winter’s afternoon walk along the beach and, when the sun dipped below the horizon, you started to feel the cold and walked towards the cottage where a crackling log fire and this dram awaited you. Sit back, relax and reflect. After a drop of water, you immersed yourself in a free-standing Victorian bathtub filled with lavender-infused hot water. In this almost elated state of mind you could even hear the heavenly choir of ‘greedy angels’ in what must have been one of those blissful moments of your life – ‘Carpe Diem’!

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AUTUMN LEAVES ON SMOULDERING BONFIRES LIGHTLY PEATED CASK NO. 138.4

$250.00

A SWEET KISS FROM A SMOKING MERMAID

REGION

Taiwan

CASK TYPE

Refill bourbon barrel

AGE

5 years

DATE DISTILLED

31 May 2014

OUTTURN

208 bottles

ABV

55.3%

AUS ALLOCATION

30 bottles

The nose wafted peat smoke and smouldering beach bonfires; also malting floors, coffee grinds and hints of powdered spice – cherry and banana sweetness lifted it up. The smoke was definitely sweeter on the palate; we also got gulab jamuns and white chocolate drops; the finish provided intriguing woodiness (cigar boxes, burnt matches and old furniture in a gentleman’s club were cited). With water, the nose tossed autumn leaves and camphor wood-shavings on the bonfire and found sweet nuttiness and slightly overdone Welsh rarebit. The reduced palate was less smoky and still slightly maritime with additional notes of leather, liquorice and Ovaltine.

REGION

Sweden

CASK TYPE

1st fill bourbon barrel

AGE

8 years

DATE DISTILLED

11 August 2011

LIGHTLY PEATED

OUTTURN

240 bottles

CASK NO. 145.1

ABV

62.7%

AUS ALLOCATION

30 bottles

$350.00

M MIU PRE LEASE RE

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We imagined beachcombing, exploring rock pools as briny waves washing up fresh seaweed and the gusty wind carried aromas of smoked fish, prawns and other seafood from the nearby pier. Clambering on to the pier we tried the food which had an intriguing sweet, salty and lightly smoky flavour that we found hard to describe so let’s get poetic – ‘a sweet kiss from a smoking mermaid’. tiny drop of water and fresh menthol sweetness combined with the lovely delicate smokiness of a Swedish midsummer bonfire on the beach with plenty of dancing and singing, to celebrate the longest day of the year as well as life and love.


BLACKADDER’S COSMIC TARDIS LIGHTLY PEATED CASK NO. 93.143

$575.00

Limit of one bottle per Member

PREMI RELEASUM E

REGION

Campbeltown

CASK TYPE

Refill bourbon barrel

AGE

28 years

DATE DISTILLED

1 October 1991

OUTTURN

179 bottles

ABV

55.9%

AUS ALLOCATION

18 bottles

The nose was furrowed with a dissonant mish mash of fresh salinity and pickled onion crisps. Funky young calvados, pear cordial, baked goat cheese, lanolin, bandages drizzled with seawater, smoked pinecones, frying bacon and mineral salts. A distillate like no other! Reduction offered banana liqueur, mandarin jelly, vapour rubs, lemon thyme, herbal cough medicines and dried seaweed. Superbly unique, fragrant and complex. Undiluted, the mouth was very medical and full of light, salty and nervy peat smoke. Gently tarry, antiseptic, syrupy and extremely herbal and rather fatty. Wonderfully mineral, funky and vibrant. Water brought a whole spectrum of complex flavours: heather flowers, carbolic soaps, fragrant oily peat, herbal waxes, spicy pork scratchings, smoked fennel, malt vinegar, chip fat, newspaper ash and ramen broth. Majestic and totally unique!

TEXAS BBQ BRISKET

REGION

Highland

CASK TYPE

Recharred hogshead

AGE

6 years

PEATED

DATE DISTILLED

4 July 2013

CASK NO. 16.46

OUTTURN

253 bottles

ABV

64.9%

AUS ALLOCATION

48 bottles

$165.00

A pungent, burnt and slightly medicinal note combined with a deep, dark and visceral smoke made this quite an experience to nose neat. That theme was carried on almost seamlessly on the palate. Hot, smoky, fierce and fiery but this was only one part of the story as there was also a creamy, syrupy mouthfeel with a fragrant, sweet and nutty flavour like a freshly brewed astragalus root tea. After dilution we barbequed meat on rusty grill grates as we eventually all sat down for a delicious meal of barbeque brisket seasoned with malt vinegar, Dijon mustard and Tabasco sauce – Texan style! 17


THE WEE ORANGE BEASTIE BOURBON CASK NO. B3.6

$170.00 REGION

Arkansas

CASK TYPE

New oak charred barrel

AGE

4 years

DATE DISTILLED

19 June 2015

OUTTURN

216 bottles

ABV

57.3%

AUS ALLOCATION 42 bottles A delightful nose unfolded and yielded charred hessian, cured red meats, spiced vanilla cake and raw liquorice root. Big notes of orange cordial and spiced marmalade. Also, anthracite soot, smoked juniper wood, charcoals, aniseed liqueur and turmeric earthiness. With water we got waxed canvass, cough medicines, cherry throat sweets and hints of fresh paint. The palate opened with molten vapour rubs, wintergreen, herbal infused medicines, long aged Chenpi, dried lemon peel and dark winter spices in broth. More punchy spiced orange notes too. Water brought umami seasonings, coal dust, old ink wells, ointments, cooling oils, canvas and bitter chocolate infused with chilli flakes. The mashbill was 82% Arkansas corn, 9% Arkansas wheat & 9% malted barley. 18


GOAT FARMS, ESTERS & VINYL FUNK RUM CASK NO. R2.11

$240.00

AL SPECISH I N I F

REGION

Guyana

CASK TYPE

1st fill charred wine barrique

AGE

16 years

DATE DISTILLED

1 May 2003

OUTTURN

254 bottles

ABV

59.1%

AUS ALLOCATION

24 bottles

An exhilarating nose awaited us – bicycle inner tubes slathered full of mango chutney, Calvados made from browned apples, orange vitamin pills, fermented bandages, sticking plasters harvested from a swimming pool, ancient medicines, cannabis resin, preserved rice juice, tea tree oil and banana-heavy esters. With reduction we found goaty cheesecloth, mechanical lubrications, cherries dipped in dark chocolate, dunder pits, anthracite embers, guava syrup and black olives. Mad yet hugely entertaining. The mouth displayed a massive texture at first sipping. Camphor, sweet rubber, brown sugar laced with natural tar, yeasty cider apples, balsamic-glazed strawberries, ancient madeira and funky butterscotch. With reduction we got rose jelly, limes doused with antiseptic, rhubarb sherbet, medical embrocation mixed with seawater and green olive tapenade and some charred goat meat. Matured in a bourbon barrel for 15 years before transfer to a charred wine cask with toasted heads.

READY-MADE MARMALADE

REGION

Trinidad

CASK TYPE

1st fill bourbon barrel

AGE

22 years

RUM

DATE DISTILLED

1 January 1998

CASK NO. R13.2

OUTTURN

267 bottles

ABV

62.1%

AUS ALLOCATION

36 bottles

$595.00

C DISTLOSED ILLE RY

A fruit-driven nose burst open with ripe apples, pineapple, mango and guava and bundles of molasses dusted with cinnamon and ginger. Spicy marmalade joined us on the palate with cloves and blackcurrant syrup. Blood oranges and fermenting pears then sweetened to creme caramel and custard but with coconut cream and hints of eucalyptus. Floral flavours emerged with water and fused elderflower cordial with lilies and mango. Ginger marmalade now covered balsa wood and oak as cocoa nibs joined cinnamon butter and chocolate wafers. Finally, we found coffee beans and cocktail bitters with hints of cloves and sweet vanilla that lasted onto the finish. 19


SUMMER MIX-UP! Whisky cocktails have been around forever, in one form or another. As we see out Summer and move towards Autumn, we look at how they have evolved and what we should be mixing up at home this year. Before Jerry Thomas published his seminal cocktail book How to Mix Drinks – or The Bon Vivant’s Companion in 1862, he manned the bar at the El Dorado gambling saloon in San Francisco. One day, a bear of a man burst in and, to quote the American journalist Herbert Asbury, cried: “Bar-keep! Fix me some hellfire that’ll shake me right down to my gizzard.” Thomas heated some whisky and water in a pan, set it ablaze and proceeded to shuffle it back and forth like a pack of cards between two cups. The effect was ‘a blazing stream of liquid fire’ he wrote in his book, and presumably the punter at the El Dorado was suitably impressed, as he scorched his lips on the world’s first ever Blue Blazer. Few whisky cocktails are as flamboyant as that, but they have always been around if you think back to Scotland’s earliest distillers. Their whisky would have been as smooth as barbed wire since they didn’t bother to strip out the foreshots and feints or faff around with maturation. 20

Drinkers would have foraged heather, bog myrtle, wild herbs, honey – anything to mix in and soften the blow. That sense of necessity being the mother of invention was repeated during US Prohibition when the base spirit needed all the disguise and artifice a bartender could muster. If bathtub gin was bad, whisky could be 10 times worse! Those notorious Canadian bootleggers, the Bronfmans, bragged of their recipe that involved ethanol, water, some caramel for colour, sulphuric acid and an oak-lined galvanized tank. The acid ate into the wood after a few days, which apparently gave a rough approximation of cask ageing. With such low-grade hooch to play with, not to mention the use of embalming fluid bought from undertakers at a dollar a gallon, you wonder what cocktails really tasted like in your average New York speakeasy. But thanks to the Jazz age and swanky cocktail bars in London, Paris and beyond, the drink gained a glamorous reputation and a decidedly American accent.


This pointed bartenders to bourbon or rye in the case of an Old Fashioned or Manhattan. Scotch is fighting back however, with its own take on the above and through other cocktails like the Penicillin and the Paper Plane.

“I think we’re doing it really well with the Highball movement,” says Georgie Bell, former SMWS ambassador and now Bacardi’s global malts ambassador. “Through a joint effort by all companies, the Highball is being seen as a recognised Scotch whisky cocktail.” Adding soda and ice is the simplest way to stretch whisky into a long serve, and it can be done with a certain flair, as Japanese bartenders have shown. Arthur Motley, another alumnus of the SMWS who is now purchasing director at Royal Mile Whiskies, is all for “doing more to make blended whisky fun, and make it a great base for a party drink with bubbles in it”. But he is less taken with the idea of involving expensive single malts. “I’ve got absolutely nothing against Scotch being used in cocktails, but it jars with me when something like Lagavulin 16 or Macallan 18 is used,” he says.

“It’s wasteful, and kind of disrespectful because you shouldn’t need to add anything to a drink like that.” Or indeed the Macallan 55-year-old that Dubai’s Skyview bar offered with dried fruit bitters, homemade passion fruit sugar and ice cubes from the distillery’s own water source. It was priced $8,000 in 2012 but you did get to keep the gold-plated Bacarat glass it was served in. Back in the real world, Georgie Bell accepts the price of malts is a barrier, but says: “Ultimately, it’s the same art, craft and complexity that goes into making a blended whisky as a single malt, so why should we treat them differently when it comes to mixed drinks? At the end of the day, we mix single malts for a new flavour experience and approachability, and to break down the stigma associated with Scotch.” Arguably the most successful Scotch brand on the cocktail circuit is neither a blend nor a single malt. It is Monkey Shoulder, William Grant’s blended malt that promoted its “made for mixing” message through a fleet of pimped up cement mixers, each carrying 11,000 litres of a pre-mixed whisky cocktail. 21


“You don’t necessarily need that much equipment. It’s not intimidating as long as you have ice, a spoon and a jug big enough to stir your drink in.” ANTHONY DELCROS

They are currently parked up and lying empty, but the brand’s global ambassador, Joe Petch, hopes they will soon be back on the road supplying music festivals and the like.

assistant manager at the Society’s Glasgow Members’ Rooms. “Our Peat Faerie had some Speyside malt that worked really well in a Reverse Rob Roy.”

He goes on to mention the ‘Monkey kitchen cocktail’ program that was set up in the Spring when bars closed, saying: “We gave 10 bartenders a week £100 to submit a recipe that they filmed in their kitchen, which we linked to the brand’s Instagram account to educate followers and home consumers. It was hugely successful for the first eight weeks of lockdown.” As for a winter-warming cocktail for middle of this year, Joe suggests: “Either a Boulevardier, which is a Scotch take on a Negroni, or a Muddled Old Fashioned that’s very easy to make at home and has a warming flavour.”

Reversing a cocktail means taking a classic recipe and swapping the ratio of spirit to the sweet element like vermouth, Anthony explains. That sounds simple enough, but aren’t people daunted by all the alchemy and paraphernalia of modern cocktails to attempt making them at home?

Meanwhile the Society continues to release blended malts of its own, offering fresh options for attractively priced bottlings to work with in your cocktails. “We have a couple of very interesting blended malts coming out soon, and I’ve enjoyed working with this range of Society whiskies,” says Anthony Delcros, 22

“You don’t necessarily need that much equipment,” he replies. “It’s really about your ingredients like cooking, you just need some good spirits and good sweetening agents. It’s not intimidating as long as you have ice, a spoon and a jug big enough to stir your drink in.” And a fire extinguisher if you are crazy enough to set it ablaze.

Written by Tom Bruce-Gardyne for the SMWS


JOIN US LIVE! FRIDAY 26 FEBRUARY 7:30PM AEDT

THE

VAULTS COLLECTION VIRTUAL

WE’RE STARTING OUR VIRTUAL CALENDAR FOR THE YEAR WITH A REAL BANG! VIRTUAL FRIDAY 26 FEB, 7:30PM AEDT TASTING SET Join us on Friday 26 February for the Vaults Collection Virtual where we host 5 x 30ml drams of some of our oldest and rarest selections from deep within the Vaults. With the youngest whisky being thirty years old, you know you’re in for a treat with one of the rarest virtual tastings ever hosted in Australia.

$199*

CASK 39.199 | POLISHING MELONS | 30 YEARS CASK 70.40 | ELOQUENT SILENCE | 30 YEARS CASK 53.322 | CARPE DIEM | 30 YEARS CASK 95.39 | INDIAN SUMMER IN A JAPANESE GARDEN | 38 YEARS CASK 31.37 | FLIES’ CEMETERIES AND OLD SEA CHESTS | 30 YEARS

Join us live on Friday 26 February, 7:30pm AEDT, or anytime later at your own leisure. Follow along on our YouTube channel or Facebook group, and bring your questions and comments!

GRAB YOUR VIRTUAL TASTING KIT AND JOIN IN THE FUN! SMWS.COM.AU/SHOP *Includes 5 x 30ml drams of the above bottlings, two tasting mats and full tasting notes. Limited to 2 x sets per member. Stocks extremely limited.

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NEW RELEASES WILL BE ONLINE AT MIDDAY AEDT, FRIDAY 5TH FEB

LANDING NOW SMWS.COM.AU

02 9974 3046 Mon-Fri 9.00am - 5.00pm AEDT

@SMWS_AUSTRALIA

AUSTRALIANSMWS

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Society bottlings are offered and sold through The Artisanal Spirits Company Pty Ltd, Liquor Licence LIQP770017428.