Outturn March 2021

Page 1

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

Outturn Tasking off: Friday 5 March Issue 02, 2021

UP YOUR WHISKY GAME

Push new boundaries in the pursuit of flavour, taste and explore our beautifully unique and intriguing new cask collection.

LEVEL UP AT SWMS.COM.AU


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

Cask No 80.19 Prickly pine cones and buttery scones. .............. 12 Society Milestones

14

14

Events in your State....................................................... 30 March Virtual Tasting. .................................................. 31

OILY & COASTAL

SPICY & SWEET Cask No. 6.43 Tongue nor heart cannot conceive..................................

15

Cask No. 44.134 Souper Trooper...........................................................................

15

Cask No. 93.147 Salty beach trousers................................................................... 18

LIGHTLY PEATED Cask No. 53.351 Dr Reelgood. .................................................................................. 20

SPICY & DRY

12

OLD & DIGNIFIED Cask No. 38.27 (Vaults Collection) Earl Grey tea tree oil................................................................

From the late 1970’s til now, and everything in between......................................... 24 Events

SWEET, FRUITY & MELLOW

Cask No. 80.19 (Malt of the Month) Prickly pine cones and buttery scones. .........................

6

Malt of the Month

YOUNG & SPRITELY

Cask No. 39.201 Big flavours ahead.....................................................................

Cellarmaster’s Note Andrew Derbidge............................................................... 4 Game Changers A dozen Society game-changing developments.......................................................................

OUR BOTTLINGS

Cask No. 82.27 New York vs Cincinnati..........................................................

Ambassador’s Address Matt Bailey ............................................................................ 3

Cask No. 138.4 Autumn leaves on smouldering bonfires..................... 20

PEATED

16

JUICY, OAK & VANILLA

Cask No. 108.27 Nice to meat you........................................................................... 21

SINGLE CASK SPIRITS

Cask No. 1.233 Avid fan.............................................................................................

17

Cask No. R13.2 (Rum) Ready-made marmalade......................................................

Cask No. G10.28 Pudding faceplant......................................................................

17

Cask No. BAT.9 (Single Malt Scotch Whisky) Black Oak......................................................................................... 23

Cask No. 24.145 Seductive sweetness – teasing spice...............................

18

Cask No. GN3.11 (Gin) Sunshine tea................................................................................... 23

21


The Original Game Changers This month is all about the original game changers. A global whisky movement that has changed everything. A club that did, and continues to push the boundaries of flavour and experience around the world. Personally, I can’t think of anything more exciting to be a part of. Let’s dig a bit deeper into these moments. Rewind to 1983. A tumultuous year in Scotch whisky. Port Ellen just closed up for the last time. Brora was done. The list of distilleries hitting the wall between 1983 and 1985 was a long and depressing list: Banff, Brora, Coleburn, Convalmore, Dallas Dhu, Glen Albyn, Glen Esk, Glenlochy, Glen Mhor, Glenugie, Glenury Royal, Hillside, Linlithgow, Millburn, Moffat, North Port, Glen Flagler, Garnheath, and, of course, Port Ellen. This was not a happy time for Scotch whisky. The great boom of vodka and rum taking over was heralded, but never really materialised. The decision to close most of these distilleries was taken by DCL, the former incarnation of Diageo, who had to rationalise in the face of a massive downturn, identifying distilleries that were either inefficient, of variable quality, or simply surplus to requirements. The great sway away from smoky whisky and their place in blending was waning and some hard decisions were made that, in hindsight, probably weren’t for the best. But it’s worth noting that most, if not all, of these distilleries that closed were used for creating malts for blending. The same goes for the ones that survived the mid-80’s downturn. So what, then, when a suave and softly-spoken gentleman with very few connections in the Scotch whisky game at the time comes to your distillery asking to buy single casks to bottle at natural cask strength, unblended, and as single malt? What is this wizardry? Why would you bother?

This mountaineer and accountant wants to buy the guts out of what you’re producing, and you can’t quite work out why, but it’s too small to worry about. Enter Pip Hills, the founder of the SMWS. Even by his own recount, most distilleries had no idea what he was doing, or why. The 1980’s was a decade of downturn and blending. These were low times in Scotch whisky, or indeed ‘whisky’ worldwide. What on earth would you want with these casks? What are you doing with them? Oh and you only want one or two? Okay, fine. “The people who said it couldn’t be done were so dull” Pip would say. Taking the most incredible single casks, having a tasting panel assess and pass what they wanted to bottle, and release it to their syndicate which grew into a membership, was absurd, wild, crazy, wacky, and shouldn’t happen, surely? That’s what this month is about. Celebrating the unsung heroes that have shaped the experience of whisky as we know it. The game changers. The people who said, “Screw it, I’ll do it my way” to creating something special. People who changed Scotch whisky forever like Pip, or the many people even in Australia that have shaped that experience and continue to do so. This month is about them. The pioneers. The unknown codes. The lesser-seen experience. Those who push the envelope and take you on a journey. Let’s game change.

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

Matt Bailey ~ SMWS National Ambassador

3


Community One of things I enjoy most about whisky is, ironically, not necessarily whisky itself but, rather, the communities around it. I use the plural, because there are so many different groups that weave in and out of my whisky life: Close friends and drinking buddies, social media groups, online groups, industry groups, numerous whisky clubs and, of course, organisations like the SMWS.

Whisky enthusiasts are part of a global community, and neither language nor geographical boundaries prevent us from coming together in kindred spirit. This was demonstrated quite poignantly in February with the global whisky community mourning, celebrating, and remembering Brett Ferencz, who lost his battle with cancer. Brett, under his Instagram guise and handle of Scotch Trooper, entertained and delighted both whisky and Star Wars fans worldwide with his incredible photography. He was a game changer. Not surprisingly, most of the other whisky communities I’m involved with were game changers. The SMWS established itself and rose at a time when the industry was in a dire slump, and the Society completely changed the celebration and focus on single cask, cask-strength whisky. Likewise, the Friends of Laphroaig scheme completely changed how distilleries interacted with their fan base, establishing 4

a loyalty program that others were quick to follow. Closer to home, the MWSoA galvanised both Australian whisky drinkers and producers alike with their national Conventions in the early 2000’s – long before social media groups were to come along. As a Society founded to celebrate Scotch malt whisky, we should also acknowledge and celebrate the game changers in our industry. There are too many to list here, and some might merely now be historical footnotes, such as George Smith, Andrew Usher, John Walker, the so-called whisky barons, Alfred Barnard, and so on. More recently, what about the likes of Glenfiddich, who pioneered the marketing of single malt whisky? Or Balvenie and Glenmorangie, who pioneered whisky finishing? Locally, the Australian branch of the Society has changed the whisky game several times. We were the first whisky organisation to establish nationally across the country and to host co-ordinated


THESE ARE EXCITING TIMES. NEVER MIND HOW OR WHEN THE GAME CHANGES. JUST MAKE SURE YOU’RE PLAYING IT.

whisky tastings and events for members. Whilst the Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championships existed before our tenure, I’d argue we changed the game with our custodianship of it from 2008 onwards. And I’d argue that the Society – entirely through Matt Bailey’s hard work and commitment – changed the game with respect to livestreams and online content, establishing and setting a program that is the envy of other brands and their brand ambassadors – and all before COVID forced their hand. But let me not blow our own trumpet, because there are other game changers in the Australian whisky community. Distillers like Bill Lark. Producers like Tim Duckett. Indeed, Sullivans Cove completely changed the game for all with their big award win in 2014. And distilleries like Starward and Archie Rose continue to change it through sheer size, product, and innovation.

There are two aspects to this theme: Firstly, the entity who changed the game; what they did; and how they did it. Secondly, how the rest of the world then adapts and moves on to accommodate the change. Needless to say, the game is never static. Despite wonderful marketing words and themes like “tradition” or “traditional”, whisky is ever-evolving and ever-changing. Blink….and you’ll miss something. These are exciting times. Never mind how or when the game changes. Just make sure you’re playing it.

Andrew Derbidge ~ Director, Cellarmaster & NSW Manager 5


Game

changers

A dozen Society game-changing developments The whisky world was a very different place when The Scotch Malt Whisky Society was formed in 1983. A club dedicated to sharing the joys of single cask, single malt was a revelation in an age when distilleries were closing down left, right and centre. But the SMWS survived, prospered and has continued to change the way we savour and enjoy whisky ever since. Throughout 2021, we want to celebrate the Society’s role as innovative force in the whisky world and our determination to do things our own way. Here are 12 game-changing moments to get us started...

6

A DOZEN GAME CHANGING SOCIETY DEVELOPMENTS


01

AN ORIGINAL IDEA Who’d have thought it? When Pip Hills and his pals discovered the delights of whisky in its purest form – taken from the cask with no chill-filtering or added water – the industry was in a terrible state, with Port Ellen, Brora and St Magdalene among the many distilleries ceasing operations during the course of 1983. The industry was predominantly about blends, but when Pip tried a dram from a quarter cask of Glenfarclas he asked himself: “Why is somebody not selling this stuff? Various people in the industry all said: ‘Oh there’s no market for that, if there had been we’d have done it before’. But the people I spoke to who said it couldn’t be done were so dull, there was no imagination.” Pip and his pals had imagination in abundance, and the SMWS was born with a game-changing goal of combining single cask whisky with cask strength doses of fun.

CRYPTIC CODES

02

A new club requires a new approach, especially when distillers were wary of having their names on single cask bottlings that may not have reflected their consistent character. What to do? The Society devised a code to protect the brands of the distilleries which supplied us with these precious single casks. By not naming names in the early days, the Society was able to show those initially sceptical distilleries that their valuable brands would not be damaged by single casks that might not represent their usual flavour profile. Now members have more than 140 distilleries to try and identify – or even memorise – from the Society’s cryptic code.

03

SCRUPULOUS NOSES By its very nature, every single cask has its own character and needs to be evaluated before it is pronounced special enough for the Society’s members. The SMWS set up its first Tasting Panel in the kitchen of Pip Hills’s home in Edinburgh, which he described as a “motley bunch”, made up of a cross-section of Edinburgh society who “had experience of drinking whisky and were also handy with words”. That original Tasting Panel was tasked with ensuring the sample in front of them was worthy of ending up in a Society bottle, and with creating Tasting Notes to accompany it. The Panel’s role has remained unchanged with the passage of time, with only the personnel changing over the years, although it is still a combination of both Society experts together with independent authorities from the wider whisky world.

7


04

A WAY WITH WORDS As well as evaluating the samples of whisky, the Tasting Panel started to explore a language they could use to describe single cask, single malt – something that had never been done before. In the early 1980s, whisky was described only in terms of how old it was or where it came from, but with little reference to its actual flavour. All that was about to change. The Panel members were encouraged to exercise their imagination to come up with a distinctive name and Tasting Notes for each bottle, which captured an element of the whisky’s personality. As long-standing Panel chair Robin Laing says: “The main thing is that the Tasting Notes have to be informative, relevant and accurate. But it’s also good to have a bit of fun.”

05

WHERE TO MEET UP If you’re going to set up a members’ club, you need to think about where those members are going to be able to meet up. The Society’s spiritual home is The Vaults in Leith, in a building where the vaulted cellars underneath are thought to date back to before 1200, and the most recent addition of a fourth storey was in 1785. We’ve called The Vaults home since 1983, but as the Society’s membership has grown, we’ve added Members’ Rooms at 19 Greville Street in London’s Farringdon district in July 1999, followed by the opening of a splendid Georgian townhouse at 28 Queen Street in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town in spring 2004. Most recently, the Society crossed Scotland’s Central Belt to open a Members’ Room at 38 Bath Street in the heart of Glasgow.

06

GLOBAL REACH The Society has its heart in Scotland and Scotch whisky, but our spirit of friendship and cask strength camaraderie now extends to branches across the world, with an international presence in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and the US. We’ve also developed a network of international partner bars that have been exclusively selected to offer Society whisky. The partner bars provide a home from home for Society members and whisky lovers alike, offering a unique and extensive range of exclusive single cask offerings for you to indulge and delight in – and share a dram with friendly faces wherever you find yourself.


07

EXPANDING HORIZONS The Society’s enduring mission has been to provide members with a constant variety of single cask whiskies, providing a never-ending range of flavours and frequently venturing off the beaten track into more unfamiliar terrain. It’s intriguing to look back at some of the ‘firsts’ that came from the Society – not all of them welcomed at the time. In 2002, for example, we bottled our first ever Japanese whisky, Cask No. 116.1: Coconut, pea-pods and tropical hot-houses. That was enough to have some members ripping up their cards in protest. Since then we’ve gone on to explore bottlings from Denmark, England, India, Ireland, Sweden, Taiwan, United States and Wales. There’s going to be more to come…and let’s hope no more destruction of membership cards in protest.

09

08

FOCUS ON FLAVOUR We turned our back on convention by not naming specific distilleries on our bottle labels, preferring to focus on a whisky’s flavour rather than its place of origin – and that’s the motivation behind our 12 colourful flavour profiles. Each one is colour-coded for ease of reference, and range from Light & Delicate to Heavily Peated. Though it’s perfectly possible to have a dram that is both Old & Dignified and Peated, the profiles were chosen to pick out the dominant characteristic of each bottling. “Our flavour profiles are deliberately very broad strokes,” says spirits manager Euan Campbell. “Rather than trying to describe exactly what makes a whisky special – which is still the job of the Tasting Notes – they’re simply a way of navigating the whiskies, so you can begin to pin down what you’re looking for.”

HEAT TREATMENT

The Society has taken pride in being ahead of the curve and keen to innovate and experiment. But even we have to admit that not every move has worked out as well as hoped. For example, we once tried finishing a whisky in a cask seasoned with Tabasco hot sauce, but the fiery spirit was judged to be too much even for the most adventurous members. “We were expecting a ‘warm glow’, but after a month what we got would be best described as ‘pure heat’ – with what looked like vinegar settled on the top,” says experimenter-in-chief Richard Gordon, the Society’s managing director at the time of the Tabasco trial. It wasn’t a lost cause though – five years later, the executive head chef of The Dining Room at 28 Queen Street, James Freeman, found a use for the fiery sauce on some of his dishes, and the wonderfully-named Hotscotch was born.

A DOZEN GAME CHANGING SOCIETY DEVELOPMENTS

9


10

CASK CREATIVITY

10

A DOZEN GAME CHANGING SOCIETY DEVELOPMENTS

We may have started out by bottling whisky that was already mature, but we’ve also found ourselves free to seek out amazing flavours and grasp the opportunity to be more creative. That means developing our programme of additional maturation, carrying out our own contracted distillations, and managing the maturation of our own stocks of younger whiskies. Our focus on additional maturation has been bringing results with the incredible whiskies we’ve been able to bottle and we’ve been relishing the chance to work with a huge range of cask types from across the worlds of bourbon, sherry, wine, brandy, rum and beer, allowing us to nurture our stocks of whisky and offer our members both quality and diversity. Now the Society has started creating our own new-make spirit. We’re working with different distilleries to carry out distillations to bespoke production recipes and specifications, managing the maturation for future release to members.


11

KINDRED SPIRITS Our spirit of curiosity and doing things differently have inspired us to seek out the best single cask spirits from the non-whisky world as well, with our cognacs, armagnacs, rums and gins. Each one has been the result of a collaboration between the most creative and skilled distillers, a carefully selected team of category ambassadors who are experts in their fields, and our own Tasting Panel – which is always the final voice when it comes to assessing and approving a bottle to ensure quality.

TURN TO PAGE 20 TO READ MORE ABOUT CASK NO. BAT.9 – A SMALL BATCH BLENDED SINGLE MALT WHICH MADE USE OF SOME ARMAGNAC BARRELS FASHIONED FROM GASCON BLACK OAK.

12

BEYOND THE SINGLE CASK

The Society’s first love is for single cask whisky, bottled at cask strength, un-chillfiltered – whisky in its purest form, and always an absolute treat. Now we have developed a range of blended malts that has allowed us to grasp the opportunity to become even more imaginative in our pursuit of new flavour experiences. Even in this very Outturn, look out for ‘Black Oak’ blended malt: a single malt from refill Armagnac casks. Lookout for more intriguing blended malts and small-batch experiments in the future. An over-arching mark of quality will always be our driving force, the same as when we started out in 1983. As our founder Pip Hills tells us: “It’s the quality of the whisky that matters, not how that quality is produced.” Whatever you drink, we want you to think the same as we do – this is incredible stuff, and we can’t wait to share it.

Words by Richard Goslan for Unfiltered Magazine Edited by Matt Bailey

11


MALT OF THE MONTH In nearly 40 years, the expert tasting panel has selected only 19 casks of this distillery’s malt whisky to be offered up to members. Let’s celebrate the game changers with 80.19 Prickly pine cones and buttery scones, a single cask, single malt, cask strength wonder to savour in our Spicy & Dry profile. Rich, tingly, and with an incredible mouthfeel on this savoury and buttery release, it’s a fantastic cask for our March Malt of the Month.

PRICKLY PINE CONES AND BUTTERY SCONES

REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

1st fill bourbon hogshead

AGE

8 years

SPICY & DRY

DATE DISTILLED

16 January 2012

CASK NO. 80.19

OUTTURN

235 bottles

ABV

58.9%

REDUCED FROM $165

AUS ALLOCATION

60 bottles

Limit of one bottle per Member

The smell of soft exotic fruits and vanilla-scented blossom wafted through Highland pine forests, merging with aromas of pine needles and wood. A lively palate combined prickly ginger and lemon sherbet with the peppery warmth of chillies and nasturtium leaves before whipped cream arrived with jam and buttered scones. Water released a sweeter array of stewed rhubarb, raspberries and green apples along with sandalwood incense and orange liqueur. Strawberries, peaches and cherries combined with honeysuckle as cedarwood complimented lemongrass and lime. Flavours now brought a wave of bitter citrus oils over singed creme brûlée and butter biscuits before pine sap and birch bark bound to black coffee on the finish.

$145.00

12


13


NEW YORK VS CINCINNATI YOUNG & SPRITELY CASK NO. 82.27

$150.00

REGION

Highland

CASK TYPE

1st fill bourbon hogshead

AGE

7 years

DATE DISTILLED

6 November 2012

OUTTURN

235 bottles

ABV

63.9%

AUS ALLOCATION

60 bottles

Our panellists headed off in different directions – one smelled granola with honey and apricot yogurt, key lime pie and New York cheesecake and tasted toffee, butterscotch, Battenberg cake and vanilla ice-cream. A second identified aromas of Wotsits and Frazzles, balsamic-drizzled, bacon-wrapped dates, hay in a barn loft and a washing line – the taste for her was oak and leather (tack room memories), molasses, brown sugar, cinnamon and Cincinnati chilli. The third sniffed lemon zest, superglue, soot and char but tasted bubble gum, bananas, bitter citrus, camphor and wood dust. A curious, complex chimera capable of contrary commentary – what will you find?

REGION

Speyside

BIG FLAVOURS AHEAD

CASK TYPE

1st fill STR barrique

AGE

13 years

DATE DISTILLED

15 January 2007

SWEET, FRUITY & MELLOW

OUTTURN

226 bottles

CASK NO. 39.201

ABV

57.6%

AUS ALLOCATION

36 bottles

$199.00

CIAL SPE NISH FI

14

Aromas stepped forth with a confident display of ginger beer, apples and rich oranges, closely followed by herbal notes and hints of red wine. A warm spiciness coated the mouth with menthol as redcurrants and oak supported the wine theme. Water brought us fresh tones of pine forests and juicy fruits with mangos, peaches and lemon icing. Flavours now boldly bind strawberry liquorice and Demerara sugar to coconut and coffee as cranberries and raspberries merged with lemon rind and ground ginger on the finish. After spending 11 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead this was transferred to a first fill barrique for the remainder of its maturation.


REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

2nd fill bourbon barrel

AGE

11 years

DATE DISTILLED

29 January 2009

OUTTURN

235 bottles

ABV

56.7%

$190.00

AUS ALLOCATION

24 bottles

SOUPER TROOPER

REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

Refill bourbon barrel

AGE

16 years

SPICY & SWEET

DATE DISTILLED

9 June 2004

CASK NO. 44.134

OUTTURN

204 bottles

ABV

55.1%

AUS ALLOCATION

60 bottles

TONGUE NOR HEART CANNOT CONCEIVE SPICY & SWEET CASK NO. 6.43

$240.00

A sharp and vibrant nose initially, showing plenty of tart green apples, finger limes, chalk dust and torn mint leaves. Also hints of dried rosemary, peach syrup and some cracked black pepper. Punchy, fresh and vibrant. With water we found lemon drizzled sponge cake, runny honey, lime cordial and melted brown sugar. The palate opened with a silky texture and the flavour of soft mints, zinging citric acidity, white grape and softer notes of cinnamon bark and sandalwood. After reduction, we found a fattier and chewier dram, heightened in texture and with notes of dark cocoa, cake batter, honeydew melons and a big, warming undercurrent of spice.

We encountered initially a rather perfumed nose. All on new leather handbag, potpourri, white balsamic vinegar, chopped pistachios, aged white port, powder puff and rice pudding. Unusual but enthralling. Water brought out pineapple cubes, nutmeg, white jellybeans, red liquorice and freshly laundered linens. The palate was full of savoury barley broth, cantaloupe melon, lime jelly, camphor, rolling tobacco, menthol cough sweets, baking soda and sweet juniper. With water we found more savoury notes such as chicken noodle soup, ham terrine, dry spiced dates, spicy peanuts and then things like muesli with dark fruits, chalk and sponge cake. 15


VAULTS COLLECTION EARL GREY TEA TREE OIL OLD & DIGNIFIED

CASK NO. 38.27

$749.00 REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

2nd fill bourbon barrel

AGE

27 years

DATE DISTILLED

17 June 1992

OUTTURN

250 bottles

ABV

49.7%

AUS ALLOCATION 24 bottles

C D I S LO S E D TILL ERY

A delightfully perfumed nose COL VAUL conjured rose gardens and carnations L E C TS TIO with chamomile tea in a greenhouse N with ripe guava, melon and banana. Waves of complexity began to emerge as curious herbal cough syrup notes fused with a soft waxiness and putty. Herbal nuances followed onto an accomplished palate that displayed butterscotch and fudge alongside buttered crumpets and a touch of marmalade. Water brought a wonderful amalgamation of pineapple, mango and pears with aged riesling wine and Earl Grey tea. Medicinal flavours captured tea tree oil with lemon cough syrup and a superb combination of marzipan, walnuts and coconut husk on the long-lasting finish. 16


AVID FAN JUICY, OAK & VANILLA CASK NO. 1.233

$175.00

REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

1st fill bourbon barrel

AGE

7 years

DATE DISTILLED

13 December 2012

OUTTURN

211 bottles

ABV

62.4%

AUS ALLOCATION

48 bottles

A wonderfully opulent and generous nose, brimming with jellied fruits, apple sours, Advocaat liqueur, pooled fruit salad juices and tinned pineapple in syrup. Luscious and hugely inviting. Reduction brings a layered creaminess and an even balance between cereals, sunflower seeds and baking soda alongside wine gums, custard creams and a rather honeyed, aged riesling note. The mouth opens with fizzy rhubarb and custard sweets, green fruit syrups, cherry cola, root beer, strawberry laces, lime cordial and Turkish delight. A love letter to childhood confectionary. With water, there’s bitter citrus piths, spicy rye bread, dried tarragon, spiced fruit chutneys, tamarind paste and white truffle oil. The whole is earthier, deeper, drier and fatter. Banana chips, lemon barley water and malt extract. Terrifically textural and rich.

REGION

Lowland

CASK TYPE

2nd fill heavy toast medium char hogshead

AGE

15 years

JUICY, OAK & VANILLA

DATE DISTILLED

12 July 2005

CASK NO. G10.28

OUTTURN

164 bottles

ABV

60.4%

PUDDING FACEPLANT $200.00

AL SPECISH I N I F

AUS ALLOCATION 42 bottles The nose fidgeted with rice pudding, semolina, custard laced with dessert wine, strawberry jam and freshly sawn oak. Also, barley sugars, sun-warmed straw and rain-dampened forest. A little water and spearmint chewing gum emerged, along with pine sap and fragrant acetone. Further strawberry notes like strawberry laces and tarts. Also some nibbling wood spice. The mouth was powerful on arrival, full of cinnamon custard, star anise, tooth-coating sugars, foamy banana sweets and granola. With water it became more tropical with pineapple sherbet and coconut water, lemon bonbons and molten pear drops. Previously in a bourbon barrel for 11 years before being transferred to a second fill HTMC hogshead. 17


SEDUCTIVE SWEETNESS – TEASING SPICE

REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

1st fill bourbon barrel

AGE

18 years

DATE DISTILLED

12 March 2002

JUICY, OAK & VANILLA

OUTTURN

207 bottles

CASK NO. 24.145

ABV

57.8%

AUS ALLOCATION

24 bottles

$450.00

M MIU PRE T TLING BO

The nose gave us a cornucopia of fruits – stewed apples, sultanas, cantaloupe and orange. Mellifluous sweetness – honey, marzipan, treacle tart and deeper aromas of cinnamon, star anise and vanilla. The palate offered a balanced duality of full-on seductive sweetness; spun sugar, butterscotch, marrons glacés, Nutella, baked bananas and more platonic teasing hints of wood spice, mahogany, aftershave and tobacco – definitely complex. The reduced nose discovered beeswax furniture polish, pralines, foamy shrimps and raspberry sauce on ice-cream. The palate became somehow even more complex and more interesting – brown sugar, baklava and fruit syrup; then sweet oak, old leather and warming spices.

REGION

Campbeltown

SALTY BEACH TROUSERS

CASK TYPE

1st fill bourbon barrel

AGE

8 years

DATE DISTILLED

24 May 2012

OILY & COASTAL

OUTTURN

220 bottles

CASK NO. 93.147

ABV

59.2%

AUS ALLOCATION

30 bottles

$170.00

The initial nose was all sticky sweets rolling in a dusty fireplace. Bananas baked in tin foil, barbecue shrimps with chilli and seared pineapple chunks. This evolved into a more exotic sweetness of juicy fruit bubblegum and some crisp notes of pink apple. Some light hints of bonfire smoke, coal scuttle and an animalistic meatiness. Water added the freshness of wet morning glass, new leather and fresh linens flapping on a shore. The palate is mouth-coating and richly spicy. A petrol-accented thickness of texture and notes of pine, liquorice and bark. Water brings a creaminess to the texture with notes of ambrosia custard, sea salt, hints of birch tar and a smoky medical quality. 18


19


REGION

Islay

CASK TYPE

Refill bourbon hogshead

AGE

10 years

DATE DISTILLED

12 November 2009

OUTTURN

285 bottles

ABV

58.1%

$199.00

AUS ALLOCATION

30 bottles

AUTUMN LEAVES ON SMOULDERING BONFIRES

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

DR REELGOOD LIGHTLY PEATED CASK NO. 53.351

LIGHTLY PEATED CASK NO. 138.4

$250.00

20

The confected sweetness of Turkish delight and juicy fruit jellies combined with liquorice and wood ash as we reeled in a catch of smoked fish, crab claws and foam shrimp sweets. Then on the palate came abundant sweetness with vanilla and brioche bread with soft berry fruits and charred prawns. The doctor arrived with water and brought hints of hospital wards and iodine along with seaweed, nettles and soft cream soda. Returning back to the fish nets we found fresh sea breeze and sea buckthorn berries with a mellow refrain that merged vanilla custard with flamed grapefruit and sweetly smoked mackerel.

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.


NICE TO MEAT YOU PEATED CASK NO. 108.27

$160.00

REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

2nd fill bourbon barrel

AGE

7 years

DATE DISTILLED

24 August 2012

OUTTURN

226 bottles

ABV

66.3%

AUS ALLOCATION

24 bottles

Antiseptic sprayed on latex! The talcum powder puff of an inverted medical glove. Spun sugar laced with aniseed, curls of leafy bonfire smoke, burnt brisket ends, roast coffee beans and mutton broth spilled in a muddy changing room. Reduction gave us spicy pulled pork, hot smoked salmon, sizzling milk in a pan, malt vinegar and plain peat smoke with newspaper ashes. In the mouth, there were oodles of Elastoplast, salt and vinegar crisps, game salami, hot tar, anchovy paste and raw petrol mixed with salty rice cakes and black olives. Hints of wasabi cracker, miso and seawater. The reduced palate was full of ploughman’s pickle, smoked white fish, anthracite coals, industrial mouthwash, roof pitch, star anise and mercurochrome.

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

D CLOSELERY L I D I ST

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. 21


A BATCH BLENDED SINGLE MALT We believe that there is a symbiotic relationship between all Society spirits. This is realised through the sharing of casks to develop complex flavours and aromas. In the creation of this small batch single malt, we made use of some armagnac barrels fashioned from Gascon black oak (Society no’s A6.1 and A7.1) to further develop the fruity flavours of the whisky and add a French oak counterpoint to the American oak influence of first fill bourbon barrels. The result is an estery, sweet and spicy concoction, with perfumed notes and a silky texture.

22


BLACK OAK

REGION

Scotland

CASK TYPE

Refill Armagnac Gascon black oak barrels

AGE

8 years

SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY

DATE DISTILLED

26 October 2011

CASK NO. BAT.9

OUTTURN

1007 bottles

ABV

50.0%

$130.00

Limit of one bottle per Member

L SMAL H C BAT

AUS ALLOCATION 60 bottles Hugely hospitable aromas embraced oaky and toasty notes before a wave of sweetness delivered white chocolate on sponge cake. The soft fruits of apricots, banana and ripe pears mingled with heartwarming spice as ginger cake and pink peppercorns arrived. On the palate we found crumbled walnuts, hazelnuts and chocolate-covered Brazil nuts along with croissants, apple strudel and pain au chocolat. With water came an aromatic deluge of fragrant pears, orange blossom and apple orchards framed by chamomile tea and madeira cake. Milk chocolate-covered gingerbread fused with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice while caramel slowly filtered into black tea on the finish.

SUNSHINE TEA

REGION

Hawick

CASK TYPE

2nd fill bourbon barrel

DATE DISTILLED

4 June 2019

GIN

OUTTURN

273 bottles

CASK NO. GN3.11

ABV

50.2%

AUS ALLOCATION

24 bottles

$110.00

The citrus aspect was the most immediate and impressive upon first nosing. Lots of limeade, sherbet dib-dab, starfruit, meadowsweet and wee hints of wild thyme, fennel seed, bergamot and pine resin. With water we found bubblegum sorbet, watermelon and lemon barley water. Some fizzy sweet sourness keeping everything super fresh. The neat palate is full of synthetic strawberry sweets, drumstick lollies and some woody juniper notes. Some mineral touches and hints of chamomile tea. Water adds the warmth of cloves and dentist’s mouthwash, followed by more luscious sweetness of candied fruit peels, gorse flower and strawberry coulis. 23


Society Milestones Throughout the history of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, we’ve been game changers in the whisky world, changing the landscape one cask at a time. Here, Matt Bailey & Richard Goslan look at some of the milestones of the Society with a timeline of game changers!

1970s

1983

The Society started in the late 1970s. Pip Hills was visiting a farmer, who used to get barrels of whisky straight from a nearby distillery. The whisky would be filtered through a towel straight from the cask. Pip was amazed with the taste and gathered together a group of friends, who purchased a cask and filtered it directly into bottles in the lounge of a Scotland Street flat. The original group was quite a bohemian crowd, including actors Russell Hunter and Una McLean.

The Society was formed and The Vaults complex - in dire condition was sold to an unusual consortium, made up of Philip Hills (tax consultant), Russell Hunter (actor), W. Gordon Smith (writer), Ben Tindall (architect) and David Alison (contractor) for £40,000 March 1983: The Society bottles its first four whiskies from three different distilleries: 1.1, 1.2, 2.1 and 3.1

1984 24

Distilleries 4,5,6 join the SMWS and the membership skyrockets to 500. The first tastings take place for the Scotsman newspaper with cask 4.1 scoring 100% which generates some significant press coverage about the Society. Later this year, distilleries 7 through to 16 join up.


1985

The Society hits 1600 members and introduces distilleries 17, 18, 19, 20. A special tasting for the Scotsman Newspaper takes place and then later in the year, distilleries 21 and 22 join the Society. In November the SMWS bought half of the first floor of The Vaults, the large Victorian office at the south end of the building became our members’ room and the rest was furnished as offices, storage and packing premises. Distilleries 21-24 join in December.

1986 1987

1988

Distilleries 25-34 are all part of the fabric now with nearly 3,000 members enjoying regular quarterly releases of single cask whisky. Distilleries are still unsure who would want to buy Membership hits a milestone of 5,000 and distillery codes 35 through to 50 all join the Society’s vision. In October the Society won the Leith Enterprise Trust Award, which came to them for the most innovative and successful new business in the area. It gained them a celebratory cup, plus a welcome £500 that helped them continue their renovations, this time of their front yard, which got a new landscaped sitting area. In that same month came the opening of the Vaults members’ room: It “will serve as a sort of club room where people can sip a dram, sit by the fire, chat to each other or do a crossword” and host special whisky tastings. The first tastings in London take place this year to great success with plans to do more. Introduction of Bushmills distillery to the Society as code 51, marking the first Irish whiskey to join the ranks. Member outrage ensues as their beloved ‘Scotch whisky’ club dares to bottle something from the Irish. Membership hits 10,000. Distilleries 51-57 all join the Society this year as well, just in time for the 5th birthday celebrations of the club. Special releases from the first three distilleries all marked and released for the 5th birthday.

1989 1990

Codes 58-78 all enrol throughout 1989 and the Vaults member rooms open in May. A few members dismayed they now have to actually pay for whisky by the dram when they were just getting used to all the free-flowing drams!

Distilleries 79-89 all brought on board. 25


1991

Distilleries 90-95 all join up.

1992

Distilleries 96-100 all on board now and a special 100th distillery milestone bottling with 100.1 is released.

1993

A big year for the Society celebrating the 10th anniversary of the club and a letter from the Chairman at the time quoting verbatim: “You may recall that some time ago, we announced that we intended to bottle the four whiskies with which the Society started ten years ago. The motives for this were unclear and a bit mixed, as are all such anniversary celebrations. However, it seemed like a good idea, so here goes. (The Society started from a similarly good idea: I assume that, being a member, you agree that it was a good idea.) Anyway, we have bottlings of Glenfarclas, Bowmore, Highland Park and Glenlivet coming up in the next Newsletter and we are confident that those of you who try them will concur with us in judging, after a decade, that in fact it was a good idea in the first place.” 1993 was also the year when distilleries 101-104 joined up, but more importantly the first foundations of new branches of the Society set up in France, Japan and the USA.

1994 1995 1997 1998 26

The introduction of distilleries 105-108, along with the formation of the new Swiss branch of the Society.

Distilleries 109-111 all being bottled now.

Along with distillery 112 joining up, the Society came across some very old and rare malts that deserved some extra recognition. Today they would likely be Vaults Collection releases, but back then were called ‘Old Masters Collection’ and were quite pricey and released sporadically over two years.

The Society initially hosted tastings in London in Old Cumberland House, Café Royal and The Crypt. A property came up in Bleeding Heart Yard, which was offered to the Society and they took on the lease in 1998. Distillery 113 joins.


1999

The Italian branch opens, and the official opening of the London Members’ Room at 19 Greville Street, Farringdon on 20 July 1999.

2000

The Society introduces distillery 115.

2001

The 18th anniversary of the Society.

2002

John Rourke and Andre Tammes form the Australian branch of the Society. Also that same year was the release of casks 116.1 & 116.2, the first ever Japanese whiskies from the Society. Their quality excellent, their reception by members not so much. Members tore up membership cards, outrage at “nonScotch whisky”.

2003

The Society bottles its first ever ‘vatted malt’, and bottles the 100th cask from distillery 1, making it the first distillery to hit 100 casks approved by panel. A project bottling called ‘The Last Drop’ is released which is the remains of sample bottles finished in a port cask, an experiment never repeated. Distilleries 117 & 118 join the Society.

2004 2005

The SMWS becomes part of the Glenmorangie group of companies with the casks and office staff now based out of Broxburn. A much wider variety of whisky and cask types opens up and nothing changed for members in the end. The new member rooms at 28 Queen St Edinburgh opens in the Spring. Distilleries 119-122 now on board.

The Society starts the ’26 Malts’ project and introduces distilleries 123 and 124. The 100th cask from distillery 4 is released. Andrew Derbidge and Chris Barnes join the Australian branch’s Board of Directors in late 2005.

27


2006 2008

First ever grain whisky ‘G’ code bottled by the Society. Suzy Tawse joins the Australian team.

The 25th anniversary of the SMWS takes off with celebratory events around the UK. A new ‘broad-shouldered’ bottle design and label is introduced. Unfiltered Magazine launches with a 36-page issue for members. The Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championship is relaunched and hosted by the Society.

2009 2010 2012

First bottling from distillery 126.

Distilleries 127-128 join the Society, marking the first Welsh whisky bottled.

First bottling from distillery 129 at 5 years old. The Society takes out the Independent Bottler of the Year. The Australian branch celebrates their 10th anniversary with a series of experiences and a special bottling of 33.119 A gumtree bonfire barbecue on the beach.

2013

Distilleries 130-132 all released and become instant cult classics.

2015

The Society is sold by Glenmorangie group to a private consortium, bringing it back into independent ownership. Matt Bailey joins the Australian team.

2016 28

Winners of the Independent Bottler of the Year Award for Campbeltown, plus 20 other awards.


2017 2018

The Single Cask Spirits collection is launched with a stronger focus on rum, Cognac, Armagnac, and gin. The Society’s first (proper) blended malt is released as Exotic Cargo, a special project that took a decade to make. 2017 also saw the release of the first Vaults Collection releases with Casks 25.70 and 24.129. The first release from distilleries 133 & 134, and the Society again wins Independent Bottler of the Year. The 35th anniversary celebrations of the SMWS. The Society joins the Scotch Whisky Research Institute, the leading industry Scotch whisky research body. First releases from distillery 135.

2019 2020 2021

Distilleries 136-142 all released.

The impact of Coronavirus sees the Society adapt and expand the online offering both in education and entertainment with virtual tastings, livestreams, and more to read than ever.

We look forward to an incredible year ahead of new milestones! By Matt Bailey

29


Events MELBOURNE

SOL

DO

MELBOURNE WHISKY CRUISE

UT

Sail up the Yarra for our hugely anticipated sunset whisky cruise. All whisky, beer, and good vibes provided and best costume wins an award on the day.

ADELAIDE GAME CHANGERS

Adelaide, let’s get back into the swing of it for our first in-person event of the year, exploring game changers in whisky and flavours to truly dig into at the Gilbert Hotel.

SATURDAY 27 MARCH, 4.00PM

FRIDAY 26 MARCH, 6.00 FOR 6.30PM

Federation Wharf, Melbourne Host: Matt Bailey, National Ambassador

The Gilbert Hotel, 88 Gilbert St, Adelaide Host: Jenny Forrest, SA Manager

SYDNEY

CANBERRA

We’re back! In-person events in Sydney return after a short hiatus and we’re back with a bang for 2021 in the Royal Automobile Club for an evening of game changers. All whisky, entertainment and supper provided.

ACT members rejoice, the STEPS format is back! A choose-your-own adventure of drams and good times where you grab your tokens, your menu, and make your way around the the room meeting members, talking great whisky, and learning from the table ambassadors!

SYDNEY GAME CHANGERS

FRIDAY 12 MARCH, 6.30 FOR 7.00PM The Royal Automobile Club, 89 Macquarie St Sydney Host: Andrew Derbidge, Cellarmaster & NSW Manager

CANBERRA STEPS!

FRIDAY 26 MARCH, 6.00 FOR 6.30PM National Press Club 16 National Circuit, Barton ACT Host: Drew McKinnie, ACT Manager

BRISBANE

PERTH

QLD members rejoice, we’re back at Malt Dining on Friday 19 March for one of the most popular formats of ‘Challenge the Panel’. A fun flavourled full tasting with supper for 20 x guests. Come challenge the panel and discover flavour!

Join Jason Davies at Billie H, our exciting new Partner Bar in Claremont WA, as we welcome back the return of real in-person tastings! Some amazing drams will be on pour in the fun, relaxed environment of the bar. Let’s catch up for a long-overdue gathering.

CHALLENGE THE PANEL

FRIDAY 19 MARCH, 6.30 FOR 7.00PM

30

ADELAIDE

WELCOME BILLIE H!

Malt Dining, 28 Market St, Brisbane Host: Scott Mansfield, QLD Manager

THURSDAY 22 APRIL, 6.00 FOR 6.30PM

To book in for an event, please visit our website or contact our office: SMWS.COM.AU/EVENTS

All event listings are considered final, however may change at short notice due to evolving restrictions. Please keep an eye on our website for detail and updates.

Billie H. Bistro & Bar, 34 St Quentin Ave, Claremont Host: Jason Davies, WA Manager


JOIN US LIVE! SATURDAY 20 MARCH 7:00PM AEDT

The

Game

Virtual Tasting

changers

To celebrate a whisky club that has been pushing the envelope and changing the way whisky is approached for nearly 40 years, March is all about game changers. To celebrate this, we’d love for you to join us – no matter where you reside – for a game changing, virtual tasting from the comfort of your living room. We’ll explore 5 x new and intriguing single casks from the Society spanning origins and the future!

SATURDAY 20 MARCH, 7:00PM AEDT CASK 51.20 | SMOOSHED SHAMROCKS AND GOOSEBERRY GUEUZE | SWEET, FRUITY & MELLOW CASK 44.134 | SOUPER TROOPER | SPICY & SWEET CASK 29.275 | ROAMING IN THE GLOAMING | DEEP, RICH & DRIED FRUITS CASK 1.233 | AVID FAN | JUICY, OAK & VANILLA CASK BAT.10 | SPICE CANNON | BLENDED MALT

Join us live on Saturday 20 March at 7:00pm AEDT, or anytime later at your own leisure. Follow along on our YouTube channel or Facebook group, and bring your questions and comments!

VIRTUAL TASTING SET $99*

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.

31


LANDING NOW SMWS.COM.AU

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

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

@SMWS_AUSTRALIA

AUSTRALIANSMWS

SMWS_AUS

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