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Outturn Unearth: Friday 1 May Issue 05, 2020

FIND YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL Let’s go flavour hunting... join us for an enjoyable exploration as we delve into this wildly diverse selection of new casks – a whopping 24 of them!

BURROW DOWN AT SMWS.COM.AU


CONTENTS Sanitise and Soldier on Matt Bailey, National Ambassador . .......................................................................................... 4 Festival bottlings Bring the festival to your home .................................................................................................... 5 Drink the whisky, not the Kool-Aid Six top tips from Alex Moores, State Manager, Victoria . ............................................. 12 Malts of the Month Cask 64.114 Exuberant bounty of fruit ................................................................................... 16 Cask 53.317 Burial at sea................................................................................................................. 18

MEGA MAY BOTTLINGS SPICY & DRY

YOUNG & SPRITELY Cask No. 113.24 Attack of the killer florists! ................................................ 28

Cask No. 1.218 Dessert triptych : hessian meringue .............................

31

DEEP, RICH & DRIED FRUITS

SWEET, FRUITY & MELLOW Cask No. 64.114 (Malt of the Month) Exuberant bounty of fruit ................................................. 16

Cask No. 35.254 (Festival bottling) Pure decadence ...........................................................................

6

Cask No. 10.180 Westering Rhone . ................................................................... 28

Cask No. 7.233 (Festival bottling) A syrupy sweet tale of romance .......................................

6

Cask No. 10.188 (Festival bottling) New acquaintance ....................................................................

8

SPICY & SWEET Cask No. 6.36 The hills are alive...with the sound of muesli ........

29

Cask No. 9.174 Strawberry jalapeno ice cream ..................................... 29

Cask No. BAT.7 The Big Swirl ............................................................................. 35

OLD & DIGNIFIED Cask No. 29.268 (Festival bottling) Essence of Gelfling ....................................................................

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What’s your flavour animal? Match your taste preferences to find out!............................................................................... 20 Single cask recipes Feel like getting creative with your dram? ............................................................................ 24 An experimental expression Cask BAT.6 The Beachcomber...................................................................................................... 34 Cellarmaster’s Note Andrew Derbidge.................................................................................................................................. 38 Events Check out the details of our virtual tasting and festival tasting set......................... 39

ALL NEW RELEASES WILL BE AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE ONLINE OR BY PHONE FROM MIDDAY AEST ON FRIDAY 1ST MAY JUICY, OAK & VANILLA Cask No. 26.136 Candy floss and carousels . ..................................................

LIGHTLY PEATED

31

OILY & COASTAL

Cask No. 93.121 Slubbing Billy and spotted dick ..................................... 32

PEATED

Cask No. 52.32 (Festival bottling) Highly entertaining! ................................................................

7

Cask No. 29.270 (Festival bottling) Collateral drammage .............................................................

10

Cask No. 93.128 (Festival bottling) Smoke and smugglers ............................................................

7

Cask No. 33.139 (Festival bottling) You would not believe! ...........................................................

10

Cask No. BAT.6 (Heresy bottling) The Beachcomber ................................................................... 34

Cask No. 53.319 (Festival bottling) Back to the suture ......................................................................

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Cask No. 53.317 (Malt of the Month) Burial at sea ..................................................................................

18

GIN & COGNAC Cask No. GN3.3 Makes the medigin go down . .......................................... 36 Cask No. LRB1 (Heresy bottling) A trifle delightful ..................................................................... 36

Cask No. 137.6 The garden shed of England . ............................................ 32

HEAVILY PEATED Cask No. 10.19 (Festival bottling) Make moine a devil! .................................................................

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SANITISE AND SOLDIER ON! We are truly living in enigmatic times. Challenges to all of humanity we’ve never seen in our lifetime. We are hoping all of our members, your families, and your extended circles of friends and colleagues are all safe and maintaining that ‘social distancing’ we have all been doing. This Outturn is somewhat a reflection of what’s going on at the moment here and around the world. Whether you’re reading this online, or on a printed copy in your hand, you’ll notice this issue is noticeably thicker than your usual Outturn, and purposefully so. We wanted you to have not only a massive selection of casks leading into the Winter months at your disposal, but also some great things to read, written by our team members. There are some whisky-based recipes to indulge in, some top tips when making your next whisky purchase, and of course a read-through our whisky festival releases which you’ll spot in this issue. It’s truly sad to hear that the whisky festivals that normally take place in May each year in Scotland are no longer going ahead, but that’s really what’s best to keep this virus from spreading. However, the cogs of having our festival releases ready to release at the festivals had already started turning

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well before the Covid came to town, so we’re using this opportunity for you to enjoy the festival at home with the full list of festival bottlings available in this Outturn, along with a special livestream festival tasting kit on the events page. And of course, this month we’re amping up not just good reading material to enjoy while dramming and all the festival releases, but two malts of the month, and a slew of other great casks to chew into. Winter is coming, festivals can be enjoyed at home with a stream I’m hosting, and we encourage you to keep connecting with the wider Society community, at a distance, and enjoy great single casks. Slàinte,

Matt Bailey ~ SMWS National Ambassador

CO WITHNNECT MATT bail ey@ sm

@sm ws.com ws_ . mat au t


BRINGING THE FESTIVAL TO YOUR HOME E

ach year in Scotland there are celebrations of all things whisky. Kicking off in May, there’s the Highland festival, Spirit of Speyside festival, the Campbeltown Malts festival, and The Islay Festival (better known as Feis Ile). A true celebration of malts, music, community and camaraderie. The Society has been integral to these festivals as a major partner for years and bottles some of the most incredible examples of whisky to celebrate the fact.

ND HLAVAL G I H ST I FE

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As you might have heard by now, all these spectacular festivals have been cancelled or postponed for the year in light of Covid-19 and community safety. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the festivals the best we can from the comfort and safety of our homes. So for May Outturn we’re proudly releasing the entire selection of festival bottlings available to us, and hosting another virtual tasting for our members with a festival sample set available to grab in this Outturn (see page 39). All Festival releases will be limited to one bottle per Member for the first two weeks from May 1st, to ensure that all members have an equal footing to access some of these special releases. From May 15th onwards, Members are able to purchase further Festival bottlings subject to availability of stock. For two of the Festival bottlings with limited availability, Cask 29.268 Essence of Gelfling and Cask 33.139 You would not believe!, bottles will be allocated via a ballot process. To enter the ballot, please email your name, delivery address and membership number to ballot@smws.com.au with the cask number(s) you are interested in (again, a limit of one bottle per cask number). Closing date for entries: Friday 8th May at midday AEST. Successful entrants will be notified by 3pm AEST on Friday 8th May at which time the order will be processed. Good luck!

FESTIVAL VIRTUAL TASTING Friday 29th May, 7pm Live on YouTube and Facebook Festival sample set details on page 39.

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AL TIVLINGS S E F TT BO

PURE DECADENCE DEEP, RICH & DRIED FRUITS CASK NO. 35.254

$199.00

REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

New oak heavy char puncheon

AGE

10 years

DATE DISTILLED

10 March 2008

OUTTURN

594 bottles

ABV

63.9%

AUS ALLOCATION

30 bottles

Limit of one bottle per member until May 15

E YS I D SPE STIVAL FE

SP FIN ECIAL ISH

The undiluted aromas felt like pure decadence, with black treacle dripping off a scone, brandy butter and gooey dark chocolate brownies, and lashings of honey. One panellist honed in on memories of plums soaked in Armagnac. The taste started off with a blast of spicy heat but soon relaxed into linguine with a garlic langoustine sauceserved with a drizzle of truffle oil and chestnut mushrooms. Water added leather & toffee notes, ripe cherries and slices of blood orange sorbet while on the palate now a sweet nuttiness, hot chocolate with cinnamon whipped cream and plenty of marshmallows and a solera gran reserva Spanish brandy de Jerez. After nine years in an ex-oloroso butt we transferred this whisky into a new oak, heavily charred puncheon.

A SYRUPY SWEET TALE OF ROMANCE DEEP, RICH & DRIED FRUITS CASK NO. 7.233

$225.00

Limit of one bottle per member until May 15

E YS I D SPE STIVAL FE

REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

1st fill Sherry butt

AGE

13 years

DATE DISTILLED

30 January 2006

OUTTURN

564 bottles

ABV

62.3%

AUS ALLOCATION

30 bottles

‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever’ – and you will recognise it when you see, smell and taste this one. A sherry monster – yes, but with all the delicacy and subtleties of a velvet glove. On the palate neat, one thousand and one nuances of oak from sweet to bone dry, elegant, smooth – a gentle giant just sheer class! Maybe use a pipette for one tear (pure joy) drop of water and you will be on a flying carpet riding into a moonlit night sharing pruneaux d’Agen, a rare plum stuffed with sweet moist prune puree making it soft and juice – utterly delicious! 6


OILY & COASTAL CASK NO. 52.32

$199.00

Limit of one bottle per member until May 15

ND HLA HIG STIVAL FE

Highland

CASK TYPE

1st fill bourbon hogshead

AGE

12 years

DATE DISTILLED

21 March 2007

OUTTURN

245 bottles

ABV

58.2%

AUS ALLOCATION

30 bottles

AL TIV NGS FES TTLI BO

HIGHLY ENTERTAINING!

REGION

We found ourselves near the coast starting with harvesting barley fields by the sea, tarry ropes at the end of a pier and ocean waves crashing on rocks. The taste was like Dublin Bay prawns with langoustines and crab claws prepared with extra virgin olive oil, fresh chopped parsley and a pinch of rock salt. With a dash of water we were making a Thai sweet chilli sauce while at the same time crispy butter toffee and fresh wasabi peas using sweet rice wine, rice vinegar and dry mustard powder. On the palate a sweet and salty honey nut party snack – highly entertaining!

SMOKE AND SMUGGLERS OILY & COASTAL CASK NO. 93.128

$249.00

Limit of one bottle per member until May 15

TOW BEL

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REGION

Campbeltown

CASK TYPE

Refill bourbon hogshead

AGE

17 years

DATE DISTILLED

6 May 2002

OUTTURN

213 bottles

ABV

54.9%

AUS ALLOCATION

24 bottles

Puffs of smoke from charred wood joined the viscous aromas of oil lamps as driftwood crackled beneath oysters and razor clams. Burnt banana and toffee combined into elements of cough syrup as the flavours evolved through tobacco, ash and molasses. Water brought about juicy lobster claws and honey roast pork belly served with tarragon and sweet potatoes fried in butter. Barbequed prawns emerged from their shells whilst roasted chestnuts arrived with praline and a touch of salt. On the finish notes of liquorice joined digestive biscuits and seaweed as lost barrels floated out to sea. 7


AL TIVLINGS S E F TT BO

NEW ACQUAINTANCE DEEP, RICH & DRIED FRUITS CASK NO. 10.188

$230.00

REGION

Islay

CASK TYPE

Refill Sherry butt

AGE

14 years

DATE DISTILLED

25 November 2004

OUTTURN

489 bottles

ABV

62.5%

AUS ALLOCATION

24 bottles

Limit of one bottle per member until May 15

ILE FEISTIVAL FES

A collective ‘oooohhhh...’ then awed hush from the Panel as we encountered mushroom-accented cough mixtures before a big enveloping hug of old school, oxidative sherry. Touches of aged sherry vinegar, bitter chocolate, damp earthen floored dunnage, pipe tobacco, hessian, lamp oil, game meats and Dundee cake. A curtain of luscious rancio drawn across everything. Add water and there’s dates, prune juice, sooty chimney dust, beef stock, miso broth, very old balsamic, strawberry laces, pinecones, petrichor, trampled ferns and blackcurrant cordial. Some pickled walnuts and bitter espresso too. The mouth is divine! Old salty solera wood, bitter herbal essences, cumin powder, rye bread, ginger and nibbling tannins. With water there’s mole sauce, robust nuttiness, the salinity of surf-washed pebbles, green walnut wine, herbal medicines, caramelised brown sugars, tarragon and celery salts. Pure, filthily wonderful, old-style sherried perfection!

ESSENCE OF GELFLING

ILE FEISTIVAL FES

OLD & DIGNIFIED CASK NO. 29.268

$599.00

Limit of one bottle per member until May 15. Ballot entry bottling.

REGION

Islay

CASK TYPE

2nd fill Pedro Ximenez hogshead

AGE

22 years

DATE DISTILLED

26 November 1996

OUTTURN

243 bottles

ABV

50.0%

AUS ALLOCATION

18 bottles

PR BO EMIU TTL M ING SP FIN ECIAL ISH

An old Belgian farmhouse ale at first nosing. Plentiful notes of hot ceramics, Wensleydale with apricot chunks, engine oil, toolboxes, medical embrocations and gorse flowers by the sea. Things like wood sap, camphor, salted game meats and (eventually) emerging tropical aspects such as passion fruit, lime zest, wildflowers and citrus infused furniture waxes. With reduction there’s an explosion of exoticism. Green banana, papaya, star fruit, guava, melon and then vegetable broth, miso, sourdough and the fragile smokiness of Earl Grey tea. Some saline aged oloroso, sandalwoods and red fruit throat sweets. The mouth is liquified cough sweets, ancient medicines and aged herbal liqueurs. Wood char, dried mango chunks and orange cocktail bitters all mixed up with salted caramel and pistachio nuts. Water lifts out smoked cereals, tiger balm, iodine tablets, pastis and dried seaweed crackers. Matured for 20 years in a bourbon hogshead before being transferred to a second-fill PX hogshead. 8


AL TIV NGS FES TTLI BO

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AL TIVLINGS S E F TT BO

COLLATERAL DRAMMAGE PEATED CASK NO. 29.270

$220.00

Limit of one bottle per member until May 15

REGION

Islay

CASK TYPE

2nd fill bourbon barrel

AGE

8 years

DATE DISTILLED

15 June 2011

OUTTURN

216 bottles

ABV

58.8%

AUS ALLOCATION

30 bottles

ILE FEISTIVAL FES

A surprisingly mature and confected nose full of pink peppercorn warmth then foam shrimps, crab sticks, hot langoustines, freshly chopped herbs and dazzling medicinal sharpness. There’s a wee exotic aspect such as lemon and ripe mango, along with barley water, smoked herbal teas and freshly baked, salty bread. A splash of water brings out rosemary, black and green olives, lemon juice, farmyard, soy sauce, smoked sea salt and kiln smoke. The palate opens with a superbly textural swoosh of tar, seawater, mineral salts and a gutsy, rough and ready medical splurge. Some crushed aspirin, bath bombs, cod liver oil and scented beach flowers. Reduction brings a sluice of olive oil mixed with brine, raw antiseptic, iodine drops, TCP, kippers, a lick of sweet vanilla, tar liqueur and a rather rustic, gentian-flecked peatiness.

YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE! PEATED CASK NO. 33.139

$395.00

Limit of one bottle per member until May 15. Ballot entry bottling.

REGION

Islay

CASK TYPE

2nd fill Oloroso butt

AGE

12 years

DATE DISTILLED

24 May 2007

OUTTURN

603 bottles

ABV

61.3%

AUS ALLOCATION

18 bottles

M MIU PRE TTLING BO ILE FEISTIVAL FES

A coiled, almost simmering aroma of smoked bramble liqueur, red liquorice, fruity black coffee and angelica root. There’s also cinnamon bark, fennel seed, maraschino cherry juices, squid ink, pasta water, dried herbs and roasted walnuts. Dark, murky and full of alluring siren calls. With water there’s molten Turkish delight, hazelnut liqueur, cherry kirsch, toasted pine cones, green pepper, waxed canvas and Elastoplast drizzled with hot tar. Some exotic grilled pineapple chunks over sizzling coals. The palate is like sarsaparilla syrups and homemade birch beer. Salted Dutch liquorice, spiced shrimp croquettes, aged tar liqueurs and 1950s herbal bitters. Some mysterious dark rums cut with iodine drops, cough medicines and burnt brown sugar. Reduction offers smoked breads, burnt heather, shilling ales, Marmite on burnt toast, dried apricots, bitter orange marmalade with coriander seed and juniper. Chewing a clove for toothache on a pirate ship! The finish rolls out on waves of sooty lemon cough drops, barley water and tarry rope. 10


PEATED CASK NO. 53.319

$229.00

Limit of one bottle per member until May 15

ILE FEISTIVAL FES

AL TIV NGS FES TTLI BO

BACK TO THE SUTURE

REGION

Islay

CASK TYPE

Refill bourbon hogshead

AGE

13 years

DATE DISTILLED

18 July 2006

OUTTURN

261 bottles

ABV

58.2%

AUS ALLOCATION

42 bottles

A hearty fusion of cough syrups and peated armagnac! Add to this lemon-infused olive oil, sardines in brine and many surreptitious hospital aromas peeping around the corner. A trip to the body shop (car and human variety), WD40 sprayed over an oyster, fish sauce and Thai basil, then a smouldering pot of kedgeree smothered in lashings of petrol. Water gives it a rather botanical set of aromatics, smouldering flowers, grist, smoked cereals, star anise, jasmine tea, asparagus soup and medicated Vegemite. The palate opens with a blast of anthracite smoke, lime essence and an all-out assault of medicine, tinctures and ointments. Disinfectant soaked bandages swaddle the tongue! Some farmy cider apples and smoked salty mead notes. Waters gives us oily sheep wool, smoked peaches, raw seawater, malt vinegarsoaked newspaper and lemon-tinged disinfectant. Mighty stuff!

MAKE MOINE A DEVIL! HEAVILY PEATED CASK NO. 10.190

$179.00

Limit of one bottle per member until May 15

REGION

Islay

CASK TYPE

2nd fill Oloroso butt

AGE

6 years

DATE DISTILLED

17 October 2013

OUTTURN

616 bottles

ABV

61.1%

AUS ALLOCATION

36 bottles

ILE FEISTIVAL FES

There’s mountains of silage, freshly poured bitumen, boilers belching smoke, molten tar erupts from a gnarled peat bog and winged demons season the land with black pepper and slices of spicy salami while noshing down smouldering jeroboams of pickled onion Space Raiders! With a water comes a tidal surge of briny disinfectant, peat bricks are bobbing about the inside of your car while the engine bursts into flames and molten putty oozes from the dashboard. The sky opens and down comes an apocalyptic rain of petrol and kippers. The Devil’s sherry bodega is open for business! As you drown your mouth floods with kipper eau de vie, burnt pencils, oozing mechanical oils, a stray bicycle inner tube and globules of iodine-laced paraffin wax. Some water dilutes things to reveal an ocean of soot, molten tractor fumes, olive tapenade cut with malt vinegar and flaming farmyard peat embers. The finish is long and tinged with the end of the world!

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DRINK THE WHISKY, NOT THE KOOL-AID BY ALEX MOORES

At the genesis of the Society, Pip Hills met with Russell Sharp at the Horseshoe Bar in Glasgow, a place that is still operational and a roaring good time from firsthand experience. The then-head chemist at Chivas Bros said to our founder that while he supported the idea of an independent bottling syndicate, it would be thwarted by the fact that distilleries would never allow their names (which were also registered trademarks) to be used on another company’s bottles. The rest is history, but the iconic Society Code system was born.

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t was probably less seminal in 1983 when cask strength single malt was an infinitesimally small category, but the welcome side effect of this move was a pure innovation, the concept of blind tasting by the bottle. The Society Code was just a title for the release, an anonymising tool to draw attention to what was important, i.e. the taste. For Society members, the focus became about the liquid, not the brand, and on the early bottle labels even the cask type was not provided. Whisky was poured, shared and enjoyed regardless of where it originated. Fast forward to present day, where we are not all so innocent, and a new variable emerged to change the game: The rise of the cult distillery.

Let me make it clear at the outset, there is nothing wrong with a distillery achieving cult status within the whisky community. 12

Most of the time, the cult following stems from a genuine quality that the distillery possesses, or at least possessed at one point in time. Good whisky is good whisky, end of story. But it is easy to get swept away with the groupthink that can surround certain distilleries, and in doing so miss the absolute gems that get overlooked purely because they don’t have the pedigree of other whiskies being released at the same time. This is particularly true of new players entering the single malt scene, who are faced with a very different opening field to those in 1983. It is worth taking a brief pause to examine why some distilleries have obtained this cult following and others have not, and in most cases it comes down to the most basic of economic principles.


First, there is the first mover advantage. If you are reading this article then you are no doubt a single malt whisky enthusiast, but it is easy to forget that single malt has a very tumultuous past and even now accounts for a very small percentage of the whisky, let alone global spirits, industry. Those distilleries that were releasing single malt earlier, Distillery 2 as but one such producer, have had more time to enter people’s consciousness and establish themselves as iconic brand identities somewhat synonymous with single malt. If a distillery has done nothing but produced spirit for blended whisky since they were built, it is unlikely they will be a household name. Second, as Winston Churchill once said (he didn’t really), “marketing, marketing, it’s all about marketing”. The story that a distillery is able to tell is key to their success. All those who want to be popular will make a fuss about the cleanliness of their water, purity of their surroundings, quality of their barley and provenance of their casks. If you already have a foothold in the market, it is easier to get this message to your audience and grow it. However, if your story is very good and well told, you don’t need the lineage to become cult, with Distillery 129 as a good example. Give the people what they want, you’ve got to please the fans, and nine times out of ten that can be done just by concentrating on putting excellent whisky in each bottle. Third, something that was entirely unheard of in 1983 are the concepts of brand ambassadors and visitors’ experience. The well-established single malt producers, and then eventually the corporate entities behind those lesser known distilleries as well, began engaging disciples to spread the good word and generate the fervor. With this came special festival celebrations such as for Distillery 33, formalised fan clubs by the likes of Distillery 29 and Distillery 121, and global brand ambassador networks by the good folk at Distillery 15 and Distillery 40. These huge value-adds to the drinking experience help engage and retain the vast followings of these distilleries. Although Pip would likely

correct me on this application, they have a pronounced effect on the zeitgeist and this view of whisky shapes whisky’s place in our communities. All of what has been said so far applies equally to distillery bottlings and independent bottlings. There is one important additional factor when it comes to the cult status of independent bottlings. As a distillery grows in popularity and therefore demand, the independent bottlers generally have less access to the spirit. So, then, that distillery bottled by an independent bottler gets a cult status of its own. You only need to look at the website crashing power of a Distillery 24, Distillery 27 or Distillery 139 release to see the power of scarcity in action. Those entering the whisky world today often believe that they have missed a golden era of available and affordable malts or have arrived too late to see the development of the market. This is true in some senses, but the last five to ten years has been about the growing cult of distillery personality and we are all living it together. Rising to new levels of prestige are whiskies such as Distillery 3, Distillery 4 and Distillery 44. Within the Society in particular, expressions from Distillery 10, Distillery 37 and Distillery 76 attract increasing attention. It wasn’t so long ago that seeing too many of these releases in an Outturn was cause for complaint, and you couldn’t give away whisky from Distillery 116, Distillery 119 and Distillery 132. All this has changed in very recent memory. I have to reiterate, cult distilleries and particularly the releases from those distilleries bottled by the Society are predominantly excellent whiskies and I do not intend to besmirch the liquid merely because of its popularity. The moral of the story is simply to be aware of the phenomenon and expand your horizons beyond it. Be guided by the light, not blinded by it. With that in mind, over the page is my list of top tips to consider when looking at buying a bottle from a cult distillery rather than an alternative bottling... 13


Six top tips to consider when looking at buying a bottle from a cult distillery rather than an alternative bottling:

1 2 3

DO YOUR RESEARCH. All distilleries have been through many changes, and the Distillery 23 of 1974 is very different to the same distillery of 2005. Even if you buy on the name because it is usually to your preference, go a level deeper and quest to find out what that name meant when that spirit was made, re-racked and bottled, because all these stages are vitally important. It is worth doing for no other reason than it is fun to learn, but it will also indicate some of the other distilleries you may like to try next and connections you didn’t know existed. WORK OUT WHAT YOU LIKE. Distilleries produce a variety of spirit in a variety

of casks, especially for more modern expressions. Look at what flavour profiles you are in the mood for and seek it out from something other than the same distilleries each time you reach for a dram (the Society’s twelve Flavour Profiles can help you here). For example, Distillery 93 can be quite peated or light and floral, and you may be in the mood for a particular style. When drinking a dram, you usually want the flavours and characteristics to suit the situation, so consider this when matching to food or your environment. That said, I personally always take a bourbon cask Distillery 53 when fishing.

RARE DOES NOT MEAN GOOD. There are two forms of rare; closed distilleries and limited editions. Just because something is scarce does not mean it is good (although it certainly can be), and it definitely doesn’t mean it will be to your palate. This does not mean you should avoid the likes of Distillery 47 and Distillery 90, quite the opposite, but don’t lose sight of those still up and running. It’s also useful to remember that with the Society, everything is a limited edition, so it doesn’t matter whether there’s the output of Distillery 136 or Distillery 77, each bottling is a rare treat.

Remembering that it is all subjective and there are no right answers, here are my “ones to watch” when bottled by the Society that you may have overlooked. Often blinded by the alluring peat of Islay or Distillery 42, one excellent spirit you may be missing is Distillery 66 with wellbalanced Highland peat. Some members may not know a single distillery is responsible for the bottlings from Distillery 112, Distillery 122 and Distillery 135 as they differ in style and creation enough to warrant unique codes, and are generally very curious drams. A few of the wonderful Speyside gems that are Distillery 64, Distillery 71 and Distillery 85 get passed over in favour of those that have been making single malt longer, but create excellent spirit. 14

Finally, one of my personal favourites, the breadth of flavours in Distillery 35 is nothing short of remarkable and the Society has had access to amazing casks over the years. So we end as we began, echoing the syllogism that good whisky is good whisky. From that first bottle label that disclosed almost nothing, the change in Society livery has enhanced the disclosure in respect of cask type and distillation dates, but not in relation to the distillery identity. That we did ourselves, or certainly I did, by becoming so familiar with the Society that you can’t help but remember which code signifies which distillery.


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TRY SOMETHING NEW. If you have never tried a distillery before, that’s not a reason to avoid it, quite the reverse. You’ll either discover a distillery that you love, an expression that you enjoy, or something curious that you can share. If you haven’t heard of the name or can’t pronounce it correctly, don’t worry, you should not be met with judgement and Society has made this easy with the Code system anyway. This also goes for atypical cask type expressions of well-known distilleries (such as bourbon-cask bottlings from Distillery 96). You might like the house style but you might love that same familiar spirit in a cask you have never even heard of before. It’s never a waste of time. COMMON CAN BE EXCEPTIONAL. Sometimes the cult following of distilleries

is founded on a preference for a particular detail they embody that puts them in the minority of whiskies, such as the sherried wood regime of Distillery 1 or the high age statements on Distillery 43, and being in a minority feels a little more exclusive. Never underestimate the quality that can come from a young whisky or a refill bourbon cask. Just because these two characteristics embody the vast majority of spirit produced, you can find exceptional symphonic casks in this category, especially in the Society’s bottlings.

DON’T DRINK THE KOOL-AID. It is central to this article but even if you love a cult

distillery, which is totally fine, not everyone has to like it too and they are most definitely not wrong for having a preference or opinion. Don’t take it personally if someone doesn’t like your favourite spirit and don’t be afraid to criticise that spirit yourself; that’s part of the fun of whisky. Also, to the distilleries’ and bottlers’ credit, experimentation is how we get the absolute gems but also how we get the ones that didn’t work out so well.

So my ultimate tip is this:

TREASURE THIS PERIOD OF YOUR JOURNEY WHILE YOU CAN.

Relish in the fact that each Society bottling with a number you don’t know (because it’s not a cult distillery) is a chance to go back to 1983 and pour, share and enjoy that dram regardless of where it originated. And that, my friends, is the entire point of whisky.

Alex Moores ~ State Manager, Victoria

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MALT OF THE MONTH

Home dramming just got even better with not one, but two Malts of the Month! For May, we’ve picked out two fun and diverse offerings. Cask 64.114 is a triumphant return of the rhyming distillery code with baskets of fruit, spirit-driven lemon puffs and definitely placed in the Sweet, Fruity & Mellow profile.

EXUBERANT BOUNTY OF FRUIT SWEET, FRUITY & MELLOW CASK NO. 64.114

$145.00

REDUCED FROM $175 T OF MALMONTH THE

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REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

Refill bourbon hogshead

AGE

13 years

DATE DISTILLED

13 September 2006

OUTTURN

240 bottles

ABV

56.0%

AUS ALLOCATION

24 bottles

The nose encompasses an exuberant bounty of fruit – lemon meringue pie, Kir Royale and flying saucers – behind that hints of Plasticine, cigarette packets and seashells. The spritzy, mouth-flooding palate rewards with lemon puffs, strawberry jam, plum tarts, glacé cherry on grapefruit and some vanilla; tingling traces of cinnamon and mild chilli on the finish. The reduced nose combines Turkish Delight, Tooty Frooties and rice paper on amaretti with waxed fruits, blueberries, kumquats and quince jam. The palate is now tasty, fruity and easy – peach flan, blood orange sorbet, citrus peel and honey with drying oak sawdust at the end.


17


MALT OF THE MONTH

Cask 53.317 is a throwback to some of the heavier peated casks from this powerhouse Islay distillery, with hints of squid ink, lime juice, bonfires and vinegar chips! A distillery of incredible peated consistency, these single casks are something special to imbibe in the colder months wherever you are.

BURIAL AT SEA PEATED CASK NO. 53.317

$169.00

REDUCED FROM $199 T OF MALMONTH THE

18

REGION

Islay

CASK TYPE

Refill bourbon hogshead

AGE

10 years

DATE DISTILLED

20 February 2009

OUTTURN

276 bottles

ABV

58.0%

AUS ALLOCATION

24 bottles

50/50 lime juice and brine at first nosing. Then bright, shining peat smoke and clean, crisp, freshly kilned malt. Sooty cereals, cured meats, hessian, bonfire and newspaper ash. Add to this some squid ink, BBQ charred calamari with lemon juice and mercurochrome-drenched wellies. Reduction reveals pure farmyard smokiness. Bonfires on the seashore, old rope, tar liqueur, stir fried oysters with soy sauce, liquid seasoning and vinegarsoaked chip wrapping paper. The neat palate is like a hot injection of lighter fluid and antiseptic. Salt baked cod, iodine drops, lemon flavoured cough syrup, pine air freshener, TCP, mouthwash and fiery salami. With water it all melts into hot plastic, lemon infused green tea, kippers in kedgeree, petrol doused oatmeal, green olives bobbing in seawater and dried seaweed in ramen broth.


19


WHAT’S YOUR FLAVOUR ANIMAL? This month is all about Animal & Flavour matches. We have partnered with naturalist and TV presenter Nick Baker to develop 12 Spirit Animal matches to our different flavour profiles. A fellow whisky lover, Nick has worked with the BBC and the National Geographic. His experience encompasses expeditions to the wildest parts of the planet in search of weird, bizarre and incredible creatures. His knowledge and experience encompasses the wild in its broadest sense – serious natural history and science, explorations of land and ocean, conservation and extinction. Delve into the following animal personality traits and match your taste preferences to find your flavour animal!

YOUNG & SPRITELY – THE GRAPHIC FLUTTERER (Rhyothemis graphiptera) This type of Dragonfly is found in the Northern wetlands of Australia. What animal represents the dance of life better than a Dragonfly? This species is one of the world’s most stunning. Short-lived as adults, they are all young by definition. Clouds of them can be found flickering, and bounce over the sparkling fresh water, a refreshing zing in the hot languid tropical air. Watch them zig and zag; the sun playing spun gold off their wings as they shimmer in pursuit of insects and each other. Dragonflies are short-lived, yet sparkle and dance in the light. Simple, yet elegant and airy. Serious in their function but seemingly carefree in their short flight season.

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SWEET FRUITY & MELLOW – ELEGANT TROGON (Trogon Elegans) Big doe eyes, wide yellow beak, metallic green plumage on the back with a red breast – what’s not to like about this elegant bird? Sitting perched up for long periods, blending into the greenery of the tropical forest, they don’t particularly like flying. Slow and lackadaisical when they thoughtfully turn their heads or take flight on soft rounded wings. Everything about them is mellow and chill. While they will eat insects and the occasional lizard, they prefer to fill their wide bill with forest fruits. They look sweet, almost cartoon-like. Inoffensive and very slow moving, with soft fluffy plumage and wings as rounded and mellow as their nature. For extra sweetness, think of their diet of figs, berries and avocado.

SPICY & SWEET – SPICEBUSH SWALLOWTAIL (Papilio troilus) This is a large dark species of American butterfly, a flouncy and soft insect that wafts around seeking sweet nectar during those warm sugary summer days. However, try finding the caterpillar and you’ll have to delve deep into the Sassafras or Spicebush (their main food plants). Not only does the aromatic foliage leave the experience playing on your senses, but the caterpillar does too. Give one of these snake-mimicking insects a gentle poke, and it’ll evert a weird bright red, glossy forked organ (called an osmeterium) from the back of their head which fills the air with a buttery smell. Sweet-smelling, seeker of sweetness and yet with an edge - they also feed on plants famous for spicy aroma. My recollection of looking for these fabulous and iconic caterpillars was a nose filled with fabulous smells.

SPICY & DRY – STREAKED TENREC (Hemicentetes semispinosus) Digging in the dusty and dry soil of a Madagascan forest is a creature that feels familiar, yet is a stranger to most. Part shrew and a little bit hedgehog, the Tenrec is a neat yet pugnacious little predator. A mouth full of needle-sharp teeth is matched by a coat of spines made of modified hairs, and their warning sound – a dry rattle - is made by rubbing specialised quills on their back together. If this is ignored, it will raise its Mohican and headbutt its attacker, leaving you full of nasty little splinters. The sounds of spines rattling together as well as their tooth-chattering and ticking sounds all create a ‘dry’ feel. The ‘spice’ to me is represented by the fact that such a creature can pack a bit of a punch. Getting the microscopic splinters out of your hands afterwards is something you’ll never forget.

DEEP, RICH & DRIED FRUITS – BINTURONG (Arctictis binturong) A heavy and hairy tree-loving mammal from South East Asia which is surprisingly dexterous and agile. It is territorial and you’ll know when you’re sharing the forest space as you’ll get the whiff of sweet, baked goods, from the recreations it uses to mark its territory - some say it smells a bit like buttered popcorn! The only Binturong I’ve sniffed was tucking into a pile of figs and so I will always associate this most enigmatic of mammals with a sweet fruity smell. In the wild, while they will eat almost anything they can get their paws into, fruits are high on their list of favourites. This large animal has a certain wisdom and depth of character to it. To me, it is the spirit of the Asian rainforest - a warm, rich, complex and productive place. Depth is represented by the various complexities of the flavours of life, and the fruitiness is what springs to mind when I think of what they feed on - figs are a favourite. 21


OLD & DIGNIFIED – AFRICAN ELEPHANT (Loxodonta africana) Although they are the largest land animals, they have grace, depth and nuance. These sensitive souls have a long life (60-70 years) as deeply textured as their skin. They are the longest living land mammals after humans and, like us, they have a use after they’ve stopped breeding - they pass on the wisdom of their teachings to the younger generation. Despite being heavyweights, they have surprising subtleties and can move with stealth, grace and poise through bush and woodland. Watch an Elephant and there is always something going on. They don’t get any older, or more dignified. Always interesting, having great depth and roundedness of character.

LIGHT & DELICATE – THE GIANT POND SKATER (Gigantometra gigas) They don’t come more exquisitely elegant than this animal - so perfectly minimalistic that it can rest on that thin skin between water and air, the surface tension of pools. The biggest of this familiar group of insects is a rare beast found in forest pools in Asia. Its spindly leg span is around about 30cm and it uses four of its six legs to row, skim and flick around in search of other insects that have become ensnared. The reason the pond skaters don’t sink is that they not only spread the little weight they have over a large area, but they are covered in a fine downy water repellant hair, like magic non-wettable velvet. Easy and light, skipping over the surface. I think of freshness and sparkle of summer by a pond.

JUICY, OAK & VANILLA – BROWN BEAR (Ursus arctos) Brown bear is a survivor; an adaptable, charismatic character that is found in many habitats throughout the Northern hemisphere. A large strong and robust animal of wild woods and plain. Intelligence and wit and a dependency on a deep knowledge and understanding of their environment are determining characters that allow them to track with the seasons and the availability of food – whether fruit, berry, leaf or beast. While they can be fierce for the most part, they are gentle souls that integrate power and wisdom in one harmonious whole. Sumptuous mossy deciduous woodland, A big powerful experience, but with a sweetness associated with its nature and its diet.

OILY & COASTAL – GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo) This is a bird strongly associated with the marine environment. Sinuous and salty. They sit low in the water when hunting; flicking down to the depths to catch fish. When they are not fully immersed in the brine, they inhabit a world of rocky cliffs, beach and boulder. Their black plumage doesn’t have the oil-proofing of most other birds, as this would make them too buoyant - so you’ll often see them sitting wings outstretched to drip dry and icon of the coastal environment. Their plumage often looks slick and oily when wet, but when it chances the light, it dazzles with a polychromatic light show of subtle greens and blues. Salty associations, simple at first taste, but gets more complex the more you get to know it. Oily is the appearance of the wet feathers and plumage. Their association with coastal environments reflects quite a lot of the taste characters of this category. 22


LIGHTLY PEATED – FIRE SALAMANDER (Salamandra salamandra) The name Salamander is derived from the Persian words meaning “fire within”. This amphibian is an animal that is soft and smooth, a creature of dark and dank places, and not the inferno of legend, and yet, while a largely benign beast of the half-lit habitats, it does have an edgy surprise. Lift a smouldering log to reveal one, and its bold, zesty colours contrast with the dankness and come pinging through. Here is an animal that comes with a gentle warning. It’s only when you get close that it gives away a sharper essence within its skin glands (and the packaging warns you – bright contrasting colours in nature are an advertisement for danger) – a gentle tang of the defensive alkaloids, they keep them clean and free from disease and disaster – a little taste of the fire within? I think damp soil, smouldering, heavy darkness but with highlights and warmth coming through the gloom - the fact that this animal has both the colour and the chemicals mirrors the hint of the phenols in a lightly peated malt. The hint of TCP is a clean taste – salamanders are clean and neat.

PEATED – MOOSE (Alces alces) An adult bull moose, in full antler, is a noble force of nature. When a male at its peak proudly holds its head high, it can stand at around 2 meters at the shoulder and weigh over 700 kg - it’s a mighty animal, a heavyweight. Big and unmissable. It might have a gentle soul, feeding on succulent plants and living in the wet wilds of wood and swamp, but it is strong, independent and stoic. Just like its flavour profile, it’s stubborn and headstrong, and there’s no getting away from it once its mind is made up. Just try crossing one in the rutting season. A moment with a moose is one that stays with you and your memory with longevity. More powerful still, the peated flavour of the dankness of the world of woods and moss and moist soils are very much where this animal comes from. The powerful taste is reflected in the size and presence of the animal - stubborn powerful flavours.

HEAVILY PEATED – GREAT WHITE SHARK (Carcharodon carcharias) It’s an animal that cuts its way through the water, it has a refined class and commands respect. Find yourself face to face with one - all of your senses are focused on it, just like those phenols, there’s no room for any other distraction. Not an experience for everyone - to some, it’s just too dangerous; for others, it’s a beast of sublime and powerful beauty. The peat cuts though everything. Most heavily peated whiskies that I’ve tried have a paleness and watery appearance to them. The Shark inhabits this environment and is master of it. The phenolic taste dominates and cuts through quick and sharp – which are words I would use to describe this shark. When you’re faced with one, you can’t take your eyes off it – they change your understanding of life.

When you take a dram, you’re effectively drinking an element of the landscape, and what I love about whisky is that it’s rooted in a sense of place. Whisky, Scotland and its wildlife for me are inseparable, and all part of the same experience.”

NICK BAKER

NATURALIST & TV PRESENTER

23


SINGLE CASK RECIPES! Stuck in isolation? Feel like getting creative with your dram? Three intrepid SMWS team members have put their culinary skills to the test using Society single cask whisky. Here are their recipes for you to try at home!

Drew McKinnie’s

PEATED CHOCOLATE WHISKY CAKE with Citrus and Chocolate Whisky Ganache Are you tired of coronavirus confinement and social distancing? Do you want to indulge yourself with a special home-made treat? Here is a great home project to enjoy! This cake celebrates the wonderful marriage of chocolate, citrus and a splash of whisky; my favourite Ardbeg works wonderfully. Subtlety with addition of whisky works best. The combination is hedonistic! If you can make a good chocolate sponge, this recipe is so easy, based on a very reliable Annabel Langbein (The Free Range Cook) recipe.

METHOD 1. Heat oven to 160-175 C. Grease sides and line base of two medium 20cm spring pans or one large 27-30cm pan with baking paper. 2. Next, and this is important, pour a dram of peated single cask whisky. Cask 53.317 Burial at sea or The Beachcomber, or Cask 33.138 Thigh-slapping dram work really well. Have a taste, then a morsel of chocolate. Enjoy sips whilst making a ganache icing. 3. Take 500ml cream or double cream, heat slowly in saucepan until almost but not quite boiling around the edges of the pan. Whilst heating, break up 500g top quality 70% or 85% dark chocolate of your choice into small pieces. When first bubbles appear around the edge of the pan, remove from heat and add chocolate. Rest for 2-3 mins off the heat (no tasting yet) then stir s-l-o-w-l-y at first, then more vigorously until it melts fully into the cream, until it turns smooth and glossy. Let it cool for about 15mins, stirring occasionally to keep it looking smooth and glossy. 24


INGREDIENTS

METHOD CONTINUED

CHOCOLATE GANACHE 500g good quality dark chocolate

4. When the chocolate-cream mix cools, then it is time to let the peated whisky loose. Two dessert spoonfuls should give a powerful accent, so I recommend adding smaller teaspoonfuls, to your taste, with a good stir each time. You want a flavour accent, rather than an overwhelming hit. Let the whisky lift the chocolate, not overpower it.

Dram of whisky, Ardbeg or similar high quality

5. Leave in glass bowl to cool further. Meanwhile, clean the pan of chocolate residue with index finger whilst enjoying another dram.

Islay malt

6. The cake comprises a simple mix: 3 cups of self-raising flour combined with 2 cups fine sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1-2 tsp baking soda, 1-2 tsp vanilla paste, 2 large or 3 medium eggs, 200g soft butter, and 1 cup moo juice (milk), and a small espresso cup of black coffee. Mix in a bowl or processor until smooth. Add a 20ml dram of peated whisky. Stir in well. Pour into the greased baking trays. Into the oven, cook for an hour or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

500 ml cream

CHOCOLATE CAKE 3 cups self-raising flour 2 cups raw caster sugar or fine sugar ½ cup cocoa powder 1-2 tsp baking soda 1.5 tsp vanilla paste or concentrate 3 eggs 200g soft butter 1 cup milk or plain greek yoghurt Small cup black coffee, espresso style Dram of whisky Orange or mandarin conserve, or raspberry conserve as alternate Orange or tangello or mandarin segments, free of pith and seeds Grated chocolate to garnish

COOK Enthusiastic cook Sense of humour Dram of Ardbeg whisky, repeated as necessary

7. Clean the bowl, with another sip to keep up the enthusiasm. 8. Whilst the cake is cooking, peel an orange or tangelo and cut segments, removing all pith and membrane and seeds. You could also use tinned mandarin segments if you prefer an easy method. Place in a glass bowl and then add just a few drops of Ardbeg. Let the segments marinate. The Uigeadail works wonderfully, as do 33.XXX SMWS offerings, so does the 10yo or Galileo. Actually – any Ardbeg! 9. When the cake cooks, let stand for a while to cool in the tin. Get some sweet seville orange or mandarin conserve (or even marmalade) – or raspberry if you prefer. If you have made two 20cm cakes, trim one to a flat base, spread a layer of conserve, then the top layer. If a 30cm cake, cut the “hat” and do same. 10. Now you need to use your nose. You want to smell both the cocoa-chocolate and hint of whisky aromas. Just splash a few drops of Ardbeg on the top of the cake until the aromas start to rise. At this stage you should open all doors leading from the kitchen to ensure the delicious aromas permeate your home. 11. Next step, the cake has to be cool and the ganache thick and spreadable. Slowly spread layers of chocolate-whisky ganache over the top and sides of the cake. Cheats method, put the cake on a revolving base or lazy susan, turn the cake to spread really smooth and evenly. Slowly does it. 12. A dram of Ardbeg will aid your concentration, accuracy and enjoyment. Any leftover ganache will keep in fridge in a jar for a week, assuming that kids and your partner don’t find it… so perhaps hide it underneath the broccoli in the vegetable crisper in the bottom of your fridge. 13. When the coating is smooth, add segments of orange or tangello or mandarin on top of the cake, preferably in an aesthetically pleasing manner. If you feel fancy, grate some chocolate over the top again with a zester, taking care to avoid thumb and fingers. Finger-lime powder works well too. 14. Chill, then enjoy with any family or friends, practicing social distancing and meticulous hygiene, preferably with an Ardbeg dram in hand.

DREW MCKINNIE ACT Manager

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Jenny Forrest’s

MANDARIN & WHISKY MARMALADE

May is traditionally the start of marmalade making season in Australia. I’ve always been told that you should make marmalade in months that don’t have an ‘r’ in their names. The pectin levels are higher then and we get a better set of the marmalade. Good advice as I’ve always had great marmalade. And the addition of a splash of whisky can take marmalade to another level. Why don’t you try a batch? Any citrus – orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, mandarin or pomelo – make wonderful spreads for your early morning toast, or even for a bitter-sweet sensation on ice cream. Mandarins are a favourite in our household, so I always try to have a jar or two of Mandarin & Whisky marmalade on hand. As to the whisky choice, experiment with whatever you have on hand from your SMWS cellar. We love anything from the Young & Spritely flavour profile or the Sweet, Fruity and Mellow choice and have also had great marmalades using Peated whiskies. All you need are mandarins, a lemon, water and 1kg sugar (as well as your whisky of course). We recommend testing the whisky prior to adding it to your marmalade – pour a dram to sample while slicing the fruit. And for further quality control, pour another dram to enjoy while the fruit cooks.

INGREDIENTS

METHOD

5 mandarins

1. Finely slice 5 whole mandarins and 1 lemon (flesh and skin). With loose skinned mandarins, you may need to peel and finely slice the skins separately from the flesh. Keep any seeds and tie in fine muslin or similar cloth to put in saucepan while cooking.

1 lemon 5 cups water 1kg sugar Whisky (up to 100ml)

JENNY FORREST SA Manager 26

2. Add sliced fruit to 5 cups of water in a large saucepan with any seeds. Cook, uncovered, until the fruit and peel are tender. Remove the seeds. 3. Add 1kg sugar to fruit and stirring frequently, bring to a rolling boil until mixture thickens. This could be up to about 30- 45 minutes. Test when ready by placing a drop of marmalade on a cold saucer – if it jells when cool, take saucepan from heat and add a large dram or two of whisky (up to 100ml). The marmalade will bubble fiercely for a few seconds as you stir it well! Take a deep breath as it smells wonderful! 4. Pour into small jars while very hot, placing lids on tightly. Label and cool. Enjoy with toast or crumpets.


Suzy Tawse’s

TIRAMISUZE

This is my take on Tiramisu, which means “pick me up” or “cheer me up” in Italian, so just perfect for these times. Full disclosure – I had a bit of help from Jamie Oliver, too. This recipe is one of my absolute faves, with two of my favourite things – chocolate and whisky! Instead of the more traditional sherry or Vin Santo added to soak the base, just add a whisky of your choice. Sherried whiskies work really well but whatever your whisky predilection, just try it out. Last month, I rediscovered my bottle of the amazing Cask 68.18 Triple berry Lamington cake at the back of the cabinet and used it in this dessert. Yum. A perfect match would be the recently released The Big Swirl (see page 35).

INGREDIENTS

METHOD

200 ml double/ thickened cream

1. To make the chocolate ganache, pour the cream into a pan and gently bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Add a pinch of sea salt, snap in the chocolate and stir until melted, thickened and smooth, then remove from the heat and leave to one side. I use Lindt 70% dark chocolate for the ganache.

100 g quality dark chocolate (70%), plus 50g extra to serve 150 g sponge fingers (panettone would also work here) 150 ml good hot strong sweetened coffee 50 ml whisky – or 75 ml for a stronger flavour (I use the latter) 500 g smooth ricotta cheese

PREP TIME: 30 minutes

SERVES 12

(or 6 coming back for seconds)

2. Line a dish with the sponge fingers (or panettone), carefully pour over the hot sweetened coffee and drizzle over the whisky. Spread the chocolate ganache over the top in an even layer. Put in the fridge to cool. 3. In a food processor, or a large bowl with an electric whisk in my case, blitz/whisk the ricotta, mascarpone, vanilla bean paste and honey until super-smooth. Spoon this creamy mixture evenly on top of your chocolate layer. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours, to set – or an hour in the freezer if you’re in a hurry. ;-) Serve with a good grating or shaving of chocolate sprinkled on top (I recommend Lindt dark chocolate Orange Intense) and a fine grating of orange zest. Heaven.

250 g mascarpone cheese 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste 3 tablespoons runny honey 1 orange – zest

SUZY TAWSE

Member Service & Operations Director

27


ATTACK OF THE KILLER FLORISTS!

REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

1st fill bourbon barrel

AGE

7 years

DATE DISTILLED

27 October 2011

YOUNG & SPRITELY

OUTTURN

239 bottles

CASK NO. 113.24

ABV

63.4%

AUS ALLOCATION

24 bottles

$155.00

It opens on candyfloss at first, a light and fluffy sweetness that evolves towards geraniums in warm greenhouses and yellow wildflowers. The sweeter aspects continue with hints of pink nougat, American hotdog mustard, cornbread, toasted seeds and mirabelle eau de vie. Water brings softer notes of clove, lemon water, flower vases, cough drops, hessian and roasted potatoes. The palate begins with cookie dough stodge before unveiling notes of pear drops, lime oil, rosewater, cherry lip sweets, fruit loops, juicy fruit chewing gum, dried lavender and Turkish delight. A little water gives earthy turmeric, lemon thyme, oregano, sourdough starter, pot pourri and long aged yellow wine.

REGION

Islay

WESTERING RHONE

CASK TYPE

2nd fill charred red wine barrique

AGE

8 years

DATE DISTILLED

27 September 2010

SWEET, FRUITY & MELLOW

OUTTURN

267 bottles

CASK NO. 10.180

ABV

60.5%

AUS ALLOCATION

36 bottles

$179.00

CIAL SPE NISH FI

28

An initial nutty salinity with coastal vigour, mushrooms, juniper and sweet Dundee cake. There’s also marzipan, leather satchel, salted peanuts, beach pebbles and salted caramel. The wine influence is rather subtle here, which works well. With water it takes on a rather nettle-like, sauvignon blanc sharpness. There’s grass, truffled pasta, salty Greek cheese, capers and green olives in brine. The palate opens on fresh cherries, root beer floats, hessian, strawberry jam, red liquorice, mead and tarry rope. Some hints of oyster sauce, dried cranberries and toasted brazil nuts. With water it’s all on wine gums and blackberry tart now. Some dried papaya and orange peel. Then molten rhubarb and custard boiled sweets, fruit and nut chocolate and black olive tapenade. Matured for 6 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead before being transferred to a second-fill charred red wine barrique.


THE HILLS ARE ALIVE... WITH THE SOUND OF MUESLI SPICY & SWEET CASK NO. 6.36

$155.00

REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

2nd fill bourbon barrel

AGE

10 years

DATE DISTILLED

29 January 2009

OUTTURN

237 bottles

ABV

56.7%

AUS ALLOCATION

12 bottles

Perfumed aromas came from alpine meadows with suggestions of pot pouri, clary sage and sandalwood. Caramel joined vanilla ice cream with the delightful texture of amber malt and nuts as hints of lemon gave a liveliness alongside sour cherries. Fresh ginger framed the palate with a centrepiece of runny honey and fresh peaches. A springtime shower released notes of caramel and muesli bars into the air. Although it was now more woody with bundles of flower stems, a heavy sweetness bonded toffee and fudge to lighter notes of candyfloss. The delicate fruit of honeydew melon then fused with butter on brown toast and a hint of cardamom pods as coconut husk applauded a finish that strolled through cocoa nibs and coffee dregs.

STRAWBERRY JALAPENO ICE CREAM SPICY & SWEET CASK NO. 9.174

$199.00

IAL SPECISH FIN

REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

1st fill charred red wine barrique

AGE

15 years

DATE DISTILLED

2 March 2004

OUTTURN

270 bottles

ABV

55.0%

AUS ALLOCATION

30 bottles

The aroma reminded one of us of cooking a venison steak in a red wine chocolate sauce whilst another would enjoy it watching an intense rugby match between Bordeaux and the Glasgow Warriors. To taste, we were all at the after-game party with plenty of well-aged Lambic wheat beer (having lost some of its sourness and acquired a vinous bittersweet flavour with dark fruits in the background). Diluted we ordered ginger beer ice cream floats and had no churn strawberry jalapeno ice cream; sweet, spicy matched by a cool creaminess. After 13 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead we transferred this whisky into a 1st fill charred red wine barrique. 29


30


DESSERT TRIPTYCH : HESSIAN MERINGUE SPICY & DRY CASK NO. 1.218

$199.00

REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

Refill Oloroso butt

AGE

10 years

DATE DISTILLED

28 November 2008

OUTTURN

633 bottles

ABV

63.7%%

AUS ALLOCATION

30 bottles

A gentle and inviting nose of crushed monkey nuts, cocoa powder, fruit and nut chocolate bars and emulsion paint. Underneath there’s sweet notes of aged Sauternes, some raisiny old armagnac, dark chocolate and damp earth dusted with cinnamon and wheat beer. Reduction gives Tunnock’s tea cakes, Chinese five spice, boozy morello cherries and dried apricots. The palate opens with smouldering incense, pine resin, petrichor and smoky paprika. There’s treacle toffee, old style oloroso, cloves, cinnamon swirls, prune juice and malt extract. Water brings an appetising warmth, lots of sweeter sherry notes, sootiness, ginger and carrot cake, peanut brittle and a zing of sherry vinegar. Complex, intricate and compelling stuff!

CANDY FLOSS AND CAROUSELS

REGION

Highland

CASK TYPE

2nd fill bourbon barrel

AGE

8 years

JUICY, OAK & VANILLA

DATE DISTILLED

19 September 2011

CASK NO. 26.136

OUTTURN

254 bottles

ABV

59.6%

AUS ALLOCATION

18 bottles

$159.00

Aromas arrived with a peppery tingle, a combination of chilli chocolate and peppercorns that drifted towards carnations but with overtones of beeswax polish and dripping candles. On the tongue it was a step back in time with all the fun of the fair, spinning on wooden rides with the sweet character of candy floss and toffee apples heavy in the air. Honey and vanilla merged into digestive biscuits and oily notes suggested creamy ghee. Water released more confected characters of lemon drops and barley sugars that had stuck to the polished wooden decking of a waltzer. Waxed lemons came through beside ripe pineapple and melon, whilst on the palate more pronounced oaky notes took hold.

31


SLUBBING BILLY AND SPOTTED DICK

REGION

Campbeltown

CASK TYPE

1st fill bourbon barrel

AGE

10 years

LIGHTLY PEATED

DATE DISTILLED

26 March 2009

CASK NO. 93.121

OUTTURN

208 bottles

ABV

59.7%

AUS ALLOCATION

24 bottles

$199.00

An interesting nose - cheap chocolate and puff candy at seaside fairgrounds, pumpkin seed oil, an apothecary and a retired Slubbing Billy*. There’s also a hint of smoke if you persevere. The palate definitely gets ash and medicinal smoke but it’s reasonably urbane and perfectly counterpoints the cascade of sweetness in the mouth (Crunchie bars, marshmallows in a chocolate fountain). The reduced nose finds creosote, burnt twigs dipped in honey, fruit slice, spotted dick** and well-fired rolls. The reduced palate is a great balance of chocolate bun sweetness with all the make’s characteristic masculinity, tar, oak, spice and restrained smoke. *an old-fashioned mechanical apparatus for twisting cotton or wool threads **a British pudding made with suet and dried fruit

THE GARDEN SHED OF ENGLAND

REGION

England

CASK TYPE

1st fill bourbon barrel

AGE

8 years

PEATED

DATE DISTILLED

10 March 2011

CASK NO. 137.6

OUTTURN

230 bottles

ABV

66.0%

AUS ALLOCATION

26 bottles

$199.00

32

A very lean, smoky and crisp nose at first. Things like hot bakelite, bacon fries, smouldering garden bonfires, match boxes and old tool boxes. Hints of sheep wool, cured meats, salt and pepper crisps and - unusually for an English whisky - Haggis pakora! The peat is sinewy, pure and powerful but arrives in a velvet glove. Water unveils preserved lemons in brine, antiseptic and disinfected hospital corridors. The sharpness of citrus and salinity tango perfectly. The mouth is restrained at first - simmering almost. But then bursts open with a white hot blade of peat, buckets of smouldering leaves, ashes, soot and peppered mackerel. A big mix of tar, brine and hessian. With water there’s now hints of iodine, brake fluid, WD40 and Marmite spread generously on brown toast.


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THE BEACHCOMBER OILY & COASTAL CASK NO. BAT.6

$120.00 CASK TYPE

1st fill bourbon barrels

AGE

7 years

DATE DISTILLED

17 November 2011

OUTTURN

1999 bottles

ABV

50.0%

AUS ALLOCATION

120 bottles

SO HERCIETY ESY

Looking to our flavour profiles for inspiration, we decided to experiment with malts that displayed classic coastal characteristics. Exploring our warehouse, we identified a selection of 1st fill bourbon barrels from both Campbeltown and Highland regions as our blending ingredients. After creating and assessing a number of different recipes, we settled on the 12th one, which sits at the lighter end of the flavour profile with just the slightest hint of peat behind a boatload of fruit and coastal evocations. The Panel favoured this for its balance and complexity. A blended malt of great intrigue, displaying remarkable texture and vibrancy. 34


We give you The Beachcomber... A beautiful and evocative nose! Freshness, sunlight, seashore, medical balms, sandalwood, petrichor and wild herb gardens all jostle together for attention. Greenery, waxes, old papers, distant seaweed and complex, fragrant mineral aspects. Dilution offers up bog myrtle, heather flowers, juniper and lemon peel. Superbly fresh! The arrival in the mouth is tart. Raw gooseberry with delicate acidity, cut grass, gorse bush prickle and red apple. Some sea buckthorn, grapefruit pith, Citra hops and buttery cereals. Beguiling stuff! With water there’s a kiss of vanilla, some sweet cereals and pink sea salt. Hints of salty liquorice, wild mint leaf, children’s medicines, lime zest and brine diluted with extra virgin olive oil. The finish drifts endlessly out to sea. Drink this one with your eyes closed...

THE BIG SWIRL DEEP, RICH & DRIED FRUITS CASK NO. BAT.7

$120.00

Blended from a selection of classic sherry casks, this is a sherry profile that bursts with red berry compote, wine gums, freshly brewed coffee, polished hardwoods and exotic spice mix. Full feature in last month’s Outturn.

REGION

Blended malt

CASK TYPE

1st fill Sherry hogshead

AGE

11 years

DATE DISTILLED

02 November 2007

OUTTURN

1895 bottles

ABV

50.0%

AUS ALLOCATION

120 bottles

SO HERCIETY ESY 35


MAKES THE MEDIGIN GO DOWN

REGION

Hawick

CASK TYPE

2nd fill bourbon barrel

AGE

GIN

DATE DISTILLED

1 November 2018

CASK NO. GN3.3

OUTTURN

271 bottles

ABV

50.3%

AUS ALLOCATION

36 bottles

$110.00

An unusually earthy gin. Deep, rooty and lightly tarry. Full of liquorice, fisherman’s friends, vapour rubs, black pepper, menthol, gooseberry acidity and chalky minerality. Superbly fresh, clean and full of linens, wools, citrus pith and clay. Reduction brings out tart mango, grapefruit, pineapple juice and the potent petrichor scent of walking through a wet jungle. Surprisingly potent with further notes of overripe blood orange and crystallised lemon peel. The palate opens with vanilla beans, Turkish delight, orange segments, lime leaves, peppery cocktail bitters, arrowroot and soft medical tinctures. With water this morphs towards ginger in syrup, lemon and honey throat lozenges, bubblegum, wormwood, quinine and green tea full of strong honey.

A TRIFLE DELIGHTFUL COGNAC CASK NO. LRB1

$120.00

36

REGION

Cognac

CASK TYPE

Cognac barrel

AGE

XO

APPELLATION

Cognac Contrôlée

OUTTURN

1565 bottles

ABV

42.5%

AUS ALLOCATION

42 bottles

SO HERCIETY ESY

A cascade of rich liquid sunset poured from the bottle and clung to the glass with viscous tears of joy. The nose was the very essence of jubilation, a unity of fruit, flowers and boozy things. Apple crumble with a sprinkling of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger welcomed the viscidity of orange skin and truffle oil with a tart tang of physalis. Musk perfume created a depth that underpinned lavender, jasmine tea and clary sage with a layer of soft putty. Sherry trifle brought along a wonderfully heady dimension that swung towards marmalade on the malty sweetness of warm rye bread. Soft leather gloves handled fresh cherry tomatoes and eucalyptus leaves while the finish hugged the soul with a warming massage of pickled ginger and a fresh caress from grapefruit pith and soft tannins.


37


CELLARMASTER’S NOTE Dear Members, If you follow our exploits on social media and, in particular, our live streams, you may have seen some recent banter between Matt and myself with regard to the old “paper label” Society bottlings. These are just simply any Society whisky bottled before 2009, which was when the SMWS changed its bottle and livery for the first time. Nothing in the Society’s cask selection or bottling process changed at that time – ultimately, it was no more than a cosmetic change in packaging – and yet I’ve noticed in a lot of recent commentary that a new level of “lust” and awe for the old bottlings has arisen. If you’ve joined the Society relatively recently or you’ve come into the world of whisky in the last 5-10 years, it’s tempting to assume those old bottlings had some special quality or extra appeal. With the general “vibe” held by a few that whisky was somehow better or purer in decades past, I’ve seen and heard several members comment and assume that the old paper label bottles were more authentic or attractive, but that’s simply not the case. The Society hasn’t changed its ethos in 37 years – we just look to bottle special, tasty casks that offer something different to what’s out there commercially.

Yes, there are some distilleries we used to see a lot more of and bottle more frequently in years gone by. But the converse of that is there’s a lot of distilleries we see and bottle these days that were seldom seen in the past. So that ledger is pretty even. The two main differences between then and now – at least to my eyes – are the same differences that are common to the entire industry: Sherry casks are hard to come by, and older whisky is expensive. If there’s a lament by many long-term Society members, it’s that we used to be able to buy 25-30 year old whiskies for just a few hundred dollars. We still bottle those older whiskies, but the reality is that the distilleries and brokers sell them to us for much, much higher prices than was the case in the past, and the rules of supply and demand play out accordingly. I’ve been vocal of late about opening up those old bottlings and enjoying the contents. Some of the old paper label bottles I’ve opened recently have been good, and some have been great. Same goes for the bottles I’ve purchased off this year’s Outturns! Slàinte,

Andrew Derbidge ~ Director, Cellarmaster & NSW Manager

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EVENTS LIVE

FRIDAY 29TH MAY 7PM AEST

VIRTUAL WHISKY FESTIVAL! Cancelled festivals doesn’t need to mean cancelled fun! We’re bringing the festival experience right to your living room with the festival tasting set for May!

FESTIVAL TASTING SET ONLY $99*

A virtual tasting of 5 x 30ml drams right in the social distancing comfort of your living room, hosted by your National Ambassador, Matt Bailey. Live on Youtube and Facebook. Friday 29th May, 7pm AEST.

*Includes 5 x 30ml drams of the following special release festival bottlings: Cask 35.254 Pure decadence Cask 7.233 A syrupy sweet tale of romance Cask 52.32 Highly entertaining! Cask 93.128 Smoke and smugglers Cask 33.139 You would not believe!

GRAB YOUR FESTIVAL TASTING SET AND JOIN IN THE FUN!

39


BOTTLINGS YOU’LL NEVER FORGET

SMWS.COM.AU ALWAYS OPEN 02 9974 3046 Mon-Fri 9.00am - 5.00pm AEST

@SMWS_AUSTRALIA

AUSTRALIANSMWS

SMWS_AUS

Society whiskies are offered and sold through The Wine Empire Pty Ltd, Liquor Licence LIQP770010175.

Profile for The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Outturn May 2020  

Outturn May 2020  

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