Outturn July 2021

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NEW RELEASES WILL BE ONLINE AT MIDDAY AEST, FRIDAY 4TH JULY

Outturn Arriving: Friday 2 July Issue 06, 2021

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Immerse in our sensory world of flavour experiences and reawaken your appreciation for our extraordinary casks.

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Contents Cellarmaster’s Note Andrew Derbidge.......................................................................... 3 Ambassador’s Address Matt Bailey ..................................................................................... 18 The Art of Blind Tasting Matt Bailey ..................................................................................... 19

OUR BOTTLINGS

Malt of the Month Cask No. 6.44 Sentio bonum bibation..............................................

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Vaults Collection Cask No. 53.340 Loud raves the torrent an’ the rain................................. 12 Events Events in your State.................................................................. 22 Ultimate Winter Boilermaker Pairings Virtual Tasting. ............................................................................ 23

OLD & DIGNIFIED

SWEET, FRUITY & MELLOW Cask No. 100.24 A mellifluous fruit voyage....................................................... 6 Cask No. 38.31 The magic is so strong............................................................... 6

Cask No. 53.340 (Vaults Collection) Loud raves the torrent an’ the rain................................. 12

JUICY, OAK & VANILLA Cask No. 6.44 (Malt of the Month) Sentio bonum bibation.............................................................. 4

SPICY & SWEET Cask No. 95.44 Something to mull over............................................................. 8 Cask No. 6.45 White Port poached pears....................................................... 8 Cask No. 55.63 Packed with intensity................................................................. 9 Cask No. 44.135 Booze and bonbon blowout.................................................... 9

Cask No. 72.97 Royal nonsense? ......................................................................... 14

LIGHTLY PEATED Cask No. 89.14 Omelette surprise........................................................................ 14 Cask No. 35.280 Port scratchings........................................................................... 15

PEATED DEEP, RICH & DRIED FRUITS Cask No. 68.52 Death by chocolate cake Cask No. G7.17 A grain of wood

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Cask No. 53.355 The beast from the yeast........................................................ 15

SINGLE CASK SPIRITS Cask No. R7.3 (Rum) Shiver me esters!......................................................................... 16 Cask No. GN3.14 (Gin) A hymn to the god of summer refreshment............... 16

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CELLARMASTER’S NOTE

W

hisky, just like any other interest, hobby, or passion, can take you many places, depending on how deeply you choose to immerse yourself. The mere fact that you’re a member of the Society tells me that your interest in whisky extends beyond merely sipping the base whiskies available from your local liquor outlet. Rather, you’ve already graduated beyond “mixer whiskies” to single malts, and then cask-strength, single cask whiskies at that! And yet, in the grand scheme of things, such a graduation is still only just the beginning. If you’re willing to chase the rabbit down the hole, you discover that whisky’s hole gets bigger and deeper, the more you chase.

Something that has been fascinating to observe over the last decade or so has been the growth in new businesses, services, and – for want of a better term – peripheral paraphernalia that feeds the thousands and thousands of whisky enthusiasts who want to chase the rabbit and ramp up their association with the drink.

Similarly, new knik-knaks and gimmicks abound: Fancy glassware, whisky stones, whisky trivia / board games, whisky soap, whisky-infused foods, artwork (including, now, even NFT art!), pourers, aerators, whisky place mats, goods make from casks, and other similarly peripheral things that I suspect many of us received last Christmas or birthday.

For many, whisky goes beyond just being “a drink”: It can foster or influence your culture (tightly interwoven with Scottish/gaelic/celtic history and culture); it can influence your fashion (tweed and flat caps seem de rigueur in some circles); it can determine your travel plans (why else would you head for a small, otherwise insignificant island off the west coast of Scotland); and there is – literally – an endless supply of books, websites, blogs, podcasts, social media accounts, and videos you can engage with to quench your thirst for knowledge and to become more acquainted with the drink. New products and services pop up all through the year to cash in on this thirst. For example, 20 years ago, distilleries with visitor centres simply offered the tour. Today, most offer a range of tours, catering for every visitor from the disinterested “plus one” to the most connoisseured anorak.

It’s all wonderful, and – as cynical as I am about much of it – I don’t begrudge the parallel excitement that travels hand-in-hand with the spirit itself. Just so long as the narrative doesn’t deviate too far from what it should really be about: Pouring yourself a dram, sitting down in a moment of indulgent relaxation, and physically enjoying the water of life. We sometimes forget that the drink should come first, and the paraphernalia second. May you find a suitable dram within these pages to delight your tastebuds this winter, and may you find the time and place to enjoy it. Slainte

Andrew Derbidge ~ Director, Cellarmaster & NSW Manager 3


MALT OF THE MONTH Distillery 6 plays an important early part of the Society’s history. After locking away the first five distilleries in 1983, the following year was going to be crucial in the growth of this wonderful club. Distillery 6 is a quirky seaside distillery with an odd number of five stills, weird upward-tilted lyne arms, and horizontal condensers. What does all this jargon mean? It means we get a funky & fruity spirit with a lovely balance of meaty notes and tropical fruits across the palate. If that wasn’t weird enough, their distillery name and single malt have different names. It’s quirks like these that make casks out of Distillery 6 a true delight. Cask 6.44 Sentio bonum bibation is a fun & fruity romp of a cask for Malt of the Month, and we hope that you will also have some ‘feel good bibations’. Drink responsibly, of course… REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

2nd fill bourbon barrel

AGE

11 years

DATE DISTILLED

29 January 2009

CASK NO. 6.44

OUTTURN

238 bottles

ABV

56.80%

REDUCED FROM $170

AUS ALLOCATION 60 bottles

SENTIO BONUM BIBATION JUICY, OAK & VANILLA

$145.00

Limit of one bottle per Member

T OF MALMONTH THE

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The nose led us through summer gardens and orchards – apple, peach and pear, tinned fruit salad, Turkish delight, honey and vanilla – merest hints of ginger and wasabi. The palate delivered more definite spice (but still gentle and refined) – ginger, clove, cinnamon and chilli; otherwise tinned mandarins, cherries and peaches (in syrup), runny honey and custard trifle. The reduced nose picked up cola cubes, pineapple chunks, rhubarb and some herbs (mint, bramble bushes, bouquet garni). The palate still had a lively mixture of watermelon, gooseberry, and white currant with caramel and vanilla fudge sweetness and a finish of dry oak and warm spice.


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A MELLIFLUOUS FRUIT VOYAGE SWEET, FRUITY & MELLOW CASK NO. 100.24

$155.00

REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

Refill bourbon hogshead

AGE

9 years

DATE DISTILLED

3 March 2011

OUTTURN

294 bottles

ABV

60.10%

AUS ALLOCATION 36 bottles We prepared a fruit smoothie mixing bananas, brambles, blackberries and gooseberries as well as oats, Greek yoghurt and strong brewed green tea with ginseng. The taste was like a big spoonful of warming, soothing carrot, cumin and coriander soup with red lentils and dukkah (an Egyptian condiment consisting of a variety of herbs and nuts). With a drop of water we stood in front of an array of tropical fruits for sale in an open-air market and on the palate plenty of creamy fruity goodness; clotted cream, custard, natural yoghurt with fresh berries, meringues with summer fruits and then, in the finish, a refreshing creamy cucumber dill sauce.

THE MAGIC IS SO STRONG SWEET, FRUITY & MELLOW CASK NO. 38.31

$729.00

M MIU PRE T TLING BO SED C LO I L L E RY D I ST

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REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

2nd fill bourbon barrel

AGE

26 years

DATE DISTILLED

11 July 1994

OUTTURN

270 bottles

ABV

53.90%

AUS ALLOCATION 24 bottles Miraculously we were transported to the Caribbean, to be precise to the island of Antigua, and there to Nelson’s dockyard in the marina called English Harbour with, the non-existing, one o’clock gun being fired – imagination is a wonderful thing! We enjoyed a scoop of blood orange and honey sorbet as well as rum and raisin ice cream on a chocolate waffle cone. With a drop of water we were sitting on the veranda of Clarence House, an 18th-century colonial mansion on the hilltop above the eastern banks of English Harbour and to round it all off we enjoyed the sunset on Shirley Heights – and yes, we had gone loco, but not in Acapulco! Single malt from selected hogsheads, married in a bourbon barrel since 2018.


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SOMETHING TO MULL OVER SPICY & SWEET CASK NO. 95.44

$150.00

A E X T RR E D U T MA

WHITE PORT POACHED PEARS SPICY & SWEET CASK NO. 6.45

$165.00

REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

2nd fill charred red wine barrique

AGE

7 years

DATE DISTILLED

29 October 2012

OUTTURN

296 bottles

ABV

60.90%

AUS ALLOCATION 36 bottles In large pot bubbled a sticky mix of hot ginger wine, sour apple juice and rich honey as we added fresh blackcurrants and schnapps. Then in went the mulled wine spices and fresh peel from blood oranges along with more dark berries including damsons, brambles and a few cranberries for more zing. As the fragrant grog steamed away a dash of water released further notes of strawberries, dried prunes and coconut shavings. Next into the mix went a bottle of zinfandel wine, demerara sugar, rum and a little extra cinnamon. Nearly complete we prepared chocolate orange, Turkish delight and soft fruit trifle to complement the brew. After spending 4 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead this was transferred to a 2nd fill charred red wine barrique for the remainder of its maturation.

REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

2nd fill bourbon barrel

AGE

11 years

DATE DISTILLED

29 January 2009

OUTTURN

230 bottles

ABV

57.20%

AUS ALLOCATION 24 bottles There was a lovely warm/floral summer breeze as we hung freshly washed linen on the line beside a field of rolled-up hay bales. Silky sweet at first on the palate like a strawberry whipped dessert called Angel Delight before a spicy alcohol kick unfolded; we imagined biting into a dark chocolate praline filled with liquid strong Williams pear brandy. A drop of water and we discovered white Port poached pears in a caramel sauce. As it rolled gently off the tongue it reminded us of well-aged Calvados with a very late, but pronounced arrival of wood spices, cloves, fennel and star anise.

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PACKED WITH INTENSITY SPICY & SWEET CASK NO. 55.63

$195.00

A E X T RR E D U T MA

BOOZE AND BONBON BLOWOUT SPICY & SWEET CASK NO. 44.135

$245.00

REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

1st fill rye hogshead

AGE

14 years

DATE DISTILLED

4 August 2006

OUTTURN

207 bottles

ABV

53.80%

AUS ALLOCATION 24 bottles We were baking honey and oat cookies as well as making rum and raisin fudge, while on the palate neat a fresh menthol start was followed by a ‘rough sweetness’ like chewing on a sugar cane stalk and swallowing the liquid – not what you would expect, but rather yummy. Initially, with the addition of water, a peppermint/herbal aroma was soon followed by stone fruits, oak and a hint of cinnamon. The taste reminded us of orange peel, dusty oak and in the finish a wee bit of dry clove. After twelve years in an exbourbon hogshead, we transferred this whisky into a 1st fill hogshead which previously matured rye whisky.

REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

Refill bourbon barrel

AGE

16 years

DATE DISTILLED

9 June 2004

OUTTURN

237 bottles

ABV

55.00%

AUS ALLOCATION 30 bottles The nose suggested sipping Vinho Verde or Gewürztraminer in a sunny meadow – sitting on straw and hessian; nearby – a greengage tree and someone opening a packet of Avanti vanilla cigars. The sweet, tasty palate contained Revels and M&M’s, marzipan, floral honey and a Magnum ice-lolly stick. The reduced nose had us lounging on a corduroy sofa in a sun-dappled hay loft, passing round a box of assorted milk chocolates. The palate combined Dolly Mixtures and Jap Desserts with hints of something savoury – wine-cooked porcini or salt beef, washed down with Sauvignon Blanc or tawny port – then a nice dry, memory-rich, thirst-provoking finish. 9


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DEATH BY CHOCOLATE CAKE DEEP, RICH & DRIED FRUITS CASK NO. 68.52

$190.00

Limit of one bottle per Member

A E X T RR E D U T MA

A GRAIN OF WOOD DEEP, RICH & DRIED FRUITS CASK NO. G7.17

$300.00

K I N OA VIRGINISH F

REGION

Highland

CASK TYPE

1st fill Pedro Ximenez butt

AGE

13 years

DATE DISTILLED

30 January 2007

OUTTURN

534 bottles

ABV

58.80%

AUS ALLOCATION 54 bottles We firstly commented on the wonderful deep colour of shiny conkers before the aroma became full of chocolate brownies, rum and raisin fudge, treacle toffee, tobacco, polished wood and a sweet coffee liqueur. Plenty of warming spices on the palate neat; nutmeg and garam masala before chocolate mousse, banana bread and caramel sauce appeared. Water added cherries in the form of red velvet choc-cherry cupcakes and milk chocolate infused with zesty natural orange, while to taste: death by chocolate cake! After eleven years in an ex-oloroso butt, we transferred this whisky into a 1st fill PX sherry butt.

REGION

Lowland

CASK TYPE

New oak #4 char barrel

AGE

29 years

DATE DISTILLED

29 November 1990

OUTTURN

141 bottles

ABV

54.60%

AUS ALLOCATION 30 bottles A seductive plunge into Dundee cake, a clay vat of ancient navy rum, sticky raisins, and vanilla pods in custard. Hints of fresh paint, treacle toffee, armagnac and prunes soaked in brandy. Water brought maple candies, butterscotch, a hint of bergamot and bags of apple strudel, creme anglaise, foam banana, cherry jam and toasted pineapple chunks. The palate was initially deep and riddled with dark notes of chewing tobacco, air dried banana chips and sticky toffee pudding. Then light notes of polished hardwoods, orange bitters and cinnamon sticks. Reduction brought out lemon sweets, cloves, rum ice cream, candied citrus peel, demerara sugar and warm gingerbread with salted caramel. Matured in a bourbon barrel for 25 years before being transferred to a 24 month, air seasoned new oak barrel with a #4 level char and toasted heads.

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VAULTS COLLECTION

What happens when Islay whisky reaches an incredible age in cask? It swirls and syrups up into a rare concoction of complexities unlike any other spirit on earth. It should also be noted how unbelievably rare it is to see an Islay whisky of this age. So few casks last this distance without over-oaking, losing all balance, or losing too much to the angels. We’ll truly look back on these days on casks just like this. This is a special occasion cask. This is a rarity from a long-gone era of whisky production, and a piece of distilling history that oozes life and character straight from the Western Hebrides. Pour a dram of 53.340, share one around, and watch time stop.

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LOUD RAVES THE TORRENT AN’ THE RAIN OLD & DIGNIFIED CASK NO. 53.340

$1,099.00 REGION

Islay

CASK TYPE

Refill bourbon hogshead

AGE

30 years

DATE DISTILLED

16 January 1990

OUTTURN

210 bottles

ABV

50.00%

AUS ALLOCATION 30 bottles There was an initial youthfulness that led us astray. An immediate blast of petrol, peat and sheep wool. In time though, things softened out and the complexity of age shone through with smoked olive oil, sardines in sea salt, squid ink, anchovy paste and sooty waxes. Citric notes of preserved lemons, canvas, graphite oil, seawater and beach pebbles strewn with mineral salts. Water gave us peppered mackerel, smoked white fish, salt baked cod, lighter fluid, black olives, limestone, soy sauce and lanolin. The mouth was hugely medical and drenched in mercurochrome before revealing smoked mead, putties, gentian eau de vie, diesel and anthracite embers. After reduction there was a palpably greasy pettiness, creel nets, iodine drops, eucalyptus tea, pinecones, smoked paprika, grapefruit juice and Atlantic bluster.

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ROYAL NONSENSE? JUICY, OAK & VANILLA CASK NO. 72.97

$160.00

REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

1st fill bourbon barrel

AGE

8 years

DATE DISTILLED

3 April 2012

OUTTURN

225 bottles

ABV

62.30%

AUS ALLOCATION 48 bottles On the nose neat we imagined traditional Austrian flower boxes displaying a variety of flowers like begonias, fuchsias, honeysuckle and foxgloves, mounted onto a wooden balcony. On the palate we stayed on that Austrian balcony and had a glass of white wine called Grüner Veltliner vibrant, zesty with a dry minerality and a hint of pepper. Water released the sweet herbal notes of basil and thyme as well as green grape skins before the sweet perfumed scent of jasmine and rose water appeared. The taste a real ‘Kaiserschmarrn’ (named after the favourite dish of Austrian Emperor Franz Josef I) – light and fluffy shredded pancakes with raisins soaked in rum and served with plum compote.

OMELETTE SURPRISE LIGHTLY PEATED CASK NO. 89.14

$180.00

A E X T RR E D U MAT

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REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

2nd fill ex-Islay Oloroso hogshead

AGE

10 years

DATE DISTILLED

16 February 2010

OUTTURN

247 bottles

ABV

60.30%

AUS ALLOCATION 30 bottles Hang on what is going on here? Sweet smoked almonds and deep-fried Chinese seaweed sprinkled with brown sugar as well as buttered slices of malt loaf spread with salty, slightly smoky marmalade? Definitely smoke on the palate neat, peat smoke in the rain, five-spiced smoked pork ribs and smoky bacon crisps. Water added burning pine branches, charred pineapple and marshmallows with a medicinal minty aroma lurking in the background. On the palate, a baked Alaska, ice cream and cake topped with brown meringue – also called omelette surprise, and a surprise it was! After eight years in an ex-bourbon hogshead, we transferred this whisky into a 2nd fill Oloroso Sherry hogshead which previously matured whisky from Society cask 29.258.


PORT SCRATCHINGS LIGHTLY PEATED CASK NO. 35.280

$200.00

A E X T RR E D U MAT

THE BEAST FROM THE YEAST PEATED CASK NO. 53.355

$185.00

REGION

Speyside

CASK TYPE

2nd fill ex-peaty Port hogshead

AGE

14 years

DATE DISTILLED

20 January 2006

OUTTURN

203 bottles

ABV

59.80%

AUS ALLOCATION 48 bottles Boiled blackcurrant sweets, smoked putty, ground-up aspirin, wormwood, caraway and juniper were all detected initially in this rather bonkers wee dram from Elgin. Also, herbal cough syrup, tea tree oils and eucalyptus. Reduction brought rye bread, wood spices, cinnamon swirls and sunflower oil. In the mouth we found burnt grass, red grape skins, bitter herbal extracts and tree bark dipped in dark chocolate. Some raspberry cordial, mint tea and spiced treacle pudding. Water evolved things towards grassier and more mechanical aspects; mineral oil, furniture polish, bike chains, bitter Irish coffee, tamarind chutney and herbal ointments. Matured for 12 years in a bourbon hogshead before being transferred to a port pipe that previously held peated whisky.

REGION

Islay

CASK TYPE

Refill bourbon hogshead

AGE

10 years

DATE DISTILLED

12 November 2009

OUTTURN

313 bottles

ABV

56.20%

AUS ALLOCATION 42 bottles The brilliance of white, hot peat coals, a blizzard of hot smoked fish and then squid ink, oyster sauce, singed hessian cloth and molten marmite smoothies. A heady brew of cow fields and gusts of pin-sharp, slicing, petrol-driven minerality. With water, the salty teardrops flow. Briny, tartly citric, hyper-fresh coastal aspects and things like soggy kelp, rock pools and the sharpness of flint smoke. The mouth is huge, pristinely composed and showing all manner of chiselled minerals, crushed seashells, zingy fisherman’s friends and carbolic sourdough. With water, there’s smoky wort, peppered mackerel and a tempestuous collision of pure peat smoke, jazzy salinity, Bonjela, mouthwash, tide-dashed seaweed and a fisherman’s welly brimming with soda bread, eucalyptus toothpaste and bath salts. 15


SHIVER ME ESTERS! RUM CASK NO. R7.3

$270.00

REGION

Jamaica

CASK TYPE

Refill bourbon barrel

AGE

19 years

DATE DISTILLED

30 September 2000

OUTTURN

185 bottles

ABV

55.80%

AUS ALLOCATION 30 bottles

You are entering a world of pineapple! Concentrated pineapple juice collides with floral-scented armaganc boiled down to a gungey essence and drizzled over partially fermented bananas. Duck! A slice of grizzled rye bread comes whizzing past. Thankfully there’s a whole pharmacy of first aid supplies on hand: ointments, TCP, bandages, industrial Elastoplasts. Here, quaff this pint of malty bitter and wash it down with a dirty martini riddled with olive pickling juices. Now add some water... salty butter on malt loaf left inside an old bicycle repair kit! A permanent marker pen freshly de-lidded. The palate brims with intensity! Raw pineapple dipped in gloss paint and printer toner. Stem ginger smothered in dark chocolate. Trip and you’re lost down the rabbit hole of rum funk and phantasmagoric esters! Splash water to wake up unctuous blackcurrant juices, a muddle of cast iron stove parts, fermented parsnips, glistening rose water, angelic root, and a furtive tiptoe through an old Seadog’s secret flower garden! Awake beneath the blazing summer skies wearing nothing but wellies and a bike chain necklace. What a dream!

A HYMN TO THE GOD OF SUMMER REFRESHMENT GIN CASK NO. GN3.14

$135.00

REGION

Hawick

CASK TYPE

2nd fill bourbon barrel

AGE

1 year

DATE DISTILLED

4 June 2019

OUTTURN

261 bottles

ABV

50.60%

AUS ALLOCATION 30 bottles The neat nose suggests various things – the spritzy fruitfulness of lime chews, raspberryade and dried cranberries; fudge, toffee and icing sugar sweetness and aromatic hints of vanilla and cassia (Chinese cinnamon). A drop of water brings out even more refreshing fruits (melon, nectarine) all chopped up in syrup with cucumber and mint. The palate is a delightfully complex harmonisation of red cola, root beer and tree bark, juniper, coriander and clove, lavender and strawberry, but the main character is a punchy Sicilian lemon note that sings a solo hymn to whichever god provides us with much-needed summer refreshment.

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AMBASSADOR’S WRAP

It’s Champs month! In the depths of winter we raise a dram to blind tastings.

I

love July. I love the coldest months of the year when we get to hunker down with scarves and oversized jackets with a dram in hand surrounded by great company. Warming whisky weather. Just the thought of it makes me smile. But then, every second year, winter welcomes the Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championship. A national tasting championship of malt whiskies dating back to 1989 that the SMWS has been the custodian of since 2002. Founded in one of the birthplaces of where single malt appreciation began in Australia at the Earl of Zetland Hotel in Adelaide, it was a competition between local whisky clubs to determine the greatest palates at tasting and identifying blind whisky. The format may have evolved over time and the rules tweaked over the decades to keep it fair, but the premise of tasting whisky blind and guessing the identity is still there, along with the huge after party. I was lucky to co-host a Whisky Champs ‘training session’ with Scott Fitzsimons from the Oak Barrel in early June which was an incredible exploration of flavour and discovery tasting whisky blind. Remove all the ‘brand’, mix in some core range whiskies, some Society single casks, and take a journey into the unknown.

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That’s what July is all about. The Whisky Champs, the unknown, the flavour coming first as always. If you’re coming to the Champs, then I’ll see you there. But even if you’re not: I encourage you to try a bit of blind tasting this month any way you can. Take a few old sample bottles, or get someone to mix up a few glasses for you, and see how you go picking them out. Think you can pick apart a peated whisky from an unpeated one? Perhaps quite easily. What about between, say, an Oban vs a Highland Park? Hmm, maybe? Probably not? This is the marvel of blind tasting. The journey into the unknown. Take a read through this Outturn, explore the incredible single casks on offer, and happy winter dramming! Slainte, Matt

Matt Bailey ~ SMWS National Ambassador


The Art of Blind Tasting It’s Champs month, so we take a closer look at using your senses and the art of tasting whisky blind.

A

s soon as you mention tasting whisky blind, without any prior knowledge of what’s in your glass, there are generally only three responses you get: (a) I love doing that, (b) I’ve never done that, or (c) I hate doing it because I like to know what I’m tasting and/or I feel intimidated by getting it wrong. That third response is the one I hear the most. People afraid / fearful of tasting whisky blind out of a misplaced perception that they will be judged as having a poor palate, or that their senses aren’t as sharp as they could be. Let’s talk about flavour and sensory analysis for a moment here.

Tom Rofe, TAS Manager

One of the reasons people are sometimes fearful of blind tasting whisky is because they’ve read about or have been personally burned too many times by tricks and tactics played by those serving the whisky. First comes the trust you place in someone putting a foreign spirit in your glass and expecting you to taste it. What could it be? I hope it’s whisky? What if I say the “wrong” tasting note? What if I say nothing at all? The second reason people fear these experiments sometimes is because nobody likes to be fooled, unless they’re sitting at a Penn & Teller show.

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One of the pioneering moments in blind tasting actually came from a Frenchman named Frédéric Brochet. Frédéric is a fascinating man who changed the game of blind wine tasting forever. In 2001, Frederic Brochet conducted two experiments at the University of Bordeaux. In one experiment, he got 54 oenology (the study of wine tasting) undergraduates together and had them taste one glass of red wine and one glass of white wine. He had them describe each wine in as much detail as their expertise would allow. What he didn’t tell them was both were the same wine. He just dyed the white one red. In the other experiment, he asked the experts to rate two different bottles of red wine. One was very expensive, the other was cheap. Again, he tricked them. This time he had put the cheap wine in both bottles. So what were the results? The tasters in the first experiment, the one with the dyed wine, described the sorts of berries and grapes and tannins they could detect in the red wine just as if it really was red. Every single one, all 54, could not tell it was white. In the second experiment, the one with the switched labels, the subjects went on and on about the cheap wine in the expensive bottle. They called it complex and rounded. They called the same wine in the cheap bottle weak and flat. So is the fancy world of wine tasting all pretentious nonsense? Not exactly. The wine tasters in Brochet’s experiment above were being influenced by expectation. A wine expert’s objectivity and powers of taste under normal circumstance might be amazing, but Brochet’s manipulations of the environment tricked

“Trust your instincts, go with your first guess, focus on flavours and senses you recognise or perhaps don’t, and have fun in the guessing, the chase, the flavour being first ahead of the brand.” 20

his subjects enough to dampen their senses. Expectation, as it turns out, is just as important as raw sensation. The build up to an experience can completely change how you interpret the information reaching your brain from your otherwise objective senses. In psychology, true objectivity is pretty much considered to be impossible. Memories, emotions, conditioning, and all sorts of other mental residue taint every new experience you gain. In addition to all this, your expectations powerfully influence the final vote in your head over what you believe to be reality. So, when tasting a wine, or a whisky, or watching a movie, or driving an exotic supercar -- some of what you experience comes from within and some comes from without. Expensive wine is like anything else that is expensive, the expectation it will taste better actually makes it taste better. This realisation plays a role then in how I encourage you to taste and enjoy Society single casks. As I’ve said before: older and/or more expensive whisky isn’t necessarily “better” than younger whisky, it’s just different. In the past three months alone we’ve had five year old refill casks to 32 year old sherried whisky and everything in between. The focus has been, and will always be, on flavour.


note here that at another catch up with the same group, we picked a Bunnhabhain incorrectly as a Paul John, so do with that which you will. Blind tasting can also fall into the realm of the scientific as distilleries and industry bodies more and more use the art of sensory analysis to work with their spirit. Vast food and beverage knowledge over years of training to make sure what ends up in your glass as the enjoyer is only the best of the best. From flavour wheels to complex algorithmic analysis of spirit to bring the best out of each release. It’s something most serious distilleries already do, or are working on building into their downstream, and it’s something the SMWS are already deeply connected with from our work with the Scotch Whisky Research Institute. Now compare this to whisky tasting blind: higher proof than wine, harder to sometimes taste through the ethanol level, and commercially-bottled whisky usually has E150 artificial caramel colouring added. This takes the game to a whole new level, adding even more intimidation perhaps. What about single cask whisky? Nearly impossible. I’m in a small whisky club locally with some likeminded friends and at least one of the whiskies presented each time we meet up is served blind. This is a fantastic constant reminder of how to fine tune my senses and critically assess the whisky. At one of these gatherings, a whisky was poured blind as the first whisky of the day. First up, I looked at the colour, nosed it, nosed again with my mouth open to inhale a different side of the aromas, and then tasted it neat. The second taste again was neat so I could recalibrate. The third taste was with a few drops of water added. Even if this whisky was as low as 40% ABV, there are always mysteries and answers under the surface, and when you get to 20-22%-ish, things start getting weirdly transparent. Flaws, flavours, and fun start happening and picking it out blind becomes slightly easier. In this instance, both my colleague and I looked at each other, and straight away picked it as a Dalmore. This doesn’t happen often, but it did this time. I should also make

So in the end, what is the art of tasting whisky blind? Trust your instincts, go with your first guess, focus on flavours and senses you recognise or perhaps don’t, and have fun in the guessing, the chase, the flavour being first ahead of the brand. See you at the Champs!

Matt Bailey

21


Events SYDNEY

WOLLONGONG

SINGLE CASK BOILERMAKERS

WINTER WHISKY WARMERS

We’ve been working on some single cask whiskies maturing in ex-beer casks, and some specialty beers in some ex-Society casks, plus some surprises along the way. We’re pulling out some wild combinations for this and seats are strictly limited.

Join us in the warmth of the Fraternity Club as we enjoy a fun evening of delicious food and amazing Society malts. Have fun pairing the food with the whiskies, explore new combinations and find your perfect match!

FRIDAY 16 JULY, 6.30 FOR 7.00PM

FRIDAY 6 AUGUST, 6.00 FOR 6.30PM

Royal Automobile Club 89 Macquarie Street, Sydney Host: Matt Bailey, National Ambassador

The Fraternity Club 11 Bourke St, Fairy Meadow Host: Fred Apolloni, Wollongong Manager

MALTS AND A MEAL WITH THE MAESTRO

BRISBANE

Australia’s undisputed king of matching food to whisky, Franz Scheurer, returns for yet another incredible SMWS whisky dinner. Teaming up with award-winning celebrity chef, Luke Nguyen, together with chef Mark Jensen, the maestro will work his wizardry with five Society malts to create a culinary 1 + 1 = 3

SCOTTISH WHISKY DINNER

TUESDAY 24 AUGUST, 6.45PM START

Delicious Scottish winter fare matched to amazing winter malts – a perfect winter combination. Join us for a fun evening of delicious dishes, warming drams and great company at the Brisbane Club where the Executive Chef has curated a special Scottish menu for us. Limited seats so don’t miss out!

Red Lantern 60 Riley St, Darlinghurst Hosts: Franz Scheurer & Andrew Derbidge, NSW Manager

The Brisbane Club 241 Adelaide St, Brisbane Host: Scott Mansfield, QLD Manager

FRIDAY 27 AUGUST, 6.30 FOR 7.00PM

PLEASE CHECK THE WEBSITE FOR OUR LATEST EVENT LISTINGS AT SMWS.COM.AU/EVENTS

Grab Your FREE 3 x Dram Set

CASKS

Join the SMWS, or refer a friend who joins the Society, and you’ll automatically be sent one of our special 3 x dram packs to discover the Society, along with a video tasting going over each whisky and how to appreciate single cask whisky. Every new member & every referrer gets one and each pack is worth $79!* Cask No. 68.49 (A day at the funfair) Cask No. 39.199 (Polishing melons (Vaults Collection)) Cask No. 10.201 (Panel-punch of peat-smoke)

*Contains 3 x 30ml drams. Special referral promo ends 31 July 2021 at 11:59pm AEST 22


Ultimate Winter

BOILERMAKER PAIRINGS

JOIN US LIVE! FRIDAY 30 JULY, 7:30PM AEST We’ve been working away in the background on one of the most exciting Society projects ever. What happens when you age beer in ex-whisky casks? What happens when you mature whisky in ex-beer casks?! What happens when that beer is from one of the most awarded breweries in Australia, and some of the world’s most awarded single casks? We’ve gone ahead and done both. We’ve matured UK beer in ex-Society casks, AND we’ve matured Melbourne beer in an ex-SMWS 53 single cask, and some other surprises along the way.

ER RMAK BOILETING SET TAS $79*

Join us on live on Friday 30 July at 7pm AEST to warm up with perfect beer & whisky pairings! Packs are strictly limited, so don’t miss out!

GRAB YOUR VIRTUAL TASTING KIT AND JOIN IN THE FUN! SMWS.COM.AU/SHOP *Includes 2 x 375ml beer cans, 3 x 30ml drams, two tasting mats and full tasting notes. 23


IMMERSE YOUR SENSES AT

SMWS.COM.AU

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

@SMWS_AUSTRALIA

AUSTRALIANSMWS

SMWS_AUS

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