NEW RELEASES WILL BE ONLINE AT MIDDAY AEST, FRIDAY 3RD SEPTEMBER
Outturn Sharing the love: Friday 3 September Issue 08, 2021
YOUR WHISKY LOVE-IN This month we’re coming together to enjoy positive vibes, feelings of friendship and our love of whisky.
GROOVING AT SMWS.COM.AU
Contents Spring has Sprung Andrew Derbidge........................................................................... 3 “We will Gather” Matt Bailey ....................................................................................... 4 Glenfarclas – A family affair Andrew Derbidge ......................................................................... 8
Malt of the Month Cask No. 1.244 Raisin toast with butter to boast..............................
Events Global Gathering Events in your State.......................... 22 Global Gathering Ultimate Chocolate Pairing Virtual Tasting..................................... 23
OUR BOTTLINGS YOUNG & SPRITELY Cask No. 28.52 A sauce of fascination............................................................... 12
SWEET, FRUITY & MELLOW
OLD & DIGNIFIED Cask No. 29.277 Holy smoke!.................................................................................... 18
JUICY, OAK & VANILLA
Cask No. 125.78 Refined Rancio.............................................................................. 12
SPICY & SWEET Cask No. 2.120 Spinneys and hedgerows....................................................... 15 Cask No. 134.11 Around the world and back.................................................. 15
SPICY & DRY Cask No. 35.281 Gripping fresh fruitiness........................................................ 16
DEEP, RICH & DRIED FRUITS Cask No. 84.36 Fruits of darkness....................................................................... 16
Cask No. 1.244 (Malt of the Month) Raisin toast with butter to boast......................................... 6 Cask No. 12.50 Four-layers and fudge-frosted.......................................... 20
OILY & COASTAL Cask No. 10.206 Mexican Bloody Mary ........................................................... 20
PEATED Cask No. 42.57 Maritime crisp enthusiast .................................................... 21
Spring has sprung H
mm…..September already. That means Spring. Traditionally and metaphorically, Spring represents new birth, regrowth, rejuvenation, and renaissance. Physically, we associate Spring with relief from the cold winter and the transition to warmer weather. Spring is particularly evocative for Scotland and its whisky industry: The heather blooms; the winter barley is harvested; and the snow melt feeds the burns and tributaries that provide process water for the distilleries. Oh, and there’s also the Springbank distillery. In the spirit of Spring and re-birth, I encourage you to venture out this month and try things you might not ordinarily reach for. For example, if you’ve not managed to fully embrace peated whiskies in the past, perhaps your palate and sensitivities may have changed since you last tried. Or, if you went straight to the deep end and struggled with a heavy-hitter from Islay, perhaps try something that’s only lightly or medium peated from the mainland. The Society, in particular, has championed a surprising amount of peated whiskies that don’t come from the big names on Islay.
Another very worthwhile exercise to try once you’re well into your whisky journey is to go back to whiskies you previously dismissed or were underwhelmed by. With both producers and consumers always in the never-ending quest for whiskies that are bigger, bolder, and brighter, we often miss or overlook the elegance, subtlety, grace, and complexity that can exist in quieter whiskies. In the early days of your whisky journey, it’s easy to miss such characteristics, particularly with lighter-styled malts. Years later, armed with experience and hopefully better trained and developed faculties that can recognise such traits, you might surprise yourself by finding you tremendously enjoy and appreciate a particular malt that you previously once discounted. Spring has sprung – may your tastebuds spring into action. Cheers
Andrew Derbidge ~ Director, Cellarmaster & NSW Manager 3
“We will Gather” It’s September! That means the Global Gathering is back. At the time of writing, we don’t know to what extent our experiences for this month will be inperson, but we do know we’ll be absolutely bringing the goods this month for our Global Gathering virtual. Skip straight to the back for that one…
his month is about going back to our roots as a Society. Exploring the distillery that started it all, and exploring the shared camaraderie that comes from being a part of this club. Through the combined efforts of our Cellarmaster and our members around the country, we have a very special Malt of the Month from distillery 1 that has been named by a member, and tasted by hundreds of members around the country who suggested names and submitted tasting notes for it. This is your cask now! These kind of months especially remind me how important the community of this club is. Those moments shared online and in-person where we get to ‘gather’, talk ideas, share a cask, debate, laugh, and discover. It’s also this month I get to remind myself how much of a simple idea the Society was in its origin. If the founder Pip Hills hadn’t met a farmer named Stan, if they hadn’t shared a dram from his quarter cask from distillery 1, and if they hadn’t had the idea of creating a ‘syndicate’ of friends to share this whisky with, then I wouldn’t be writing this right now. This also reminds me of how far we’ve come in the last 40-odd years, and how things have changed in the last 12 months. Back in 1982, single malts were little-known in Scotland
and virtually non-existent in Australia. A few independent distillers bottled some of their product as a single malt, but very few, and as far as the industry was concerned, such people were just a nuisance that distracted from the excellence of the blended stuff. This was a flavour epiphany for Pip. An uphill battle to show how good single cask whisky can be. How incredibly enjoyable it is. That’s part of what drives our Global Gathering in 2021. A shared enjoyment and appreciation for incredible single cask whisky. In uncertain times, in lockdowns, amongst travel restrictions: we can, and will, gather. Whether that be online, or socially distanced, the community that makes this club amazing won’t ever be dampened. Grab your Gathering bottle, pop the top, and share it around. These shared experiences are what makes this your SMWS. Cheers
Matt Bailey ~ SMWS National Ambassador 5
MALT MONTH OF THE
September each year is all about our Global Gathering, both in-person where possible and virtually everywhere. A month taking a look at who we are as a club, a month of your stories and tales in taste. For our Malt of the Month we not only have the whole cask to share with members around the country, but this cask was actually picked by you, our members! If you recall between August to October last year, you may have tasted this special release at one of our events in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, and Hobart. We also sent out dozens of samples (see pictured). So many names were suggested for this cask based off the flavour, but it was member Sebastian Davies-Mills who picked our favourite name, Raisin toast with butter to boast. So welcome our member-approved, single cask Global Gathering release of 1.244 Raisin toast with butter to boast. Distillery 1 is where it all started with the SMWS, and so we’re throwing back to our origins as the best whisky club you could hope to be a member of. Just like last year’s 26.147 All the colours of the rainbow, this 1.244 is best opened, shared, and savoured with friends far and wide. This is your cask, your Society, your Gathering. Slainté!
RAISIN TOAST WITH BUTTER TO BOAST JUICY, OAK & VANILLA CASK NO. 1.244
REDUCED FROM $175 LIAN TRA SIVE S U A C LU EX ED R OV S I E P P S A AU S BY M B E R ME 6
1st fill bourbon barrel
6 April 2011
AUS ALLOCATION 221 bottles AUSSIE MEMBER TASTING NOTES
Bright pink Turkish delight cubes alongside a mug of Earl Grey intertwine delightfully with raisin bread and freshly spread melting butter. Milk arrowroot biscuits and citrus flowers now on the palate, with a hint of Manuka honey and milk. After some time in the glass we found a distant herbal note, like a jar of menthol marmalade. Reduction brought out custard creams, melting moments, pink wafer biscuits and white chocolate. Like meringues in the sun at a local beach, this special Gathering selection is best shared with friends and family.
Glenfarclas – A family affair Glenfarclas is a special distillery and holds a special place in many people’s hearts – and particularly the Society’s. So what is it about the distillery that makes Glenfarclas unique? Let’s explore…
irst and foremost, Glenfarclas is a family-owned distillery. That might not seem like much on the surface, but it’s a key feature that drives almost everything about the distillery. By comparison, the vast majority of distilleries are owned by huge multi-nationals or private consortiums. Many distilleries are just one in a portfolio featuring several other whisky distilleries and/or brands, all owned by the controlling company. The two best examples of the current state of play in the Scotch whisky world are Diageo and Pernod Ricard. Diageo owns 28 malt whisky distilleries, a number of grain distilleries, and owns brands like Johnnie Walker, Bells, J&B Rare, etc. Pernod Ricard owns 13 malt distilleries, two grain distilleries, and brands like Chivas Regal and Ballantines. In contrast, Glenfarclas is one of only three distilleries from the 19th century that still remain in family hands. Glenfarclas was officially founded in 1836 by Robert Hay, being part of Rechlerich Farm. (I say officially, as there is evidence of distilling at the farm from 1791.) The distillery is near Marypark, in the heart of Speyside, with neighbours such as Benrinnes, Cragganmore, Aberlour, and Macallan not too far away. The farm was sold to John Grant in 1865, and both
First and foremost, Glenfarclas is a familyowned distillery. That might not seem like much on the surface, but it’s a key feature that drives almost everything about the distillery.
farm and distillery have subsequently remained with the Grant family ever since. Six generations of Grants (each named either George or John!) have subsequently owned and managed the distillery and today, John’s great great grandson, John L. S. Grant, is the Chairman, and his son, George S. Grant is currently the company’s Sales Director. (As a brief aside, the Grants ran both the farm and the distillery in tandem until as recently as 1987, at which time they decided to cease farming and focus 100% on distilling). One of the key features with being a familyowned distillery is that it brings and affords independence. The Grants can do what they like, when they like, and how they like. It allows them to do things that other distilleries can’t. The Family Casks series, launched back in 2007, is a great example – no other distillery could possibly claim such an inventory of casks in their warehouses, and this has allowed them to bottle single casks from every vintage from 1952 onwards.
Furthermore, many aspects of Glenfarclas and its processes/operations remain very traditional. Some of these processes may not be the most efficient methods compared to other options available these days, but the Grants would prefer to spend a few extra pounds and maintain the distillery’s spirit and flavour profile, rather than save money but lose something in their spirit’s flavour and character. A good example of this is the stills, (until recently, the largest on Speyside!) which remain directly fired, these days by gas. This is a rare sight in modern times – most distilleries moved away from direct heating decades ago, in favour of indirect steam coil or steam pan heating. Direct heating – more expensive to run, with naked flame applied to the still – can create a burning or caramelisation of the wash, and is said to impart certain flavour characteristics to the resulting spirit. Of course, the Grants cannot be accused of being old fashioned just for the sake of it. In fact, they’ve been just as innovative and forward thinking as any other distillery, if not more so. Their 105 expression, launched in 1968, was the world’s first commercially available bottling of cask-strength malt whisky. As far back as 1973, they were just the second Scottish distillery to
Of course, the Grants cannot be accused of being old fashioned just for the sake of it... Their 105 expression, launched in 1968, was the world’s first commercially available bottling of caskstrength malt whisky. create a visitor centre, and they’ve explored and trialled new technology when and where it’s merited. A great example, and a story that always warms my heart, is that they actually trialled steam coil heating back in the 1980’s. One of the stills was converted to be indirectly heated by steam, and its spirit was collected separately from the rest of the “regular” make. Sensory analysis of the resulting spirit from the steam-heated still revealed that the character of the spirit had changed beyond recognition, and it nosed and tasted nothing like regular Glenfarclas. The decision was made then and there to remove the steam coil system and to revert to direct heating. Another hallmark and signature of Glenfarclas is its commitment to sherry cask maturation – again, a decision that doesn’t please the accountants, but is a haven for lovers of sherried whiskies. Sherry casks typically cost ten times as much as bourbon casks, giving you some insight into the expense involved. The large portfolio of expressions in the distillery’s core-range, with age statements at 8, 10, 12, 15, 17, 18, 21, 25, 30, and 40 is arguably the largest and most diverse in the industry, with each expression utilising a different “recipe” of cask-types to create variations in style and intensity. Glenfarclas fills into bourbon casks on order for other companies, but every single drop bottled under their own label comes from a cask that previously held
sherry. The different age expressions thus mix and match 1st fill, 2nd fill, 3rd fill, and refill casks; hogsheads and butts; American oak and European oak; and sherry types such as fino, oloroso, and pedro ximenez. It is a long time ago now, but it’s worth recalling that The Scotch Malt Whisky Society and Glenfarclas also share a special relationship. In any article written about the Society, it is almost de rigueur to mention that it had its humble beginnings on the day that Pip Hills made a fateful journey to Glenfarclas, purchased a cask, and brought it home to his flat in Edinburgh where he shared it with his friends. So when the opportunity to travel opens up again, and should you find yourself in Speyside, a visit to Glenfarclas is well worth an afternoon on your itinerary. Tell them I sent you. Slainte, AD
Andrew Derbidge ~ Director, Cellarmaster & NSW Manager 11
A SAUCE OF FASCINATION YOUNG & SPRITELY CASK NO. 28.52
1st fill bourbon barrel
21 May 2012
AUS ALLOCATION 30 bottles Chardonnay and tarragon reduced down in a cream heavy sauce with a touch of salt as fennel merged with dried coconut, custard cream biscuits and soy sauce. Liquorice and brown sugar emerged on the palate with a spicy tingle of wasabi and pickled ginger before sweeter notes embraced chocolate, fruit jelly sweets and juicy red apples. With water came an intriguing mix of vanilla icing on Bakewell tarts, fresh satsumas and balsamic glaze. The palate combined juicy elements of fruit coulis with the dry tartness of quince jelly as sweetness delivered freeze dried strawberries with ice cream and vanilla wafers.
REFINED RANCIO SWEET, FRUITY & MELLOW CASK NO. 125.78
M MIU PRE T TLING BO E POK BES ASK C
1st fill Pedro Ximenez barrique
8 February 2005
AUS ALLOCATION 30 bottles This was almost sensory overkill, but we managed! Overripe pears and plums, musky and woody, tobacco, floral and nutty – we imagined being in a perfume laboratory in Grasse. The taste neat was silky and rich, gentle and refined as well as oaky and creamy, like a chilled glass of white Bordeaux wine, lemon, peach, apricot and herbaceous notes of bergamot. Diluted we found manuka honey, orange blossom, figs and dates next to marzipan. On the palate, we detected that sweet rancio flavour found in sweet wine with the delicate earthiness of mushrooms and truffles. After thirteen years in an ex-bourbon barrel, we transferred this whisky into a 1st fill barrique from a privately owned small bodegas, now in its 9th generation, that focuses exclusively on the Pedro Ximenez grape.
SPINNEYS AND HEDGEROWS SPICY & SWEET CASK NO. 2.120
1st fill bourbon barrel
7 April 2006
AUS ALLOCATION 42 bottles We found this one had a beautiful nose, brimming with freshness and sunshine. Notes of sun lotion, butter beans, starched linens, bramble bushes, potting shed floors and sourdough starter. Water brought out grassiness, moss, petrichor, vase water and damp ferns. Green, vibrant and vividly fresh. The palate when neat started with a kick of cinnamon, then went wonderfully rich and buttery. Lots of lemon sherbet, thyme, butter biscuit, soda bread spread with honey and a splash of lemon cordial. Reduction enhanced the fruitiness with pineapple jelly, fruit salad juices, crisp cereals, lemon balm and herbal cocktail bitters.
AROUND THE WORLD AND BACK SPICY & SWEET CASK NO. 134.11
Refill bourbon barrel
31 January 2016
AUS ALLOCATION 36 bottles A sweet fragrance filled the air that gave the impression of hibiscus flowers, sandalwood, cinnamon and marsala spices. Roses entwined around oak trees as rhubarb suggested an earthiness with tobacco and chai tea chests. The palate arrived with a heavy dose of blackcurrant liquorice and spiced dark rum with fermented tea joining brown sugar and cassia bark. A dash of water summoned a delicious combination of galangal, turmeric and cumin seeds as Thai basil merged with scented petals on naan bread. On the palate came green chillies, kaffir lime leaves and coriander seeds to compliment Turkish delight and thick cream before sweet dates and almonds combined on the finish. 15
GRIPPING FRESH FRUITINESS SPICY & DRY CASK NO. 35.281
Refill bourbon hogshead
30 January 2006
AUS ALLOCATION 60 bottles A minty, chalky freshness greeted the Panel before goldencoloured dried jumbo raisins, as well as sliced melon, served with a sprinkling of ginger appeared. On the palate neat cracked black pepper crispy flatbread with salty butter and quince jelly before the sweeter taste of flapjacks, apple crumble and a maraschino cherry on a bamboo cocktail stick took centre stage. After a drop of water, we prepared a hot, sweet malted milk drink and toasted semolina pudding with pine nuts and cinnamon before we bit into a crisp Granny Smith apple, typically acidic but with that slight sweetness as occurring during storage. Fresh, fruity, sweet and a dry finish - gripping!
FRUITS OF DARKNESS DEEP, RICH & DRIED FRUITS CASK NO. 84.36
Limit of one bottle per Member
IAL SPECISH FIN
1st fill Sauternes barrique
19 March 2008
AUS ALLOCATION 36 bottles Heavyweight fruit plunged us into figs, dates and sticky dessert wine as hazelnut chocolate merged with soft leather and pipe tobacco in a teak casket. Velvety flavours swirled in the mouth, encapsulating golden sultanas, prunes and raisins mixed into a thick wedge of fruit cake. A tart tang of kumquat joined emerging spice as cinnamon joined the party. Floral aromas complemented the heavy fruits after a dash of water. Now orange blossom and lemon meringue pie mixed with prune juice and toffee in molasses. Finally, creamy custard oozed over scones with marmalade as chocolate flakes sprinkled onto grapefruit and pomegranate. After spending ten years in an ex-bourbon hogshead this was transferred to a first fill ex-sauternes barrique for the remainder of its maturation.
HOLY SMOKE! Wow! Smoked honey-glazed ocean trout barbequed on cedar planks next to crispy bacon waffles as we reminisced of a perfect day on the beach when we explored rockpools and caves. As the sun set over the sea, we lit the tiki torches and the atmosphere turned electric. On the palate neat it felt like a sweet, warm embrace – flavours of bergamot, lavender, orange oil, maple syrup and molasses honey on dark chocolate chip muffins – holy smoke! We all agreed it did not need water, however an aroma of spicy sweet cigar smoke mingled with the scent from firing a flintlock pistol while to taste sweet dark sea salt smoky chocolate.
HOLY SMOKE! OLD & DIGNIFIED CASK NO. 29.277
Limit of one bottle per Member
M MIU PRE T TLING BO
Refill Oloroso butt
14 February 2001
AUS ALLOCATION 30 bottles
FOUR-LAYERS AND FUDGE-FROSTED JUICY, OAK & VANILLA CASK NO. 12.50
1st fill bourbon barrel
29 September 2009
AUS ALLOCATION 36 bottles A wonderfully inviting nose neat, pear tarte tatin, coconut biscuits, orange fudge, buttered toffee as well as creamy dark chocolate hazelnut spread. A thick texture with a long wood spice backbone, plenty of fruits of the forest and a chocolate drink made from cocoa, banana, cereals honey and sugar. Water added desiccated coconut, vanilla custard, chocolate brownies but at the same time a plate full of tagliatelle pasta in a rich creamy black truffle sauce. Silky smooth on the palate like a four-layer, fudge-frosted chocolate and vanilla sponge cake, coconut lime macaroons with white chocolate and in the finish, dark chocolate chip ginger nuts.
MEXICAN BLOODY MARY OILY & COASTAL CASK NO. 10.206
Refill bourbon barrel
6 October 2006
AUS ALLOCATION 36 bottles We were standing in a bakehouse by the sea, windows wide open and a fresh salty breeze mingled with aromas of malted sourdough and rye bread, vanilla and coconut oil and salted caramel. Runny honey with a pinch of sea salt on the palate neat was followed by milk chocolate caramel wafers as well as salty liquorice syrup. After we added water, we made sweet and salty popcorn, quince jelly and prosciutto melon balls before we washed it all down with a Michelada containing Mexican cerveza, sea salt and chilli powder, lime and clamato juice served in a salt rimmed highball.
MARITIME CRISP ENTHUSIAST PEATED CASK NO. 42.57
Refill bourbon barrel
5 October 2006
AUS ALLOCATION 30 bottles A puff of boiler smoke greeted the Panel, then it was an immediate deep dive into ploughman’s pickle, sooty chimneys, charred oyster shells shucked into bonfire embers, oily rags and pure mercurochrome. Water brought out tarred fenceposts, beach flowers, wet sand, herbaltinged peat smoke and peppery bath salts. In the mouth there was an initial surge of salt and malt vinegar crisps, pickled onions, hessian cloth, dank dunnage and black olive tapenade. Water gave us greasy oilskins, kippers doused on lemon juice, brine and smoked venison.
Let’s gather, share the spirit of the club, and fill the Kelvin Club with the smells and sounds of whisky!
Let’s gather at the Gilbert Street Hotel in search of the Flying Haggis, that lesser known Scottish icon. Jenny Forrest will take you on a sensory journey through Scotland visiting six whisky distilleries along the way.
GLOBAL GATHERING X BLASTA BREWING
FRIDAY 24 SEPTEMBER 7PM FOR 7:30PM
FRIDAY 10 SEPTEMBER 6PM FOR 6:30PM
The magic of beer & whisky pairings, boilermakers, and food all hosted by Jason Davies for WA members at Blasta Brewery.
THURSDAY 16 SEPTEMBER 4PM FOR 4:30PM
CANBERRA, SYDNEY, BRISBANE, HOBART KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR EMAILS
FOR OUR LATEST EVENT LISTINGS AND TO BOOK ONLINE VISIT SMWS.COM.AU/EVENTS All events listed are dependent on COVID-19 restrictions easing and may be subject to change or cancellation at short notice.
ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE PAIRING Krsna, the mad chocolate scientist, is back! Back in November last year we co-hosted the Ultimate Chocolate Pairing virtual tasting with Krsna Rajalingam from Basik Chocolatiers. Smoked soy with matcha mandarin paired with Society single cask whiskies?! Yes, it’s possible. Last year’s pairings were called some of the best ever by members, and Krsna & Matt have been working on these new pairings for longer again this time!
DRAMS ON TASTE AND EXPERTLY PAIRED UP
RAISIN TOAST WITH BUTTER TO BOAST
APERA FOR EVERYONE!
DAY IS FADING WEST AWA’
* 9 3 1 $ SET EACH
Join us on Saturday 25 September 7:30pm AEST for the ultimate whisky & chocolate pairing delivered and enjoyed in the comfort of your own home.
GRAB YOUR VIRTUAL TASTING KIT AND JOIN IN THE FUN! SMWS.COM.AU/SHOP *Each pack includes: 10 x handmade bonbons, 5 x single cask Society whisky 30ml samples. Enjoy on your own or enough to share with a friend/partner. 23
SHARING THE LOVE
02 9974 3046 Mon-Fri 9.00am - 5.00pm AEST
Society bottlings are offered and sold through The Artisanal Spirits Company Pty Ltd, Liquor Licence LIQP770017428.