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AUGUST 2018

M A LT O F T H E M O N T H : TEA-SMOKED DUCK CASK No. 3.311 Palates at the ready: Friday 3rd August


CELLARMASTER'S NOTE Dear Members, Those of you who follow the movements of the “big brands” may have noticed some recent trends and the sudden arrival of a few new bottlings and releases that aim to extol the virtues of sherry cask maturation. Be they blended malts, single malts, or even regular blends, several of the players have recently launched new whiskies that aim to remind everyone that sherried whiskies are “good”. It’s an amusing cycle to observe. Twenty years ago, the sherried whiskies were cleaning up and being lauded as the best money could buy. Then, as the long-term decline of the sherry industry took hold and both chronic stock shortages and escalating cask costs kicked in, the industry went into over-drive to assure us that the majority of Scotch whiskies observed superior and preferable results by being matured in American Oak ex-bourbon casks. Many distilleries went “all in”, even printing on their packaging that the whisky was matured 100% exclusively in 1st Fill American oak barrels.

Of course, whilst all this was going on, we at the Society were still seeing the full array of cask and wood types come through the system. In our Local Tasting Panel sessions, we were seeing 1st Fill bourbon casks, 2nd fill casks and refill casks all from American Oak (quercus alba), and then we were also seeing the ex-sherry casks come through the system. These could be either American or European oak (quercus robur) but the point here was that, over the course of many years and countless tasting sessions, we came to learn certain things about certain distilleries and which cask types better complemented those distilleries or regional styles. It was not uncommon to receive both a bourbon cask and a sherry cask from the same distillery in the one batch of samples, and we would often debate the merits of each. We taste with our eyes, and the darker sherried casks would always get us excited in anticipation – but it was amazing how often the bourbon cask would deliver the goods.

Of course, the beauty of the single cask is that there are exceptions to every rule, and so it was a joy but never a surprise when some incredible sherry cask blew the panel away.

Each Outturn we release each month continues to be that same journey of discovery. The majority of Society casks are American oak and specifically ex-bourbon (reflecting the entire industry as a whole), but you’ll see a mix of 1st Fill and 2nd Fill/Refill casks. If you can get to one of our Partner Bars that stocks the full Outturn and try a few of these in one session, it’s an incredibly educational (and tasty) experience to go through these and see how the different woods and filltypes impart different character to the spirit. And, whilst 1st Fill Sherry Casks remain a rarity for the entire industry, we do get our fair share. And you might also have noticed the Society has released some incredible casks in the last 12 months that were re-racked into sherry for a short period at the end of their maturation.

In the single malt realm, cask is king. When the Society releases each Outturn, many members tend to focus on the distilleries being showcased and their provenance. My tip is to focus on the cask and the Flavour Profile – for Society bottlings, that’s where the action’s at. Slainté,

Andrew Derbidge | Director, Cellarmaster & NSW Manager


A L W AY S G R O W I N G , A L W AY S I N N O V A T I N G , A L W AY S H A V I N G F U N . WELCOME DISTILLERY CODE 135! For August, we proudly welcome distillery single malt code ‘135’ to the Vaults, with the first of a few tasty casks coming through: Cask 135.2 ‘Hessian, wood and incense’.

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cotland’s not short of scenic distilleries, scattered around the glens or islands in all of their whitewashed, pagoda-roofed splendour, ready to roll out the welcome mat to coachloads of tourists who may or may not already have a passion for whisky. There are also the factory units, built on an industrial scale to run as much spirit as possible and with little regard for aesthetics, nor the desire to expose their operations to the general public. And then there’s Loch Lomond – a distillery that combines so many different elements that it feels almost beyond description. Without a visitor centre, it’s off the beaten track to most whisky enthusiasts, and a mystery as to how they are able to achieve such incredible diversity. Those members who like to nerd out on our codes may wonder why we’ve not bottled straight ‘Loch Lomond’ in the past, especially for a distillery that’s been around since 1965. In fact, we sort of have in some ways. You may remember my article on Cask G15.1 from a few months back, the very first cask of Rhosdhu from the same distillery. I can’t think of another distillery with as much diversity of spirit, spirit runs, peating levels, and types of grain used under one roof.

At Loch Lomond, they produce: Craiglodge, Croftengea (122), Inchfad, Inchmoan, Inchmurrin (112), Rhosdhu (G15), Loch Lomond organic grain (G9), and of course Loch Lomond (135). Versatility of spirit doesn’t even begin to describe it. They really do try and make everything, and they do it very well. They blend onsite, they cooper and char barrels on-site, they distill malt and grain in the same site, and have incredible flavour as Cask 135.2 will attest to. Matured in an ex-Sauternes barrel, after 15 years the Society panel deemed this to be absolutely worthy for member release, and we’re really proud to be sharing this with you this month. As their distillery slogan goes, “Never Follow” – an ethos we can definitely identify with at the SMWS. Cheers!

Image: Euan Campbell (centre) inspects a cask getting toasted at Loch Lomond distillery.


THE SEASON O F S I N G L E M A LT In the perfect season for appreciating the warming glow from your Society single malt, we are excited to release two new distillery codes, and to bring you a broad range of gems covering no less than eight flavour profiles in this edition. Jump in! ALL NEW RELEASES WILL BE AVAILABLE ONLINE FROM FRIDAY 3RD AUGUST AT MIDDAY AEST.

BOURBON

CASK No. B5.3 SEDUCTIVE SWEETNESS AND EARTHY SPICE TASTING NOTES: The nose oozed seductive sweetness (chocolate cream egg, pecan pie, molasses) and earthy spice notes of tree bark, nutmeg, cinnamon, patchouli oil and a new John Deere tractor – we wanted to hold its hand and walk into the desert sunset. The palate was syrupy sweet and spicy, bold and intense – liquorice and cherry bandy, banana toffee and Lapsang Souchong. The reduced nose had the holiday appeal of aromatic tanning oil, the sweetness of amarena cherries and cinnamon iced buns, with some oak and black tea. The palate combined chocolate and vanilla slice sweetness with tea chest tannins and tasty woody spice. 13 YEARS N E W

11 SEPTEMBER 2003

O A K

B A R R E L

A U S A L L O C AT I O N : 3 0 B O T T L E S

53.5%

TENNESSEE

1 of 162 bottles PRICE: $240


P E AT E D

CASK No. 10.135 DELICIOUS SEAR AND SIZZLE TASTING NOTES: Sweet, peaty, nutty smoke on the nose, binds everything else together – prawns on a bed of salt, oysters, kelp, Frazzles and feverfew. The palate boasts intense peat smoke, barbecued lobster, Liquorice Allsorts, smoked walnuts, salty pork crackling and mustard vinaigrette – good enough to eat! The reduced nose evokes a barbeque outside a boatbuilder’s shed (sail-cloth, rope, timbers) – with pork fat sizzling on charcoal embers, burnt lemon on mackerel; meringues and dark chocolate with sea-salt for afters. The reduced palate – sweet, salty, smoky, tar and embers; smoked almonds, grilled pineapple and mango and perfectly cooked peppercorn steaks – delicious sear and sizzle! 9 YEARS

07 FEBRUARY 2008

R E F I L L

58.5%

I S L AY

1 of 222 bottles

B A R R E L

A U S A L L O C AT I O N : 4 8 B O T T L E S

PRICE: $188

SPICY & SWEET

CASK No. 5.66 TOFFEE AND TURF TASTING NOTES: Following the trails of aroma led us along paths of lush grass encapsulating the pure freshness of green vegetation that occasionally took a detour to tomato plants in a greenhouse. A sweet layer of toffee and fudge floated above a creamy undercurrent of melted butter whilst a waft of pineapple squash introduced soft fruit. The addition of water kicked into the air a puff of dry dust, perhaps from sun-baked flowerbeds as it mingled with the floral bouquet of sweetly scented flowers. The palate delivered an invigorating dash of chilli spice that interchanged with peppermint to create a tension between hot and cold. Green bell pepper revisited a crisp vibrancy that was balanced by vanilla custard before finishing with paprika sprinkled over new wood. 15 YEARS 1 S T

1 6 JA N UA RY 2 0 0 3

F I L L

B A R R E L

A U S A L L O C AT I O N : 2 4 B O T T L E S

55.0%

LOWLAND

1 of 208 bottles PRICE: $199


J U I C Y, O A K & VA N I L L A

CASK No. 7.196 FROM THE SHOWER TO THE BOUDOIR TASTING NOTES: The nose, with beeswax, pine, powder puffs and parma violets; coconut, cream soda, leather and pistachio ice-cream, bestowed smiles of contentment. The palate had perfumed fruits (blackcurrant, kiwi, piña colada) on one hand – and warming sweetness on the other (crème caramel, Brandy Alexander); then seasoned wood to finish. The reduced nose wafted heady floral perfumes, like the scent your lover trails between the shower and the boudoir (that boudoir could also be an antique library or a pine forest). The palate delighted us with intense fruits (plum, rhubarb) velvety dark chocolate sweetness and hints of perfumed leather – ‘Oh Yes!’ someone sighed. 13 YEARS 1 S T

F I L L

1 7 N OV E M B E R 2 0 0 3

B O U R B O N

56.2%

B A R R E L

A U S A L L O C AT I O N : 3 0 B O T T L E S

SPEYSIDE

1 of 125 bottles PRICE: $185

S W E E T, F R U I T Y & M E L L O W

CASK No. 135.2 HESSIAN, WOOD AND INCENSE TASTING NOTES: This big whisky starts with dry, sweet and savoury aromas – old hessian sacks, dunnage warehouse, dried apricots, orange fruit pastilles, marmalade, tomato chutney and a faint whiff of iodine. The taste is savoury and spicy with tannic woody notes. Rich roast beef gravy, dark chocolate and brown sugar it was thick and mouth coating. Adding water brought out chocolate raisins, brandy butter, stem ginger, nectarines, plum skins and incense. The big taste offered a barrage of orange barley sugars, chocolate, raisins, mint, woody spices and tannins. It developed into old Baco style Armagnac and Christmas cake with some smoke at the end. Previously in an ex bourbon hogshead. 15 YEARS

15 MARCH 2001

52.3%

1ST FILL EX-SAUTERNES HOGSHEAD A U S A L L O C AT I O N : 2 4 B O T T L E S

HIGHLAND

1 of 274 bottles PRICE: $235


M A LT O F T H E M O N T H P E AT E D

CASK No. 3.311 TEA-SMOKED DUCK Distillery 3 is back!! One of our favourite Islay gems, this cask is a masterclass in peated balance from a distillery with one of the most exciting depths of flavour profile. We’re over the moon to be able to share this with you. Expect notes of lavender, mint, bacon-wrapped chicken skewers and a herb crust. Come on a smoky journey with us this month in Cask 3.311.

TASTING NOTES: We felt like creating a botanical perfume using aromas of lavender, moss and mint, then adding rose and vetiver as well as deeper notes of frankincense and guaiac wood, but before we got completely carried away we gave it a try. Charred sweet smoke of bacon-wrapped chicken skewers with pineapple and Teriyaki sauce and the aromatic flavour of tea-smoked duck made this very enjoyable. With water, we cooked a herb crust (parsley, mint, rosemary and garlic) leg of lamb in a red wine gravy as we nibbled salty hickory smoked almonds and tempura oysters with a sweet smoky chilli dipping sauce. 13 YEARS 2 N D

1 6 F E B R UA RY 2 0 0 4

F I L L

H O G S H E A D

A U S A L L O C AT I O N : 4 2 B O T T L E S

55.9%

I S L AY

1 of 127 bottles PRICE: $195

$195 REDUCED FROM $225.


SPICY & DRY

CASK No. 44.93 TIPPLE OF THE BRAMBLE HUNTER TASTING NOTES: The intrepid bramble hunter, garnished with thick lambs wool knitted jumper, wax jacket and leather boots, set forth into the wild countryside in search of blackberries and loganberries with which to make jam. Earthy aromas were plentiful as they kicked through autumn leaves on the damp forest floor whilst happily munching on a crisp red apple. Stopping to take a sip of dandelion and burdock (similar to root beer) they spotted the first bramble bush in the dense hedgerow with its fortress of thick twigs and armour piercing thorns. Quickly the bramble hunter seized their chance to plunder the unsuspecting hedge and bundled their bounty into a hessian bag to carry home and enjoy a well-earned glass of viognier white wine and a chunk of sticky toffee. 11 YEARS

23 OCTOBER 2006

R E - C H A R R E D

63.2%

SPEYSIDE

1 of 205 bottles

H O G S H E A D

A U S A L L O C AT I O N : 2 4 B O T T L E S

PRICE: $180

Y O U N G & S P R I T E LY

CASK No. 84.25 D I S T I N C T I V E A N D D E L E C TA B L E TASTING NOTES: The nose neat had the flinty chalky sweetness of opening a bag of Pontefract cakes followed by a cranberry-apple spritzer and a new leather smell. The taste, without water, came as a slight shock; mineralic dry heat – mouth-puckering and after all that, in the finish, chicken liver parfait with apple & saffron chutney. Takes a lot of water as we now cooked mustard-crusted pork chops with caramelised apple rings and on the palate we had a mixture of apple juice, yeast, orange, honey and must reminding us of both a glass of Cornish mead wine or Jamaican ginger beer. 9 YEARS R E F I L L

19 MARCH 2008

H O G S H E A D

A U S A L L O C AT I O N : 2 4 B O T T L E S

56.4%

SPEYSIDE

1 of 242 bottles PRICE: $150


D E E P, R I C H & D R I E D F R U I T S

CASK No. 115.6 CLOOTIE DUMPLING IN THE SAUNA TASTING NOTES: The PX influence is immediately discernible on the nose – cinder toffee, dulce de leche, sherry trifle and clootie dumpling*. It also has linseed oil and apothecary notes. The substantial palate is appetising, with flavours of sweet sherry, treacle tart, treacle toffee, molasses, gingerbread and chocolate-coated raisins. Adding water excites aromas of sauna wood and sandalwood incense to the nose, as well as brown sugar and custard Danish. The palate finds Jamaican ginger cake, sticky toffee pudding, hessian, tobacco leaf and tar. This is an inviting, welcoming dram that could be served with savoury tapas, such as Serrano ham, or with dessert. Previously matured in an ex-bourbon hogshead. *Scottish dessert of dried fruits, suet and spices boiled in a cloth or ‘cloot’. 9 YEARS 1 S T

F I L L

07 APRIL 2008

P X

5 7. 5 %

SPEYSIDE

1 of 174 bottles

H O G S H E A D

A U S A L L O C AT I O N : 3 6 B O T T L E S

PRICE: $165

L I G H T LY P E A T E D

CASK No. 4.236 I S L A N D H O L I D AY S N A P S H O T TASTING NOTES: The nose provoked a lengthy panel debate – was it a picnic on the wild flower machair or the remains of a barbeque bonfire on the shore? Either way it was an interesting island holiday snapshot. The palate was quite a sensation – lively but lovely and balanced – honeyed porridge and blancmange sweetness with lots of perfumed floral smoke. The pointless debate continued with water – the picnickers taking langoustines from a basket and the beach guys pouring lavender water on driftwood embers. The reduced palate – either scallops and Thai prawns or kissing a perfumed woman – depending, maybe, on how hungry you feel. 14 YEARS R E F I L L

05 SEPTEMBER 2002

H O G S H E A D

A U S A L L O C AT I O N : 2 4 B O T T L E S

56.6%

HIGHLAND

1 of 279 bottles PRICE: $215


BOURBON IS BACK! 2018 has been an incredible year for diversity of spirit in our Outturns, something which we’re very happy to see and pass onto our members.

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ugust Outturn follows that pattern with Cask B5.3 released for members, which is some of the oldest and most intriguing bourbon we’ve released to date. Whilst bourbon doesn’t have quite the same level of strict appellation control that Scotch whisky does, the bold flavours are always a hit with our Australian members, so for those new to the category, let’s explore what we’re dealing with here! W H AT I S B O U R B O N W H I S K E Y ? 1

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The name has its origins in France. Louis XVI’s France was a major ally to America during the war of independence and that gratitude was reflected with a large swath of land being named for Louis’s (and possible French general and war hero Lafayette’s) royal family name “Bourbon”, and so Bourbon County was born. Casks can only be used once for the production of Bourbon. As soon as they’re emptied, barrels are either broken down into staves or exported intact, where they get a second life in the production of other whiskies around the world, as well as in other spirits like Tequila. This actually works out perfectly, as new casks have all the flavours that Bourbon wants (lots of vanilla and tropical fruit) and subsequent fills better suit the complex and reserved profiles Scottish and other distilleries strive for. Angels’ share is a bigger deal in America. Due to the warmer climate and the use of brand new barrels every time, Kentucky producers can expect to lose up to 10% in the first year in barrel hydration and evaporation, with 4% annually after that. As a point of reference, most Scotch whisky distilleries enjoy an angels’ share of around 1-3%. Warehouse positioning makes a huge difference. American whiskey is rested in truly colossal warehouses, in some cases just shy of 30 barrels high, and the conditions in these buildings vary drastically from floor to ceiling. The tops of these warehouse are much hotter and drier, often creating more intense whiskies, as the water will evaporate at a faster rate than the alcohol. This means that whilst bourbon cannot go into a barrel above 62.5% ABV, it can come out much higher, even over 70% ABV. Bottled in Bond is a US government guarantee. Bourbons labelled Bottled in Bond follow all the same rules as straight bourbon, plus three more guarantees: 1) Every drop in the bottle is produced by one distillery from one season of distillation, 2) the product will be a minimum of 4 years old, and 3) it will be “100 proof ” (50% ABV ).

Image: George Dickel Master Blender, Nicole Austin.


AMBASSADOR’S ADDRESS Matt Bailey & Bill Lark at Melbourne Whisky Room

Diversity, flavour, experience. I follow a few Facebook whisky groups, a few Twitter feeds, a few Instagrammers and I’m always blown away by all three of those categories I see pop-up in my feed: • Diversity: a member picks up a Society Armagnac and at the same time a Society peated whisky, because pigeon-holing into just one flavour profile or spirit type would be tiresome and very limiting. • Flavour: a member experiments with flavour in our spirits in ways I couldn’t possibly imagine with things like fatwashed bacon-based Society Bourbon cocktails, or finding that perfect pairing of a cask in our Spicy & Sweet profile matching up with a freshly-sliced Pancetta and being in flavour heaven.

• Experience: a member takes their bottle of R6.2 rum to the beach to sit on the sand, watch the waves come in, and just simply enjoy a dram. Or it could be all the members who love coming to our events around the country and seeing what is coming fresh out of The Vaults of Leith to enjoy.

These three elements I’ve mentioned however aren’t operating in isolation, and that’s what I’m getting at. Diversity is in our offering, our team, our experiences, our flavour, and more.

@smws_matt

Flavour is represented by an ever-changing selection of almost every mature spirit type on earth. Then experiences are one of the cornerstones of the Society in members experiencing our flavour, our diversity of spirit and education, and the experience of you being able to not only share that online, but also to your friends and family who might not have ‘seen the light’ yet of how good a Society spirit can be! Take a look through this month’s Outturn and you’ll notice some truly remarkable casks on offer yet again, such as the return of a bourbon with Cask B5.3 from a Tennessee distillery we’ve not seen before at the Society, and then Cask 135.2 which is a new single malt code for us from one of the most incredibly progressive and diverse distilleries on earth. Read on…

That leads me to my final point for this month: I have some really tasty dearly-departed previous Malt of the Month releases from years prior sitting in my office that I really want to give away to either an existing member referring a friend to join, or to a new member joining! Don’t make me drink them myself ! All referral names can be included on the joining page online, and any new members are automatically entered. Slainté,

bailey@smws.com.au MATT BAILEY, SMWS NATIONAL AMBASSADOR


UPCOMING EVENTS ADE L A I D E

B R I S BANE

FIRE – THE 3RD ELEMENT FRIDAY 17TH AUGUST 6.00PM FOR 6.30PM

PEAT EXPLOSION THURSDAY 30TH AUGUST 6.00PM FOR 6.30PM

Rob Roy Hotel 106 Halifax St, Adelaide Host: Jenny Forrest, SA Manager

Malt Traders CBD 10 Market St, Brisbane Host: Scott Mansfield, QLD Manager

C A N BERRA WINTER WONDERLAND DINNER WEDNESDAY 22ND AUGUST 7.00PM FOR 7.30PM

The Green Herring 11 O’Hanlon Pl, Nicholls Host: Drew McKinnie, ACT Manager SY D N E Y SPRING CASKS WITH A TWIST FRIDAY 7TH SEPTEMBER 6.30PM FOR 7.00PM

ADDITIONAL EVENTS PERTH & WOLLONGONG

For details of the next Perth and Wollongong events, please check the website. FOR BOOKINGS

To book in for any of the whisky experiences listed above, please visit: smws.com.au/events.

Royal Automobile Club 89 Macquarie St, Sydney Host: Matt Bailey, National Ambassador M E L BOURN E WINTER BOILERMAKERS WEDNESDAY 29TH AUGUST 6.00PM FOR 6.30PM

Melbourne Whisky Room 270 Russell St, Melbourne Host: Matt Bailey, National Ambassador

W W W. S M W S . C O M . A U

0 2 9 9 74 3 0 4 6

All day every day

Mon-Fri, 9:00am–5:00pm AEST

AUSTRALIANSMWS

SMWS_AUSTRALIA

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

Profile for The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Outturn August 2018  

Outturn August 2018  

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