M A LT O F T H E M O N T H : SMOKED PLUM LEMONADE CASK No. 4.226
Dive in: Fr iday 2nd Febr uar y
CELLARMASTER’S NOTE Dear Members, I don’t know how many of you read whisky blogs or follow the various “clubs” and groups that exist in the Facebook sphere, but the January/New Year period saw the return of a few old chestnuts that seem to pop up and do the rounds again every year or two. The discussions (and arguments!) delved into what is the appropriate glass to drink whisky from; is older whisky better than No-Age-Statement whisky; are single malts automatically better than blends; and the rise of so-called whisky snobbery. Many of these discussions are triggered because of the arrival of new people into the fold who are just starting out on their whisky journey and asking all the usual “newbie” questions. Some questions are asked and answered in earnest; some in jest; and others merely to poke the bear. But to this not-so-casual observer, it highlighted and demonstrated an obvious truth: the whisky category continues to grow and there are new people being introduced to our beloved spirit every day. The average age of the typical whisky drinker continues to fall; more women are drinking whisky than ever before; and the demographic is constantly evolving and changing. These are all positive developments, but it means that we – that is, you and I, and also the Society in general – need to be conscious of this and act and respond accordingly. Don’t take your whisky-drinking colleagues for granted. For example, just because you are accustomed to cask-strength malts does not mean your colleague is. Just because you find the Johnnie Walkers and Chivas Regals of this world boring does not mean your neighbour does. Whisky is a daunting topic and a confusing one when you first come into the category. So if you attend one of our tasting events this year and find
yourself sitting next to a newer member or a guest attending their first ever whisky tasting, be friendly and help them with their earnest queries.
With this in mind, I’ve deliberately selected a particularly eclectic range of casks to release this February. It’s a selection of casks that covers a very broad spectrum of whisky’s parameters: Age, regionality, style, cask-type, flavour profile, and price. In short, there’s something for everyone, no matter which stage of the whisky journey you’re up to. Slainte,
Director, Cellarmaster & NSW Manager
We know you love your cask strength, single cask whisky. But how do you go about introducing whisky newbies to the endless pleasures of a Society dram? We asked our international ambassadors and Australian Ambassador their advice on how to help a non-whisky drinker attain enlightenment in the way of the single cask.
S H A R E YO U R LOVE FOR THE SINGLE CASK
HANS OFFRINGA, SMWS AMBASSADOR, THE NETHERLANDS
If someone isn’t used to drinking cask strength whisky, I recommend that they take a sip of water first, then the whisky – to the point that they appreciate the taste but are not offended by the bite of the high alcohol percentage and avoid the burn of the alcohol in their mouth. It’s like diluting the water with whisky, instead of the other way around.
JOHN MCCHEYNE, SMWS AMBASSADOR, UK
I find the best approach is to ask a newcomer to nose the whisky blind and focus entirely on the flavour – most people will be pleasantly taken aback. Sometimes, a simple sniff of a single cask whisky – maybe something with a whiff of dark chocolate in a summer meadow, or a stormy harbour on an island – can be enough to get the olfactory glands going and cause a reaction of surprise or even astonishment. But the first sip has to be measured and chewed in the mouth. Then add a little water to deal with the fear of that cask strength whisky in the glass. EUAN CAMPBELL, SMWS SPIRITS MANAGER
Finding out what other drinks people enjoy is always a good place to start. By selecting an active first-fill barrel for a bourbon drinker, you are already in familiar territory for the new Scotch drinker. Perhaps a heavily sherried whisky might go down well with a spiced rum drinker, with its flavours of fruitcake, cinnamon and cloves. Once you notice the similarities between matured spirits it becomes easier to try new things and discover whole categories of previously uncharted enjoyment. Another good entry point for people who haven’t given whisky a chance is to do a tasting along with some food. Chocolate matches very well with all styles of whisky, and can help to accentuate the commonly found fruit and vanilla flavours in the drams. It can also make the texture a little more manageable for those who are not used to drinking high strength drinks. MATT BAILEY, SMWS AMBASSADOR, AUSTRALIA
Going from non-whisky drinker to an SMWS single cask convert is best done like this, in my opinion: first up, start with an approachable glass, even better, start with a glass they might be familiar with like a rocks tumbler or just a simple copita. Then I’d suggest a nice light and approachable flavour profile from the Society like Young & Spritely or Sweet, Fruity & Mellow. Don’t dive straight into the Peated deep-end just yet! Pour about 20-30mls, a nice healthy ‘dram’ worth, and then ask them to nose it. If they prickle up from the proof, add a few drops of water, then try again. Repeat this process until they don’t immediately prickle their senses from the proof. This way they can now taste the whisky with the full flavour still intact, but just tempered a bit. I recommend neutral spring water in this case. For a second dram, perhaps try something a bit more flavour-forward, like from our Spicy & Dry profile, or even Lightly Peated. The focus should always be on the flavour. For a first-timer it might also be fun to introduce them via a meal or food-pairing. As an example: try serving a dram of 4.226 alongside a rich white stilton cheese, or cask 28.34 alongside a vibrant and crumbly parmesan. That’s all part of the fun of pairing!
SUMMER SPLASH February Outturn is making a splash with nine new single cask bottlings across six lip-smacking flavour profiles. Something to suit all occasions – beach barbeques, poolside parties or simply for unwinding after a hot day of toil. Palate-pleasing bliss… All new releases will be available online from Friday 2nd February at midday AEDT.
J U I C Y, O A K & VA N I L L A
CASK No. 35.157 R E WA R D F O R A B R A S S B A N D TASTING NOTES: The initial nose was clean, fresh and alluring, offering chocolate, nougat and cinder toffee; gradually balanced by dried grass and flowers – we could imagine honeyed apricot flan and corn dollies laid out on a polished board room table – classy. The palate had two complimentary levels – a lively bugle blast of juicy, succulent sweetness (fudge, cinnamon biscuits, garibaldis, orange zest) underpinned by a very dry, deep tuba-like reverberation of toasted oak. The reduced nose became slightly more perfumed – fresh marigolds and nasturtiums instead of dried. The palate discovered a compromise note of putty, oiled cricket bats and waxed wood. A rewarding dram. Drinking Tip: Might be too mouth-watering for playing brass instruments – but could make listening to them more bearable. 14 YEARS 1 S T
11 DECEMBER 2001
F I L L
B A R R E L
Colour - Barley fields in summer sun
1 of 228 bottles PRICE: $195
SPICY & SWEET
CASK No. 36.128 MOROCCAN AFTERNOON TEA TASTING NOTES: The nose neat transported us straight to afternoon tea but with a distinct Moroccan twist; delicate shisha smoke intermingled with freshly brewed mint tea and plenty of sweet treats like chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies, brandy snaps as well as moist dark chocolate cake. To taste; pineapple butter cake and dusty marshmallows fragrantly spiced with ‘ras el hanout’, a North African mix of cinnamon, coriander, cardamom and turmeric. Water added to the already sultry atmosphere with aromas of rose petal, lavender as well as elderflower, whilst on the palate now like a spicy Moroccan fruit salad with Turkish delight. Drinking Tip: ‘Taking time out of your busy day’. 12 YEARS 1 S T
17 JUNE 2004
F I L L
1 of 132 bottles
B A R R E L
Colour - Sunlit gold
P E AT E D
CASK No. 3.285 FUN ON THE BEACH TASTING NOTES: Our noses were greeted by that old familiar character of perfumed floral smoke – a beach scene unfolded – some were playing beach cricket with limes and barrel staves instead of bats and balls; someone was squeezing lemons over salted prawns; others just sat idly by sipping margaritas and wearing Jo Malone’s lime, basil and mandarin perfume. The palate had the same DNA – an exquisite balance between sweet and smoky, salty and citric – flavours of herb and pepper-crusted barbecued fish, rocket and feta salad, peppermint, ash, salted liquorice, lemon and lime – a delight for all the senses and a gift to the imagination. Drinking Tip: To accompany beach games or any other frivolous pursuit. 20 YEARS R E F I L L
27 M A R C H 1 9 9 6
H O G S H E A D
Colour - Sand in the shallows
I S L AY
1 of 300 bottles PRICE: $275
M A LT O F T H E M O N T H P E AT E D
CASK No. 4.226 SMOKED PLUM LEMONADE With an early code of 4 and a late number of 226 you can see we've been enjoying a strong relationship with this iconic Orkney distillery. This cask of 'Smoked Plum Lemonade' is a marvel in our Peated profile that packs a punch at 64.5% natural cask strength. Matured in a refill Sherry puncheon (bigger than a hogshead, smaller than a butt) this cask is ideal warm-weather dramming and truly electrifying complexity after 12 years.
TASTING NOTES: We were transported to the beach where we started a fire with driftwood and on the grill we put a layer of seaweed mixed with heather and cooked sweet chilli prawns and Teriyaki monkfish skewers. On the palate a truly sweet smoky sensation to start, then dark fruits, blackberry jam with lime juice and smoked plum lemonade (using grilled lemons), added a zing to our barbeque. Drop of water and more sweetness appeared on the nose; slightly burnt doughnuts, hot cross buns and toffee apples. The taste also provided more sweetness to balance the still noticeable smoke which reminded us of charred wood. Drinking Tip: Barbeque, preferably on the beach, but anywhere will do. 12 YEARS R E F I L L
31 MAY 2004
S H E R R Y
Colour - Prosecco
P U N C H E O N
1 of 627bottles PRICE: $179
R E D U C E D F R O M $ 2 2 5 . 4 2 B OT T L E S AVA I L A B L E .
OLD & DIGNIFIED
CASK No. C3.1 A FRAGRANT RAMBLE TASTING NOTES: Our journey began in the high mountain meadows dotted with delicate flowers releasing a musk perfume aroma into the air that mingled with linseed oil and fine oak sawdust left over from wood cutting. Descending the air became warmer and we found ourselves firstly amongst bushes of blackcurrants and geraniums and then taylor’s gold pear trees, kumquats, lemon trees and finally pink grapefruit. The air was hot now and carried a spiciness of nutmeg, cinnamon and muscovado sugar. We quenched our thirsts with some fizzy apple juice as we passed a rum agricole distillery to find ourselves now on a dry and dusty plain. Drinking Tip: A lovely accompaniment to caramelised sugar desserts or ice cream. Wh i l s t we c a n ’ t d i s c l o s e t h e exa c t a g e s t a te m e n t , we c a n co n f i r m t h a t t h i s i s a n ex t re m e l y o l d a n d ra re co g n a c f ro m t h e C r u o f G ra n d e C h a m p a g n e .
C O G N A C
1 of 558 bottles
B A R R E L
Colour - Tawny port
P E AT E D
CASK No. 66.107 E N J OY T H E R I D E ! TASTING NOTES: Aromatherapy in a glass – one sniff and the scent of sweet smoke was sending us all into peat heaven. The aroma of sage-roasted pork belly and caramelised crispy pork rinds with preserved lemons, rosemary and chilli flakes left us almost in a trance. The taste neat was then like a pick-me-up! A real bruiser; lively, hot and ashy flavours mixed together with extra strong mint freshness. Water added aromas of sweet and salty popcorn, candyfloss and toasted marshmallows. The taste was now much more manageable, smoked vanilla custard and smoked salted toffee apples. That was a rollercoaster but we enjoyed the ride.
8 YEARS HIGHLAND EASTERN
1 of 222 bottles
23 JULY 2008
R E F I L L
B A R R E L
J U I C Y, O A K & VA N I L L A
CASK No. 9.127 AZALEAS IN BLOOM TASTING NOTES: A warm late springtime feeling on the nose neat like walking through woodland blanketed with swaths of pastel coloured azaleas. We stopped right there. Rolling out the woolly rug, sat down and had a picnic. An assortment of Turkish delight, pineapple liquorice nougat, aniseed flavoured sweets and all washed down by ice cold cherry vanilla cream soda. When we added water aromas of panna cotta with raspberries and cranberry Florentines appeared as well as pomegranate & elderflower cordial. On the palate now an old favourite with a modern twist – a bright yellow Margarita cocktail infused with turmeric, cloves and honey. 11 YEARS
15 SEPTEMBER 2005
R E F I L L
1 of 188 bottles
56.8% B A R R E L
D E E P, R I C H & D R I E D F R U I T S
CASK No. 41.89 TA R T E F L A M B É TASTING NOTES: A fascinating nose neat; minty clotted cream fudge, sticky date pudding with burnt caramel sauce, ginger essential oil and last but not least Teriyaki beef jerky. And to taste; sticky bacon wrapped in honey Dijon glazed parsnips seasoned with sweet Spanish smoked paprika and caramelised duck with fig chilli chutney. Water released a whiff of smoke, either from braised red cabbage with raisins or flambéed bananas whilst on the palate, Alsatian tarte flambée with smoky crisped bacon lardon and caramelised onions. Eleven years in an ex-bourbon hogshead, finished in a virgin oak hogshead with a heavy toast and a medium char. Drinking Tip: Sitting with friends around a table for banter. 12 YEARS
25 AUGUST 2004
5 7. 6 %
VIRGIN OAK HOGSHEAD, HEAVY TOAST/MEDIUM CHAR
Colour - Louis Armstrong’s trumpet
1 of 228 bottles PRICE: $179
SPICY & SWEET
CASK No. 54.47 FROM THE BOUDOIR TO THE SWEETIE SHOP TASTING NOTES: The nose was mellow and inviting – lots of chalky, perfumed confectionery (Dolly Mixtures, Parma violets, Softmints, Oddfellows, marshmallows), cereal notes, citrus and honey. The neat palate was less sweet than expected – superseded by tropical fruit-skin bitterness – Cranachan, Pavlova, pineapple and mango and some heat (spiced pistachios and spicy butterscotch). With water, the nose seemed closer to the boudoir than the sweetie shop, but we still found custard and Nestlés Crunch Bar. The palate improved with a little water – the sweetness enjoying a resolving resurgence – pineapple in syrup and sugared plums, with some Acid Drops, Victory V’s and tannic leather to finish. Drinking Tip: Could stimulate the appetite before a meal. 14 YEARS
0 2 O C TO B E R 2 0 0 2
R E F I L L
1 of 189 bottles
B A R R E L
Colour - Desert sunrise
O I LY & C O A S T A L
CASK No. 93.71 NAUTICAL BUT NICE TASTING NOTES: The ship was ready to set sail with its caramel wafer decking freshly varnished with vanilla honey and masts made from candy canes with rice paper sails tethered with liquorice rope. Setting out onto the ocean of dandelion and burdock we passed chalk cliffs dusted with icing sugar beside lemon bonbon rocks. The minty fresh maritime air brought memories of cockles and muscles whilst from the galley below came the tummy rumbling aromas of potatoes and sweet parsnips roasting with rosemary, honey and thyme, smoked sticky toffee pudding and pancakes with fresh lemon juice. Drinking Tip: The perfect ship wrecked dram after being washed ashore on a paradise island.
15 DECEMBER 2006
R E F I L L
B A R R E L
Colour - Heavenly gold
C A M P B E LT O W N
1 of 228 bottles PRICE: $199
TA P E S T R Y O F F L AV O U R February. It's typically the hottest month of the year, so it's never been a better time to really look at some of our summery casks on offer this month. As both Andrew and I have said in the past, there's no right or wrong way to enjoy your drams, whether it be a carefully poured measure into a nice Society copita with a side of spring water, or whether it be smashed into ice on a hot afternoon out the back on the deck. Enjoy it your way. That said, there's also no wrong or right pairing. You may enjoy a fine French brie with your dram, or you might enjoy spiced nuts! And on this back page of Outturn you will see a few unique events coming up around the country, showcasing where full flavour can lead you. Also take a look at the middle of this month's Outturn with a little paragraph from a few of our international ambassadors talking about how to introduce a new whisky drinker to the world of full flavour. The first steps into the world of single cask, and especially cask strength whisky can be daunting to say the least. Do you remember your
first foray into single cask Society spirits? Do you remember the cask number? Do you remember that first "ah hah!" moment after you tasted it? If you do, I'd love for our members to share that experience with not only newcomers, but also share that story for all to enjoy on our Facebook group! These stories make up the tapestry of our members and their experiences with our spirit. Lastly, we've decided to continue the newlyintroduced Whisky Concierge service to make your selection from Outturn each month just that bit easier. Just like from Christmas, if you ever need a hint or guidance on what to get, or would like a bit more info on anything being offered up, email our 'Whisky Concierge' service at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, keep an eye out for some exciting events in your city, and mark the date. Until next month, happy dramming!
email@example.com MATT BAILEY, SMWS NATIONAL AMBASSADOR
UPCOMING EVENTS B RIS BA N E
SUMMER SINGLE CASK DRAMMING
GUESS THE WHISKY
WEDNESDAY 21ST FEB 6.30PM FOR 7PM
THURSDAY 15TH MARCH 6.30PM FOR 7PM
Malt Dining, 28 Market St, Brisbane Host: Scott Mansfield, QLD Manager
Bar Lafayette, Brookfield Place, 125 St Georges Terrace, Lower Georges Lane, Perth Host: Jason Davies, WA Manager
SY D NE Y GUESS THE WHISKY FRIDAY 9TH MARCH 6.30PM FOR 7PM
Royal Automobile Club 89 Macquarie St, Sydney Host: Andrew Derbidge, NSW Manager M ELBO URN E GUESS THE WHISKY THURSDAY 1ST MARCH 6.30PM FOR 7PM
The Botanical, 169 Domain Rd, South Yarra Host: Matt Bailey, National Ambassador
For more information or to book in for any of the whisky tasting events listed above, please visit:
ADE L AIDE SINGLE MALTS ON EAST TERRACE FRIDAY 6TH APRIL 6PM FOR 6.30PM
Public Schools Club 207 East Tce, Adelaide Host: Jenny Forrest, SA Manager WO L LO NG O NG WHISKY, BEER & TAPAS DATE: TBC (please refer to the website)
Bull & Bear Shop 2a Victoria St, Wollongong Host: Fred Apolloni, Wollongong Manager C A N B E RRA Event information for Canberra will be available on the website.
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, 9:00amâ€“5:00pm AEDT
Society whiskies are offered and sold through The Wine Empire Pty Ltd, Liquor Licence LIQP770010175.