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JULY 2018

CELEBRATING

35 YEARS SMWS IN SCOTLAND


CELLARMASTER'S NOTE Dear Members, If there’s one obvious difference between the genders, it’s how we deal with and communicate with our friends. I’m leaning on stereotypes here, but women seem to be far more diligent and organised when it comes to keeping in touch regularly with their social circle. Men, on the other hand, can unwittingly let months, even years go by without saying hello to or catching up with their friends. Even good friends! Of course the other weird thing about blokes is that, when we do eventually catch up with each other, the conversation and banter seems to kick off as though we’d only spoken yesterday, rather than the 18 month radio silence that we somehow allowed to occur! I was reminded of this quirk in my relationships recently when I received an email from an old friend I’ve known since primary school. We’d gone through primary school, high school, and even university together before the realities and peculiarities of adult life pulled us into our separate and individual orbits that only cross paths every couple of years. The email did not contain good news: My friend had just been diagnosed with cancer and was about to embark on the fight of his life. We spoke over the phone shortly afterwards and he shared that, upon being informed of his diagnosis, he went home and cracked his best bottle of whisky that he’d been saving for a “special occasion”.

And that’s another quirk of human behaviour. Why is it that we obtain for ourselves something good – that is, a special bottle of whisky (or wine, or whatever) – and then hide it away in a cupboard, waiting for that special occasion that may never come, or that we may not live to see? My wife and I have a special dinner set we bought when we got married that is infamously referred to as “the good china”. It’s so good and special that it hasn’t seen the light of day in 22 years! I often wonder which dignitary or member of the royal family would have to dine with us for us to break out the good china?? Similarly, I’m sure many members have a special bottle that

they’re saving for some unspecified, vague special occasion, or simply for when the time is “right”.

My friend’s illness taught him that the “right time” is now. It’s always now. Whisky was made for drinking and sharing, not for sitting on a shelf, or to be forgotten at the back of a cupboard. I receive at least one, usually two emails every month from people around Australia who tell me their father or grandfather just died, and when the family went through his house and possessions, they discovered an unopened bottle of whisky hidden at the back of cupboards. (I’m then subsequently asked whether the bottle is safe to drink; or whether it’s valuable and might be worth something at auction? They’re usually disappointed to learn that 1980’s bottlings of Black Douglas aren’t in high demand on the collectors’ market, although the odd old and rare single malt does occasionally turn up!)

So, whilst my column this month has a slight melancholy tinge, its message is to remind you that life is short and we should grasp each opportunity. The most valuable and enjoyable experience you’ll get out of that rare and expensive bottle of whisky you’ve hoarded for years is when you invite your best friends around and crack it open with them.

Director, Cellarmaster & NSW Manager


AMBASSADOR’S ADDRESS It’s Winter. It’s proper whisky drinking weather (finally!) and I’ve never been happier about it. If you dig a bit deeper into Outturn this month, you’ll notice some perfect winter selections, a special sherry butt to celebrate 35 years of the SMWS, and a bumper back page of events coming up.

A huge part of the Society for me over the years as both a Member and Ambassador has been our events. Experiencing the truly remarkably exciting events that our wonderful State Managers put on, and at the same time having the pleasure of organising Society gatherings for you myself.

Plus, it wouldn’t be an Ambassador’s Address if I didn’t mention one last time that the Champs are back for 2018 and you don’t need to be a ‘whisky geek’ to enter - just have a sense of fun and throw your hat in the ring to win.

Win? Yes, we also announced that first prize is a trip for two to Edinburgh, Scotland, to The Vaults in Leith to have a tasting like no other. The rest can be found on the website: www.amwtc-smws.com. What I will reiterate however is that: (a) someone WILL win, and that could be you, (b) there IS a limit to tickets, so your odds @smws_matt

are very good, and (c) there’s a lot going on that night and it’s all included in the ticket. Oh, and please note we’ve had a change of venue from the Powerhouse Museum back to our traditional Champs home of the Australian Museum. The competition will be on the top floor in William 1, and the after-party will be in ‘Wild Planet’. See you there!

This month we also look back at 35 years of innovation in the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. A whisky club that has consistently been at the forefront of surprising, delighting, educating, and imbibing with its Members. A club that from day one has been breaking the rules, innovating, creating, and even occasionally stirring up some controversy through our releases. There was uproar when the Society bottled single cask, cask strength whisky from Japan, Ireland, America, India. There was disbelief when the Society first bottled single cask Rum. Even just earlier this year when the Society released a blended malt, Exotic Cargo, which has since gone onto win some very significant awards. What I’m getting at is, while some things stay the same, many things will change. Innovation is at the core of the Society and we’ll continue to innovate, surprise, educate, and taste incredible flavours. Slainté,

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


THE SPIRIT OF WINTER Our mid-year winter bottlings are sure to bring you a warming full-flavoured spirited experience to see you through the colder months. So browse our latest assortment of unique single cask offerings to find your own personal favourite.

ALL NEW RELEASES WILL BE AVAILABLE ONLINE FROM FRIDAY 6TH JULY AT MIDDAY AEST.

P E AT E D

CASK No. 53.244 VA N I L L A C H I M N E Y S TA C K S TASTING NOTES: An abundance of delightfully sweet and light aromas enticed us into a world of tinned fruit cocktail syrup, roasted chestnuts and custard tarts with singed pastry edges. Delicate smoke came through like a vanilla chimneystack and the final remains of a beach bonfire being quenched by salty sea waves. The palate was juicy and big with sweet barbeque smoke and bramble jam mixed with honey roast peanuts. Sooty dust joined sticky cough sweets and liquorice on a platter carved from salt infused driftwood. Becoming even sweeter with water it carried a nutty appeal until the end with fine wood tannins, soft leather and smoked German beer on the finish. 7 YEARS R E F I L L

01 JUNE 2010

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

58.8%

I S L AY

1 of 306 bottles PRICE: $180


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

CASK No. 7.197 M AT U R E WAY B E Y O N D ITS YEARS TASTING NOTES: Even the deep amber colour could not prepare us for the many surprises awaiting us. On the nose neat, sumptuous steamed treacle sponge pudding and a luscious dark chocolate & prune mousse were followed by spiced banana fritters dipped in a decadent hot melted chocolate sauce and a warm spiced (packed with nutmeg, cinnamon and clove) hazelnut-pear (sweet wine infused) cake. Add a tiny drop of water and the room was filled with the aroma of baking chocolate orange pomander cookies whilst on the taste, hazelnut pralines with a glass of Barolo Chinato (fortified wine produced with Nebbiolo grapes in Piedmont). 8 YEARS 1 S T

F I L L

27 NOVEMBER 2008

S H E R R Y

59.8%

SPEYSIDE

1 of 606 bottles

B U T T

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

PRICE: $220* *Limit of 1 bottle per Member

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

CASK No. 39.150 A T R O P I C A L B R E A K FA S T TASTING NOTES: The sweet perfume of orange blossom, lavender and violets mixed with fresh straw, plum jam and waxy apples. Heavier notes of soft leather came through and balanced with blackcurrant, damsons and hazelnut praline. In a similar manner the palate was warming and sweet with ginger marmalade and a tropical breakfast of pineapple, mango and pears in syrup. A playful tingle of white pepper and tiger balm was balanced by a hint of chocolate and blueberry muffin. Water revealed a more oily texture like peaches and cream with a nice cup of tea and citrus peel to finish.

9 YEARS R E F I L L

1 4 M AY 2 0 0 8

B A R R E L

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

59.9%

SPEYSIDE

1 of 234 bottles PRICE: $160


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 boat-builder’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

ARMAGNAC

CASK No. A3.1 G R AV I TA S A N D S O P H I S T I C AT I O N TASTING NOTES: This delightful old Armagnac is like an elderly statesman full of gravitas and urbane sophistication; a glass to accompany thoughtful contemplation. The nose has floral perfumes and polished wood, syrup of figs, raisins and molasses, orange oil and spiced rum punch – maybe even a medicinal, old-fashioned apothecary’s note. The palate is viscous, intense and weighty – lots of wood (no surprise), gingerbread, treacle and various dried fruits. That dark fruity sweetness is complimented by a dry, spicy finish; imagine a toffee apple laced with cough linctus, imagine PX drizzled on black bun and imagine a tantalising doorway to a time long gone.

30 YEARS A R M A G N A C

1987

B A R R E L

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

49.8%

BAS ARMAGNAC

1 of 501 bottles PRICE: $395


M A LT O F T H E M O N T H SPICY & SWEET

CASK No. 54.55 A U T U M N R AY S T H R O U G H A PINE FOREST Yet again, distillery 54 has delivered big-time! A classic Speyside distillery in Scotland that always showcases a rich sweet top note in its spirit character, this one from a second fill bourbon barrel. After 12 years in oak, it was at the absolute 'sweet spot' to bottle exclusively for Society members. Only 36 bottles in Australia (and only 150 across the rest of the world), this is a bottling you won’t want to miss!

TASTING NOTES: The nose combined the vibrant tingle of lemon skin and cedar wood with the earthy overtones of fresh pine needles on a forest floor as golden rays of autumnal sunshine illuminated the gnarled roots and bracken. The air brought the sweet scents of a patisserie as vanilla and white chocolate sat beside croissants filled with marzipan and chewy salted caramel. The palate delivered an appealing balance between tagine spices and fruity wine gums whilst retaining a lively demeanour as quince jelly and green peppers peered from behind a tree. Water softened the approach and introduced thick cut marmalade on rye bread with orchard fruits and a return to fresh wood on the finish. $ 1 5 9 R E D U C E D F R O M $ 1 8 0 . 3 6 B O T T L E S AVA I L A B L E .

12 YEARS 2 N D

F I L L

24 F E B R UA RY 2 0 0 5

B O U R B O N

59.7%

B A R R E L

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

SPEYSIDE

1 of 186 bottles PRICE: $159


OLD & DIGNIFIED

CASK No. G14.3 L I G H T, F I N E A N D S C U L P T E D TASTING NOTES: The nose is utterly fascinating and appealing – it has frosted corn cereals and clover honey; it’s bourbon-like (in a good way) and it evokes something celebratory – wedding cake and polished dance floors. The velvet smooth palate perfectly balances Demerara, candy corns and cola cube sweetness with the slight bitterness of wood (tea chests, cigar boxes). A drop of water shifts the nose into something light, fine and sculpted – an artist’s studio (oil paints, canvas), a jeweller’s work bench, moonlit wheat fields, old Calvados and rum and raisin marshmallows. But water slightly highlights the bitterness on the palate – so maybe just don’t.

30 YEARS R E F I L L

01 OCTOBER 1986

B O U R B O N

48.7%

B A R R E L

A U S A L L O C AT I O N : 1 8 B O T T L E S

LOWLAND

1 of 168 bottles PRICE: $549

O I LY & C O A S T A L

CASK No. 4.232 A L L T H E F U N O F T H E FA I R TASTING NOTES: We found this untypical and unusual – the nose evoked seaside funfairs – candy floss, hot-dogs, popcorn and donuts; seashells, seaweed and sand dunes – also sea breezes carrying hints of axel grease and diesel motors – maybe someone selling grilled scallops and tiger prawns. The palate was hot and sharp – charred sticks, ash and smoke from a costal croft; char-grilled tuna and sweet and sour duck on the menu. The reduced nose had roasted chestnuts and dark chocolate Brazils, singed orange peel, burning straw and honey-glazed barbecued pork. The reduced palate found earthy, mouth-numbing spices (ginger, nutmeg, liquorice, clove) and honey on burnt toast.

15 YEARS

20 AUGUST 2001

R E F I L L

B U T T

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

58.9%

HIGHLAND ISLAND

1 of 409 bottles PRICE: $265


RUM

CASK No. R8.1 SNEAKING A TOT INTO WOODWORK CLASS TASTING NOTES: I can imagine If I had snuck rum into my woodwork class. This would be it. Medium body, and initial aromas of citrus oils followed by the green apples with a hint of cocoa from my packed lunch box. As we were in the woodwork room, the sweet dusty dry sawdust notes were ever present. I could smell the marker pen that the teacher used on the white board as well tobacco and a touch of smoke, he was a heavy smoker. The finish was dry cacao which lingered like a naughty child on detention. A real whisky drinker's rum!

18 YEARS

31 DECEMBER 1998

R E F I L L

5 7. 5 %

NICARAGUA

1 of 322 bottles

B A R R E L

PRICE: $255

A U S A L L O C AT I O N : 1 2 B O T T L E S

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

CASK No. 96.13 A LUCKY FIND TASTING NOTES: The initial aroma was that of sweet Valencia orange cake, lemon Victoria sponge and white chocolate brownies (blondies). Given time a savoury note of garlic red mashed potato Focaccia prepared with plenty of olive oil developed. On the palate neat sweet, chewy and a chilli heat like ginger spiced jam with a tangy Bramley apple crumble aftertaste. Water released our imagination and we found an antique parchment paper love letter with rose petals still inside the envelope and to celebrate the occasion we uncorked a vintage bottle of Bordeaux wine and enjoyed the violet-scented intensity with a touch of oak and a hint of pepper.

10 YEARS R E F I L L

20 JUNE 2007

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

60.2%

SPEYSIDE

1 of 179 bottles PRICE: $176


CELEBRATING 35 YEARS OF THE SMWS

Last year we celebrated fifteen years of the Australian branch of the SMWS. This year we look at the bigger picture and celebrate 35 years of the SMWS in Scotland, changing the whisky landscape forever…

W

hen The Scotch Malt Whisky Society was formed, the wider whisky industry was in turmoil and experts dismissed the idea of selling single cask, single malts as crazy. That was then, and this is now – and we’re proud to celebrate 35 years of sharing the love for outstanding whisky.

The year is 1983. Michael Jackson’s Thriller takes MTV by storm. Flashdance and Return of the Jedi are among the year’s biggest movies. Chicken Kiev is quite possibly a feature of your sophisticated dinner party menu. The Macintosh computer doesn’t exist yet. Australia II wins the America Cup ending a 132-year streak for the US, and Bob Hawke succeeded Malcolm Fraser as Prime Minister…

It also happens to be a desperately low point in the history of Scotch whisky production and export. Among the distilleries to cease operation during the course of the year are Port Ellen, Brora, Banff, Dallas Dhu, Glen Albyn, Glen Mhor, Glenlochy, Glenugie, Glenury, St Magdalene and the Carsebridge grain distillery. Against this backdrop, a curious group of Edinburgh whisky enthusiasts set up home in a dilapidated old wine warehouse in Leith known as The Vaults. Their mission is to defy industry expectations by selling whisky taken from a single cask, un-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength. And thus, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is born.


By their own admission, the characters behind this new venture were whisky amateurs with few connections within the industry. They were warned that their scheme couldn't possibly work, often on the grounds that if it could have been done, somebody would have done it before them. Thankfully for all of us who have learned to appreciate the pleasures of single cask, single malt, they stubbornly ignored the advice and carried on regardless. The early enthusiasts who had the opportunity to sample this single cask whisky declared that it simply tasted better than any other single malt they had drunk, and that malts tasted better than blends. Society founder Phillip ‘Pip’ Hills subsequently wrote in his book ‘Scots on Scotch’ about the reasons why it proved so popular: Firstly, casks of whisky vary greatly in type and quality, and the cask has a profound influence on the whisky that is matured in it. When bottling malt, distillers put together the contents of many casks, some of which are not necessarily of the highest quality. Secondly, we were taking the stuff straight from the cask, whereas almost all of those distillers who bottled malt at all, bottled it after subjecting it to a process called chill-f iltering. This consists of refrigerating the spirit and then f iltering it very f inely, so as to ensure that the whisky in the bottle cannot go cloudy. The result is, by any standard, a very f ine liquor, but it lacks some of the character of malt whisky taken unf iltered from a single cask." By November 1983, the SMWS offered its first bottlings to members: casks 1.1 and 1.2 were identified as being from Glenfarclas Distillery (and hand-written on the label), the others a Speyside and an Islay from

unnamed distilleries. The iconic SMWS code for distillery and cask number was born. 35 years later, we bottle around 500 casks a year, and we’re now up to distillery 135. Members have never had more choice or more variety of flavour profiles. As The Scotch Malt Whisky Society enters its 35th year, we celebrate the spirited visionaries who saw the potential of whisky in its purest form at a time no one else was considering it and the wider industry was suffering. Over the course of the year, we’ll be recalling key moments in the Society’s development, some of the characters who have played significant roles in its growth, and we’ll be releasing special 35th anniversary bottlings. For July Outturn, we’re excited to announce the release of Cask 7.197 ‘Mature way beyond its years’. An eight year old sherried cask that is truly outstanding! Each anniversary cask has been chosen to demonstrate the kind of intriguing, surprising casks you only stumble across at the Society – and that inspire the same need to share with kindred spirits as those whiskies in Edinburgh in the early 1980’s. We’ll also be throwing special events and 35th anniversary parties to celebrate your involvement in the Society – and your role as the lifeblood running through the veins of everything we do. Here’s to a fantastic 35th anniversary year, and many more to come. Cheers, Matt

Matt Bailey National Ambassador, SMWS Australia


UPCOMING EVENTS THE AUSTRALIAN MALT WHISKY TASTING CHAMPIONSHIP SATURDAY 28TH JULY 6.30PM UNTIL LATE www.amwtc-smws.com

WOL LO N G ON G

Australian Museum 1 William St, Sydney

Please note the change of venue!

SY DNE Y

WINTER WONDERLAND SUPPER FRIDAY 13TH JULY 6.30PM FOR 7.00PM

WINTER TASTING FRIDAY 24TH AUGUST 6.30PM FOR 7.00PM

Novotel Northbeach Hotel 2-14 Cliff Rd, North Wollongong Host: Fred Apolloni, Wollongong Manager

Royal Automobile Club 89 Macquarie St, Sydney Host: Andrew Derbidge, Cellarmaster & NSW Manager

PERTH

PEAT & SMOKE SENSATIONS SESSION 2 – REPEAT OF JUNE TASTING

TUESDAY 24TH JULY 6.30PM FOR 7.00PM

Bar Lafayette Brookfield Pl, 125 St Georges Tce, Lower Georges Ln, Perth Host: Jason Davies, WA Manager AD EL A I D E

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

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

WINTER WONDERLAND DINNER WEDNESDAY 22ND AUGUST 7.00PM FOR 7.30PM

The Green Herring 11 O’Hanlon Pl, Nicholls Host: Drew McKinnie, ACT Manager

ME L B O URNE

WINTER BOILERMAKERS WEDNESDAY 29TH AUGUST 6.00PM FOR 6.30PM

Melbourne Whisky Room 270 Russell St, Melbourne Host: Matt Bailey, National Ambassador B R I S B A NE

PEAT EXPLOSION THURSDAY 30TH AUGUST 6.00PM FOR 6.30PM

Malt Traders CBD 10 Market St, Brisbane Host: Scott Mansfield, QLD Manager For more information or to book in for any of the whisky experiences listed, please visit: smws.com.au/events

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

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

Profile for The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Outturn July 2018  

Outturn July 2018  

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