Dec 9, 2015

SMWS Cask 93.64 13yo...

SMWS Cask 93.64 13yo (57.4%): This cask was the best surprise of The Whisky Extravaganza Los Angeles for me a couple of weeks ago. The second I nosed the whisky I thought I was teleported back into the still room of Glen Scotia Distillery and I was placing my order minutes after... Well it's not a secret that I have a hell of a soft belly for Campbeltown and it certainly doesn't require a lot of convincing to sell me a bottle from there but believe me this one really got me... Since the new owners Loch Lomond Group took over Glen Scotia Distillery in 2014 things have changed there. The distillery is completely renovated, they introduced a new and revamped line-up, opened a new visitors center and most importantly the production techniques changed accommodating a significantly longer fermentation time up to five days (70hrs min.) and a very low and narrow middle cut range between 71% and 68%.* It looks like Glen Scotia won't stay longer as one of the best kept secrets of the whisky world anymore. The whisky in this SMWS bottle is distilled in April 2002 and bottled in 2015 from a 2nd fill barrel. Let's start with it... Color: Straw, lemon chiffon. Nose: Very muted without the water addition at this abv. Wet cardboard boxes, old newspapers and musty like a damp basement. Dead grass, dry cork and hardwood shavings. And now quite a few drops of water to open it up. Voila..! Moldy aromas are all over the place now: Black garden soil, hemp rope and old and decaying parquet floor. Your father's embarrassingly flashy leather jacket and old loafers from 1970's in a forgotten box in the attic you never ever shouldn't find. More wet cardboard boxes but filled with old shiny magazines now. Wet dog, ski wax and clay pots. Palate: Very hot without water: Caramel popcorn and burnt grain and that's about it... Again, water works like a miracle: Tung oil, vintage furniture shop and sea salt. Slowly but surely beach notes take over: Wet sand, dried seaweed, oyster brine and also some olives. Fading barbecue smoke, dry chamomile, cigarette butts and greasy soot. After allowing it to air for some time beautiful green and fruity notes evolve: Mostly Bartlett pears and Granny Smith apples. Finish: Long, warming and vegetal. Dry hay, white pepper, fireplace smoke and chamomile tea. Overall: It's an oddball and a very good one... This wet cardboard and moldy notes are becoming a signature for Glen Scotia for me. I definitely wouldn't call it the most balanced cask in your whisky cabinet but I loved it. A little restless and dirty and a pretty good companion to the cold winter months. It also could be a very tricky whisky when placed in a blind tasting line-up. I don't know why but I remember it being peatier from when I tasted it first at The Whisky Extravaganza Los Angeles but it's not that much. Well, what can I say: You got to love your whisky from Campbeltown...

*data sourced from Malt Whisky Yearbook 2016 by Ingvar Ronde

casks waiting to be filled at Glen Scotia Distillery June'14


still room at Glen Scotia Distillery June'14 before the renovation