This months SMWS outturn features 34, yes 34 new bottlings comprised of 32 single malt whiskies, 1 single cask gin and 1 single cask rum. We had the pleasure of sampling through all of these bottlings at the spiritual home of the SMWS, The Vaults, earlier this week.
This review won't cover every whisky released, instead we'll be focusing on our Top Sips, Bottom of the Barrel and Sought After Sips bottles. We hope that this gives you some guidance on Friday morning's rush to buy bottles.
If you'd like to know what we think of a bottle not mentioned here, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below or send us a message here.
Our Top Sips are the bottles that we thought stood out amongst the rest. We bought a bottle of each and would highly recommend you at least sample these drams if possible. Note that these are in no particular order.
G10.35 - Strathclyde Distillery
Woah, this is Vanilla slice and Japanese milk bread. Young grains from the society usually impress us, and this is no exception. The cask has worked very well with the spirit here to create a harmonious balance of flavour even at the powerful 62.1% ABV.
96.36 - Glendronach Distillery
Interesting to see a Glendronach in a bourbon cask after being used to so many sherried expressions. Quite viscous and sweet, great balance with sweet meat, wood and alcohol. It’s like a heavily sherried Glendronach if you strip away the sherry notes and leave the naked whisky. Delicious.
46.113 - Glenlossie Distillery
Subtle orchard fruits work nicely with the sweet oak. Tastes considerably older than it is, and the alcohol is very well integrated. We wouldn’t normally go for Glenlossie as it’s not our favourite distillery but this is definitely worth a buy.
36.177 - Benrinnes Distillery
Fruit shop, candy cane and blackberries. The name here (Magical, Tranquil and Dreamy) describes zero flavours yet is still 100% accurate. If you can stretch to £103.80, we’d highly recommend it - a great value older Speyside.
7.265 - Longmorn Distillery
Floral sweet oak with incredible balance. Great example of a mid-teens bourbon cask at a fair price. This was the winner between the two 17yo bourbon casks (compared with the 9.218) in this outturn.
Bottom of the Barrel
Our Bottom of the Barrel picks are bottlings we really didn't enjoy. That's not to say that these are bad whiskies, they're just not to our taste.
30.119 - Glenrothes Distillery
We’re still trying to figure out what the old and dignified flavour profile is, if you do know then leave a comment. This bottle however is a greasy kebab smothered in tomato ketchup. Not worth it at any price.
95.50 - Auchroisk Distillery
We’re not usually a fan of rum cask finished whisky, and this is par for the course. The name (Oddball Funk) is again, a great descriptor, albeit in a negative light. If you like your rum casks, this might be for you, but we’d steer clear of it.
Sought After Sips
Our Sought After Sips are the bottles that are always gone within 30 seconds of release. The big name distilleries that everyone is vying for... but are they really worth it?
4.288 - Highland Park Distillery
A good mix of sweet and peat, but the alcohol overpowers the majority of the flavour and leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. Passable whisky.
24.161 - Macallan Distillery
Better than last months, but then last month’s was the worst of the ongoing releases. This is still way too hot (a staggering 63.1%). Not much point in writing notes here as it’s going to sell out instantly anyway. Don’t buy into the hype.
3.327 - Bowmore Distillery
A nice bourbon Bowmore, but a slight bitter burnt wood note masks the smoky vanilla that we want from these types of Bowmores. I’d take another dram but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
10.223 - Bunnahabhain Distillery
Smoked BBQ meats and berry jus, nice alcohol punch but not too much. Good quality whisky, but a bit much for more than one dram in an evening.
19.50 - Glen Garioch Distillery
The first Glen Garioch we’ve seen in a long time, 11 years according to whisky base. This is quite a funky whisky, but the good type of funk - reminiscent of a Glen Scotia. We didn’t buy a bottle as this is not for us, but I’m sure some will love it. Note that this is unpeated spirit.
Interested in trying drams like these? We've created the Two Whisky Bros Dram Club to help you get access to high quality, rare whisky by the dram.