SMWS August 2023 Outturn Review


We're back with the August outturn review. The preview tasting this month featured 33 new bottles. 

Not all the bottles releasing in August were available at the preview, and there were a few that we assume will be released later in the month. We’ll attempt to update this article with details of bottles we missed over the next few days. Check out our social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to get an updates on the missing bottles and heads up on our other reviews.

Fair warning - if you have a weak heart we’d avoid looking at this months 12 which is priced so ridiculously high we’re hoping it’s a typo on the society’s part. On a whole though, there were a few hidden gems this month. 

As usual we’re giving every bottle a score. The score will be based on our initial impressions, and for full disclosure, we won’t be spending the time we usually would with a dram that we’d do a full review for, but we’re hoping you’ll find the scores useful.

For those who haven't read some more of our recent reviews... we've had multiple requests to rate whiskies purely on quality and to ignore price. The ever-increasing price of scotch has finally pushed us to bite the bullet and do it. That's not to say we're ignoring price completely... we'll be adding a comment to every review discussing if we consider it value for money, but our scale will now 100% only consider quality. Anyway, without further ado, our new scale is as follows:

  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.
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Onto the bottles...

1.284 - Glenfarclas Distillery

Name: Swede Nutmeg Cake
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish oak ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 64.0%
Age: 11

Price: £99.00

Aggressive sherry. Raisins, rancio, burnt rubber, walnuts, prunes, clove, dark chocolate and ground ginger. The palate is a touch thin, and continues the Spanish oak profile with ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutty oak. There’s a touch of brown sugar and caramel here too. We weren’t expecting much from this giving it looked like another “gimmick” bottle, but while it’s angry Spanish whisky we can get behind it. Somewhere between 7/10 and 7.5/10, but it's Pip's pick so we'll go for the higher score.

Score: 7.5/10

Value: Too pricey, nice label though.


4.366 - Highland Park Distillery

Name: Kelp Me If You Can
Flavour Profile: Oily & Costal
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 64.8%
Age: 11

Price: £66.00

Sea salt, seaweed, light peatsmoke, hessian cloth, very coastal. There’s also a bit of marzipan and lemon zest. The palate has a decent mouthfeel, vanilla buttercream, salted caramel, honeycomb and macadamia nuts. There’s a bit of a spice here but overall we quite enjoy this.

Score: 7/10

Value: Bargin for Highland Park.


4.371 - Highland Park Distillery

Name: Meditation Mode
Flavour Profile: Lightly Peated
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 63.1%
Age: 12

Price: £76.90

Brown sugar, lemon peel, heather, bonfire smoke and charred wood. The plate has a good mouthfeel, brioche buns, honey, buttery croissants, a touch of grilled lemon and salt water. Again, pretty solid, even though we don’t usually love HP, this is pretty good.

Score: 7/10

Value: Not terrible, but pickup the other HP instead.


6.69 - Macduff Distillery

Name: Tyrant, Show Thy Face!
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 2nd fill ex-sherry butt
ABV: 64.1%
Age: 10

Price: £64.20

Oh, it’s a little meaty, funky, malty spirit. Roasted peanuts, meat left on the counter a little too long, plum jam.. not really our thing. The palate carries through the nuttiness, pickled walnuts, dry oak, caramel wafers, Cadburys fruit and nut bars. Interesting, but we’re not sure it’s in a good way. We feel sorry for our friend who picked up a bottle of this at the tasting.

Score: 5/10

Value: Sherry for around £60 isn't a bad deal at all.


12.80 - Benriach Distillery

Name: Heaven In a Leather Hammock
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Dry
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish oak ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 59.2%
Age: 34

Price: £895.00

On the nose there’s a little leather, vanilla, honey, sponge cake, fondant icing, a handful of wood shavings too. The palate is thinner than we’d like, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, moving into a good length finish with a fair bit of dry oak. This is Good BenRiach, but we've had better around this age.

Score: 7/10

Value: We assume this is a joke.


35.358 - Glen Moray Distillery

Name: Library Fees
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 58.3%
Age: 9

Price: £60.00

On the nose there's dusty old books, orange marmalade, and sugar syrup. Actually there’s a lot of orange as we keep going back to it. The palate has sugar cubes, orange juice, a touch of milk chocolate, ginger nut biscuits and leather. Drinkable but a little one dimensional and nothing too special.

Score: 5.5/10

Value: Another reasonably priced release.


39.282 - Linkwood Distillery

Name: Chauffeur-Driven Gateau
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish oak ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 57.5%
Age: 16

Price: £106.90

Orange boiled sweets, light prunes and raisins but we wouldn’t jump straight to sherry on this. There’s also a little blackcurrant in the background. The palate has a decent mouthfeel, milk chocolate buttons, red kola, prunes again, with nutmeg and cinnamon coming through towards the finish. Reasonably well balanced, the extra few years of age have helped but it’s a bit dry in places.

Score: 6.5/10

Value: Touch pricey.


41.167 - Dailuaine Distillery

Name: Oozes Decadence
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish oak ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 56.0%
Age: 15

Price: £92.40

On the nose there’s raisins, strawberry, raspberry, red currants, dusty wardrobes, red wine vinegar, but we’re finding it a touch restrained too. The palate has a high percentage cocoa, cherry jam, ginger spice and has a thinner mouthfeel than we’d like. It’s a reasonable sherried dram, but not our favourite. There are better options in the outturn

Score: 6/10

Value: The sherry finished releases are definetly getting pricey.


44.172 - Craigellachie Distillery

Name: Skip The Light Fandango
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish oak ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 56.7%
Age: 20

Price: £150.80

Tobacco, rancio, subtle spice, orange marmalade, crushed cherries, but we’re find a lot of the pre-finish bourbon notes such as vanilla and icing sugar. The palate is sweet initially, Irn Bru, bitter chocolate, and coffee, with a thinner palate than expected. The finish is a bit too bitter for us too. We had high hopes but this hasn’t lived up to expectations.

Score: 5.5/10

Value: Ouch.


46.144 - Glenlossie Distillery

Name: Intense Earthy Sweetness
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill American oak ex-px hogshead
ABV: 53.4%
Age: 13

Price: £75.90

Maraschino cherries, strawberry jam, candied basil leaves, lemon shortbread, grated ginger and kola cubes. It’s a touch earthier than expected however we’re still getting a lot of the sweeter sherry notes. The palate has a reasonable mouthfeel with cherry jam, chocolate cake, raisins and sultanas. The finish gets a bit dry and tannic though. We’ll go with 6.5/10

Score: 6.5/10

Value: This is a bit more reasonable for a sherry finish.


48.159 - Balmenach Distillery

Name: High Summer High Jinks
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 57.9%
Age: 11

Price: £60.00

The nose has some perfumed notes along with plums, rosewater, raspberries, shortbread and a little fudge too. The palate begins with milk chocolate, toffee crisp bars, light coffee and walnuts. It’s got a good mouthfeel, with nice bourbon sweetness, but it has a bit too much peppery spice coming through. It’s a solid, but unspectacular dram.

Score: 6.5/10

Value: 10+ years for £60, yes please.


53.451 - Caol Ila Distillery

Name: Particle Accelerator
Flavour Profile: Heavily Peated
Region: Islay
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish Oak ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 55.8%
Age: 11

Price: £82.50

Coal, lots of coal smoke, ash, smoked kippers, cigar smoke, quite punchy, it’s pretty peaty up front. The palate has a decent mouthfeel, sweet vanilla, smoked fish, bonfires, and tarmac. Quite intense for a Caol Ila, an initial sweetness moves into a drier, peatier finish. Didn’t get too much of the Spanish oak here, but maybe it’s contributed to the richness of the dram. Another solid 53.

Score: 6.5/10

Value: Sadly this is ok for Islay peat.


60.29 - Aberfeldy Distillery

Name: Breadbane Birks Butter
Flavour Profile: Juicy Oak & Vanilla
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon hogshead
ABV: 53.5%
Age: 9

Price: £54.00

Lemon, orange peel, vanilla, and a few tinned mango slices too. It’s also got some butter on the nose, that has been slathered on some white bread. The palate begins with vanilla, lemon sugar, and caramel before transitioning into nothing. It’s got a lovely mouthfeel, but sadly the finish dissipates before you can really appreciate the whisky. Bit of a disappointment.

Score: 6/10

Value: It's nice to see whisky around the £50 mark.


63.112 - Glentauchers Distillery

Name: Pure Class!
Flavour Profile: Juicy Oak & Vanilla
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 59.2%
Age: 21

Price: £112.00

Another “Maverick” bottling from the society here as they opted to leave some whisky in a first fill bourbon cask for over 20 years. We’d be interested in seeing them repeat this experiment more often… The nose is little restrained, but we’re finding fudge, pineapple, candy canes, mango slices and strawberry yoghurt. The palate has a lovely mouthfeel, vanilla cream, profiteroles, tropical fruit salad and a good length finish with lots of sweet vanilla goodness. This is pretty damn good, dram of the outturn.

Score: 8/10

Value: Not only is it our favourite dram of outturn it's actually pretty well priced aswell.


66.239 - Ardmore Distillery

Name: Mouton Bouillie
Flavour Profile: Peated
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 2nd fill charred red wine barrique
ABV: 57.9%
Age: 15

Price: £91.40

We’re getting picked onion crisps, campfire smoke, burnt strawberries, sugar paper, and a bit of funk too. The palate is a touch thin, gooseberries, chocolate, charred oak and raspberry jam. This is a touch dry, astringent and tannic for us. Not our favourite Ardmore.

Score: 5.5/10

Value: The price of society Ardmore is creeping up.


68.113 - Blair Athol Distillery

Name: Cinnamon Toffee (Pine)apples
Flavour Profile: Sweet Fruity & Mellow
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 2nd fill ex-bourbon hogshead
ABV: 60.0%
Age: 9

Price: £60.00

Dusty wardrobe, tinned pineapple slices, toffee, cinnamon sticks, and some synthetic strawberry too. The palate has warm oak spice, more cinnamon, clove and hazelnuts in chocolate. The palate mostly mirrors the nose, with a touch more spice. Saying that, it’s reasonably balanced and impressive for a 2nd fill bourbon cask.

Score: 6.5/10

Value: Most these young bourbon casks are reasonably priced and this is no exception.


71.97 - Glenburgie Distillery

Name: Strudel Doodle Doo
Flavour Profile: Sweet Fruity & Mellow
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 59.2%
Age: 13

Price: £69.00

Citrus, lemon and lime, persimmon, butter biscuits and fake orange jelly sweeties on the nose. The palate has sweet vanilla sponge cake, digestive biscuits, moving into ginger spice and a touch of candied lime zest at the end. Good mouthfeel, although a bit spicy in places.. not bad.

Score: 6/10

Value: Again, not a bad price.


72.117 - Miltonduff Distillery

Name: Black Forest Burnt Toast
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 2nd fill heavy char #4+ puncheon
ABV: 60.9%
Age: 14

Price: £75.20

We’re finding the nose slightly smokey in a burnt way, blackcurrant fruit pastels, lots of sugary sweetness, blackberries, and molasses too. The palate has very similar notes, Ribena, blackcurrants, burnt oak.. but not much more. It’s an interesting dram, one note, but the one note is quite pleasant.

Score: 6.5/10

Value: Not bad for a 14yo.


79.9 - Deanston Distillery

Name: A Ramble Through Brambles
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 59.8%
Age: 11

Price: £64.20

Blackberries, blackcurrant, croissants, lots of pastries, iced doughnuts. It’s quite jammy on the nose. The palate has a nice mouthfeel, with some bourbon cask sweetness moving into more blackberries, blackcurrants and dark fruits in general. This is quite nice, dark fruit-dominant with a lovely texture. Hopefully the society has more of these casks maturing in the warehouse. Best young bourbon cask release this month.

Score: 7.5/10

Value: We wish it was a fiver cheaper, but you can't have everything.


82.50 - Glencadam Distillery

Name: Savour A Summer Sunset
Flavour Profile: Sweet Fruity & Mellow
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 2nd fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 62.1%
Age: 12

Price: £75.00

The nose opens with orange rind, Pimms, Cointreau, and a bit of standard citrus appearing too. It’s fresh and zesty, but overall quite restrained. The palate has a bit of upfront spice, coriander seed, bon bons, and tangerines. It’s very refreshing on the nose, but just too spicy on the palate for us. A few more years in the cask would have helped this

Score: 5.5/10

Value: We'd have expected this to be a few quid cheaper to be honest.


89.18 - Tomintoul Distillery

Name: Wizen Biscuit
Flavour Profile: Juicy Oak & Vanilla
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon hogshead
ABV: 62.9%
Age: 10

Price: £64.20

Initially we’re getting freshly chopped strawberries, digestive biscuits, icing sugar, and candy floss. There’s also just a hint of basil in the background. The palate has white chocolate, slight herbal notes, warm oak, with lime zest at the end. Another decent bourbon cask, but again not one that’s not blowing us away.

Score: 6/10

Value: Not terrible for a 10yo.


94.37 - Fettercairn Distillery

Name: Croissant Crumbs in Earl Grey Tea
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 2nd fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 61.1%
Age: 12

Price: £68.40

On the palate there’s tea leaves, slightly bitter, biscuity, malty, ginger snaps and a little bit of funk in the background. The palate has chocolate, caramel, salt crystals, with a decent mouthfeel, and reasonable finish with warm oak, clove and foam bananas. There’s a bit of funk here but it’s interesting. We’re starting to wonder if we do actually like Fettercairn...

Score: 6.5/10

Value: Another reasobly priced release.


95.75 - Auchroisk Distillery

Name: Like Dancing in the Deadwood Saloon
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish oak ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 56.6%
Age: 15

Price: £85.00

Initially we’re getting rancio, and ketchup, it’s slightly acidic and it’s really savoury. We’re finding it lacks a bit of the sweetness we’d expect. The palate brings a bit of sugar, but continues along the ketchup lines, with leather, dried cherries and dry oak. A bit dry and sour for us, but definitely an interesting dram.

Score: 6/10

Value: A little pricey.


96.40 - Glendronach distillery

Name: Sauna, Cedar and Strawberry
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Dry
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 57.1%
Age: 15

Price: £86.20

Sweet oak, icing sugar, pencil shavings, toffee, strawberry laces, honeycomb, and toasted white bread. The palate is a touch thin for our linking, but has good quality chocolate, lemon peel, toffee bon bons and ginger spice on the good length finish. We’d love a sherry finish (or full maturation here), but this is alright.

Score: 6/10

Value: Not terrible for this distillery.


113.72 - Braes of Glenlivet Distillery

Name: Morris Dancers On The Tongue
Flavour Profile: Juicy Oak & Vanilla
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 59.5%
Age: 13

Price: £73.20

The nose starts off a bit funky, but then it moves into more typical caster sugar, lemon verbena, and raspberry purée notes. Saying that, it’s a touch closed off and we’re not finding much more here. The palate has a nice mouthfeel, with sour candy, orange and almond cake, leather, moving into drier oak on the finish. It’s fine, like most the young bourbon casks it’s nothing too exciting.

Score: 6/10

Value: Again, ok value.


128.28 - Penderyn Distillery

Name: Hanky-Panky Cocktail
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Wales
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-tawny port barrique
ABV: 60.2%
Age: 7

Price: £75.00

There’s been a run of pretty poor 128's from the society, but this one looks to break that streak. There’s red fruits, slightly earthy, old wood, red kola, raspberry purée, on the nose which is really syrupy overall. The palate has a lovely mouthfeel, with lots of juicy red fruits, red currants, strawberries, alongside an earthiness to balance it out. The mouthfeel is a winner on this one, we’ll go with a 7/10.

Score: 7/10

Value: Reasonble for the distillery.


135.54 - Inchmoan (Loch Lomond Distillery)

Name: Birch Sap and Burnt Toffee
Flavour Profile: Lightly Peated
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill char #3 hogshead
ABV: 50.8%
Age: 18

Price: £117.00

Slightly floral, zesty, light with a touch of menthol and lavender on the nose. The palate has strawberry, campfire smoke, lemon verbena and burnt caramel. It’s a perfectly fine dram, but not something we’d go crazy for

Score: 6/10

Value: Not terrible for something with a bit of age and peat.


155.3 - Milk & Honey Distillery

Name: Salted Nuts and Burning Beach Huts
Flavour Profile: Peated
Region: Israel
Cask Type: Refill ex-Islay barrel
ABV: 66.7%
Age: 4

Price: £77.00

Salted peanuts, white pepper spice, toffee popcorn, they’re a fair amount of upfront spice here. The palate has walnuts, clove, burnt toffee, rich oak and smokey caramel. It has a a bit of Laphroaig character but it’s a touch rough around the edges. We’re big fans of this distillery and we’re hoping for a little more.

Score: 6/10

Value: Not bad for M&H.


B5.10 - George Dickel Distillery

Name: Birch Beer In The Shade
Flavour Profile: SCS - Other Spirit
Region: Tennessee
Cask Type: 1st fill charred barrell
ABV: 63.2%
Age: 7

Price: £69.50

On the nose there’s light vanilla, polo mints, caramel, sugarcane, fresh grass, and a hint of moscavado sugar too. The palate has basil, mint and lime, but in a weird mix that we’re not loving. The mouthfeel and finish are fine, but it feels a bit unbalanced for us.

Score: 5.5/10

Value: Not a terrible price for a bourbon.


B5.8 - George Dickel Distillery

Name: Dark 'n' Stormy In Jamica
Flavour Profile: SCS - Other Spirit
Region: Tennessee
Cask Type: 1st fill charred barrell
ABV: 62.1%
Age: 7

Price: £67.50

There’s a slight savouriness, rich vanilla, brown sugar, mint, ginger snaps and a bit of rum funk too. The palate has a nice mouthfeel, but we’re getting charred oak, dark chocolate and herbal basil appearing. There’s a touch of sugar but overall it’s quite dry and astringent. A touch of sweetness following into charred oak, not our favourite bourbon.

Score: 6/10

Value: Like this months other bourbon this isn't terribly priced.


G15.31 - Rhosdhu (Loch Lomond Distillery)

Name: Light But Bright
Flavour Profile: Light & Delicate
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 62.0%
Age: 8

Price: £50.50

There’s some nice sweetness here light vanilla, fondant icing, custard, and lemon balm. Unfortunately there’s also a fair bit of alcohol on the nose. The palate has a nice texture, but becomes quite bitter right off the bat. We’re getting burnt ginger cake, hazelnut and dark chocolate. We wouldn’t call it light and delicate. Brash and abrasive might be a better profile for this one.

Score: 5/10

Value: Not bad considering it's basically malt.


G8.25 - Cambus Distillery

Name: Cosy Up, Coorie Doon, Snuggleicous
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Lowland
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 56.3%
Age: 32

Price: £150.00

Old grain, what’s not to love. Sweet spirit, honeycomb, caramel, toffee, and digestive biscuits on the nose. The palate has done brown sugar, caramel, and toffee. The palate basically mirrors the nose. A lovely old grain with lots of rich sweetness, maybe a bit one note though, but still an easy. 7.5/10. More old grains please.

Score: 7.5/10

Value: Not a terrible price, but other IBs do offer better value.


GN6.1 - Holyrood Distillery

Name: Gin and Tonic Royale
Flavour Profile: SCS - Other Spirit
Region: Edinburgh
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 49.4%
Age: N/A

Price: £45.75

On the nose there’s lemon, lime, and juniper. It’s super zesty, light and refreshing. There’s also some orange zest and persimmon. Probably the zestiest gin we’ve nosed in a while. The palate has green apple, juniper, clove and coriander seed. It’s a pleasant gin, good sweetness, can’t complain.

Score: 7/10

Value: Way overpriced.


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2 comments


  • John Gott

    Very accurate and good to read and hear that not all expensive whiskies are not any better than less expensive ones. Accurate and amusing to keep the attention. well done


  • Dane Bosman

    Love to be on your mailing list.


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