SMWS July 2022 Outturn Review

We're back with the July outturn review. The preview tasting this month featured 18 new bottlings, but we're sure there'll be more to come out as the month progresses.

As has become the norm, there’s a few interesting cask types mixed in with a fair amount of young bourbon bottlings, but we’re hopeful we’ll find a few gems.

At time of writing we’re unsure if all bottles were available at the preview, but if any are missing we’ll attempt to post details of the missing bottles 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.

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 reference, our scale is...

  • 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
  • 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
  • 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
  • 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
  • 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
  • 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
  • 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
  • 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
  • 2 - Pour it out
  • 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.

Onto the bottles...

1.268 - Glenfarclas Distillery

SMWS 1.268

It opens with a mixture of creamy vanilla and wood spice, musty warehouse aromas, and alcohol. It’s a little hot on the nose, but not too bad. The palate follows with a nice creaminess, stale sponge cake, lashings of vanilla, white pepper and white wine poached pears. The finish has some length but irritatingly it finishes quite woody. It’s has a nice mouthfeel, but overall it’s a too hot and oaky. We’ll go with a 6.5/10

Score: 6.5/10

4.323 - Highland Park Distillery

SMWS 4.323

We’re getting light peat, heather, dry earth, a slight bit of salinity and a herbal note in the background. The palate has chalk, touch of salt and vinegar, fish and chips paper. It’s got a nice honey sweetness but unfortunately the palate falls off quite quickly. There’s a warming alcohol that may be slightly too hot for some, but it’s not a bad Highland Park overall.

Score: 7/10

7.279 - Longmorn Distillery

SMWS 7.279

Dusty icing sugar, a slight bit of antique wood varnish, not too expressive on the nose. The palate has freshly wetted wood, and alcoholic melon balls. It has warming alcohol bite with a medium length finish and a reasonable mouthfeel. Another one that’s fine, but really uninspiring. 

Score: 6/10

16.66 - Glenturret Distillery 

SMWS 16.66

On initial sniff it’s like we stuck our nose in a bag of cheese and onion crisps, it’s got a very funky nose with medium peat, and some burnt wood. We’re finding this quite savoury. On the palate we’re getting some sticky Chinese 5 spice ribs, Sichuan peppercorns, and just more of that cheesy flavour. Going back we’re getting some plum sauce. It’s good quality whisky, but not one for us. 

Score: 6.5/10

38.35 - Caperdonich Distillery

SMWS 38.35

Lovely nose right off the bat, boiled sweeties of all kinds, tropical fruit salad that’s been left out in the sun, maybe a touch of bubblegum too. The palate has a blast of fruit that quickly fades into gingery, woody spice. The finish is disappointingly short, with a little lime and bitter oak. Water brings out some heavier compounds, a little more wood, chlorine, and almost a coastal aroma. We’re also getting a little grapefruit. It’s an interesting dram that changed significantly with air and water, but for us it’s too pricey. 

Score: 6.5/10

39.245 - Linkwood Distillery

SMWS 39.245

It has a very closed off nose, there’s a little funk, some herbal notes, varnish, paint thinner, with the faintest hint of fruit in the background. The palate brings some of the fruit to the forefront, apples, pear, some wood spice, cloves, maraschino cherry liquid. It’s a little thin but hot, with a medium length finish. A little rough and boring for us. 

Score: 5.5/10

48.149 - Balmenach Distillery

SMWS 48.149

Meaty sherry mixed with sweet raisin syrup. There’s a slight sulphuric note here, not overpowering but just making a faint appearance. There’s a fair bit of sugar on the nose too. Its rich sticky toffee pudding on the palate, with orange marmalade on brown toast. It’s got a great mouthfeel, good balance of spirit and cask and a reasonable finish. 

Score: 7.5/10

53.409 - Caol Ila Distillery

SMWS 53.409

On the nose we’re getting smoked yoghurt, freshly baked pretzels, white asparagus, and smoked freshwater fish. It’s really quite funky compared to the usual society releases. There’s also a muddiness here that we’re not fond of. The palate is a little watery, burnt hazelnuts, and crisp smoke that dissipates way too quickly. It’s definitely one of the more disappointing Caol Ilas the society has released. We’ll wait til next month. 

Score: 5/10

55.73 - Royal Brackla Distillery

SMWS 55.73

On the nose we’re getting faint hints of fudge and treacle, like you’re standing outside a confectioners house, getting the aromas but very faintly. There’s some cola syrup and cherry jam too. On the palate we’re getting red kola, raisins, fizzy cola bottles, and a hint of milk chocolate too. Not overpoweringly sherried, but the finishing period has given this a unique twist. A little thin on the palate, but very drinkable. We’d have another dram.

Score: 7/10

64.129 - Mannochmore Distillery

SMWS 64.129

Definite toasted oak here. There’s brown sugar, treacle, something herbal, and a little breadiness too. The palate has more of those brown sugars, a touch of vanilla... then the flavours disappears instantly. This might be the shortest finish we’ve experienced in a long time. There’s some young alcohol there in the latter parts of the palate, but everything else is gone. Not for us.. Disappointing.

Score: 5.5/10

66.220 - Ardmore Distillery

SMWS 66.220

The balance of peat and sherry here is great.. really really great. It’s got smoke, it’s got sugar, it’s got body, balanced alcohol and a good mouthfeel. There’s a nice nuttiness moving into a long, flavour led finish. Red kola, cherry syrup, charred oak, just lovely. Best bottle of the night and value for money.

Score: 8.5/10

68.87 - Blair Athol Distillery
SMWS 68.87

A restrained nose with varnish, strawberries, cherries, burnt icing sugar and… well that’s about it, it’s a struggle to find much else. The palate is vegetal, oh so vegetal. It’s weird, unexpected and interesting if you’re into some of the herbal, earthy flavours. It’s chewy, cough syrup, and carrot juice with a decent mouthfeel. A weird one that’s not for us, but some may enjoy.

Score: 6/10

93.184 - Glen Scotia Distillery 

Name: A curiosity to say the least!
Flavour Profile: Oily & coastal
Region: Campbeltown
Cask Type: 1st fill bourbon barrel
ABV: 59.4%
Age: 9

Price: £90.00

This opens with salt and pepper, a slight foosty cheesiness, creamy oak, artificial sugars, and almost a touch of white wine influence. The palate has some more of that wine influence, a cross between a Viognier, oaked Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc. It’s got a nice mouthfeel and good finish, with some rosemary/sage herbal notes. it’s pretty weird and wonderful.

Score: 8/10

100.37 - Strathmill Distillery

SMWS 100.37

On the nose there’s Haribo star mix, red fruits, and pleasant vanilla sweetness. The palate has a nice tannic structure holding up some red currants, macerated strawberries and something slightly bitter and toasty in the background.. overbrewed tea perhaps. It’s quite dry, with a nice mouthfeel and decent finish. Not bad.

Score: 6/10

108.52 - Allt-a-Bhainne Distillery

SMWS 108.52

Initially it’s very alcohol forward on the nose, but looking past that we’re getting beef stock cubes, dry tannic red wine and charred wood chips. The palate is slightly acidic, with some blueberries, bonfire smoke, parma violets and more sugar than we expected. The mouthfeel is nice and the finish is alright. Personally we’d have another dram.

Score: 7/10

112.105 - Inchmurrin Distillery

SMWS 112.105

Initial thoughts are it’s light... the nose is there but it’s hard to find. There’s what reminds us of a lemon tartlet at a summer picnic, a French pastry shop minus the sugar. The palate has a zingy initial hit, moving into something slightly less tart than a gooseberry, some red apples, lemon shortbread with a hint of salt keeping it in balance. Lovely spirit done well. It’s slightly hot still, but great value and a great dram.

Score: 8/10

113.64 - Braeval (Braes of Glenlivet) Distillery

SMWS 113.64

The nose on this is woody and unpleasant. It’s like varnished furniture, and damp rotting wood. This is not boding well, and to be honest we’re not really desperate to try this. The palate fortunately isn’t quite as bad. It’s dry, with ginger spice, but sadly no sweetness in sight. It’s also got a hefty alcohol burn too. We’re not fans.

Score: 4.5/10

138.13 - Nantou Distillery

SMWS 138.13

We’re finding the nose a little hollow. There’s varnish, pine, light vanilla, and a slight savoury note in the background. The palate has light oak spice, vanilla cream cake, and white pepper. It’s a little rough and you can really taste the alcohol. Any pleasant flavours disappear almost instantly, leaving the a young spirit to linger. It tastes very disjointed.

Score: 5/10

We were also lucky enough to try a few other recent society releases so we’re including them below for anyone who’s interested.

151.1 - Mackmyra Distillery

Name: The Swedish Mozart
Flavour Profile: Sweet, fruity & mellow
Region: Sweden
Cask Type: 1st fill charred oak barrel
ABV: 53.7%
Age: 9

Price: £90.00

Nice fruity nose that also has notes of caramel drizzled on toffee Bon Bons, and cream soda. Palate has some spicy ginger, cinnamon, more caramel and some strawberry jam. Water brings out more synthetic sugar sweetness on the nose. It also takes away some of the heat on the palate bringing out a nice cherry flavour. With water this is an easy 8/10. Sold out now unfortunately.

Score: 8/10

24.163 - Macallan Distillery

Name: A Wizard's Spell
Flavour Profile: Deep, rich & dried fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 29 years in an ex-olorosso butt, then into 1st fill PX butt
ABV: 50.8%
Age: 31

Price: £1,470.00

Nose opens with some caramel and treacle, and a hint of chocolate. Some people would call the nose restrained but we’d call it dull and uninteresting. We should warn everyone this is no Sherry bomb and the initial maturation must have been in a completely dead cask.

The palate is inoffensive but like the nose it’s uninteresting. There’s some more chocolate and wood. Honestly we’re struggling to pick out the sherry cask influences. One member of our group thought this had been matured in bourbon. They also described the palate as bland and musty.

With the addition of water there’s more notes that could mistaken as coming from a a bourbon cask. It remains inoffensive and boring. Nosing this again and there’s sweet notes of caramel, sugar and freshly cut wood. The palate remains bland and inoffensive.

Score: 6/10

Thanks for reading. Let us know what you thought of the outturn in the comments below.

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