SMWS July 2024 Outturn Review


We're back with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society July 2024 outturn review. This months preview featured 24 new bottlings, including a new vaults collection. Slightly smaller than last months outturn, and with a few distilleries we don't often see.

Not all bottles from the outturn were available at the preview, but check out our social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to get an updates on any missing bottles and heads up on our other reviews.

The scores below are based on our initial impressions. For full disclosure, we won't spend as much time with a dram as we usually do for a full review, but we hope you'll find the scores useful.

  • 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.
🥃 If you enjoy our content, consider buying us a dram! 🥃

Onto the bottles...

4.385 - Highland Park Distillery

Name: Beach bonfire blowout
Flavour Profile: Lightly Peated
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 2nd fill htmc hogshead
ABV: 54.7%
Age: 20

Price: £175.00

The nose has the typical heather and honey HIghland Park notes, the light peat has really mellowed into something quite pleasant after the 20 years in the cask. There’s a light mustiness here, a little bit of salinity, some light vanilla but it’s not super expressive. The palate opens with a little bit of dry earth, sweet vanilla cream, some lemon juice, wet rope, with a little bit too much spice in the background. There’s a little more caramel, the HTMC additional maturations showing through. For us, this is very pleasant and we’d happily drink a dram, but it’s not giving us enough to convince us to buy a bottle.

Score: 6.5/10

Value: Not cheap, but the festival release was £20 more expensive.


10.263 - Bunnahabhain Distillery

Name: A smoky meat lover's pizza
Flavour Profile: Peated
Region: Islay
Cask Type: 2nd fill Px hogshead
ABV: 58.6%
Age: 10

Price: £82.00

The nose opens with peanuts, dry roasted to be exact, light satay sauce, cured meats, a little ketchup, balsamic vinegar, pickling spice and a backbone of coastal peatsmoke. The palate has a zesty, zingy quality up front, lots of dried fruits, currants, more of those dry roasted, salty peanuts and a little bit of ginger spice too. It’s a good quality Stoisha, however the society have released better in previous months.

Score: 7/10

Value: We can’t help but compare this to Signatories 100 proof range, and not in a favourable light.


35.392 - Glen Moray Distillery

Name: Treacle three ways
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bodega oloroso butt
ABV: 58.5%
Age: 16

Price: £93.00

Ooft, sherry heaven here. Rich toffee, treacle, coffee, lots of dried fruits and mild cinnamon and clove spice. It’s all sherry, but it feels relatively balanced, maybe a bit of alcohol spice, but it’s a good nose for the sherry lovers. The palate has a relatively thick texture, deep, rich flavours of chocolate, a little cherry jam, raisins, sultanas, warm oak spice and slightly overdone caramel. The alcohol is a bit more apparent on the palate, but it’s not too hot. Fully sherry matured Glen Moray, with a finish in a good quality bodega cask, this is quite delicious. A little spicy in places, but one for the sherry heads.

Score: 7.5/10

Value: Not bad for a release that’s spent its life in sherry.


36.219 - Benrinnes Distillery

Name: Pondering thoughts
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Dry
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 58.3%
Age: 11

Price: £55.00

The nose on this is fairly dusty and gives off notes of digestive biscuits, malt loaf, hay, sawn wood, and white pepper, though even with time it remains relatively closed off. On the palate, there is an initial burst of spice, accompanied by a bit of vanilla cream and continuing with white pepper and hints of raw ginger. It’s a little rough and overly drying, but there are a few redeeming qualities we can get behind.

Score: 6/10

Value: Not the best whisky, but a pretty good price.


39.298 - Linkwood Distillery

Name: Fresh!
Flavour Profile: Light & delicate
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon hogshead
ABV: 56.6%
Age: 10

Price: £59.00

We’re getting quite a floral aroma upfront, fabric softener, fresh cut flowers, alongside lots of apple and puff pastry. We’re also getting candyfloss, although, overall it’s tighter on the nose than we would have liked. The palate has some texture, but isn’t super thick, and we’re finding a lot of lemon curd, whipped cream, shortbread, alongside a bit of ginger and black pepper spice. It reminds us of orange squash that’s been overly diluted. Pleasant enough, but nothing that we’re going to remember next week

Score: 6/10

Value: It's not a bad price. It's just a shame the whisky falls short.


44.180 - Craigellachie Distillery

Name: A forage into orange
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: #4+ char new oak hogshead
ABV: 60.1%
Age: 18

Price: £117.00

The nose opens with flamed orange peel, a little bourbon sweetness, tobacco, fudge, ground ginger, cherries in syrup, and caramel wafers. We’re not getting the Craigellachie DNA, which for some may be a disappointment but for us is a pleasant surprise. The palate is very juicy, lots of freshly squeezed orange juice, caramel sauce, spent coffee grounds, spicy ginger ale too. The biggest disappointment is the mouthfeel, it’s very watery for us. There’s also a warm spice on the finish, it’s perhaps a little out of balance but we don’t mind it too much. We liked this more than we thought, probably because it’s not typical Craigellachie, but the mouthfeel and spice is a touch too much.

Score: 6/10

Value: Should be nearer £100 in our opinion.


48.170 - Balmenach Distillery

Name: Persimmon platter
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 62.3%
Age: 9

Price: £55.00

The nose is restrained, initially offering very little. With a little patience, it reveals notes of melon, artificial lemon water, and a basic sugary sweetness, accompanied by a musty punch from the alcohol. On the palate, the flavours are also fairly simple, featuring simple sugars, hints of freeze-dried raspberries, sweetened yogurt, and a bit of lime. The alcohol feels fairly punchy, and while not unpleasant both the nose and palate are one dimensional.

Score: 6/10

Value: Its nice to see more options hovering around the £50 mark.


52.45 - Old Pulteney Distillery

Name: Sea breeze through quince trees
Flavour Profile: Sweet, Fruity & Mellow
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 2nd fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 51.7%
Age: 30

Price: £595.00

The nose has a bit of upfront coastal salinity, apple strudel, a little varnish, slightly melted brown sugar, fudge doughnuts, and relatively well balanced alcohol spice. There’s also a bit of a tropical fruit in the background, dried mango and pineapple perhaps. The palate opens with a real sticky sweetness, more mango and pineapple, sea spray, mellow oak spice, and a little cheesecake biscuit base too. The palate moves into a dark chocolate flavour as it develops, however the finish drops off quite quickly. It doesn’t stand out as a 30 year old whisky, it tastes aged but maybe early 20’s. It’s pleasant, got some interesting notes with the coastal aromas and flavours playing with the bourbon cask notes.

Score: 7/10

Value: Good whisky, terrible price.


53.472 - Caol Ila Distillery

Name: Islay and Jerez - twinned!
Flavour Profile: Peated
Region: Islay
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 56.8%
Age: 10

Price: £82.00

The nose has cod, fudge, tar, wet pebbles, alongside a little sour sherry vinegar. Saying that, there’s a bit of sweetness, some dried currants as well as burnt wood, bonfire on the beach. The palate has a thinner than expected mouthfeel, sour cherries, more of that vinegar from the nose, alongside a lot of sweetness akin to cherry, orange marmalade and barbecued strawberries. The peat smoke is pleasant, not super punchy but gives a nice earthy backbone to the dram. An enjoyable Caol Ila, let down by being too thin on the palate for us though.

Score: 6.5/10

Value: Like the Bunna, we can’t help, but compare this to Signatories 100 proof range, and not in a favourable light.


59.80 - Teaninich Distillery

Name: Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome
Flavour Profile: Light & Delicate
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon hogshead
ABV: 55.2%
Age: 13

Price: £74.00

The nose opens with a bit of light orchard fruit, lemon peel, a hint of sherbet, sugar paste, it’s just a bit one dimensional, however still pleasant and inoffensive. There’s a touch of uncooked pastry too. The palate opens with more of that white sugar up front, moving into some lemon, a little blood orange, and then wood spice overtaking on the finish. There’s a hint of vanilla and caramel here too. It’s fine, decent whisky, we’d drink a dram but wouldn’t go out of the way to buy a bottle.

Score: 6.5/10

Value: A few pounds cheaper would have been nice, but it's not a bad price.


72.114 - Miltonduff Distillery

Name: No rest for the wicket
Flavour Profile: Light & Delicate
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 54.2%
Age: 13

Price: £73.00

The nose has lemon peel, nail polish remover, a little chlorine, simple syrup, and a little pear too. It’s a musty nose, fairly alcoholic, and unexpectedly so for the mid 50s ABV. The palate has freshly made lemonade, a little ice tea, barley sugars, mint leaves, with more of a balanced alcohol bite. The mouthfeel is a touch thin, but there’s still something there. The finish lingers on with a mix of the citrus, a little pepper and some shortbread fingers. The mouthfeel and alcohol on the nose lets this down a bit, but it’s a solid bourbon cask.

Score: 6.5/11

Value: Not a bad price for the distillery and age.


73.161 - Aultmore Distillery

Name: Lemon and lavender straw bales
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 58.3%
Age: 11

Price: £64.00

The nose opens with hay, digestive biscuits, fresh lemon.. the sort of artificial lemon aroma from laundry detergent. There’s also grapefruit peel, lavender, and a hint of white sugar sweetness. Interesting bourbon cask, lots of different aromas than that you wouldn’t usually expect. The palate has a reasonable mouthfeel, and more typical notes with white sugar, honey, and fudge. Alongside these we’re also noticing bitter cocoa and buttery shortbread. The finish is short though, it falls off way too quickly. A little different, interesting and one we’d possibly spend some more time with in the future.

Score: 6.5/10

Value: Decent price for the distillery and the age.


78.84 - Ben Nevis Distillery

Name: Mingle into darkness
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 2nd fill htmc puncheon
ABV: 67.3%
Age: 10

Price: £65.00

Big, bold and punchy, it’s got something akin to a virgin oak cask, reminds us a bit of heavily charred American bourbons. We’re also getting a meatiness, alongside that young Ben Nevis funk, a little rubbery. Behind this sits caramel, toffee and a bit of coffee. The palate begins relatively sweet, vanilla ice cream, but it’s like rocket fuel, incredibly warm, wood spice, cinnamon.. we’re even going as far to say there’s something rum-like, flambéed bananas. The mouthfeel is good, and this is probably one of our favourite young Ben Nevis’s that the society has released. It’s a 7/10 for us, maybe even a 7.5 depending on the day.

Score: 7/10

Value: Good whisky at a pretty decent price point.


85.93 - Glen Elgin Distillery

Name: Sit back and relax
Flavour Profile: Juicy, Oak & Vanilla
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 2nd fill ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 58.4%
Age: 13

Price: £75.00

The nose doesn’t give away the additional sherry maturation, there’s a bit of toffee and brown sugar but we’d just assume it’s was a relatively active 1st fill bourbon cask. There’s also sherbet, pear drops, and strawberries and cream sweeties. The palate has a nice texture up front, and we’re getting that strawberries and cream we detected the nose. As the palate develops, we get some lemon juice and then dark roast coffee towards the finish. We’re finding it quite spicy, and we’re left with lingering pepper spice that’s quite aggressive. Not our favourite sherried dram.

Score: 6/10

Value: Not a bad price for a sherried dram.


89.20 - Tomintoul Distillery

Name: A rodeo bull ride
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 2nd fill US oak ex-px hogshead
ABV: 59.5%
Age: 13

Price: £85.00

Fairly sherry forward on first nosing, strawberries, raspberries, quite juicy with red kola, grated ginger and something slightly green too. There’s also the faintest hint of cured meat in the background. The palate has lots of sweet fruit upfront, those raspberries, cherries and strawberries coming through, rippled through vanilla ice cream. The American oak giving it a real sweet, toffee and treacle flavour, with some raisins sprinkled in. There’s some warm alcohol here but it’s got a reasonable balance. Quite a well done additional maturation, a bit spicy in places but we enjoyed this and would have another dram.

Score: 7/10

Value: Good whisky, but it would have been nice if this was a tad cheaper.


94.39 - Fettercairn Distillery

Name: Sunflower seed shortbread
Flavour Profile: Young & Spritely
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 2nd fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 62.2%
Age: 10

Price: £64.00

A little funky up front, that sort of damp mustiness we tend to find in Fettercairn, but we’re also getting underripe strawberries, herbal tea, candied lemon peel, and quite a bit of alcohol too. The palate continues with the funk, burnt rubber, singed chocolate, alongside a little bit of raspberry jam. The finish lingers for a fair while, but it’s not super pleasant to be honest. It’s got a decent mouthfeel and the alcohol is definitely in better balance than the nose, but there’s a peppery spice, and off not lingering our mouths for longer than we’d like. We’re not fans to be honest, this release doesn’t really jive with us.

Score: 5.5/10

Value: Not a bad price, it’s just a shame about the whisky.


95.104 - Auchroisk Distillery

Name: To accompany gardening or sketching
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Dry
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 2nd fill french oak barrique
ABV: 61.3%
Age: 11

Price: £59.00

Spicy oak up front, chili heat, old wardrobes, musty cupboards, a carpenters workshop, and very little sweetness.. or much else coming through. The palate has a bit of upfront sweetness in the form of candy canes, a little mint leaf, milk chocolate, toffee revels, and peppery spice. It has a really drying finish, which is too spicy as well. Nothing to write home about, maybe a few more years in the cask would help.

Score: 5.5/10

Value: Like This months 94, it's not a bad price, just a really disappointing whisky.


100.41 - Strathmill Distillery

Name: Suck à l'orange
Flavour Profile: Sweet, Fruity & Mellow
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 57.3%
Age: 17

Price: £97.50

The nose has caramel sauce, fresh strawberries, red kola, toffee, a little treacle and some slightly old chocolate brownie aromas coming through. Lightly sherried, not too overpowering. The palate has a decent texture, a lot of the same notes from the nose transfer to the palate, the red kola, cinnamon, clove and a bit of ginger spice. The alcohol is showing a bit more on the palate, and the sherry is a bit bolder than the nose suggested. Good sherry finish, a bit too spicy but overall quite drinkable.

Score: 6.5/10

Value: Not a bad price given the Sherry and the age.


128.32 - Penderyn Distillery

Name: Mesmerising Moroccan market
Flavour Profile: Young & Spritely
Region: Wales
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 61.9%
Age: 9

Price: £80.00

The nose has a lovely creaminess, cream soda, icing sugar, vanilla pods. It’s got a little bit of fresh green apple too. We’re also finding more vanilla ice cream, accompanied by a punchy kick of alcohol. This whisky has a good mouthfeel, continuing with the creamy, silky feeling, and we’re finding a lot of honey, butter, some fresh baked French pastries with a heavy dusting of icing sugar, and a bunch of green grapes too. However, it is a little too hot as it moves into the good length finish. Water brings a bit of menthol and cherry out, but doesn’t particularly tame the spice. It’s really quite nice though, good quality bourbon matured Penderyn.

Score: 7/10

Value: Pretty much what you’d expect to pay for an IB from this distillery.


135.58 - Loch Lomond (Inchmoan) Distillery

Name: Bizarre yet bona fide
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill htmc hogshead
ABV: 54.9%
Age: 16

Price: £97.00

Interesting, there’s real juicy fruit and floral aromas coming off the nose straight away, peaches, apricots, light vanilla, a little bit of honey, red grape juice, it’s got a cognac-feel to it. The palate continues through with the grape flavours, sweet vanilla, soft fruits, lime. This is quite unique, a touch spicy on the latter palate and finish but this stands out in a good way. We are tempted to go with an 8 here, but will settle on a 7.5.

Score: 7.5/10

Value: It feels like Loch Lomond used to be cheaper than this.


140.9 - Balcones Distillery

Name: Three in onel
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Texas
Cask Type: refill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 57.9%
Age: 6

Price: £89.00

The nose is very woody on first sniff, really quite punchy, moving into red kola, grape must, raspberry jam, currants and a fair bit of alcohol. The additional maturation in Madeira has really given this dram a different dimension. The palate has big red cinnamon chewing gum, more red fruit, spicy cherry, coffee revels, but a lot of oak.. it’s got a fair bit of astringency, and a little too much spicy and bitterness on the finish, we suspect because of the fast maturation. Interesting, we haven’t had much Balcones from casks other than virgin oak, but this has done something a bit different and it’s worked for us. It’s one of those we could only drink a single dram of in an evening though.

Score: 7/10

Value: This is priced in line with other Balcones single cask releases.


B7.14 - MGP (Midwest Grain Products) Distillery

Name: Gelatissimo
Flavour Profile: SCS - other spirit
Region: Indiana
Cask Type: 1st fill #4 char barrel
ABV: 57.3%
Age: 4

Price: £55.00

The nose is fairly virgin oak-heavy, lots of toffee, caramel, menthol, burnt sugars.. fairly hot, quite punchy, maybe a bit of dark chocolate in the background too. The palate has lots of sweet ginger, caramel and toffee. The mouthfeel is nice, and the dram is way more balanced than expected, it’s actually quite sweet and light. There’s a peppery alcohol spice as the dram develops, leaving a fairly warm sensation on the palate. Better on the palate than the nose, but we’re just not massive fans of bourbon.

Score: 6/10

Value: £55 for cask strength bourbon isn’t a bad deal.


R13.5 - Caroni Distillery

Name: Fragility, impermanence and.. ephemeral
Flavour Profile: SCS - other spirit
Region: Trinidad
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 61.7%
Age: 24

Price: £250.00

The nose has mint leaves, banana peel, a little vanilla, apricot, something slightly toasted, ginger, but if we’re being honest this feels fairly subdued for Caroni. There’s also pineapple and a little orange. The palate has a zingy upfront sensation, lots of lime, lemon and orange, following into tinned pineapple, caster sugar and candied orange peel. There’s a little funkiness right in the background too. We do love Caroni, this feels slightly less intense than others we’d had, but saying that it’s still pretty tasty.

Score: 7/10

Value: This is actually cheaper than other society releases of R13.


BAT25, SM0110

Name: Citrus reveries
Flavour Profile: Small Batch
Region: Lowland
Cask Type: 1st fill bourbon barrels
ABV: 50.0%
Age: 8

Price: £58.00

They’re on point with the name, the citrus jumps out at us immediately, it’s very light, sweet, good balance of acidity, lemon peel, orange segments, barley sugars, fairly basic but pleasant. The palate has a decent texture up front, but it falls apart for us on the mid palate. It feels watered down, we’re just wanting that little bit extra. There’s citrus.. and more citrus. The finish is also disappointing, we’re left with a touch of vanilla but not much else. Maybe some red apple too? It’s pretty one dimensional, that’s not necessarily a bad thing but there’s other bourbon casks that do the job better than this is trying to do.

Score: 6/10

Value: We always feel these small batches should be cheaper.


If you like what you’ve read then check out our social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to get notifications of when we post a new review or just to chat about whisky with us.

You also might be interested in...

Ardnamurchan The Midgie & Ardnamurchan Paul Launois 2024
Ardnamurchan The Midgie & Ardnamurchan Paul Launois 2024
We've got a couple of recent releases from Ardnamurchan distillery up for review today, including the 2024 release of th
Read More
Fragrant Drops Glasgow 5yo Cask #193 & Fragrant Drops Port Dundas 23yo Cask #305542
Fragrant Drops Glasgow 5yo Cask #193 & Fragrant Drops Port Dundas 23yo Cask #305542
Today we're looking at two single casks, a closed grain distillery alongside a new kid on the block, both bottled by Fra
Read More
Cadenheads Glenlossie 16yo Authentic Collection June 2024 & Cadenheads Dailuaine 16yo Authentic Collection June 2024
Cadenheads Glenlossie 16yo Authentic Collection June 2024 & Cadenheads Dailuaine 16yo Authentic Collection June 2024
We've got a couple of 16 year old, single cask, refill bourbon matured Speysiders from Cadenheads up for review.
Read More

Leave a comment


Please note, comments must be approved before they are published