SMWS June 2023 Outturn Review


We're back with the June outturn review. The preview tasting this month featured a massive 34 new bottles, so we're glad we had a few friends with us to lend a hand.

Not all the bottles releasing in June 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.

The outturn featured a fair few bourbon cask releases, but also a good number of rum and sherry finished options. Spoilers: it was a bit of a disappointing outturn, however there was a cracking sherry cask from a distillery we don't usually get along with.

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.
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Onto the bottles...

3.348 - Bowmore Distillery

Name: Melliflous Quince
Flavour Profile: Old & Dignified
Region: Islay
Cask Type: 2nd fill ex-bourbon hogshead
ABV: 56.9%
Age: 18

Price: £155.00

This is one of the special releases for the 40th Anniversary. It’s peatier than expected, vanilla sponge cake, lots of salty sea air, hessian cloth and bonfire smoke. We would definitely place this in the peated category, not old and dignified. The palate has toasted marshmallows, cigar ash, sweet oak, and lots more peat smoke. It’s less sweet than we expected, but we do get some grilled peaches after going back to it. Good quality whisky, less cask influence than we usually find and it's a touch pricey. If you’ve got the cash then go ahead.

Score: 7/10


4.356 - Highland Park Distillery

Name: A revolving Wheel of Delight
Flavour Profile: Lightly Peated
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 62.8%
Age: 11

Price: £67.20

Farmyard, honey, heather, and light smoke.. Pretty much exactly what you’d expect from Highland Park. It’s got an alcohol kick on the palate, but the mouthfeel is buttery and oily, with a bit of salt and sponge fingers. There’s a nice lingering sweetness, but it’s a bit simple and unexciting. It’s also a touch too spicy, but if you’re a Highland Park fan then you’ll probably enjoy it. 6.5/10 for us.

Score: 6.5/10


5.121 - Auchentoshan Distillery

Name: Golden Autumn Harvest
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Lowland
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 57.7%
Age: 19

Price: £125.00

Triple distilled synthetic sugary goodness on the nose. Think fuzzy peaches, light powdered sugar, candy floss, pineapple, and candy canes.. It’s pretty sweet. The palate has a lovely texture, and carries on with the sweetness, light tropical fruits developing into burnt toast on the finish. Then it becomes super dry and acrid. It’s a bit soapy in places as well. The finish combined with the prices really lets this one down.

Score: 5.5/10


6.67 - Macduff Distillery

Name: Funky Frivolity
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill French oak Jamican rum barrique
ABV: 59.2%
Age: 13

Price: £81.20

On the nose there's meaty sulphur, galvanized rubber, Jamaican ginger cake, and lots of funk coming from the rum finish. The palate has some papaya, passion fruit and jackfruit, but it’s quite peppery and spicy. If you’re into your Jamaican rum, you’ll quite enjoy this. We prefer other rum styles, but we appreciate this. It’s a 6.5/10 for us, but others will rate this a little higher.

Score: 6.5/10


7.281 - Longmorn Distillery

Name: Hopscotch and a Lunchbox
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 57.7%
Age: 11

Price: £68.40

The nose is quite floral, lemon verbena, bergamot, dusty cupboards, cherry lozenges, and tea leaves. The palate has a nice texture, pine, dark chocolate, along with lighter flavours of peach purée and a hint of salinity on the finish. The alcohol is nicely balanced too. Not the usual Longmorn profile, but really quite interesting. 7/10 for us, but others may go higher.

Score: 7/10


8.43 Tamdhu Distillery

Name: Shaded by Flowers
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-px butt
ABV: 61.4%
Age: 7

Price: £65.00

This is a special bottling for the society's 40th Anniversary. On the nose we're getting sulphur, molasses, with savoury cheese and chive Pringles. It’s a super funky sherry cask. The palate follows with the meatiness, pepper, rancio, sherry vinegar, brown sugar, tobacco, and burnt caramel. Too much meaty sherry for us, although it’s nice to see a Tamdhu release.

Score: 5.5/10


9.280 - Glen Grant Distillery

Name: Butterscotch-Encrusted Carnations
Flavour Profile: Sweet Fruity & Mellow
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 2nd fill Guyanese rum barrel
ABV: 56.5%
Age: 15

Price: £91.40

The rum really hits you on the nose, foam bananas, candy floss, quite creamy and sweet. There’s also a bit of rubber and mango purée. The palate has a lovely texture, but it vanishes so quickly. There’s butterscotch and brown sugar, along with pineapple and flambéed brandy. It’s got too short of a palate for us, but there are some interesting rum flavours. Shame it's so expensive

Score: 6/10


16.95 - Glenturret Distillery

Name: A Encroachment of Burning Heather
Flavour Profile: Heavily Peated
Region: Highland
Cask Type: re-charred hogshead
ABV: 63.5%
Age: 9

Price: £60.00

Wholewheat crackers, dried earth, a little pickle juice, burnt coffee and heavy peat coming through. There’s a nice sweetness on the palate, some rosemary, ash and dried mushrooms too. It’s less peated on the palate, it feels like the sweet, honeyed flavours have masked the smoke somewhat. A good quality heavily peated dram.

Score: 7/10


18.55 - Inchgower Distillery

Name: Lost in Coffee Canyon
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish oak ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 59.6%
Age: 15

Price: £92.40

The nose opens with a sweeter sherry, slightly acidic, almond, marzipan, blackberries, and musty cupboards. The palate has lots of dry sherry flavours, cloves, tree bark, tobacco leaves, cinnamon, with a lot of spice on the finish. Too drying and astringent for us, but it’s passable whisky.

Score: 6/10


19.95 - Glen Garioch Distillery

Name: Marscarpone's Kitchen
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 55.9%
Age: 20

Price: £137.10

It's tropical, light, estery, with melon, peach, and a bit of varnish too. There's also a little white pepper. Although the spirit notes we usually get from Glen Garioch are here, we had to dig for them. The palate is more like a typical Glen Garioch, with lots of those tropical fruits, mango juice, a little brown sugar, and orange peel. These casks are getting too pricey, but this is pretty pleasant. To us, this was starting to lose the distillery character a little. Saying that, we still enjoyed it and will go with a 7/10. Don't buy it, and hopefully, they'll discount these.

Score: 7/10


26.217 - Clynelish Distillery

Name: A fountain of Fruit in Citric Sunshine
Flavour Profile: Sweet Fruity & Mellow
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 60.8%
Age: 10

Price: £69.50

It’s waxy as expected, with icing sugar, vanilla essence, yuzu, and tangerines, The nose fills the glass well. The palate has sponge cake, lemon peel, a kick of alcohol, with a bit of Ribena on the finish. The mouthfeel is good, but the finish is a bit too oaky and bitter. Not a bad younger Clynelish, but the palate lets it down slightly. We preferred last month’s release.

Score: 6.5/10


35.353 - Glen Moray Distillery

Name: Jamon and Sherry Heaven
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish oak ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 60.7%
Age: 11

Price: £80.00

Irn-bru, a little foosty, rolling tobacco, raspberries, tanned leather and freshly turned earth. The dram begins with a pleasant sweetness, but moves into sherry vinegar, bitter chocolate and wet cardboard. Unfortunately the finish is a bit short for us too, but the mouthfeel is ok. There’s highs and lows with this dram, but overall we weren’t overly impressed.

Score: 5.5/10


36.208 - Benrinnes Distillery

Name: Shiver me Toasted Timbers
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill French oak Jamican rum barrique
ABV: 56.2%
Age: 13

Price: £75.20

It’s bright with Albariño wine, zesty, spritzy, green fairy liquid, and some grassiness too. Weirdly, we’re finding the jelly from a pork pie, along with some pineapple too. The palate has a lovely sweetness, light tropical fruits, brown sugar and something a little savory and charred. It’s not particularly rum-flavoured at all, but it’s alright. Sadly, it feels a little thin on the palate, and we’re not totally enamored with the nose.

Score: 6/10


41.166 - Dailuaine Distillery

Name: Like a Hot Knife Through Oak
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Dry
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 2nd fill heavy char #4+ hogshead
ABV: 58.2%
Age: 15

Price: £86.00

Not as heavy a char as it promises, there’s a fruity orchard note here, oats, sweet brioche and fresh lemon. The palate has sweet oak initially, but turns into richer flavours of brown sugar and maple syrup. The finish is overly dry though, and spoils the flavours that came before. Too woody for us, and too expensive too.

Score: 6/10


44.176 - Craigellachie Distillery

Name: Blueberry Bonanza
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill American oak ex-px hogshead
ABV: 63.3%
Age: 16

Price: £106.90

Ah, Craigellachie our old enemy, we meet again. Shaved cooking chocolate, almonds, a handful of roasted hazelnuts and some dried cherries. It’s quite waxy, and we’re enjoying the nose more than we expected. The palate begins hot, with warming alcohol, but there’s good sweetness with cherries, strawberries and some dates on the finish too. It’s a decent sherry finished Craigellachie.

Score: 6/10


48.160 - Balmenach Distillery

Name: Ode to the Worm Tub
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill American oak oloroso hogshead
ABV: 55.8%
Age: 16

Price: £96.80

A hint of rancio, venison, rhubarb and custard, gooseberry, grapefruit, apricots. It’s weird, you get sherry in one nostril and bourbon in the other, it’s a little disjointed. The palate is.. thin. Again we’re getting more bourbon flavours of vanilla, sponge cake and caster sugar, and very little sherry. The finish hasn’t worked here for us unfortunately. It’s drinkable, but not a sherried dram if that’s what you’re looking for. It’s also pretty damn expensive.

Score: 5.5/10


53.455 - Caol Ila Distillery

Name: Plasticity in our City
Flavour Profile: Peated
Region: Islay
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 58.8%
Age: 11

Price: £78.50

It’s fishy, cheese and onion crisps, sweet oak, brine, sea spray, and a touch of TCP. Classic bourbon Caol Ila. The palate has a nice mouthfeel, salted peanuts, mackerel, wholemeal bread, lemon juice and a touch of bitter chocolate on the finish. Good quality Caol Ila.

Score: 7/10


55.81 - Royal Brackla Distillery

Name: The Swashbuckler
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Dry
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish Oak ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 58.2%
Age: 16

Price: £106.90

Spicy Spanish oak, meaty sherry, a little rancio, sherry vinegar, really not too pleasant of a nose in our opinion. The palate has toffee, caramel shortcake but moves into bitter chocolate and black pepper. It goes between sweet and dry, but mostly dry and a bit astringent. Another disappointing Sherry cask release.

Score: 5.5/10


64.143 - Mannochmore Distillery

Name: Papaya's got a Brand New Bag
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Dry
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: Refill Jamician rum barrel
ABV: 60%
Age: 11

Price: £65.60

The rum cask is quite apparent on the nose, lots of ginger spice, oak, overripe banana, white pepper spice. We’re also getting white chocolate and dusty furniture. The palate has a touch of rubber, pepper spice, roasted coffee beans, dark chocolate, chili peppers, with a bit of brown sugar and charred wood. The mouthfeel is nice, but it’s a bit too spicy and very drying on the finish. It’s not bad, quite drinkable if not a bit too alcohol forward.

Score: 6.5/10


68.110 - Blair Athol Distillery

Name: Mouth-Drying Boozy Fruits
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Dry
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish oak ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 59.1%
Age: 14

Price: £89.50

We’re getting red kola, cinnamon, strawberry laces, dried raspberries, a bit of toffee and treacle too. It’s quite hot on the nose. The palate has sweeter flavours of cherries, chocolate and currants, moving into strawberry jam and prunes. It’s probably the best spicy and dry of the outturn, but is too spicy for us.

Score: 6.5/10


71.103 - Glenburgie Distillery

Name: Watch out for the Thorn
Flavour Profile: Light & Delicate
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 62.4%
Age: 9

Price: £55.80

There’s lots of alcohol on the nose. Along with it there’s varnish, coconut, and a little fresh lemon. There’s also some vanilla and yeasty pizza dough here aswell. The palate begins with sweet vanilla, tropical fruits, and whits sugar cubes before moving into a warm spirit-led finish. Not overly complex, it’s pretty one dimensional. We won’t remember this tomorrow.

Score: 6/10


73.156 - Aultmore Distillery

Name: Cherry Meringue Pie
Flavour Profile: Sweet Fruity & Mellow
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 59.3%
Age: 10

Price: £64.20

There’s a bit of funkiness here, peach, caramel sauce, dusty cobwebs in a haunted house. The palate has chocolate, musty funk, shaved wood, bitter grapefruit, and an earthiness reminding us of a gardeners shed. Not for everyone, but there’s an interesting funkiness that some may enjoy. One to spend a bit more time with. 6.5 for us, maybe a 7 for others.

Score: 6.5/10


78.69 - Ben Nevis Distillery

Name: Pip in Porridge
Flavour Profile: Sweet Fruity & Mellow
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon hogshead
ABV: 58.9%
Age: 14

Price: £69.50

Doesn’t smell like a bourbon cask on the nose, there’s something else going on here. Ripe fruitiness, boozy fruits, red apple peel, white sugar. The palate has wax, caramel shortcake, digestive biscuits, it’s pretty sweet overall. The nose promised something the palate doesn’t deliver. A little simple, yet drinkable. 6/10 for us, but a good easygoing dram.

Score: 6/10


80.46 - Glen Spey Distillery

Name: Fruit Detonation
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish oak ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 57.1%
Age: 13

Price: £85.80

Tobacco leaves, leather, a bit of mint, quite herbal overall. There’s some varnish and dried fruits here too. There’s a fair bit of alcohol here that’s challenging to get deep into. The palate has Cherry Bakewell, fresh red currants and a little earth. The finish is quite well balanced here, one of our preferred sherry matured drams from this outturn.

Score: 6.5/10


85.86 - Glen Elgin Distillery

Name: Semifreddo al Torrone e Amaretti
Flavour Profile: Juicy Oak & Vanilla
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 2nd fill ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 59.2%
Age: 8

Price: £80.50

Interesting that this is classified as “Juicy Oak and Vanilla”, but had an Oloroso finish? We’re getting more of the sherry character on the nose than the palate. Stand out notes are rhubarb, maraschino cherries, red apple, pomegranate, and almond liqueur on the nose. The palate on the other hand begins quite spicy, but this mellows quickly into milk chocolate, caramel, black pepper, ginger snaps. It’s a little too bitter on the finish for us. Another passable dram 6/10

Score: 6/10


93.203 - Glen Scotia Distillery

Name: Mighty and Mineralic
Flavour Profile: Oily & Costal
Region: Campbeltown
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 59.3%
Age: 8

Price: £62.00

Glen Scotia our old friend, welcome back…. Oh it’s oily, wet rope, potpourri, and icing sugar. It’s actually got a pretty delicate nose. We’re noticing a wet pebble thing going on too. The palate has sugar paper, dry crackers, with light apricot/peach flavours in the background. There’s a light salinity here too, and a touch of white pepper. There’s also a bit of lime appearing too. Not our favourite Glen scotia, but it’s good quality whisky. If there hadn’t been so many bangers from this distillery recently we’d probably have went higher, but as it stands we’ll say 7/10.

Score: 7/10


94.42 - Fettercairn Distillery

Name: Paprika Pork Schnitzel
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill PX ex-bodega barrique
ABV: 57.6%
Age: 15

Price: £91.10

We’re getting gingerbread, bread.. this is really quite bready. Caramelised marshmallows, brown sugar, and spice.. ginger spice. It’s quite Christmassy with some nutmeg too. The palate is.. lovely. Well balanced dried fruits, cinnamon spice and a silky mouthfeel. We had zero expectations here as we don’t gel with Fettercairn, but this is pretty good. We don’t want to do this, but we’ll go with 8/10.

Score: 8/10


95.83 - Auchroisk Distillery

Name: Cask-Strength Lapsang Souchong
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Dry
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 2nd fill American oak ex-px barrique
ABV: 57.1%
Age: 14

Price: £92.40

Old shed, leather, dry sherry, macadamia nuts, herbal with thyme and tarragon. The palate has some macerated strawberry, damp funk, wet soil and fresh raspberries. It’s quite spicy on the palate, but has a nice sweetness that rides through the finish. On the better side of some of the sherry casks in this outturn.

Score: 6/10


112.118 - Inchmurrin Distillery

Name: Cherry Chantilly Cake
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill heavy char #4+ hogshead
ABV: 54.6%
Age: 18

Price: £117.00

Charred wood, brown sugar, and soap… bubble bath type soapy. Coffee, burnt caramel, and cough syrup. The palate has.. more coffee, toffee crisp bars. It’s a little thin for us, but has lots of brown sugar sweetness for the people with sweet tooth’s out there. We enjoy the Inchmurrin spirit, but the cask has completely destroyed any of the spirit character. It’s also too expensive.

Score: 6/10


122.60 - Croftengea Distillery

Name: An Emultion of Jam
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 60.4%
Age: 10

Price: £64.20

What is this? It’s got a barbershop cologne thing going on, rosewater, bisto gravy, silver polish, and iron. The palate bursts with strawberry, Haribo peaches, and coffee grounds on the finish. Like an affogato, coffee and vanilla ice cream. Soft fruits and perfume. It’s a super interesting dram that has a bit too much alcohol bite for us. Others will enjoy this more and some will hate this.

Score: 7/10


138.16 - Nantou Distillery

Name: Peat Salad
Flavour Profile: Peated
Region: Taiwan
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 57.3%
Age: 4

Price: £80.50

Strong peat, a meatiness, lots of black and white pepper, light wisps of vanilla, but overall it’s a bit flat on the nose. The palate is a clump of sweet sugar syrup, perfume and bitter oak, with a lighter peat than expected. We’re really not enjoying this. Probably the worst dram of the outturn for us.

Score: 5/10


143.3 - Copperworks Distillery

Name: Bull & Bear
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Seattle
Cask Type: 1st fill char #3 barrell
ABV: 58.7%
Age: 3

Price: £92.00

Charred oak, pine.. Christmas tree, maple, aloe vera, and cactus. The palate has blackcurrant, cinnamon, lots of oak spice and brown sugar. There's a bit of cherry cola and chocolate appearing in the background too. It’s a big, bold dram, with lots of oak, and lots of sugar. We wouldn’t have minded if this was left to develop in the cask a little longer. Too pricey for us.

Score: 6.5/10


RW1.8 - F.E.W Distillery

Name: Spicy Ginger Beer Pie
Flavour Profile: SCS - Other Spirit
Region: Chicago
Cask Type: 1st fill char #3 barrell
ABV: 61.2%
Age: 5

Price: £75.50

Menthol mouthwash, red berries, eucalyptus, ginger and warm oak spice on the nose. The palate begins with heaps of brown sugar, caramel moving into strong alcohol and Jamaican ginger ale. The mouthfeel is decent, but it’s super hot for us. It’s a generic Rye whisky with nothing too interesting happening.

Score: 6/10


BAT.20 - Whisky Baba

Name: Whisky Baba
Flavour Profile: Blended Malt
Region: Blended Malt
Cask Type: Refill hogsheads & 1st fill French oak Jamican rum barriques
ABV: 58.6%
Age: 12

Price: £62.00

Funky, elderflower, old car smell, chocolate, overripe bananas, ginger powder, and gooseberry. The palate is a touch thin, but has a punch of pear following into brandy snaps and stem ginger. It’s got a bit of varnish too. We’re not the biggest rum cask fan, and that’s perhaps why this is not our favourite blend. There’s better drams in this outturn.

Score: 6/10


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