SMWS June 2024 Outturn Review (Part 2)


We're back with the second part of the June outturn review. As this month is a larger release, we've split our review in two parts. You can find Part 1 here.

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.
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Onto the bottles...

6.63 - Macduff Distillery

Name: Cafe terrace, sunny afternoon
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill American oak ex-PX hogshead
ABV: 56.1%
Age: 16

Price: £104.00

We're finding maple syrup, raspberry jam, treacle, red currants, strawberry laces, and very sweet sherry on the nose. Very typical American oak style sherry. The palate continues that in this vein, syrupy, maraschino cherries, brown sugar, macerated strawberries, and raisins. A little thin on the mouthfeel, and it’s like drinking Robinsons summer fruits cordial. There’s also some toffee and caramel here. It’s nice, but a bit thin, and the finish doesn’t stick around. One that will please most, but not without a few flaws.

Score: 6.5/10

Value: Signatory have recently released a small batch 16yo at around £65.


12.85 - Benriach Distillery

Name: Fragile and unvarnished
Flavour Profile: Light & Delicate
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 2nd fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 59.4%
Age: 10

Price: £64.00

The nose is floral and perfumed, with notes of caster sugar, hot chocolate, toasted marshmallows, lightly roasted coffee, and caramel shortcake, though there may be a touch too much alcohol spice. On the palate, it delivers flavors of cocoa, buttercream, fondant icing, and green apple skin, and a pronounced punch of chilli spice from the alcohol. Saying that this still well-balanced. The mouthfeel is nicely viscous. A good quality young Benriach, a touch short on the finish but we enjoyed it. It’s between a 7 and a 7.5, we’ll go with 7/10.

Score: 7/10

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


9.268 - Glen Grant Distillery

Name: Apple snow in summer
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 2nd fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 56.6%
Age: 14

Price: £78.00

On the nose, this whisky is slightly grassy with notes of fudge blondie and Granny Smith apples, it’s a little generically sweet, with hints of shortbread and sponge cake. The palate has a creamy texture featuring whipped vanilla cream and lemon juice, along with digestive biscuits. However, there's a considerable amount of background spice, including warm ginger cookies, a hint of cola, and cinnamon Danish. Overall, it's a decent dram but nothing extraordinary; the spice feels a bit too intense in places.

Score: 6.5/10

Value: Not a bad price and not a bad whisky.


28.103 - Tullibardine Distillery

Name: Limoncello, lavender and love hearts
Flavour Profile: Light & delicate
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 61.3%
Age: 8

Price: £57.00

On the nose, the whisky is restrained, but with time, it reveals notes of meadowsweet, floral hints, a slight menthol touch, peppery spice with a background of sweetness, reminiscent of a caramel brittle and barley sugars. The palate offers a decent mouthfeel with flavors of caramel, brown sugar, and a touch of chocolate, showing much more character than the nose suggests. However, the finish is marred by a fair bit of alcohol spice and pepper. Overall, it feels too young and too hot.

Score: 6/10

Value: Another one that's not terribly priced, but we still would have preferred to see this a little cheaper.


35.341 - Glen Moray Distillery

Name: Sunny memories
Flavour Profile: Juicy, Oak & Vanilla
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 60.6%
Age: 10

Price: £55.00

The nose is pleasant, light, and floral, reminiscent of walking through a meadow with notes of honeysuckle and vanilla pods, transitioning into lime zest, candy floss, and almonds. The palate offers a good texture, starting sweet with flavors of lemonade and apple boiled sweets, surprisingly smooth for a whisky at 60% ABV. A hint of melon lingers in the background. This is a lovely little 10-year-old bourbon cask whisky that is so drinkable, we could almost see ourselves enjoying it by the pint glass.

Score: 8/10

Value: Great whisky at a pretty good price.


41.173 - Dailuaine Distillery

Name: Flamenco floorboard fantasy
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish oak ex-PX butt
ABV: 56.0%
Age: 15

Price: £85.00

On the nose, there's a sweet, syrupy sherry aroma combined with sultanas and raisins, complemented by a hint of rancio. Additional notes include nutmeg, freshly brewed coffee, treacle, and a bit of vanilla fudge. The palate leans more towards a bourbon-esque flavor profile, featuring lemon, vanilla, sponge cake, and apple pie, transitioning into a little raspberry purée, treacle, brown sugar, and wood spice. However, the palate is too thin, and the alcohol bite is a bit too much for our liking.

Score: 6/10

Value: We suppose it's not a bad price since it's a sherry cask into sherry cask.


44.178 - Craigellachie Distillery

Name: Sliced and diced
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: New Oak hogshead char #4
ABV: 59.4%
Age: 18

Price: £117.00

On the nose, this whisky features ginger sponge cake, ruby chocolate, dusty wardrobes, marzipan, and light cola notes. The palate introduces an initial sourness with flavors of orange marmalade, gingerbread, pickle brine, sour beer, Irn Bru, and a bit of fondant as it develops. The cask influence is strong enough to mask the underlying spirit, which some might find disappointing. However, as many of you know, we're not the biggest fans of Craigellachie, so this definitely aligns more closely with our tastes.

Score: 7/10

Value: Should be nearer £100 in our opinion.


53.450 - Caol Ila Distillery

Name: Touched by a bear's paw and claw
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Islay
Cask Type: 1st fill American oak ex-PX hogshead
ABV: 58.2%
Age: 13

Price: £92.00

The nose is fairly coastal, smoked mackerel, dried oak, peanuts, ash, tar and a little iodine. There’s less sherry than expected, with a touch of caramel coming through later. There’s a bit of rusted metal too. The palate is a bit disappointing, similar to the nose, wet pebbles, oily, fishy, fatty acids, tar, a touch bitter.. burnt wood, with a bit of toffee and orange coming through too. It’s thin, there’s flavour here but it’s a little sour, predominently lime juice, and the finish dissipates too quickly. It feels a touch disjointed.. we’re getting more of the bourbon cask than the sherry cask as it lingers on our tongue.

Score: 6.5/10

Value: Sherry and peat is unfortunately going to be expensive.


55.93 - Royal Brackla Distillery

Name: Retronasal tasting menu
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Highland
Cask Type: Spanish oak ex-Oloroso hogsheads & a barique
ABV: 56.1%
Age: 14

Price: £95.00

On the nose, this whisky presents shortbread, cinnamon, gingerbread, and nougat, with a fairly nutty character. Mild red fruits and a hint of vanilla also make their presence known. The palate starts with more pronounced red fruit flavors, including cherries and strawberries, before transitioning into warm oak spice, ginger, cinnamon, and a touch of clove. The finish introduces a bit of burnt coffee. Overall, it's a decent sherry-finished whisky, though it doesn't offer anything particularly exciting.

Score: 6.5/10

Value: This feels a little pricey given the age.


60.35 - Aberfeldy Distillery

Name: Bienvenue à la pâtisserie
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 2nd fill ex-bourbon hogshead
ABV: 57.6%
Age: 10

Price: £64.00

On the nose, this whisky carries light pastry notes combined with a very jammy character, featuring raspberry, strawberry, and a hint of mango. There's a touch of mustiness, and the alcohol is fairly prominent. Vanilla essence and fudge also come through. The palate delivers more spice than expected, with the alcohol presence up front and centre. Flavors of lime cordial and crème patisserie appear, but these are overshadowed by black pepper and ginger heat. Overall, it's too spicy and too young.

Score: 6/10

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


77.75 - Glen Ord Distillery

Name: Cheroots in an oloroso bathtub
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Dry
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill STR Oloroso barrique
ABV: 55.2%
Age: 14

Price: £88.00

On the nose, this whisky features chocolate orange Jaffa cakes and aggressive sherry notes, likely amplified by the STR (shaved, toasted, and re-charred) cask process. It carries heavy aromas of burnt coffee, tannins, and bitter chocolate, along with a burned sugar scent that is a little unpleasant. The palate is relatively thin, presenting flavors of honey, burnt toffee, Irn Bru, melon, and a substantial amount of ginger spice toward the finish. The potential for a more balanced profile was there, but the influence of the STR cask feels overly dominant, detracting from the dram.

Score: 5.5/10

Value: Another release that feels slightly overpriced.


78.66 - Ben Nevis Distillery

Name: Las bodegas de Fort William
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 2nd fill Oloroso hogshead
ABV: 58.8%
Age: 10

Price: £68.00

On the nose, this whisky has mild sherry notes, accompanied by a fairly dusty and musty presence upfront. Additional aromas include hay bales, charred oak, black pepper, and clove, with a little toffee brittle and apple in the background. The palate introduces more charred oak and evolves into dark chocolate, coffee, burnt toffee, and candied almonds. This expression showcases a drier type of sherry maturation, which is alright and melds reasonably well with the funky Ben Nevis spirit character.

Score: 6.5/10

Value: Good price for a sherry hit, but the whisky falls short.


93.209 - Glen Scotia Distillery

Name: A musing moment
Flavour Profile: Oily & Coastal
Region: Campbeltown
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 58.5%
Age: 9

Price: £65.50

On the nose, this whisky shows lots of Campbeltown character with wet pebbles, vanilla, fish cakes, the scent of Campbeltown harbour, brine, freshly squeezed lemon, and caster sugar, all underscored by a light, sweet peat smoke—it’s quintessentially Campbeltown in a glass. The palate reveals a slightly peatier profile than expected with warm bonfires, smoked fish, and saltwater, complemented by a nice mouthfeel. There's a notable sweetness akin to white sugar. Overall, this is straightforward and well-made, though it does lack some of the complexity found in other single cask Glen Scotias.

Score: 7/10

Value: Good price for a release from this distillery.


94.35 - Fettercairn Distillery

Name: Waxes and workshops
Flavour Profile: Juicy, Oak & Vanilla
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 57.4%
Age: 14

Price: £78.00

The nose features subtle eucalyptus and apple purée, alongside menthol and a dusty character, with the alcohol being quite prominent. There's also a hint of overdone biscuit. The palate offers a decent mouthfeel but is dominated by pear and air freshener notes, along with synthetic sweetness, resembling pear brandy but overly alcoholic and astringent. This combination doesn't work for us, and there are much better options in this outturn.

Score: 5.5/10

Value: Not a bad price given the age.


140.18 - Balcones Distillery

Name: Cocoa habañero
Flavour Profile: Juicy, Oak & Vanilla
Region: Texas
Cask Type: New oak barrique char #3
ABV: 61.5%
Age: 3

Price: £85.00

The whisky is spirit-forward, featuring hints of red kola, banana, bread dough, cinnamon, charred oak, and a little bit of Texas brisket on the nose. The palate delivers a warming sensation with pronounced cinnamon spice, flat cola, and a significant chili heat that intertwines with sweet oak and a handful of blackberries. The mouthfeel is fine, but the finish is overly spicy. There is not enough cask influence to mellow out the youthful edges of this whisky, leaving it with too much of a new make character.

Score: 6/10

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


143.5 - Copperworks Distillery

Name: Enchanted cake
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Seattle, Washington
Cask Type: New oak barrel char #2
ABV: 59.2%
Age: 3

Price: £90.00

The nose opens with aromas of orange peel, warm caramel, Irn Bru, toasted oak, copper, and fudge cake. On the palate, there is an initial burst of brown sugar sweetness, followed by treacle, cinnamon, and a hint of burnt coffee towards the back. However, theres a through line of excessive peppery spice, that dominates, and we’re the finish dissipates quickly. While it's a slight Improvement over the Balcones, this would have benefitted from a bit more time in the cask to soften and mellow out.

Score: 6/10

Value: This is priced in line with other releases from the distillery.


160.1 - Mars Tsunuki Distillery

Name: Mango in the dojo
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Japan
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-Sherry hogshead
ABV: 57.7%
Age: 5

Price: £115.00

The nose is dominated by a strong sherry character, featuring slightly charred oloroso, paprika, gingerbread, cured venison, cola cubes, and demerara sugar. On the palate, the sherry influence continues, balsamic vinegar-covered strawberries, sweet barbecue pork, and a hint of copper coin. Ginger ale adds a spicy zest. The mouthfeel is relatively thin, and there's a considerable amount of spice keeping the palate alive. Although the sherry does a good job of masking the younger spirit, the dram remains quite spicy.

Score: 6.5/10

Value: Given it's Japanese whisky the prices doesn't seem that bad.


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