SMWS November 2021 Outturn Review (Week 1)

For the November outturn, the society is doing something a little different and having weekly releases. For the first Wednesday or Friday (depending on your location) they are showcasing 18 new bottles. 

Check out our social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to get heads up on our reviews of the rest of November’s releases.

November’s theme is a roaring good time. At time of writing we were unable to confirm if they opted not to use the roaring 20’s due to a lack of aged releases in the offering.

Confusing marketing aside, it’s a much improved offering over last month with a fair few bottles in the “middle of the road” category, narrowly missing out on being included in our “Top Sips”.

Top Sips

Our Top Sips are the bottles that we thought stood out amongst the rest. We would highly recommend you at least sample these drams if possible. Note that these are in no particular order.

19.62 - Glen Garioch Distillery

SMWS 19.62

Price: £90.00

They’re not lying here when they say mango, there’s also some Caribbean rum funk, pineapple and grapefruit on the nose. With the palate being a smorgasbord of tropical fruits and vanilla. Cask is well integrated with spirit, that is present but not overpowering.

63.83 - Glentauchers Distillery

SMWS 63.83

Price: £45.60

Rosewater, toffee, Werthers originals, butterscotch, bread pudding, vanilla cream, and rosemary on the nose. The palate has strawberries, a cream doughnut, and the sweet section of a french pastry shop. A little hot on the palate but there’s lots lovely fruity, sweet flavours to make up for it. This is a steal at £45.

4.292 - Highland Park Distillery

Name: Peat Fire Tales on Orkney
Flavour Profile: Lightly Peated
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-PX Butt
ABV: 59.4%
Age: 19

Price: £148.75

Brass, foxes ginger crunch creams, mace, cloves, oatcakes, malt syrup and a little sulphur sherry funk. Palate has salty seawater, warm baking spices, mellow alcohol, sour cherry and light ash in the background. Water takes us to a dusty wood workshop, palate shoes the same as pre-dilution with a touch of bitter-oak spice. Really good quality spirit and cask here, although a touch pricey. 

Middle of the Road

Our Middle of the Road bottles are whiskies we thought were good enough for a dram or two, but we weren't blown away by them. Some of this will be down to our personal preference, so if the notes we've written sound like something up your street then it may be perfect for you! This time we've listed these in order of our preference as some of them were pretty close to making it into the Top Sips section.

16.59 - Glenturret Distillery

Name: Too good to be true
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich and Dried Fruits
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill PX hogshead
ABV: 53.7%
Age: 20 

Price: £110.00

Nose has warm baking spices, ginger cake, touch of lemon, and maybe even brown sauce. Lots and lots of sugar on the palate, boiled sweets, and candy canes being the most prominent, The sherry notes linger on the finish with an oaky undertone. We prefer this in the battle of the 16’s of this outturn, and nearly included it in our “Top Sips”.

80.25 - Glen Spey Distillery

SMWS 80.25

Price: £48.40

Nail varnish, orange, ginger, cream. More orange essence on the palate with some white pepper and cardamom. Medium length finish. Not bad, a nice winter weather dram and good value at just under £50.

28.70 - Tullibardine Distillery

SMWS 28.70

Price: £54.80

Refined sugar, caramelised bananas, light caramel, and straight up vanilla goodness on the nose. Palate has vanilla ice cream, and a touch of oak, that’s nicely complimenting the sweetness. This is like taking a spoon full of sugar. It’s a little one dimensional but if you like your sweeter whiskies, this is perfect. Maybe one to introduce a non-whisky drinker to the wonders of the spirit. Again this narrowly missed out on being included in the “Top Sips”.

68.72 - Blair Athol Distillery

Name: Liquid midnight
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich and Dried Fruits
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill oloroso hogshead
ABV: 57.4%
Age: 12

Price: £62.80

Nose has Irn-Bru, ground ginger, turmeric, and baked apples doused in cinnamon. Deep, rich and oaky on the nose. Charred wood, apple pie, with alcohol sitting in the background on the palate. This has a super long finish that dances on the tongue. Relatively balanced and pleasant, but just falls a little short.

94.17 - Fettercairn Distillery

SMWS 94.17

Price: £62.00

Opens with Devonshire custard, fresh cream pastry, subtle citrus, vanilla extract, and a little yeast on the nose. Palate has lemonade, grapefruit, and citrus pith. It’s a little thin on the palate, and has a medium to short finish, but is pleasant enough and good value.

3.329 - Bowmore Distillery

SMWS 3.329

Price: £122.00

On the nose there’s mellow bonfire smoke, cooking oil, sea breeze, and vanilla. While the palate has intense heavy charred peat, vanilla custard, and some wholemeal bread. Has the society accidentally bottled a Bunnahabain as a Bowmore? We prefer the nose to the palate, for Bowmore we want more of a sweet-peat combo, but instead we’re getting a surprising amounts of smoke on the palate. One for the peat lovers out there.

5.85 - Auchentoshan Distillery

SMWS 5.85

Price: £90.00

Nose has tropical fruits, candy shop, and fruit pastels. There’s some bitterness on the palate, but the sweeter notes are still punching through with starburst and dried apricots being most noticeable. Water mellows the bitter oak, but just not quite enough to pull this into our Top Sips.

16.58 - Glenturret Distillery

Name: Hair tingling revelation
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich and Dried Fruits
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill oloros hogshead
ABV: 53.7%
Age: 20 

Price: £110.00

Strong meaty note, a touch of sulphur, Spanish bodega funk, a little salty and fishy too. Viscous dark hot chocolate, and woody, raisin cake on the palate. Water enhances all of the aforementioned flavours, both good and bad. The nose put us off initially, but the palate pulled us back in. Maybe a bit too much sherry influence, although some will love it.

53.385 - Caol Ila Distillery

SMWS 53.385

Price: £65.00

We’re getting tar, seaweed, salted peanuts, brine, muddy water, charred oak, and lots of peat. This is a typical Caol Ila, and you’ll love it if you’re a fan of 53s. Personally, we’re saving our pennies for other bottles this month. No doubt another great 53 is just around the corner.

122.45 - Loch Lomond (Croftengea) Distillery

SMWS 122.45

Price: £48.40

Nose is very yeasty, there’s also some ethanol and furniture polish. Palate has bitter melon, sweet custard buns, and black pepper spice. A little weird and unusual but not all bad.

1.250 - Glenfarclas Distillery

SMWS 1.250

Price: £60.00

This is bready on the nose. There’s sour apple, sugar and warming spices on the palate. This really drys out the mouth. It’s a one dimensional whisky and we wished it had seen a cask finish. Personally, we think the society might want to give up with bourbon casks for Glenfarclas, and try some other cask types. Our gut tells us there’s a better cask type out there for Glenfarclas.

9.266 - Glen Grant Distillery

SMWS 9.266

Price: £65.00

Sandalwood, musty leather, lime zest, wood chippings, and some expected vanilla essence on the nose. Gingerbread on the palate with some juicy red fruit, and a spicy, oaky undertone. At 13 years this is a touch spicy and oaky, maybe a few more years to mellow out would have helped.

26.188 - Clynelish Distillery

SMWS 26.188

Price: £65.00

Nose has sour patch kids, waxy lemon rind, a little bread, and capers. Palate has some oiliness, green apple, honey, and cream. This has a woody, medium length finish. There’s a fair bit going on here but it’s a little hot and we stand firm on our opinion that these young 26’s would benefit from another 10 years in the cask.. if only…

73.124 - Aultmore Distillery

SMWS 73.124

Price: £54.80

On the nose it’s creamy milkshake laced with artificial strawberry syrup, and milky bar. So, then what happened to the palate? Nail varnish remover, hot, bitter and angry. Water helps considerably, but not enough to make it the perfect dessert dram the nose promised us.

Bottom of the Barrel

Our Bottom of the Barrel picks are bottlings we really didn't enjoy. That's not to say that these are bad whiskies, they're just not to our taste, and had we tried one of these as our first ever whiskies we’d probably be gin drinkers.

39.227 - Linkwood Distillery

SMWS 39.227

Price: £54.80

We’re getting notes of dirty, muddy carpet, and freshly watered garden plants on the nose. This has a bitter, funky, oily palate. It came out of left field and should head back there. Not great.

113.52 -  Braeval (Braes of Glenlivet) Distillery

SMWS 113.52

Price: £57.10

Some sulphur, and turned meat initially. This is too funky for us. There’s a savouriness to this as well as salted pistachios, bitter oak, and sadness on the palate. We’d recommend you avoid this.

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

Interested in trying drams like these? We've created the Two Whisky Bros Dram Club to help you get access to high quality, rare whisky by the dram.

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