SMWS November 2021 Outturn Review (Week 2)

And we’re back again just seven short days later. It’s perhaps just our own paranoia, but ever since we started sharing our thoughts on the outturn the society seems to be intent on finishing off our livers with mammoth monthly releases. If you missed our review of week 1, you can find it here.

After an improved November offering in week one it’s a return to form from the society as they prominently feature some young, middle of the road bourbon casks in week two.

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

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.

79.5 - Deanston Distillery

SMWS 79.5

Price: £52.00

A heavy, bold spirit with lots of body, oak and pepper spice. Palate is a touch drying but has a touch of sweetness too. Actually quite delicious. Deanston isn’t often bottled by the society, so this is a bit of a treat, and has really impressed us. We could imagine this with a hint of PX taking it to the next level, but even still it’s very good as is and a bargain price at £52.

24.164 - Macallan Distillery

Name: Charming and Entrancing
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich and Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-PX Hogshead
ABV: 62.7%
Age: 12

Price: £75.00

Cinnamon syrup, melted chocolate, ginger, red berry pressé. It's a little gamey, not overly alcoholic like some of the previous 24's from these vatted casks. Palate has raisin ice cream, crystallised ginger, treacle toffee, super rich syrupy sweetness which coats the mouth incredibly well, and the finish is warm and comforting. These vatted Macallans have been hit or miss for us, but this is one of the best. It's well balanced and integrated with no off notes and even though it's high alcohol, it doesn't show on the nose or palate. Perfect Christmas time whisky.

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.

12.65 - BenRiach Distillery

SMWS 12.65

Price: £64.00

Nose has lots of dark chocolate and grape must, but there’s also a fair amount of ethanol here, with some fresh cut grass in the background. Palate shows more intense cocoa, forest floor, strawberry and some basil. This is good, and if you sway towards red wine casks then it’s for you, but it’s just a touch too charred for us.

48.137 - Balmenach Distillery

SMWS 48.137

Price: £48.40

Ok, here we’re getting cherries soaked in alcohol, Bakewell tart, and carrot cake with a side of tomato ketchup. Yes, it’s as weird as it sounds. The savouriness comes through more on the palate, but there is also a sour sweetie note alongside. This is really interesting and the sweet and savouriness is balanced really well. It is a bit weird though, so be warned!

7.273 - Longmorn Distillery

SMWS 7.273

Price: £65.00

This is Like a summer garden, cotton candy, strawberries and cream. Light, sweet and fruity. Palate has more sweetness, with some white chocolate, and Parma violets. It’s nice, refreshing, and if you like Longmorn then it’ll be up your alley. For us, there has been previous bottlings from Longmorn that have had more complexity and depth.

39.232 - Linkwood Distillery

SMWS 39.232

Price: £52.00

This is perfumed, slightly vegetal, fresh thyme, and violet with a pinch of alcohol behind. Palate takes us to a flower shop with a glass of Prosecco, sparkly, and slightly yeasty. Not the worst Linkwood we’ve had from the society but it still falls a bit short for us.

Everything below this point was good enough to avoid going into our “Bottom of the Barrel” section, but just barely.

52.43 - Old Pulteney Distillery
SMWS 52.43

Price: £270.00

Some wet mouldy paper, green wood, pine, touch of sweet vanilla, and salty sand. Lovely fruity sweetness with lemon and lime cordial on the palate. Ouch this is pricey. A little thin and flat on the palate . We now know why this is not a vaults collection, and the other recent 52 was. This is a bit like your fun uncle who starts off the life of the party, but ends up drunk, with you just hoping they’ll leave.

72.106 - Miltonduff Distillery

SMWS 72.106

Price: £51.00

Some warming ginger, a little chocolate, dry crackers, and ethanol on the nose. Peppery spice on the palate, with typical vanilla sweetness, but unfortunately it’s masked by alcohol burn. This is just disappointing.

88.26 - Speyburn Distillery

SMWS 88.26

Price: £62.00

This noses as if it has been matured in a bit of a weird sherry cask. There’s some raisin funk that unusual from a refill bourbon cask. Some sandpaper and vanilla on the palate. Not great, we wouldn’t be surprised if they offer this is a renewal bottle at some point.

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.

55.68 - Royal Brackla Distillery

SMWS 55.68

Price: £52.00

It noses like your waking into a perfumery, there’s also some wild yeast and sour beer. A little pistachio, and macaron, on the palate, but it’s overwhelmed by pure ethanol and notes of disappointment. This is way too young, way too harsh, and way too disappointing.

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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