SMWS November 2022 Outturn Review


We're back with the November outturn review. The preview tasting this month featured 29 new bottles.

There’s definitely a few more interesting cask types than usual and on paper this is slightly more interesting outturn.

At time of writing we’re unsure if all bottles were available at the preview, but if any are missing we’ll attempt to post details of the missing bottles 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.

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...

9.222 - Glen Grant Distillery

Name: Dram o'clock
Flavour Profile: Juicy, Oak & Vanilla
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex bourbon barrel
ABV: 62.9%
Age: 13

Price: £62.00

There’s Turkish delight, sweet vanilla oak, lemon zest, Haribo, and some musty oak too. The palate comes in with big hits of vanilla sponge cake, strawberry jam and orange marmalade on the side. There’s also just the faintest hint of irn-bru. It’s got a slightly thin palate and the finish is shorter than we’d like. Maybe a few more years in the cask would have took this up a notch.

Score: 6.5/10


12.70 - Benriach Distillery

Name: Eerie-on the edge of your seat stuff
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 2nd fill charred ex-red wine barrique
ABV: 57.8%
Age: 12

Price: £64.00

Musty alcohol, roasted grapes, synthetic sugar, chocolate orange, and not too tannic. The palate has more of that chocolate, milk chocolate specifically, vermouth, a little ginger and cinnamon, with good alcohol integration, however it does get a little warm on the finish. It’s relatively oily, and lingers on for long enough although becomes a little too dry right at the end. We’ll take another dram.

Score: 7/10


19.76 - Glen Garioch Distillery

Name: A utopia of bananas and muffins
Flavour Profile: Sweet, Fruity & Mellow
Region: Highlands
Cask Type: 1st fill bourbon barrel
ABV: 52.3%
Age: 19

Price: £95.00

Tropical fruits, sugar syrup, foam bananas, French pastries, and strawberry laces. It’s sweet but not overwhelmingly so. Good alcohol integration on the palate, really balanced with a tinge of darker chocolate on the finish. Nice mouthfeel as well, not overly oily but enough to keep you interested. It’s as good a Glen Garioch as SMWS have released this year.

Score: 8/10


28.83 - Tullibardine Distillery

Name: Quietly delicious
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Highlands
Cask Type: 1st fill bourbon barrel
ABV: 60.4%
Age: 9

Price: £52.00

It’s cask led, bourbon cask led, burnt old wood, musty workshop, and ethanol. The palate has some caramel coated biscuits, but then it transitions to bitter, woody oak with hints of chili and dry ginger. There’s better bourbon casks in this outturn, and better 28's.

Score: 5/10


28.89 - Tullibardine Distillery

Name: Smacks of citrus
Flavour Profile: Juicy Oak & Vanilla
Region: Highlands
Cask Type: 1st fill bourbon barrel
ABV: 59.6%
Age: 10

Price: £57.00

Minty, vanilla tobacco, minty again.. overall quite a lot of menthol. Did we mention mint yet? There’s a green-ness to this too, as well as a warehouse aroma. The palate is a little.. boring. There’s sugar, wood, bit of an alcohol bite and an oaky finish. Water doesn’t help, avoid. Overall a letdown for us.

Score: 6/10


36.191 - Benrinnes Distillery

Name: Deli delights
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill marsala barrique
ABV: 57.8%
Age: 12

Price: £59.10

On the nose there's gingerbread men, maple syrup, orchard fruits, and fairly powerful peppery alcohol coming through too. There’s also bitter orange peel, charred wood, and Terry’s dark chocolate orange. Initial palate is quite sweet and chocolatey, but dries out quickly into ginger and cinnamon spice. The mouthfeel is fine, and the finish is reasonably long but a bit spicy and astringent. Water brings out more sweet syrupiness on the palate but overall this is a little too spicy for us.

Score: 6.5/10


36.200 - Benrinnes Distillery

Name: Kissing a cricket ball (for luck)
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Dry
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill American oak PX hogshead
ABV: 58.1%
Age: 15

Price: £83.20

It’s very leathery, like a cowboys saddle. There’s varnish, grape must, dry oak and sawdust. The palate has a slight chocolatey sweetness, a tangy metallic note that’s too sharp and some citrus. The finish has an ok length, but overall we’re not overly enamoured by it.. there’s better sherry casks this month.

Score: 6/10


48.148 - Balmenach Distillery

Name: Peppermint daydream
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 62.1%
Age: 8

Price: £49.00

Burnt toast with a light smoke coming from it, a little ethanol, spearmint and wet oak. It’s a little uninspiring on the nose. The palate is spicy, oaky, cinnamon, ginger, a touch of sweetness but finishes overly bitter. Uninspiring, and we hate to say this, but maybe a cask finish would have helped?

Score: 5/10


53.434 - Caol Ila Distillery

Name: Tarred & pickled
Flavour Profile: Heavily Peated
Region: Islay
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish oak oloroso hogshead
ABV: 58.3%
Age: 13

Price: £82.00

Cheese and onion crisps, salty, sea spray, earthy Islay peat, wet rope, dirty dirty smoke. It starts with sweet vanilla on the palate, moving onto… more sweetness? It’s actually way sweeter than we expected. We’re also getting ground black pepper, and honey roast ham. Not super complex, but a really enjoyable Caol Ila.

Score: 7/10


66.217 - Ardmore Distillery

Name: Cliché, but who cares?
Flavour Profile: Peated
Region: Highlands
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish oak oloroso hogshead
ABV: 53.7%
Age: 24

Price: £151.80

Freshly opened paint cans, oil, light smoke, copper, wooden furniture, grape must, and lightly roasted cocoa beans. The palate has black currant, blackberries, and Ribena. The peat is more or less hidden after the long maturation process. Good balance, nice alcohol integration and a nice hit of sherry too. It’s not cheap though, so the choice is yours. We’ll go with 7/10.

Score: 7/10


66.231 - Ardmore Distillery

Name: Honey in the grill tray
Flavour Profile: Peated
Region: Highlands
Cask Type: Refill Trinidad rum barrel
ABV: 62.3%
Age: 9

Price: £59.00

Chocolate, banana, ginger, a hint of menthol, cinnamon, lemon balm, marshmallows, and a mellow peat smoke behind this all. The palate coats the mouth well, a kick of sweet rum following into lemon drizzle cake, burnt twigs and maple glazed bacon. The finish can be slightly harsh, but we’re sure that time in the glass or a dash of water will soften this. A great quality Ardmore with complexity and at a very reasonable price. This months Glen Scotia is better, but only just.

Score: 8.5/10


68.94 - Blair Athol Distillery

Name: Burning bungs on the brae
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Highlands
Cask Type: 1st fill STR ex-PX barrique
ABV: 57.3%
Age: 14

Price: £68.09

This is a bit funky.. sulphur, raisins, sticky dates, and plum crumble. The palate is also funky, sadly it’s also bitter, astringent, and a little too harsh. It’s not all bad as there is some more of those sticky sweet PX notes along with ginger and black pepper spice, but overall it’s just a little too dry and burnt for us.

Score: 6/10


73.150 - Aultmore Distillery

Name: The power of a whisky sour
Flavour Profile: Speyside
Region: Spicy & Sweet
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 57.2%
Age: 10

Price: £61.20

It’s got a light nose with burnt icing sugar, strawberries, a little biscuit, but overall pretty safe. The palate is woody, there’s an initial sweetness but it’s overwhelmed with oak and coffee grounds. Another young bourbon cask which doesn’t really pique our interest. It edges out the 48, but not by much…

Score: 5.5/10


91.34 - Dufftown Distillery

Name: Biting on a bung 
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Dry
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 2nd fill bourbon barrel
ABV: 59.0%
Age: 12

Price: £62.00

It’s … woody. Dusty, musty, alongside synthetic sugar in the form of strawberry laces and lemon sherbet. The palate starts sweet, but follows into oaky dryness quite quickly. There’s a fair bit of spice here too, white pepper and ginger. Not great, not the worst though.

Score: 6/10


93.189 - Glen Scotia Distillery

Name: Reminiscing and daydreaming
Flavour Profile: Oily & Coastal
Region: Campbeltown
Cask Type: 1st fill bourbon barrel
ABV: 58.9%
Age: 9

Price: £63.30

Dirty, oily, maritime… we’re at Campeltown harbour. Hessian cloth, seafood platter, salty sea water,.. it just smells like the seaside. There’s a lovely bourbon sweetness on the nose too, white chocolate and icing sugar. The palate is smokey, earthy, engulfing the mouth, contrasting against the sweeter cakey flavours. The finish is long, but the sweeter part ends way before the smokier. Not quite as good in our opinion as 93.187, but easily an 8.5/10.

Score: 8.5/10


94.30 - Fettercairn Distillery

Name: Spices and syrups
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Highlands
Cask Type: 1st fill #3 char bourbon barrel
ABV: 62.1%
Age: 11

Price: £64.80

Toasted oak, fudge, vanilla pods, toffee apples on Halloween, and brown sugar. The dark side of caramel. There’s a hint of malt vinegar on the nose too. The palate has Christmas cake slices, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and good alcohol integration to boot. There’s also Chocolate and roasted nuts. A good Christmas dram, we’d happily have another.

Score: 7/10


95.61 - Auchroisk Distillery

Name: A Viennese ball
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill American oak PX hogshead
ABV: 56.0%
Age: 14

Price: £68.10

Copper, Irn-Bru, and apricots that are reminding us of Sauternes wine. Burnt sugar, moscavado, and relatively well balanced alcohol. The palate showcases the typical sherry notes, cola cubes, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It could be slightly sweeter on the palate, but some will love the drier, nuttier flavours. It’s got a reasonable mouthfeel, and decent finish. Its good quality sherry finished whisky.

Score: 7.5/10


108.53 - Allt-a-Bhainne Distillery

Name: Crunchy salt and pepper squid
Flavour Profile: Peated 
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 2nd fill medium char barrel
ABV: 62.6%
Age: 10

Price: £53.00

On the nose apples, pears, and surprisingly some smoke. There’s also mango chutney, and varnish with relatively aggressive alcohol. The palate has more of those orchard fruits, a little tomato ketchup, BBQ sauce and pork ribs. It’s fine but not our favourite.

Score: 6/10


113.67 - Braeval (Braes of Glenlivet) Distillery

Name: Marmalade cheesecake
Flavour Profile: Juicy, Oak & Vanilla
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill bourbon barrel
ABV: 62.0%
Age: 11

Price: £59.70

On the nose there’s coconut hand wash, musty oak, mint, and simple syrup. Tastes like a bath bomb.. or slightly perfumed in other words. We’re also getting a fair bit of chocolate and malt. It’s a bit different, a bit funky but we’re pleasantly surprised. It’s not for us, but someone will love it.

Score: 6.5/10


128.24 - Penderyn Distillery

Name: Rarebit smoothie
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Wales
Cask Type: 1st fill oloroso hogshead
ABV: 59.6%
Age: 7

Price: £78.50

Light sherry notes, subtle nose with gingerbread, cinnamon, caramel, and roasted pears too. It’s quite delicate but enjoyable. The palate has a lovely mouthfeel, there’s creamy custard, a hint of malt vinegar, some sherry sweetness all really well integrated with the alcohol. Last months release edges this out, but this is a great Penderyn, and you won’t go wrong.

Score: 8/10


134.15 - Paul John Distillery

Name: Spiced and iced ginger cake
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Goa, India
Cask Type: Refill bourbon barrel
ABV: 57.6%
Age: 5

Price: £150.00

Nutty, over roasted and slightly bitter. Followed by some meatiness, and a bit of varnish. We’re not finding this particular pleasant on the nose. Young, slightly sweet on the palate with roasted pineapple, sour mix and a fair bit of spirit and alcohol pushing through. The palate was slightly better than the nose, but you should spend your £150 elsewhere.

Score: 5/10


135.34 - Loch Lomond (Inchmoan) Distillery

Name: Beach hut bonkers
Flavour Profile: Juicy, Oak & Vanilla
Region: Highlands
Cask Type: 1st fill bourbon barrel
ABV: 56.7%
Age: 20

Price: £86.00

Cucumber, damp clothes, must, following into fresh linen, red apple peel, and beeswax. The palate has a good mouthfeel, is oily and dense, with hay, honey and caramelised chocolate. The finish is too short however, with a hit of salinity and funk. It’s not a bad whisky, but we wouldn’t go out of our way to grab a bottle.

Score: 6.5/10


138.9 - Nantou Distillery

Name: Meat in the middle
Flavour Profile: Peated 
Region: Taiwan
Cask Type: 1st fill #3 char barrel
ABV: 57.0%
Age: 6

Price: £87.00

On the nose we’re getting warming spices, charred oak, pickle juice, iron bars, roasted chestnuts, and slightly too much peppery alcohol. The palate has lemon bars, and sultanas, but then goes quite bitter and astringent. The peat feels disjointed, you could remove it and it would improve the dram. It’s alright, but we don’t need a bottle.

Score: 6.5/10


150.3 - West Cork Distillery

Name: Conversation lubrication
Flavour Profile: Sweet, Fruity & Mellow 
Region: Ireland, County Cork
Cask Type: 1st fill rye barrel
ABV: 57.3%
Age: 7

Price: £75.00

It’s muted on the nose, but when we get into it we’re getting musty sheds, nettles, black pepper and raw distillate. The palate brings forward ginger spice, cocoa beans, coffee, and a lot of the rye cask flavour. It’s got a nice sweetness but there’s too much spice here that’s overpowering everything else. The mouthfeel is good and the finish is alright, but with too much pepper lingering.

Score: 6/10


BAT. 15 - Smokus Fruticosus

Name: Smokus fruticosus
Flavour Profile: Small batch blended malt 
Region: Blended malt
Cask Type: Bourbon, PX & Oloroso
ABV: 50.0%
Age: 10

Price: £51.90

Light peat, it’s there but it’s a little confused with oak, raisins, beef jerky, smoked venison and roasted peanuts. The palate is thin, a little watery but with nice mellow peat that rides into the finish. There’s some fruit here too, strawberries and raspberries. It’s an interesting blend, but falls thin for in comparison to some of the higher strength, single cask releases. We’ll go with 6.5/10.

Score: 6.5/10


CW1.5 - Heaven Hill Distillery

Name: Cinnamon sins
Flavour Profile: Other Spirit 
Region: Kentucky
Cask Type: Charred new oak barrel
ABV: 61.7%
Age: 12

Price: £82.50

Caramel, syrup, musty alcohol, a dusty toolshed, and creamy soda. The mouthfeel is good, with a nice texture. Unfortunately it’s down hill from here as this gains menthol / mouthwash notes as the palate develops. The finish has a decent length and comes through as peppermint and a hint of dried oak.

Score: 6/10


G8.20 - Cambus Distillery

Name: Jambon!
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits 
Region: Lowlands
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish oak oloroso hogshead
ABV: 56.7%
Age: 31

Price: £126.50

Ahhh old grain smell.. with cherry Bakewell, sultanas, cinnamon, brown sugar, chocolate and a little bit of petroleum type alcohol going on. The palate is a little off balance, grain sweetness, red kola, and black currant, but with a bit too much ethanol and varnish coming through. It’s not our favourite old grain, although not a bad price for a closed distillery sherry finished grain whisky. We’ll go with 6.5/10.

Score: 6.5/10


G10.39 - Strathclyde Distillery

Name: Trio melon medley
Flavour Profile: Sweet, Fruity & Mellow 
Region: Lowlands
Cask Type: 2nd fill HTMC hogshead
ABV: 59.2%
Age: 16

Price: £61.00

On the nose we’re getting boiled sweeties, hot cross buns drizzled in sugar syrup, pink lady apples. We’re finding the grain character really shines through. The mouthfeel has a nice texture, but it thins out really quickly. It’s sweet on the palate initially with macerated strawberries but unfortunately they disappears into neutral spirit. An easy sipper but we can’t lie, we expected more.

Score: 6/10


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1 comment


  • Charlie Cavaye

    Bought the 93.189 on your ‘recommendation’. Might have only given it an 8 myself (I’ve had some stunning 93’s in the past) but it is an absolute cracker! Most Members will miss out on this in their frenzy to grab the 10’s, 24’s & 29’s.


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