SMWS September 2021 Outturn Review

This month sees The Gathering arrive at SMWS venues around the globe, bringing whisky and people together in person (socially distanced, of course) for the first time in a while! The society will be releasing their normal outturn, plus some special Gathering bottles throughout the month. 

We had the pleasure of sampling most of these outturn bottlings at the spiritual home of the SMWS, The Vaults, earlier this week. Unfortunately there were a few bottles missing from the sample session that hadn't been delivered in time, but we'll update this post when we've managed to get a taste of those missing drams. 

We also had a sneak peak of the Gathering bottles, but our review of those will come on Saturday 4th September so keep your eyes peeled. 

We were joined by our close friend Andrew A. for this session, special thanks to Andrew for coming and providing his thoughts on the bottles. 

Anyway, let's get onto the reviews...

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.

3.332 - Bowmore Distillery

SMWS 3.332

Nose has burnt apples, wood in a bbq smoker, kebab skewers with pineapple, and cranberry. Palate brings more sun kissed fruits, rich syrupy smoke. This is a fruit smoothie with some charred pinecones dropped in. It’s very very good, but it’s not your typical Bowmore. The cask has definitely influenced the spirit more than usual. 

Note - 3.326, the other Bowmore, was one of the drams not available at the session. We'll get a review of it as soon as we can!

41.142 - Dailuaine Distillery

SMWS 41.142

The nose has warm cinnamon, brandy, cherry liquor and a slight grainy note, however the palate lets it down a little when compared to the nose. The Spanish oak finish hasn't added the spicy notes as expected, but the PX syrupiness is there. A little meatiness, masquerading as roast chicken jus. This would make a good intro to sherried whisky. Finish is good length.

It's a very lightly sherried whisky for spending its whole life in sherry casks. It was originally in an American oak oloroso butt before being finished in a Spanish oak PX butt. Still quite delicious.

42.69 - Tobermory (Ledaig) Distillery

SMWS 42.69

Note that this is quite definitely a Ledaig!

Nose has rich smokey kippers, saltwater and charred wood. Palate has brined olives, and old school beef olives in a bisto gravy. Very mouth coating. These recent 42's have been good and this is no exception.

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!

35.300 - Glen Moray Distillery

SMWS 35.300

Nose has Oreos, strawberries and cream on biscuits (like oat and raisin biscuits). Palate is sweet and light to start with but becomes quite woody and bitter on the finish. 

63.77 - Glentauchers Distillery

SMWS 63.77

it’s gin. Juniper berries, raw alcohol, what the hell? Smells like a great gin though. Light vanilla ice cream on the palate. Still tastes quite like gin. If you like gin, this is the whisky for you. Lemon zest. Grapefruit. Woah interesting.

We actually had to ask the staff to taste this and confirm that we weren't going out of our minds. They agreed that it does indeed smell just like gin.

39.222 - Linkwood Distillery

SMWS 39.222

Cherry liquor, grass, hay, and white flowers. Palate is lemon peel and apple, with a herbal finish. There’s also a touch of salt, like tequila, salt and lime. Pleasant and pretty good for this outturn.

2.130 - Glenlivet Distillery

SMWS 2.130

Smells like Barr’s cream soda, Milkybar, and silky wood (if that makes sense!). Palate has vanilla ice cream followed by bitter kale and green tea that coats the mouth well. It's a little unimaginative and flat on the palate. A bit steep at £79.50, even though it is 15 years old.

19.51 - Glen Garioch Distillery

SMWS 19.51

Lemon juniper gin on the nose, a slight butteriness, touch of ginger, and raw spirit. Is this 18 years old? Palate is spicy, cucumber, juniper, deep cherry wood. Some mushroom aftertaste. A creamy saltiness also.

As you can probably guess, this is unpeated spirit. 

G15.11 - Loch Lomond (Rhosdhu) Distillery

SMWS G15.11

Nose has fresh strawberries, processed white bread, a McDonald’s burger bun, sweet brioche, some ginger behind the sweetness. Candied strawberries on the palate. Pleasant fruity finish, little rough, would have liked to see how it developed in the cask for longer to see if it rounded off those rough edges.

28.71 - Tullibardine Distillery

SMWS 28.71

Nose of dusty lime and caramel. Palate of bittersweet butterscotch with a massive punch of alcohol, pecan nuts pie and a long bitter disappointing finish.

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.

68.62 - Blair Athol Distillery

SMWS 68.62

Nose of dusty old leather, light aromas of nothingness, grass - maybe aloe vera. One word - Lacking. Watery on the palate, imagine sugar syrup that’s diluted even further with water. Pleasant aftertaste of boiled sweets. Touch of grainy burnt sugar.

112.92 - Inchmurrin Distillery

SMWS 112.92

Nose of vanilla cream and marshmallows. Huge punch of alcohol on the palate, but a very thin mouthfeel. There’s some wood spice, custard cream biscuit, just too hot. Very expensive for the quality. We usually love the 112's from the society but this one isn't for us.

4.284 - Highland Park Distillery

SMWS 4.284

Nose of coastal salty seawater, and peat reek. Palate is expired sea-bass, and rotten lemon. There is some redeeming sweet vanilla, but this is way too pricey for £150. Ginger ale won't help this, trust us, we tried.

1.247 - Glenfarclas Distillery

SMWS 1.247

Nose has varnish, grapes, peanuts, and salty grass. Palate has some alcohol kick, cough medicine, with a dirty aftertaste. This is very salty for a distillery that's quite far from a coastline. Not a fan. horrible.

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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