SMWS September 2022 Outturn Review


We're back with the August outturn review. The preview tasting this month featured 25 new bottlings, 5 of which are specially selected for the Gathering events across the globe. We've included these at the end of the review.

There’s still a fair amount of young bourbon cask releases this month, but interspersed through those are some interesting cask types. We were also pleasantly surprised at the quality this month, there's some great whisky on offer, including our first 9/10 in an outturn review!

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...

1.272 - Glenfarclas Distillery

Name: Meet the herb gardener
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Dry
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 59.9%
Age: 10

Price: £66.30

Herbal, rosemary and thyme. It’s got a little bit of yeast, biscuit and spirit. The palate shows a lot more fruit, orange, grapefruit, lime, with a drizzle of sugar syrup. The finish is dry, but we’d categorise this as spicy and sweet rather than spicy and dry. A pleasant surprise.

Score: 7/10


9.255 - Glen Grant Distillery

Name: Tropical trail mix
Flavour Profile: Juicy, Oak & Vanilla
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 53.9%
Age: 18

Price: £100.80

Light, floral, starburst, quite fruit forward. Really pleasant to nose. The palate shows a fruit salad, sugar syrup, quite sweet going into a good length finish. There’s a little too much oak on the finish for us, and at 18 years old it’s a little alcohol forward too. We really wanted to love this as we’re big fans of the distillery, but this isn’t a super complex whisky, and there’s much better choices at half the price this outturn.

Score: 6.5/10


26.206 - Clynelish Distillery

Name: Tropical toothpaste
Flavour Profile: Juicy, Oak & Vanilla
Region: Highlands
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 61.1%
Age: 9

Price: £58.70

Minty, like toothpaste. It’s young, and we’re getting a lot of the spiritous notes on the nose. There may be some tropical fruits here but they’re being buried by the mint aromas. The palate is hot, more mint.. it’s like a mojito aged in oak. It’s really spicy on the tongue. Not for us, and we’ll continue wishing for a 20+ year old Clynelish as we do every month.

We did speak to a friend at the preview tasting who loved this, but that's the magic of different palates. 

Score: 5/10


35.324 - Glen Moray Distillery

Name: Tangerine Collins
Flavour Profile: Young & Spritely
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 58.9%
Age: 8

Price: £54.00

On the nose there’s a little dustiness, some tropical fruits like pineapple, mango and a touch of strawberry soda. There’s also a lot of orange zest and a little ginger too. The palate is hot, and quite spicy initially before it moves into orange, mango and wood shavings. The mouthfeel is a little thin, and the finish is a touch short. Fine but a little simple.

Score: 6/10


39.249 - Linkwood Distillery

Name: Entertaining complexity
Flavour Profile: Juicy, Oak & Vanilla
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 61.0%
Age: 11

Price: £57.00

It has strawberry milkshake, rhubarb and custard sweets and vanilla ice cream on the nose. To us the nose screams young ex bourbon cask whisky. The palate here is aligned with the nose, we’re getting similar creamy vanilla, red fruit and oak. “Complexity” isn’t quite what we’d include in the name, but it’s a pleasant whisky that’s lost in the shuffle

Score: 6.5/10


42.82 - Tobermory (Ledaig) Distillery

Name: The Thing
Flavour Profile: Heavily Peated
Region: Highlands
Cask Type: Refill ex-bourbon hogshead
ABV: 58.2%
Age: 14

Price: £73.50

Dirty, earthy, peaty. Smells like Ledaig. Cheese and onion crisps, pickle, burnt nuts. The palate is good, the texture is oily, with good smoke integration. There’s little tart fruit on the palate, and a little spicy too. It’s a good Ledaig, but there’s been better.

Score: 7/10


44.156 - Craigellachie Distillery

Name: Roasted salsify and lemony tahini
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 2nd fill ex-PX hogshead
ABV: 61.8%
Age: 15

Price: £89.10

Orange, lemon, really just lots of citrus up front. There’s a little funk in here too. It’s a little alcohol forward on the nose. There’s a little floral, violet note here too. The palate has a lot of sweeter, caramel notes going on, a little bitter lemon and some sesame. Personally we usually dislike Craigellachie, but this isn’t too bad.

Score: 6/10


53.421 - Caol Ila Distillery

Name: Smoked cloudy mulled cider
Flavour Profile: Peated
Region: Islay
Cask Type: Refill ex-bourbon hogshead
ABV: 57.8%
Age: 10

Price: £66.30

Wethers originals, butterscotch, highland toffee, very creamy on the nose - not typical Caol Ila for us. The palate has more of this creamy toffee sweetness, but with briney, salty peat coming through in the background. It’s really quite nice, just don’t go in expecting classic Caol Ila,

Score: 7/10


63.102 - Glentauchers Distillery

Name: 99 flavours
Flavour Profile: Juicy, Oak & Vanilla
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 62.9%
Age: 9

Price: £53.10

Pain au chocolat, more bready, a touch of yeast, maybe a little apricot in the background too. There’s also some wood shavings and young spirit on the nose. The palate has some peach, apricot and more of the pastry flavours, but the young spirit is showing a little too prominently for us. The mouthfeel is fine and the finish is ok with a little chocolate and oak. For us it’s a little boring.

Score: 6/10


66.225 - Ardmore Distillery

Name: A clear case of a hostile takeover
Flavour Profile: Peated
Region: Highlands
Cask Type: 2nd fill ex-peaty bourbon barrel
ABV: 59.1%
Age: 12

Price: £72.60

It’s phenolic, TCP, salty, and a little swampy. We’re also getting a chalkiness on the nose too. There’s balance with sweetness and a touch of acid, but it definitely veers more towards the salty, iodine, medicinal aromas. The palate brings wood smoke, wet earth, wet leaves, a touch of salted caramel. There’s a campfire-ness here too. A good peated dram that would sit well in a tasting before something much heavier in peat levels. A baby Laphroaig. 

Score: 7.5/10


73.145 - Aultmore Distillery

Name: A curious wee sort
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Dry
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 57.8%
Age: 10

Price: £61.20

It’s dusty, woody, and a little rubbery on the nose. Otherwise there’s not that much going on. The palate is slightly better, a little citrus, more wood and some vanilla. It’s not really got much going on, a little too spicy, and just not for us.

Score: 5/10


78.61 - Ben Nevis Distillery

Name: Smoky plumes and salted prunes
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Highlands
Cask Type: 2nd fill oloroso ex-Islay butt
ABV: 66.9%
Age: 8

Price: £59.40

It’s quite sour off the bat with malt vinegar, light wisps of smoke, and a little prune. It’s got a unique nose. The palate is a touch acrid, it’s rough, and the alcohol is overpowering. We are getting some coffee and chocolate on the finish but overall it’s an experiment gone awry for us. 

Score: 5/10


80.41 - Glen Spey Distillery

Name: Volcanic marmalade
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Dry
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill toasted Caucasian oak from the republic of Adigue with toasted heads barrique
ABV: 60.2%
Age: 11

Price: £61.70

Gingerbread, Jamaican ginger cake.. lots of ginger. It’s a unique nose, we’re not really feeling this. The palate has a little bitter orange pith, chocolate, and lots of spice. The mouthfeel is nice, and the finish has a good length. Honestly, this is a decent whisky and some will love it, but it’s not for us. If you like the flavours noted above, add a point or two to the score.

Score: 5.5/10


82.43 - Glencadam Distillery

Name: You might start yodelling
Flavour Profile: Sweet, Fruity & Mellow
Region: Highlands
Cask Type: 2nd fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 64.2%
Age: 10

Price: £61.20

Toasted French pastries, bready, sweet, shortbread, and a creaminess too. It's quite appealing on the nose. While the palate is oily, it’s good. The palate has more of the bready, pastry flavours, a little baking spice, custard cream biscuits and oak. It is a little hot though, we’re finding it a little difficult to get through the high alcohol content. Still we’d have another dram.

Score: 7/10


93.187 - Glen Scotia Distillery

Name: Baldrick's aquatic dress turnip
Flavour Profile: Peated
Region: Campbeltown
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 58.0%
Age: 9

Price: £59.20

We’ve arrived in Campbeltown. Salty, briney, waxy, sweet vanilla, coastal, it’s just.. really really good. We love bourbon Glen scotia and this is meeting all expectations. Palate has great sweetness, mellow yet integrated smoke, a touch of spice, well balanced earth and salt. We don’t do this often, but this is a 9/10 for us. Well done SMWS.

Score: 9/10


95.66 - Auchroisk Distillery

Name: Dali-esque bodega landscape
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-American oak PX hogshead
ABV: 55.6%
Age: 16

Price: £90.80

It’s got toffee, brown sugar, and sticky toffee pudding sweetness. It has good alcohol integration and a lovely nose overall. The palate is great, Oily mouthfeel with rich toffee, cinnamon, nutmeg and a little black pepper. The finish lasts a good length and overall we’re pretty happy with it. £90 is a good sum of money but we think it’s worth it.

Score: 8/10


108.55 - Allt-a-Bhainne Distillery

Name: Treasures of the dea
Flavour Profile: Peated
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 64.3%
Age: 10

Price: £57.00

Slight brown sugar, rice pudding, cinnamon, a wisp of smoke. It’s quite restrained on the nose. The palate has some more of those darker sugars, and toffee. We’re finding it slightly bitter and spicy on the finish. It’s not bad, it’s just… meh. Not much else to say.

Score: 6/10


152.1 - Shelter Point Distillery

Name: Vibrant and vigorous
Flavour Profile: Young & Spritely
Region: Canada
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 64.5%
Age: 9

Price: £74.00

Now this is Interesting. There's a woodiness on the nose, musky new make, and a little meatiness too. We’re also getting a sticky sweetness on the nose. The palate is bready, stollen cake (yeasty, bready, sugary). There’s a nice zing of lime here too. The sweetness is more artificial than natural. It’s a touch hot and a little bitter on the finish. Our first time trying Shelter distillery and for us it’s a little young. 

Score: 6.5/10


CW2.2 - Balcones Distillery (Corn)

Name: An ode to "The bartender's handshake"
Flavour Profile: Other Spirit
Region: Texas
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-oloroso barrel
ABV: 65.5%
Age: 5

Price: £88.80

Cream soda, sweet, oh so sweet. There’s also a nice nutty richness on the nose. The oloroso is giving it a little salt and dryness, alongside the sweeter corn spirit. The palate, however is thin, too thin for us, with a big hit of spice. There’s some treacle and slightly burnt toffee, with the finish moving back to an artificial, marshmallow sweetness. The sprit and cask seem disjointed for us, there’s not enough harmony here.

Score: 5.5/10


GN6.6 - Holyrood Distillery

Name: Gin-ius!
Flavour Profile: Other Spirit
Region: Edinburgh
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 48.8%
Age: 1

Price: £45.80

Citrus forward, perfumed, lavender, juniper, orange zest. A nice palate with more of the floral and orange flavours. We’re not gin connoisseurs but this is pretty good. We’d keep the tonic plain here, the gin has lots of flavour and aroma to balance it out. 

Score: 7.5/10


Gathering 2022 Releases

18.46 - Inchgower Distillery

Name: Bandyportfolj
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish oak oloroso hogshead
ABV: 58.6%
Age: 12

Price: £70.30

The nose is spicy, woody, angry, and meaty - beef. It’s got a very aggressive nose, and we’re also getting a hint of vinegary ketchup, and a slight nuttiness too. The palate reminds us of brown sauce, balsamic reduction, a little iron, and pepper spice. The finish reminds us of diet iron bru. - bitter aspartame.

Score: 6/10


39.251 - Linkwood Distillery

Name: A sweet tongue twister
Flavour Profile: Sweet, Fruity & Mellow
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 2nd fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 58.4%
Age: 14

Price: £64.80

Honey, boiled sweeties, quite fresh on the nose. There’s some acidic pineapple. The palate is nice, it’s got some texture, icing sugar, more honey, creamy, orange juice, a touch grassy too. The finish is nice, there’s a little salinity and pepperiness towards the end. This is one of the better Linkwoods we’ve had recently, and we appreciate the extra few years it’s had in the cask.

Score: 7.5/10


68.95 - Blair Athol Distillery

Name: A Negroni riff
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Highlands
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 58.1%
Age: 13

Price: £73.00

Now this smells like sherry. We’re getting dried fruits, baking spices, and <insert sherry note here>. It’s good though. The palate has a great texture, a little fresh black pepper, brown sugar, maple, raisins and sultanas too. A good sherry cask with a good spirit. If you’re in the minority who like your sherry casks you’ll like this.

Score: 8/10


73.144 - Aultomore Distillery

Name: Un coin(g) de nature
Flavour Profile: Sweet, Fruity & Mellow
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 62.5%
Age: 11

Price: £61.20

Initially we’re getting lemon sherbet, and charred citrus. It’s quite sweet on the nose, but other than that it’s not got that much going on, but is still pleasant. The palate is richer, brown sugar, peppery spice, toasted wood and a little vanilla essence. It’s a simple whisky, and an easy drinker even at a whooping 62.5%.

Score: 7/10


112.109 - Inchmurrin Distillery

Name: Das rennende Schaf am Strand
Flavour Profile: Heavily Peated
Region: Highlands
Cask Type: Refill ex-bourbon hogshead
ABV: 51.1%
Age: 15

Price: £81.00

Estery, sherbet, you can smell the long, long fermentation. We’re not finding much peat on the nose, if any. The palate has under ripe stone fruit, peaches and apricots, that are not as sweet as fully ripened. There’s an earthy undertone of peat here, as well as a minerality, and wet pebbles. It’s really good (but not heavily peated). Reminds us more of Croftengea than Inchmurrin.

Score: 8/10


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2 comments


  • Daniel @ Two Whisky Bros

    @Kuptin I believe it’s Holyrood, they only produced gin for a short while but i’ve had it on good authority that GN6 is from them. The article has been updated accordingly.


  • Kuptin

    I’m sitting here with a bottle of GN6.6, “Edinburgh”, but I don’t know which Edinburgh gin distillery it is. There are at least 3, perhaps more, depending on how you define “Edinburgh”. Any idea?


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