SMWS September 2023 Outturn Review


We're back with the September outturn review. The preview tasting this month featured 30 new bottles.

Not all the bottles releasing in September were available at the preview, and there were a few that we assume will be released later in the month. We’ll attempt to update this article with details of bottles we missed 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 suggested be a few people we’ve also just signed up for buy me a coffee, so if you would like to contribute to the website running costs or just buy as a dram you can do it here: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/TwoWhiskyBros. 

There’s some interesting cask types this month and a few full maturation releases and as such we’re going into the outturn cautiously optimistic… 

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.

  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.
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Onto the bottles...

2.138 - Glenlivet Distillery

Name: Raisin Toffee Jam
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish oak ex-oloroso butt
ABV: 55.0%
Age: 16

Price: £102.00

This is straight up oloroso. Nutty, wood spice, ginger, cinnamon, caramel, brown sugar, lots and lots of sherry. The palate continues with that oloroso intensity. Toffee, fudge, almonds, oak, nice alcohol warmth without being overpowering. There’s a drier, slightly more savoury finish but it’s all very pleasant. Controversial opinion... full maturation sherry is the way forward.

Score: 7.5/10

Value: Quality whisky and not a terrible price either. We do wish this was a few pounds cheaper, but it is competitively priced for full maturation.


4.375 - Highland Park Distillery

Name: Tea-Smoked Salmon
Flavour Profile: Lightly Peated
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 2nd fill HTMC hogshead
ABV: 54.7%
Age: 19

Price: £139.90

Very light peatsmoke intertwined with the classic heather and honey notes that we expect. There’s a bit of charred oak here, caramel, toffee and lime cordial as we continue to nose. The palate has a reasonable mouthfeel, bringing earthy peat, caramel wafers, dark chocolate digestives, hay bales and chantilly cream. The extra char on the cask brings an interesting aspect to the dram, but perhaps imparts a bit too much bitterness on the finish. It’s still quite pleasant.

Score: 6.5/10

Value: This is in line with similar age statements from the society, and all of these are a touch pricey in our minds.


4.379 - Highland Park Distillery

Name: Cliffside Harbour
Flavour Profile: Lightly Peated
Region: Highland
Cask Type: Refill Spanish oak ex-oloroso butt
ABV: 63.8%
Age: 18

Price: £136.40

We’re struggling to get our noses too far into the glass, there’s an unexpected amount of alcohol coming through. There’s sherry and peat here. It’s more earthy peat and nutty sherry, not overly sweet but there is a drizzle of honey. The palate is creamy, moving into more of a medium peat, dry leaves, charred twigs and dry soil. The sherry presents itself as burnt brown sugar, almond and honeycomb. We probably prefer this just slightly compared to the other Highland Park, but they’re quite similar quality wise.

Score: 6.5/10

Value: See our comment on this months other 4.. too pricey.


6.70 - Macduff Distillery

Name: Today's Headlines
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish oak ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 55.8%
Age: 16

Price: £106.90

Christmas spices that have been taken a bit too far, black pepper, coriander seeds, star anise, maybe even a touch of cardamon, and brown sugar. The palate has a decent mouthfeel, cherry jam, much less spicy on the palate. There’s raisins, blackcurrants and something a little savoury too. A pretty good sherry cask, good balance, not bitter on the finish either.

Score: 7/10

Value: We'd have like to have seen this sub a £100, but it's not terrible value.


9.271 - Glen Grant Distillery

Name: Re-rack To The Future
Flavour Profile: Old & Dignified
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 2nd fill ex-bourbon hogshead
ABV: 53.6%
Age: 27

Price: £199.50

Toffee coated apples, lots of sweet fruit, a touch of warm oak spice, ginger powder, moving into freshly squeezed orange with a hint of lemon too. The palate is oily, viscous, sweet, sour, balanced well with a bit of ginger spice. There’s caramel, fudge and apple crumble with a slightly too-toasted crumb on top. There’s a fair bit of oak on the finish, but it’s not overly bitter. It is a touch drier on the finish than we’d like though, but the finish keeps going for a while. We like the idea of re-racking from refill bourbon to second fill bourbon to give it a bit of a lift in its final few years of maturation.

Score: 7/10

Value: Competitively priced versus other bottlers offerings.


11.44 - Tomatin Distillery

Name: Wine And Pine
Flavour Profile: Juicy, Oak & Vanilla
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill toasted ex-white wine barrique
ABV: 60.6%
Age: 8

Price: £59.00

Lovely nose with marshmallows, grape must, finger limes, fuzzy peach and green apple. A restrained nose, but quite well integrated with the alcohol. There’s a little grating of nutmeg appearing too. The palate has caramel, sugar coated almonds, a little bit of pear skin, but the finish dissipates too quickly. There’s some sweet basil right at the end too. This is pretty good, we’d like a longer finish but great for an 8 year old, and full maturation too!

Score: 7.5/10

Value: £59 for full maturation is pretty good.


12.74 - Benriach Distillery

Name: Creme Brülée, Butterscotch And Blowtorched Bananas
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Dry
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill HTMC barrel
ABV: 59.2%
Age: 12

Price: £70.40

Brown sugar, sawdust, lemon zest, green apples, butterscotch, fudge and a bit of varnish on the nose. The palate has a decent mouthfeel, but the spice appears quite quickly, toasted white bread, ground ginger, warm oak spice and burnt sugar. It’s also a bit nutty. It’s just too dry for us, a little bit too burnt on the finish.

Score: 6/10

Value: Its a few quid too expensive.


13.103 - Dalmore Distillery

Name: Fruit Wallop
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish oak ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 60.4%
Age: 10

Price: £74.10

The nose opens with red fruits, strawberry and cream sweeties, irn-bru, freshly grated ginger, cinnamon, slightly charred aromas too. The palate is full on, big red chewing gum, a little bit of bitter oak, red kola, clove and cardamom. It’s got too much spice and the mouthfeel and the finish is a bit lacking. Disappointing for us.

Score: 5/10

Value: Not terrible for Dalmore in sherry.


16.80 - Glenturret Distillery

Name: Red Sky At Night, Barn's Alight
Flavour Profile: Peated
Region: Highland
Cask Type: Refill recharred hogshead
ABV: 60.0%
Age: 11

Price: £64.80

It's very funky on the nose - cow dung, fresh asphalt, smoked fish, hay bales, old furniture, smoked venison, a hint of cranberry. The palate has charred oak, pencil shavings, lead, sand, cardboard, it’s quite dry without much redeeming sweetness. Not our favourite 16, missing a lot of sweetness that would usually balance it out.

Score: 5/10

Value: Its hard to complain about cask strength peated whisky under £65.


35.333 - Glen Moray Distillery

Name: Angelica's Tangy Explosion
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 60.4%
Age: 10

Price: £57.00

On the nose we're finding a little bit of upfront citrus, lime, following into soft peach sweeties, icing sugar, and lots of it. The palate has a creamy mouthfeel, key lime pie, apple strudel, with a bit too much oak in places. It's more of a charred oak but lots of sweetness too. There’s a nice balance of sweet and sour here, with a good whack of alcohol spice. There’s a wee bit of soapiness on first taste but it’s not unpleasant.

Score: 6/10

Value: Good price for a 10yo.


39.270 - Linkwood Distillery

Name: A Loving Caress On A Magic Carpet
Flavour Profile: Sweet, Fruity & Mellow
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 54.3%
Age: 13

Price: £75.00

Candy canes, fresh grass, solvent, mandarin, overall it's quite sweet with a bit of an alcohol tingle appearing on the nose. The palate is a touch thin, relatively herbal, with caster sugar and oak furniture that permeates through the whole palate. The alcohol balance is fine, but overall it’s a touch one note with too bitter of a finish. Much better options among the young bourbon releases.

Score: 5/10

Value: Not terrible, but you can find better bargains if you look around.


41.162 - Dailuaine Distillery

Name: Tasty Tapas And Flamenco Flair
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bodega Oloroso butt
ABV: 57.3%
Age: 12

Price: £75.90

Hello rancio our old friend, serrano ham, wet leather, Manchego cheese, vanilla pods, ripe strawberry and a bit of merengue too. The palate has a decent mouthfeel, more meaty sherry with charred beefsteak, aged balsamic vinegar and a bit of parmesan too. Super savoury, super funky sherry. It’s good quality, but not to our palates, we’ll be as impartial as we can be and give it a 6.5/10.

Score: 6.5/10

Value: A few quid off would have been appreciated, but it's reasonable value all things considered.


41.165 - Dailuaine Distillery

Name: Funky Bookshops And Rose Gardens
Flavour Profile: Sweet, Fruity & Mellow
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 2nd fill PX hogshead
ABV: 59.7%
Age: 17

Price: £102.30

On the nose there's rosewater, raspberry jam, more floral aromas, old furniture, a hint of raisin and strawberries too. We're finding a fair amount of alcohol on the nose. The palate has a nice mouthfeel, creamy, with Turkish delight, lots of sugar, and cinnamon spice. There's a fair bit of fiery spice but it balances well with the sweetness. Pretty solid whisky, maybe a bit hot in places.

Score: 7/10

Value: Like this months other 41 we'd have liked to have seen this be a few quid cheaper.


44.168 - Craigellachie Distillery

Name: A Warlock With Elbow Patches
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish oak ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 58.1%
Age: 20

Price: £150.80

Meaty sherry, gammon, cured pork, roasted nuts, a bit of varnish and cinnamon spice. The nose is a bit much for us to be honest. The palate continues with the meaty theme, beef stock cubes, burnt caramel, almond skins and bitter oak on the finish. Decent alcohol integration and finish, but our temporary love affair with Craigellachie hasn’t continued with this dram unfortunately.

Score: 5/10

Value: This is not a distillery that warrants over £150 for a 20yo.


66.246 - Ardmore Distillery

Name: Cigars, Sauternes And Sautéed Sultanas
Flavour Profile: Old & Dignified
Region: Highland
Cask Type: Refill sherry butt
ABV: 51.8%
Age: 32

Price: £475.00

Meaty peat smoke, but mellow and pleasant. There’s some dried fruits, smoked meats and cigar smoke. Slightly sour - orange mostly, with cinnamon fudge and barbecue on the beach aromas. The palate is annoyingly thinner than we’d like, but we’re getting almond marzipan, woodsmoke, vanilla essence, raisins, caramel and brown sugar. There’s lovely layers of sweet and smokey flavours, with a slightly chocolately finish. It’s good, minor flaws with the mouthfeel and length of finish but it’s an easy 7.5/10.

Score: 7.5/10

Value: In line with what othe IBs are charging, but hardly a bargain.


68.102 - Blair Athol Distillery

Name: Quercus Stavius
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill American oak ex-PX hogshead
ABV: 56.3%
Age: 15

Price: £125.00

Rich chocolate, cinder toffee, sultana jam, lemon, with a good amount of alcohol appearing too. Lots of sherry goodness, but all melding into a few same-y notes. The palate has an initial chocolately sweetness, moving into fiery ginger spice, Szechuan peppercorns and raisins. It’s a decent dram, but a bit too spicy for us. We're sure some will enjoy this more than us.

Score: 6/10

Value: Anyone else expect to get more value for money bottlings when they pay a membership fee?


71.94 - Glenburgie Distillery

Name: Orchard Enchantments
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 59.2%
Age: 13

Price: £66.30

Big hit of alcohol as we get our noses in.. quite fiery. Varnish, old furniture, and a bit of a lack of sweetness too. A few apples and pears in the background but it’s mostly wood, pine perhaps. The palate has a decent mouthfeel, some sort of sweet mintiness like smints or tic-tacs. A little bit of appletiser too. It’s nothing special, run of mill bourbon cask, there’s better in the outturn.

Score: 5.5/10

Value: One of the better value releases this month.


76.150 - Mortlach Distillery

Name: Glory Be To The Påtisserie
Flavour Profile: Old & Dignified
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: Refill Spanish oak ex-PX butt
ABV: 54.9%
Age: 32

Price: £825.00

Old sherry. Ginger, cinnamon, clove, caramel wafers, milk chocolate, rum and raisin ice cream, hazelnuts, there’s a ton going on here. The palate has a medium mouthfeel, lots of dark chocolate coated raisins, burnt caramel, toasted oak, sultanas, caramel shortcake, a bit too much ginger spice though. The finish lingers on for quite a while with black pepper, roasted nuts and a touch of coffee. It’s a good whisky, it’s well balanced, good alcohol integration throughout, nice sweetness with good sherry flavours and aromas. We’re between a 7.5 and an 8, but we’ll go with the 8/10.

Score: 8/10

Value: Honestly they'll probably shift a few bottles at this price, but we'd be suprised if they wont have to discount the bulk of these.


85.72 - Glen Elgin Distillery

Name: Double Dessert
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 2nd fill charred red wine barrique
ABV: 59.1%
Age: 16

Price: £86.00

The nose has smoked red fruits, Christmas spices, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, with a bit of Black Forest gateau aromas appearing too. The palate has a bit of a thin mouthfeel, but a burst of red fruits and dark chocolate. It’s a rich chocolate cake with raspberry jam. The finish is a bit short though, but there’s big flavours coming through. We’ll forgive some of those flaws on the mouthfeel and finish as this is really quite tasty.

Score: 6.5/10

Value: We're back in the realms of reasonably priced whisky.


95.84 - Auchroisk Distillery

Name: Delicious, Fluffy And Indulgent
Flavour Profile: Juicy, Oak & Vanilla
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 2nd fill Sauternes barrique
ABV: 57.8%
Age: 15

Price: £86.00

Burnt rubber. Weird. There's also some dried apricot, apples, butterscotch and lime zest here too. The palate has a decent mouthfeel, begins with floral notes moving into orchard fruits dusted in sugar, but then the palate brings forward a burnt caramel like bitterness. There’s just a few too many off notes for us, we’re a bit disappointed as we usually enjoy Sauternes maturation.

Score: 5.5/10

Value: We can live with the price of this. It's just a shame about the taste.


100.39 - Strathmill Distillery

Name: Beautiful, Deep, Sweet Mouth Caress
Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish oak ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 57.1%
Age: 13

Price: £75.90

The nose has ginger snaps, shortbread, fudge cake, caramel sauce, a touch of wood spice but not as much as we usually get from Spanish oak. The palate is quite creamy, citrus forward, ginger ale, toffee crisp bars, almond marzipan, white pepper too. It’s a bit too much spice for us on the palate, but overall it’s a solid sherry cask.

Score: 6/10

Value: Again, a reasonable price.


112.114 - Inchmurrin (Loch Lomond Distillery)

Name: Chardonnay Butterscotch
Flavour Profile: Juicy, Oak & Vanilla
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 60.9%
Age: 9

Price: £57.00

Varnish, pencil shavings, buttercream, vanilla, overall a little one note. There’s also a bit of celery right in the background. The palate has a silky mouthfeel, good texture, condensed milk and vanilla. Again, a touch one note but we appreciate the mouthfeel and it’s got decent alcohol integration at such a high ABV.

Score: 6/10

Value: Good value Loch Lomond release.


122.61 - Croftengea (Loch Lomond Distillery)

Name: The Great Outdoors
Flavour Profile: Young & Spritely
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill Spanish oak ex-oloroso hogshead
ABV: 61.2%
Age: 9

Price: £60.00

Quite peachy up front, strawberry and cream candies, spiced orange marmalade, fresh autumn leaves, a little bit of dustiness too. The palate has some creaminess reminding of baileys Irish cream, a bit of warm oak and lemon posset. It's a little one dimensional - sweet oak flavours mostly. The finish is a bit tingly, with some bitter coffee at the end. Reasonable dram, nothing too exciting.

Score: 5.5/10

Value: More reasonably priced Loch Lomond.


128.27 - Penderyn Distillery

Name: Chilli Danish Wasp Stings
Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Region: Wales
Cask Type: 2nd fill bourbon hogshead
ABV: 59.5%
Age: 8

Price: £78.00

A cream soda thing, as we always get with Penderyn, grapey, grassy, varnish, quite a whack of alcohol on the nose though. The palate has more of that raw alcohol, sweet cream, tangerine, melon, charred pineapple, moving into waffle cones and cinnamon swirls. We’re not sure if we love this, it feels a bit rough around the edges. There's better Penderyns.

Score: 6/10

Value: Pretty much the standard price for a society 128, and not terrible value compared to other releases.


138.18 - Nantou Distillery

Name: Blowing Smoke Rings
Flavour Profile: Peated
Region: Taiwan
Cask Type: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 57.2%
Age: 4

Price: £80.50

Cigarette smoke, and heaps of it. We’ve entered the smoking room. Behind that there’s some type of melon, rubber and overwhelming alcohol. Really disappointing nose on this. The palate has initial sweetness, but continues that rubber from the nose, and bitter wood. It's just quite unpleasant in our opinion.

Score: 4/10

Value: Fast maturation means you pay a little more for the younger releases.


BAT.21 - Dunnage Nougat

Name: Dunnage Nougat
Flavour Profile: Small Batch Single Malt
Region: Single Malt
Cask Type: Bourbon, US & French Oak & US HTMC
ABV: 50.0%
Age: 9

Price: £60.00

Dried fruits, apricot, and almonds. we're also getting the nougat aromas they reference in the name. There’s a wee bit of dunnage funk but maybe more of a grassy, aloe-like aroma instead. The palate is thin, lots of sugar, dried fruits again, a bit of caramel, toffee too. It’s fine, a few disappointing aspects but there’s some nice flavours here. Another ok batch release that's nothing special.

Score: 6/10

Value: Ok, but we'd like to see these batches released at cask strength.


G15.35 - Rhosdhu (Loch Lomond Distillery)

Name: Dances To A Beat Of Fruity And Sweet
Flavour Profile: Sweet, Fruity & Mellow
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 2nd fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 58.7%
Age: 12

Price: £59.00

A very restrained nose, rubbing alcohol, spring water, varnish, cardboard, with a few light floral notes somewhere in the background. The palate has quite a raw alcohol taste, synthetic sugar and lemon peel. This should have been left in the cask for a lot longer we think, it’s not ready. One of the worst G15s we've tried.

Score: 4.5/10

Value: A third release from Loch Lomond this month and another that's good value.


R2.22 - El Dorado Distillery

Name: Sardine Rides A Bike Into A Pickle
Flavour Profile: SCS - other spirit
Region: Guyana
Cask Type: 2nd fill ex-bourbon barrel
ABV: 61.7%
Age: 15

Price: £80

Bananas Forster, brandy snaps, fresh mango, a touch of rubber but all quite well balanced. Petrol, Riesling. It really is mpressively well balanced for almost 62%. The palate is also shockingly smooth for the ABV. Tropical fruits galore, pineapple, mango, dragonfruit, it’s bloody lovely. A wee bit funky in places for those who enjoy that, but just well balanced, delicious rum.

Score: 7.5/10

Value: Good value compared to other bottlers.


R9.13 - Ron Abuelo Distillery

Name: Don't You... Step On My New Suede Shoes
Flavour Profile: SCS - other spirit
Region: Panama
Cask Type: Refill bourbon barrel
ABV: 64.1%
Age: 15

Price: £82.00

This has a mellow nose with white chocolate, elderflower, and fizzy cola bottles. Again, very reasonable alcohol coming through for the ABV. The palate has banana, brown sugar, lemon juice, papaya and white grape juice too. It’s really pleasant, mellow but flavourful. Not as good as the R2, but a fair bit cheaper.

Score: 7/10

Value: Much better value than this months other rum offering.


RW3.5 - New York Distilling Co

Name: Rum And Rye Chai
Flavour Profile: SCS - other spirit
Region: New York
Cask Type: 1st fill American rum barrel
ABV: 64.0%
Age: 7

Price: £80.00

Instant rye spice on the nose, along with ginger, brown sugar, a whack of alcohol, gooseberry, and black pepper. The palate has more rye spice, but we’re starting to see the rum influences appearing. There’s a bit of pineapple and banana coming through. It’s still quite hot, but it's interesting to see rye in a rum cask.

Score: 6/10

Value: Cadenhead just released a much cheaper and (in our opinion) better Rye whisky.


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