SMWS The Gathering 2021 Bottles 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 Gathering brings with it numerous special release bottles (denoted with a pink "Gathering" logo on the label). From what we understand, there are a few doubler distilleries being released, with one cask for the UK market and another for the EU market. There may be a small amount of each released in the opposite market as well, so hopefully you'll be able to get your hands on the bottles that you want!

We've had the chance to sample these Gathering bottles earlier this week at the spiritual home of the SMWS, The Vaults. 

Overall we were slightly disappointed in these releases. None of them really stood out amongst the rest, and they would sit firmly within the "Middle of the Pack" section of our September Outturn Review (meaning we thought were good enough for a dram or two, but we weren't blown away by them). 

Anyway, onto the bottles!

82.35 - Glencadam Distillery

Name: Jammin' with apfel strudel on a beach
Flavour Profile: Young & Spritely
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 1st fill bourbon barrel
ABV: 64.4%
Age: 8 
Price: £49.00

Very perfumed on the nose, but in an artificial perfume way. Palate is quite rough with alcohol and bitter tree leaves. Water brings forward the sweetness but still too much fake perfume and alcohol to elevate it from mediocrity.

9.212 - Glen Grant Distillery

Name: Autumn picnic with lemon cake
Flavour Profile: Sweet, fruity and mellow
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill bourbon barrel
ABV: 53.7%
Age: 17
Price: £84.20

Overly alcoholic on the nose, quite light and sweet. Not terrible just a little one dimensional. We preferred the other Glen Grant (below).

9.213 - Glen Grant Distillery

Name: Treats from the forest of Asgaard
Flavour Profile: Sweet, fruity and mellow
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill bourbon barrel
ABV: 51.9%
Age: 17
Price: £84.20

Now this is better a much richer dram… more wood, custard, brioche and fruitcake. Nicer mouthfeel and smoother alcohol bite. Slight bitter finish drags it down.

35.293 - Glen Moray Distillery

Name: Late night pantry raid
Flavour Profile: Sweet, fruity and mellow
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill barrique - Sauternes
ABV: 58.1%
Age: 14
Price: £70.00

Ooft, the nose hits you with a foosty aroma (wine-like botrytis) in addition to salted honey. A nice palate with apricot syrup, tinned fruits some floral notes. Long sweet finish. Water amplifies the foosty nose. This is better than the other Glen Moray released in the September Outturn (35.300), but the nose lets it down.

41.140 - Dailuaine Distillery

Name: Raindrops on pine cones
Flavour Profile: Spicy & sweet
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: Refill bourbon hogshead
ABV: 56.5%
Age: 12
Price: £57.10

Nose of red berry, light sugar, really pleasant to sit with for a while. Palate has strawberry laces. This is super sweet. Burnt caramel and deep wood notes on the finish. 

The 41.142 from the September Outturn just slightly outshines this cask. 

63.75 - Glentauchers Distillery

Name: A tropical party under Swedish northern lights
Flavour Profile: Juicy, oak & vanilla
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 2nd fill bourbon barrel
ABV: 61.3%
Age: 8
Price: £45.60

Nose has bitter orange peel, a real yeastiness, the alcohol is super muted.. it's like you can take a huge breath and not notice that your nose is in a glass of cask strength whisky. Terry’s chocolate orange on the palate, pink peppercorns, red chilli, aftertaste goes into sweet tea (ice tea). If Lipton did whisky...

Totally different from the 63.77 from the September Outturn, but both about equal in terms of quality. It's more down to what you prefer in your whisky.

68.60 - Blair Athol Distillery

Name: Sunshine on cream cakes
Flavour Profile: Deep, rich & dried fruits
Region: Highland
Cask Type: Re-charred hogshead
ABV: 59.8%
Age: 9
Price: £48.40

Sweetened cream, bag of pick and mix, jelly sweets. Palate has brown sugar,  but is a lighter palate than expected. A bit one dimensional but pleasant. Probably shouldn’t be classified as deep rich and dried fruits, more sweet, fruity and mellow. 

A fair bit better than the 68.62 released in the September Outturn.

53.376 - Caol Ila Distillery

Name: Rekindled romance 
Flavour Profile: Lightly peated
Region: Islay
Cask Type: Refill bourbon hogshead
ABV: 57.1%
Age: 11
Price: £69

Ash, tar and punchy peat. Forest earth and moss. Palate shows burnt toast but also very sweet - white refined sugar. Some notes of jam/preserve that’s been sitting ajar on top of a fireplace. Good quality Caol ila, but a bit too expensive at £69.

53.378 - Caol Ila Distillery

Name: Rendezvous at the boathouse
Flavour Profile: Lightly peated
Region: Islay
Cask Type: 2nd fill oloroso hogshead
ABV: 55.0%
Age: 8
Price: £67.10

Nose has rich bbq notes, very meaty. Black currant, Smokey Vimto, charred pineapple, with a little new make spirit in the background. Light on the palate initially, then suddenly ramp up with a burst of blackberry jam, bacon and quince. This is the better of the two gathering 53s.

26.177 - Clynelish Distillery

Name: Butterscotch-pear pie in a lemon orchard
Flavour Profile: Juicy, oak & vanilla
Region: Highland
Cask Type: 2nd fill bourbon barrel
ABV: 56.9%
Age: 
Price: £57.50

Nose is pleasant and has lemons and limes, waxy as usual with a slight mustiness. The palate is waxed apple peel, orchard fruits, pear with a spicy alcohol burn. Definitely young with a light mouthfeel and short finish. It's fine, but nothing special.

100.25 - Strathmill Distillery

Name: La pomme qui chante
Flavour Profile: Spicy & sweet
Region: Speyside
Cask Type: 1st fill rye hogshead
ABV: 58.8%
Age: 13
Price: £61.20

Nose has cucumber, shortbread topped with sugar crystals, mint, and tobacco smokiness. Quite punchy on the palate reminiscent of a mojito. Rye shines through almost too aggressively. Interesting cask finish though.


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.

You also might be interested in...

SMWS May 2022 Outturn Review
SMWS May 2022 Outturn Review
Find out which bottles are the winners from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society's May 2022 Outturn.
Read More
Ardbeg Ardcore Committee Release & Ardbeg Drum Committee Release
Ardbeg Ardcore Committee Release & Ardbeg Drum Committee Release
Another Fèis Ìle, another Ardbeg committee release. This time they've used roasted black malt to create the spirit. How
Read More
Blair Athol 14yo North Star Spirits Mezcal Cask & SMWS 68.51 Blair Athol 14yo
Blair Athol 14yo North Star Spirits Mezcal Cask & SMWS 68.51 Blair Athol 14yo
Two IB Blair Athols, distilled within a month of each other and both finished in different casks .. will we prefer the m
Read More

Leave a comment