Sunday, 23 September 2012

SMWS '93.34' Glen Scotia

This is one of the last three whiskies I got from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society before I had to let my membership elapse. As all SMWS bottlings are, it is from a single cask, and bottled at cask strength (55.1% abv. in this case). I'm a big fan of west coast whiskies as a style; Oban, Talisker and particularly, Springbank are some of my favourite 'standard' single malts. Glen Scotia is often somewhat unfairly forgotten as the smaller of the two remaining distilleries in the now sadly almost non-existent Campbeltown region.

The pack of three I got were all quite old sherry-cask matured whiskies, this one having been matured for sixteen years in a refill butt. The sixteen years have allowed the spirit to mellow, at least on the nose, which is all rich chocolate and caramel. On the palate though, the conventional 'age as a mellower' wisdom is thrown right out of the window. It really demonstrates the difference between a sherry finish and prolonged contact - it's less of a touch of sweetness than a full on bonfire effect, the lovely west-coast smokiness is still there but the sherry is no idle passenger, it really drives the toffee and dried fruit flavours forward, a sort of iron hand in a velvet glove.

This was the first of 176 bottles, and, as always, when it's gone it's gone forever, but I'm looking forward to seeking out whiskies like this as the winter nights draw in, with a bit of luck accompanied by some imperial stout and a good film.

A colleague told me about this video of Brian Cox (the actor not the the Professor) demonstrating how to pronounce, and indeed drink, malt whiskies. I can't embed the whole thing since I could only find it on You Tube in its separate parts but it's well worth a listen even if your pronunciation is pretty good. The best bit though is undoubtedly him trying his favourite; Lagavulin.

Enjoy. I am pretty sure Brian did. Sláinte.

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