Category Archives: SMWSA Bottlings

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America Outturn

Many thanks to the SMWSA for these fun samples. This round was a very diverse and very pleasing lot. Nate had a lot of fun sampling and taking notes on these.

Refill Barrel
57.8% ABV

Light yellow. The nose brings brings a bright heat. Sweet grain and sugar. Clean and hot, curious, darker grain notes in the nose with pepper and roasted sugar. Good complexity for a grain whisky. Actually lingers with some powdered sugar and warm, malty starch notes. A little bit of a journey as opposed to the quick, sugary gestalt of many grain liquors.

Refill Hogshead
60.0% ABV

Pale, white light tinged straw. Hard, earthy, peat-edged front with some sweet oil in abundance. And some fresh corn and dust round out the nose. Load of middle-palate peat… And sugar is not lacking. Full, only slightly adulterated grains. Lingering peat, spice and some heat. A natural palate of clear flavors. Not filled with exciting peculiarities, instead executing some solid fundamentals well.

Refill Butt
50.5% ABV

Nice 18 carat with tiny touch of red. A little burnt red malt, wet tangerine and bread waft up. Dynamic nose. Lush, watery mouth, smoke rises with condensed fruit. Touch o’ the Speyside in the toasted grains, and a bit of gum.

First-fill Barrel
57.4% ABV

A rather pale yellow. Fruit and water, tropical and tight nose. Pleasing subtle fruit, playful mouthfeel. Sugars kick in but not overly much. Fun, light, flavorful, almost lacking in the earthy, land-bound elements of whisky… An ethereal dram with a touch of medicine. I think this is what the angels are taking as their share from most whiskeys.

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SMWSA Outturn Sampling

We took a bit of a hiatus due to an attempt to train for my recent run so we are a bit behind. The run is over so now its back to the business of whisky. And what a better way to start than with some single cask SMWSA bottlings? 

12 y/o
2nd fill hogshead
Light dusty straw. Sweet grain and wine. Tropical. Peach. Light and bright spices with cake and medicine on the side. A taste reveals a light and gradual sweet-heat, grass and dough, and it is slightly numbing. What I thought was a little pale in the beginning sticks around with a distinctive grain character and a touch of cola. A certain, elusive flora lingers. And what a nose!

21 y/o
Refill barrel

Light yellow. Sweet, apples and peach and grain up front. A sip reveals a traditional start.  Simple, sweet, lightly malty, and slightly burnt. Pleasing.

12 y/o
Refill sherry

Light gold and leggy.  Caramel, a bit of salt, and a load of atomized sugar. Some butter in the nose as well. The taste is caramel, a strange burnt note, and playful spices. Lingering butter and sugar with a slightly thick mouth feel move into hints of medicine and malts.

9 y/o
Refill barrel

Quite pale dry straw. Burning rubber (think tires), peat, solid malts, and some iodine, maybe. And salted butter. Intriguing. A goodly sip bring welcome, balanced sweet grains followed by peat and hard candy, which merge and develop… Then dust sprinkles in from somewhere. Almost like its from the highland part of Islay.

8 y/o
1st fill Bourbon

Light liquid gold.  Jammy preserves and spices. Toaster-oven toasted malts and nose moves on to a hint of tobacco. Just-right oily. A warm, red, mid-viscous, satisfying journey ’round the palate. Slightly darker, malty sugars just shy of burnt take up residence.  Peaty, but muted… but not lacking in presence.  A pleasant, mid-tongue tingling. Enjoyable, almost robust… In a contradictorily relaxing fashion. Long lingering with hint of ash.

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SMWSA Outturn

Another round of single cask expressions from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America that they were kind enough to give us samples of. You can read about the first 4 expressions we reviewed here. This set was exceptionally fun and challenging. Here are Nate’s impressions of this lot.

4.153 $100

Decidedly straw-light yellow. Banana! How do they get so much banana, and not much else aside from a sweet little malt, in that nose? Sticky and coating with sugar. Aaaand sugar. And then, curiously, a touch of green banana… A light but present graininess lingers on with the sweets. A refreshing perspective. With water come more malts, less banana, and more malts.

39.83 $180

Light and pleasing gold. Intense and malty nose with strong wood and pepper and a fresh aspect at odds with its apparent age. Sugar and a bit of heat… hard candy and cake. Quite a nose. In the mouth it has definite complexity, a touch of smoke and sugar… and loads of watermelon all of a sudden. Light but lingering edginess. Sugars retreat from the front of the palate and the flavor resides in the checks and back tongue with a slightly astringent maltyness. Interesting dram with a fun and tricky start if not a slightly odd but enjoyable destination.

53.157 $95

Pale. Really pale. A nose that is Smokey and sweets, grain-laden and good. The taste is peaty in the traditional sense with a nice rise to potent, then respectable malts and caramelized sugars I associate with something older. Lingering heat. Resurgent, actually. And a bit of pleasant dust in those emberred malts.

76.84 $145

Darker gold and lighter amber. A nose of medicine and barley, sweet strawberries and jam. Darker wood notes and warm flavors from whatever else was in that barrel have a strong showing followed by black pepper and maturity. And then a little heat… Good fun to roll around the palate and spice up the tongue. A little toffee with the malts on the back end.

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Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America August Outturn!

Want to try a unique whisky? Perhaps single cask and at cask strength? Maybe from a distillery that you rarely, if ever, see in a bottle other than in a blend? If any of these seems appealing, you should check out the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America. The Society bottlings do not give you the distillery name on the labels, instead you will find the distinctive numbering system. A quick google search will reveal the distillery codes so that you know where the whisky is coming from. Although the SMWSA was nice enough to provide us with samples to review, we have been purchasing bottles from them for several years and always enjoy attending the SMWSA Extravaganza every year.

In an attempt to follow some semblance of order we will take a look at each of the four bottlings in numerical order:

Cask No. 3.182

A curious cherry-chocolate-peat here, with a little salted wood in tow. The 18 carat liquid tastes of yummy dust and vegetation, thick water and creosote, and certainly a little sugar. The peat overall is light and mid-level, breathy malts are present. While the dram does not take flight, it proffers a good start and an interesting body.

Cask No. 7.69

A light yellow in hue with a nose of malty beer, light medicinal grains, and a dash of orange bitters. The sip is slightly warm, spiced, and light green with scattered grains. The sticky, slightly vegetative finish is pleasant though the character of this drink is slightly elusive.

Cask No. 24.122

The thin, straw yellow liquor has a bright nose, spring vegetation, caramel and grass, perhaps some varnish and chocolate. And there is a bit of malty heat in the nose. Spicy grain and malt on the tongue, and a little dark chocolate, too. Lingering notes of simple and clean grains and spirit. There are some bright moments in this and a bit of staying power, though a touch thin overall.

Cask No. 30.68

Slight auburn and orange. Clear wood notes and brown sugars rise out of the glass. Further sniffing finds fresh water, punch, and a tandem touch of tobacco and wine. Fun nose. The palate is thick, a little spicy, and warm. Dark citrus and burning wood. The tobacco takes on a sweet, peppered, doughy aspect. A darkly warm citrus lingers. Enjoyable. Water develops the sugars but adds some unnecessary medicinal woody notes.


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