Tag Archives: SMWSA

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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Another Round of Whiskies from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America

This round of single cask expressions from the SMWSA was very diverse as well as surprising.

2.81 $120
Distilled in April 1998 – 15 y/o
First-fill Sherry butt
59.9% ABV

Color: Medium/dark copper

Nose: Christmas-time spices, a walk through Cost Plus store, what I would imagine candied rhubarb would smell like (Yes – I had an internal WTF? moment myself when this came to mind), herbal tea, figs, dark sugars and a little dusty

Palate: Sweet sherry immediately takes hold, stewed red fruits, definitely needs to be dialed down with some water, dark red (American) cherries – not the ones I see in Asia. I was happy to not sense any sulfur flavors from the Sherry butt

Finish: Medium – Chris


Dark bronze and burnt. The nose consists of sweet leather and peaches. Bread, brown sugar and wine. The liquid is coating and dark with some heat on the center of the tongue.  Taffy and cola and spicy malts show up in short order.  Quite tasty. – Nate

23.72 $90
Distilled in July 2002 – 9 y/o
Refill Sherry butt
66.4% ABV

Color: Dull yellow

Nose: Earthy, dirty, fresh/lively peat, struck matches and burnt tires

Palate: Not as rutty as the nose initially lead on, peat is always present, tires, light saltiness, was expecting something a little fuller based on the nose, with water: brings out more burnt tire and some spices

Finish: Medium – toasted oak and peat hang around – Chris


Bright, straw yellow. Slightly harsh and slightly sweet. A burnt malt and fumes? Touch of coals and earth? Moving on to the body shows more primordial aspects of peat and burned meat.  And A lingering increase in heat.  A bit confusing, but simplified by water. – Nate

125.48 $110
Distilled in November 1998 – 12 y/o
Re-char Hogshead
52.1% ABV

Color:  Medium yellow

Nose:  Lots of light/bright fruits up front, vanilla, bourbon influence

Palate:  some salt, strong malty presence, spicy oak bite, grassy, well balanced

Finish: Short – Chris


Liquid gold. Sweets, tropical fruit, and honey varnish in this nose. The taste is wet and sweet, followed by malts and celery. A light, mellow finish with a slight touch of pepper and light butterscotch. – Nate

G1.8 $145
Distilled in December 1990 – 21 y/o
Refill Hogshead
62.9% ABV

Color:  Light yellow with a hint of orange

Nose:  Sharp – be careful with how close you get when you nose it, grainy sweetness, chai tea, hints of licorice

Palate:  Initial bite up front but then backs off into something mellower than the nose sets you up to believe, sweet, pretty neutral

Finish:  Short with some oak char coming through in the after taste.  – Chris


Light yellow.  Medicine and malts. Heat, lemon, more heat and sugar round out the nose. A hot nose. The body brings on a Bourbon piña colada. Hot and malty.  Cheeks are tingling in short order. Malty malts and something with incipient heat linger. Water brings out distinctive fruit nose I can’t remember the word for.  Sour cherry Belgium. Toasted sugars and, yes, the heat is checked… Some spice in the tail, though. – Nate

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The Fall 2012 Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza

It is that time of the year again for our larger whisky tasting events.  I have attended the SMWSA’s Whisky Extravaganzas for the past couple of years.

Please see the SMWSA’s formal invitation:

Ladies and Gentlemen are cordially invited to enjoy a connoisseur’s evening featuring rare & exceptional single malt, Scotch and unique whiskies from around the world. The evening includes a delicious dinner buffet as well as a selection of premium imported cigars for our guests’ later enjoyment. The Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza brings the discerning enthusiast the opportunity to sample the participating whiskies in a sophisticated and elegant environment with genuine camaraderie and knowledgeable representatives from each participating distillery.

All events from 7:00pm-9:00pm. Registration begins at 7:00pm. Business casual, Jackets preferred. No denim or athletic attire.


Chicago:  October 18, 2012, The Union League Club of Chicago, 65 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60604

Washington, DC: October 30, 2012, JW Marriott Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20004

Philadelphia:  November 1, 2012, The Union League Club of Philadelphia, 140 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Los Angeles:  November 9, 2012, Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, 1700 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401

San Francisco:  November 14, 2012, The Intercontinental San Francisco, 888 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

Seattle:  November 16, 2012, The Rainier Club, 820 Fourth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104

Fort Lauderdale:  December 6, 2012, The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 1 Seminole Way, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314

Ticket Prices:  Members tickets to the Extravaganza are $135.00 each and non-member guest tickets are $150.00 each.  Readers of the WhiskyWall will receive the members’ price at $135.00 each, when you use the promotional code: “WW2012”.

You can purchase tickets directly on the web here or you can call (800) 990-1991.

 * I am planning on attending the San Francisco event, thanks to the SMWSA.  Hope to see some of you there! – Chris

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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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