It’s been about four years since we’ve covered releases from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (full disclosure: I received a gift membership from a friend which expires at the end of August 2020). In that time they’ve had their packaging go under the scalpel for a serious touch-up and have increased the outturn rate to a brisk and lively pace. We purchased a pair of bottles from recent selections. Thoughts follow.
Scotch Malt Whisky Society Cask 95.35 – Auchroisk from Speyside, 8 years in 2nd fill ex-bourbon barrels; distilled September 2010. The bourbon influence is immediately present on the nose; I’m guessing it was a barrel from Bulleit via Four Roses. Lots of spice with some vanilla and clove as it sits in the glass for a bit. Christening this cask “Herbal Bouquet” feels quite appropriate: there’s black pepper, clove, and cinnamon balanced with oak on the palate. A medium finish arrives shortly, with the oak carrying on, but then mint and menthol start to expand and trail out. Packs quite a kick at 132.4 proof. Cask strength fans will be pleasantly indulged. A- / $90
Scotch Malt Whisky Society The Beachcomber Blended Batch 06 – The latest in a series of blended offerings, with sourced malts from the Highlands and Campbeltown. Matured 7 years in American oak first-fill bourbon barrels. There’s a very light and balanced nose with notes of fresh cut grass and sandalwood. A little bit of citrus zest appears after adding a few drops of water providing relief from the earthiness. The palate makes a bit of a shift with ripe red apple and mixed red berries taking the lead, and with cereal malt and a bit of brine riding out a long, steady finish. Prior to this, I hadn’t been lucky enough to try a blend from SMWS and was bracing for a disastrous wipeout. Thankfully, this was a nice and gentle wave to ride. Surf’s up. 100 proof. B / $90