Review: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Cask 46.89
A few months ago, a particular Glenlossie (courtesy of Signatory) made for an enjoyable summer evening experience. When the email announcement arrived that there was an opportunity to purchase another bottling from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, it seemed quite appealing. Regrettably, I had let my membership lapse but was lucky enough to trade for a sample via a fellow member within the society’s ranks.
This particular cask (46.89) is christened New York Street Snacks by those who tend to such matters, and has a slightly limited domestic allocation of 84 bottles. It was distilled in March 2009, and aged in re-charred hogshead. Keeping in good form for the SMWS (and for everything else) in 2020, the indecipherable copy for this particular release borders on surrealist text; establishing zero context and providing slight amusement or bemusement, depending on your preferences. To wit:
“With tobacco, liquorice sweeties, candied oranges and a hint of liniment on the nose neat, we were all eager to have a try. Wow, like a Big Apple hot dog topped with spicy brown mustard and onions sautéed with tomato paste followed by a deep, rich, sweet baklava. When we added a drop of water, we poured a dandelion and burdock beer into a plastic cup whilst on the palate we were now biting into a hoisin duck wrap – great mouthfeel, rich, robust and flavourful. The finish was long and reminded us of sticky spicy buffalo chicken wings.”
I would agree with the panel’s assessment on the nose: plenty of sweet orange and mild pipe tobacco making things delightful in the beginning. Perhaps it is my non-New York tastebuds, but I am not really getting notes of sautéed onions, brown mustard or tomato paste. In their absence, I do get light notes of apricot that burn off into toasted oak and faint sandalwood as time goes on. There’s a pleasantly lingering finish of allspice and pepper that never strays into unwelcome, polluted harbor waters. A little bit of orange zest makes a welcome return towards the very end.
Not the most polished of drams, but very enjoyable – more Staten Island than Manhattan. But devotees of the Wu-Tang Clan know full well the most worthwhile stuff comes from across the ferry. If you’re willing to make the trip.
B+ / $100