The theme of this month’s Outturn, ‘Blooming’, immediately excited me. My parents are quite into horticulture – my mum is a florist and my dad a landscape gardener – so I feel as though I grew up around flowers and outdoorsy aromas. With that in mind, I was eager to sample the new whiskies. Here are my top picks!
50.77: Good Old Days
25 Years Spicy & Sweet
On the nose it is initially faint with notes of oil and vinegar – opens to a more buttery, sweet bread aroma, Danish pastries and Swedish cardamom buns with a generous sprinkling of cinnamon; gives impressions of an indulgent picnic in a daisy meadow. On the palate it was pleasantly light, sweet and refreshing. Heaps of gooseberries and choux pastry – reminiscent of a bakery as it’s closing up shop for the day.
30.89: Deep, dark and pleasantly attractive
24 Years Deep, Rich & Dried Fruit
This had a truly indulgent nose of old fashioned desserts like crème caramel. I was then transported to a North African fruit market – with lots of dried dates, figs, spices and exotic flowers. On the palate there was Battenberg cake, the nose matched by marzipan and plum jam, with notes of turmeric and ginger. It’s best without water – a tame and relaxed companion to desserts.
7.129: Heavenly fragrance
30 Years Spicy & Sweet
Surprisingly lively and zesty for its age – on the nose I was met with beach side bar aromas – tropical fruit – pineapple, watermelon, over-ripened peaches falling from their tree. On the palate it turns to Madeira cake drizzled with honey, and eases to condensed milk and home-made Scottish tablet. The finish is refined, short but very zesty – lemon juice and lashings of vanilla butter. Water unlocks a buttery, whipped cream texture.
35.141 A Christmas wreath
21 Years Spicy & Sweet
I’m always a big fan of our No. 35s, especially those from a toasted oak cask. This one doesn’t disappoint either – on the nose it’s dry oak, vanilla and hot tannic notes with the rich, warm fragrance of velvety red roses. Overwhelmingly bourbon-like in character – molasses, barbecue sauce, tangy tomato and a smoked stack of ribs. On the palate it was much smoother, like creamy vanilla ice cream. Liquorice undertones chase a smooth, satisfying toasted walnut finish.
10.91 A well-mannered dram
10 Years Young & Spritely
On the nose, it’s full on fresh Bakewell tart, straight from the oven, followed by sweet strawberry jam and toasted almonds. On the palate it was surprisingly dry compared to the nose – dry, nutty and spicy, like a Waldorf salad or a bouquet of peppery freesias. Salt, brine, pepper and mayonnaise, Shrimp and rock salt subtly appear on the finish. Water draws more salty, deep fried Tempura batter.
53.234 Smoke without fire
16 Years Heavily Peated
Unsurprisingly from its name, this dram was overwhelmingly savoury on the nose – smoked Bratwurst and grain mustard, a charcuterie board, smoked cheddar cheese paired with smoked Bavarian beer – it’s a German antipasti in a glass! Its sweeter side comes out on the palate: toffee apples and BBQ sauce, honey-glazed gammon joint, gentle salt and brine. A light but complex Islay dram.
17 Years Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits
This one evolves and surprises – constantly dancing back and forth between sweet and savoury – smoked bacon rashers one minute, and melted dark chocolate the next. On the palate, the chocolate remains as you’re transported to a Belgian Chocolatiers shop, with a wonderful contrast of smoked salmon and tyre treads. An enigma of a dram, but certainly an enjoyable one.
I’ll be back next month with my reviews for May. But in the meantime, read my review of the B4.2, another special release from the April Outturn. It’s so good, I thought it deserved a whole post dedicated to it!
All of the bottlings released in the April Outturn are available for members and non-members to buy. The April Outturn goes on-sale Friday 1 April, available online and at the SMWS venues.