SMWS ambassador Andrew Park delves blind into July’s Outturn with his take on five drams from our 18 new single casks

For this Outturn I decided to go into it blind, and asked Dean, the well-known and charismatic host behind the bar at The Vaults, to pick five drams. Isn’t being adventurous the best way forward? Read my notes and then find out what the whiskies were at the bottom of the page.

Here we go…

Dram 1

This dram has a light perfumed scent with linseed oil, lime and sea salt, wet slate and coconut cream. As always when tasting whisky for the first time in the day, I take a small sip to let the palate acclimatise to the spirit and rest for 30 seconds or so. This way, I’m able access the core of the flavours. I found this to have a soft creamy texture with caramelised sugar and vanilla pods. When I felt brave enough I rolled the dram around in my mouth and found rose prosecco, orange sherbet and Kola Kubes. Dilution brought Flying Saucer and Jelly Babies sweeties, watermelon martini, a melting Solera ice-cream and coconut husks. If you imagine emptying the crumbly remains of a sweetie bag into your mouth just to get the last dusting of sugar, this would be the dram to resemble that.

Dram 2

The first thing you notice is the deep mahogany colour, which is exactly what I picked up on the nose, freshly polished mahogany. It resembled an old brandy or cognac, elegant and refined. When tasting it reminded me of a sweet brioche fresh from the oven. Imagine walking into a bakery and ordering a warm cinnamon roll, then taking a bite while it’s still hot. Water released elements of cardamom seeds, all spice, aniseed and liquorish with touches of artificial sweetener. There’s a nice weighting behind this dram that coats the mouth like warm manuka honey and almond croissants.

Dram 3

Immediately I feel relaxed and welcomed by this dram as I put it to my nose. For me this is an ideal whisky to sit in front of a log burner or fire – either by yourself or with company, the whisky doesn’t mind! For me this is a stunning dram, it announces itself at the tip of the tongue, glides down the throat and leaves the edges of the tongue in raptures of applause. I was so in awe of this dram I couldn’t even pinpoint any key tasting notes neat. With water I focused more, with a lot of tropical notes of mango, papaya, peach and tropical breakfast juice. This is a thought-provoking whisky, screaming out to be enjoyed.

Dram 4

This one is a very light colour, almost like water, with tanned notes on the nose, and walnut bread, short bread apple spice and light cigars in the background. Very much a Parisian café! But mostly it reminds me of a freshly baked cherry pie, biting into the hot shortcrust pastry. With a little water, it released subtle spices like cardamom seeds and Hubba Bubba chewing gum and on the finish it reminded me of peach skins and salted caramel. This is certainly a multi-dimensional dram, changing every time you return to it.

Dram 5

This expression is sweet and alluring. There’s hickory smoke and beef ribs cooked over lump wood. Imagine it’s a hot dram to taste neat, reminiscent of hot mulled wine and hot buttered rum cocktail. There’s brandy snaps and soft serve ice cream and the smoky element is from café crème cigars or petit corona cigars. I was recently at a BBQ at a friend’s house struggling to light the bonfire, when out came the petrol. This dram does remind me of burnt fuel and cracking wood cooking glazed beef ribs. With water it released sea elements of seabass cooked in butter and thyme, with a honey and lemongrass sauce. It reminds me of burnt gorse on one of those rare hot Scottish summer days!

As it turned out in order I blindly reviewed 71.44, 35.187, 76.133, 6.24, and the 4.230. Do my findings reflect the Tasting Notes? Either way, they are five drams of intrigue and conversation. Go on indulge yourself!

Dram 1

71.44 CUMIN ON A CRICKET BAT

Flavour Profile: Young & Spritely
Age: 10 years
Cask: Refill ex-bourbon barrel
Region: Speyside Lossie
Alcohol: 61.1%
Bottle Price: £51.10

Dram 2

35.187 GENTLE CONFIDENCE

Flavour Profile: Spicy & Dry
Age: 9 years
Cask: First fill French oak hogshead
Region: Speyside Lossie
Alcohol: 61.6%
Bottle Price: £49.40

Dram 3

76.133 INDULGE YOURSELF

Flavour Profile: Sweet, Fruity & Mellow
Age: 14 years
Cask: Virgin heavy toast medium char oak hogshead
Region: Speyside Spey
Alcohol: 57.5%
Bottle Price: £72.00

Dram 4

6.24 – HERBY MINT JULEP

Flavour Profile: Oily & Coastal
Age: 8 years
Cask: Refill ex-bourbon barrel
Region: Speyside Deveron
Alcohol: 59.9%
Bottle Price: £48.00

Dram 5

4.230 -SWEET AND SALTY, SMOKE AND ASH

Flavour Profile: Lightly Peated
Age: 12 years
Cask: Refill ex-sherry puncheon
Region:Highland Island
Alcohol: 65.2%
Bottle Price: £66.90

 

You can read the full Outturn online by clicking here