April Outturn brings a feast for the senses with 18 adventurous single casks to spark conversation and fire your imagination. SMWS ambassador Andrew Park has been through the full Outturn, and here is his pick

 

It’s difficult to pick out any recommendations with such variety in this Outturn, but if you pushed me, these would be my selected drams for Easter, and beyond…

50.92: Sipping sherry in a potting shed

For a 26-year-old, this is surprisingly fresh, the top note nosing is light and friendly with lots of toffee and nougat with a chive meadow in the distance. It puts me in mind of working in the garden on a mild sunny spring day, while the scent of a Sunday lamb roast drifts through the air. On the palate it has a light and fresh character, coconut, passion fruit and lighter botanicals emerging. There is a light pepper and cardamom to the finish. An ideal dram to hold onto sitting on the patio, savouring last of the sunlight.

Flavour Profile: Deep, rich & dried fruits
Drinking Tip: To compliment the perfect day in the garden
Age: 26 years
Cask: 1st fill charred ex-red wine hogshead
Region: Lowland
Alcohol: 53.1%
Bottle Price: £140.10

 

9.117 Comfort and contentment

The nose reminds of mezcal and lemon sherbet dowsed in a café crème cigar smoke. A lovely effervescence dances up the nostrils. On the palate it has a lovely weight to it coating the mouth, an abundance of umami with hard boiled sweets and sweet citrus prickling the side of the tongue. With water, hot cross buns dripping with butter, an ideal tipple while home baking.

Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet
Drinking Tip: Whilst getting the log fire started
Age: 21 years
Cask: 1st fill American oak Pedro Ximenez hogshead
Region: Speyside Spey
Alcohol: 55.3%
Bottle Price: £81.20

70.16 Mellow drama

Vanilla, vanilla, vanilla of all types on the nose. Everything you expect from a young bourbon barrel. Light delicate rose petals dipped in caster sugar and bags of candy floss. There’s even hints of pine oil and wood stain. It’s a very floral style of dram, rosehip oil, lavender, fresh grass and one stand out thought is nettle soup with cracked black pepper that keeps the lips tingling for some time after. Water changes the weighting of the whisky, you soon realise you’re rolling your tongue more to release more textures and flavours. Elements of cereal notes dry the mouth, reminding me of porridge with honey and cinnamon.

Flavour Profile: Sweet, fruity & mellow
Drinking Tip: Enjoy it with jazz! Yes, jazz. And good company
Age: 11 years
Cask: Refill ex-bourbon barrel
Region: Highland northern
Alcohol: 56.5%
Bottle Price: £55

36.127 Killer bee rum punch

This dram is sweet and honeyed, dripping with caramel. There’s a pleasant warmth to the nose, much like walking into a Turkish bath or a pine steam room. It’s certainly smooth, the sweetness of the dram masking the alcoholic content well. Imagine a surly bee covered with honey after a long day collecting pollen, this would be the worker bee’s tipple of choice! With the addition of a few drops of water the flavour extends to almond croissants, peanut brittle and a Tokay-style of dessert wine for the finish.

Flavour Profile: Young & spritely
Drinking Tip: Ideal for a stir-fry or a barbecue
Age: 12 years
Cask: 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel
Region: Speyside Spey
Alcohol: 60%
Bottle Price: £53.20

66.99 Pine smoked salmon and burning heather

This for me is the bargain of the Outturn. For an 8-year-old whisky the custom barrel has imparted an amazing dirty bronze colour. There is so much going on in the nose, wet char wood, toasted heather, cola-glazed baked ham roasting in the oven, goose fat potatoes – so warming and comforting on those fresher nights. On the palate, it reminds me of hot burnt marshmallows on the roasting fire, only just cool enough to eat. There’s a lovely honed liquor style feel to this dram, it’s something that’s rich with flavour where you taste something different each time you go back to it.  With water, it loses the honey viscosity but the sweetness remains the same, the smoky fire has subsided onto a gentle camp fire. This is ideal for letting go of all thoughts and to relax with on the first camping night of the year.

Flavour Profile: Peated
Drinking Tip: To compliment the perfect day in the garden
Age: 8 years
Cask: Custom virgin oak barrel
Region: Highland eastern
Alcohol: 60%
Bottle Price: £46.40

To read April Outturn in full, click here