As the SMWS unveils our new range of Single Cask Spirits, we asked some members to sample a selection from the bottlings available in the August Outturn. Here’s what they had to say about experiencing our new world of flavour

Cask No. C3.2: Strolling through bliss

“A real winter warmer for sitting by the fire. The nose gives prunes in light syrup with some of granny’s tablet sprinkled on top. A little water draws out a note of blood orange and a hint of dry moss. The maple syrup colour is confirmed by the sticky syrupy texture in the glass. The fireside theme continues with a taste of toasted waffles sprinkled with white pepper and candied lemon.   With water, the toastiness reduces and chocolate filling emerges. A glass to drift off to sleep with.”

Keith Bowden

“Light, crisp and sweet to begin with, then soft and buttery with a crisp, sharp finish and (beer) bitter aftertaste. Tastes of the Spiegeltent after a Fringe show. Warm wood, cherry vanilla. Long toffee aftertaste with shortbread and liquorice notes.”

Mike Liddle

“The nose shows a lot of sweetness, maybe some caramel, as well as a fruity impression: baked apples and pears mostly. On the palate, you quickly feel the 60.9% abv, and the sweetness that follows makes it hard to feel anything else. After adding water, new aromas appear: spices and dried fruits (walnuts for instance). A couple drops of water brings out the complexity of this spirit. A very interesting cognac!

Quentin Leloir

Cask No. C4.1: A tantalising tightrope

“The nose is savoury, with hints of orange, coffee and dark chocolate. After some time there were also raisins, kept in a sandalwood box. The mouthfeel is oily and smooth. Though bottled at 57.5% abv it is relatively mild, with just a little pleasant tickle on the tongue. Hiding in the back, a hint of fruity jelly beans. The finish is medium long and warming.”

Michael Schlueter

“An early morning breeze carries the scent of nearby flowers, while eating fruit salad with fresh pineapple and mango, and drinking orange soda on your French balcony. A day of tantalising opportunities is front of you. Then you notice someone across the street who is sipping champagne accompanied by marinated olives. A whiff of turpentine enters your nose, is he painting? A vase of sunflowers in front of him. Then you suddenly notice the tightrope between your balcony and his. Not knowing if this is just your imagination, you are intrigued, while a mouth-watering taste of flowers, olives and champagne drives you forward.”

Juergen Dieker

Cask No. C5.1: A tapestry of flavours

“I tried this amazing cognac on a slightly chilly summer night around the fire pit, and I could pick up the tastes of lemon and plum, as well as warm caramel and hot syrup. The flavours then blended into something truly magnificent, that tantalised the taste buds and throat. Perfect for a summer’s night.”

Andrew Gordon

“This is a light spirit, fun to spend time with. The nose gives tinned peaches accompanied by Chinese restaurant golden syrup (after it has been poured over the banana fritters) followed by the slightest whiff of winter jasmine.  In the mouth it begins with butterscotch drifting into slightly salted caramel from which emerges a bitter lightly roasted coffee. The finish is quite short and suggests adding water would be a bad idea.”

Keith Bowden

“The nose contains wet lime stone rocks and damp vineyards at sunrise. There are smells of a summer breeze over a fresh water lake and standing rainwater pools, accompanied by a faint scent of pine tree bonfires and gasoline. While closing your eyes you are having an outdoor lunch of cantaloupe melon, smoked salmon sandwiches with white wine. The palate reaffirms all this into a tapestry of flavours in which the threads of the classical elements earth, water, air and fire are beautifully intertwined.

Juergen Dieker

Cask No. R7.2: Jamaica me crazy

“The aromas were stunning and portrayed all that you expect from a premium rum. Tasted neat, the texture was silky on the tongue, a touch of pineapple juice and the flavours truly came alive. All that was missing was a sandy beach and some Bob Marley music.”

Andrew Gordon

“This was spicy and bitter, tasting of bonfires and burnt honey. The spiciness intensifies the longer you hold it in the mouth, and then fades to a strong burnt aftertaste.”

Mike Liddle

“On the nose you quickly notice the alcohol, but after some time you get to the sugar and caramel along with some spices: vanilla, cinnamon. When you take a sip, the alcohol happens to be perfectly integrated and everything is very smooth and balanced. Fruits make their entrance: plantain banana, maybe a hint of mango. The finish has a medium length and you can enjoy the lingering sweetness and sugar cane aroma. Overall, well balanced and enjoyable on any occasion.”

Quentin Leloir

“This was my favourite, starting with the nose and ending with the taste. The vanilla smell and taste is a blast. It even got better with a few drops of water. I’m going to try and get this one when it hits the store!”

Axel Pfeiffer

“There’s sugar in a demijohn and unripe plantain, gluey and leathery. Tasted neat, it has a buttery mouth feel, with cheese in the aftertaste rather than sweetness. This dram would make a good aperitif, with cooking chocolate and sweet heat. Water brings fresh farm fields and a little fermented fruit. Would be good with a pork pie. Or a cheese board to take the edge of the funk off.”

Richard Featherstone

Cask No. R10.1: Carnival concerto

“An extravagant nose where bananas, mangoes, pineapple and passion fruits form a harmonious counterplay for the joyous expression of mahogany wood, sugarcane molasses and curry spices. A sip sends you into a thundering whirlpool of smoked wood, tobacco, roasted nuts and spiced oil, with the fruits and molasses now more to the back. Water tunes down the carnivalesque cacophony of smoke to bring forward more gentle spices, caramelised bananas flambé, pineapple juice and brown sugar. The finale offers a firework of smoked and roasted tropical fruits and oriental spices.”

Juergen Dieker

Cask No. GN1.1: Gee-whiz

“The floral aroma came through pleasantly on the nose from the moment the lid was removed. Tasted neat, this was smooth and light with a strong presence of coastal botanicals. Mixed with Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic water to tease out more surprises, this amazing gin turned smooth and silky to the tongue. One of the most amazing gins I’ve tasted.”

Andrew Gordon

“The nose sent me to a garden with a huge juniper right in the middle and some lemons lying among rosemary growths. A breeze brought the scent of roses and orange blossoms from the neighbours’ garden. After a while I remembered that I brought a cucumber sandwich with some sage. Adding a little bit of ice revealed cold tea (maybe Earl Grey) and some liquorice. The palate started sweet and sour with a little pepper. Apart from juniper, there was cucumber and lemon peel. Ice revealed Earl Grey and turned the pepper into ginger.”

Michael Schlueter

“The nose has a scent of violets, aniseed at first, then mellowing to roses and eventually a very sweet smell, like orange candy floss. Neat, there are hints of rosewater. With tonic water there is more juniper, it’s smooth and very drinkable, with an aftertaste of pear drops.”

Mike Liddle

“This is the kind of gin where you’re not sure if you’re supposed to drink it or use it as a perfume. The nose is extremely expressive with a strong scent of lavanda, mixed with essential oils (pine tree, thyme, rose). It feels like you are standing in the middle of a Mediterranean garden in the spring. When drinking the gin, it’s very smooth with very limited bitterness. You find everything you felt in the nose, plus maybe some citrus fruits as well as other aromas: basil, rosemary. The bitterness expresses itself a bit more in the finale. A very floral and expressive spirit, which could provide a lot of options in cocktails.”

Quentin Leloir

To find out more about all of our Single Cask Spirits, go to www.smws.com/spirits 

To purchase bottlings, go to www.smws.com/single-cask-spirits