Jan 022015
 

SMWS 77.28 “Tropical Nights”155

54.9% abv

Score:  92/100

 

Would seem the only way I can get my hands on Glen Ord is through our friends at the SMWS.  Literally the only releases from this somehow seemingly elusive Highland distillery I’ve ever tried have been via the enigmatic green bottle with the oh-so-clever tasting notes and the naming conventions that put even the most out-there baby-naming Hollywood celeb to shame.  So be it.  As long as the quality remains as astronomically high as these SMWS expressions I’ve tried, I’m more than ok with the concentration of brand.

Glen Ord produces oodles of juice, but precious little ends up with ‘Glen Ord’ on the bottle.  Most finishes its journey under the ‘Singleton’ banner or smushed into obscurity in Johnnie Walker.  This 25 year old was a real treat to run into in its slightly more bespoke incarnation.  Sadly though, this hoggy yielded a mere 236 bottles at 54.9% abv.

The bottle says this whisky was matured in a second fill charred oak hogshead.  Nothing overly unique there, of course, but a style that definitely appeals to my palatal preferences at this wizened old age.  This is arguably my favorite whisky profile right now.  Yep.  Even supercedes the big peats I’ve been pouring down my gullet for years.

Not a lot more to say here, other than this is another absolutely exceptional malt from Glen Ord.  In fact, it was actually one of the most exciting drams I tried all year.  Not to say best, but unforgettable and yes…very, very good.

Nose:  We are indeed close to tropical here.  What a great nose.  Grilled pineapple.  Dried orange fruits.  Fruit scones and sugar cookies.  Dusty and waxy notes.  Rosewater.  A dusting of cinnamon and nutmeg over good vanilla ice cream.  Soft pie crust.  Just a hint of candied ginger.  Pristine wood.

Palate:  Some pineapple again.  Oh, wow…what a great development throughout.  Lots of sweet mouth watering fruit notes.  White chocolate.  Pepper.  Fruit flan with sweet pastry crust.  Very juicy.

Thoughts:  Malts like this are the reason we drink whisky.  Keeps getting better and better as the bottle breathes.  One of the best SMWS bottles I’ve tried.

 

– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 10:33 pm
Jun 122014
 

SMWS 77.24 “Mouth-Numbing Handbags”012

57.2% abv

Score:  92/100

 

Man, these guys (and gals) have fun with their naming conventions, don’t they?  ‘Mouth-numbing handbags’.  WTF?!  Gotta love the SMWS for this bit of tomfoolery that adds a smile to our sipping.

Another obscure as shit distillery from the Northern Highlands.  Well…obscure under it’s own name, that is.  This distillery (which may or may not be Glen Ord, if we’re keeping with the SMWS tradition of ‘sworn to secrecy’ releases under numbered, not named, distilleries) is more known for being bottled as The Singleton.  That malt, as you may be aware, is a rather generic entry in the Diageo stables.

With a production capacity as high as the distillery boasts (and still expanding!), and knowing the limited range of OBs they release, I can only assume that most of the distillate ends up blended away under the Johnnie Walker brand.  Sad, really, but let’s remember that for all the bottles of shameful Red Label that hit the shelves, there are also great bottles of Black, Blue and Green.  Well…perhaps not Green anymore.

Anyway…

That’s where the indies, such as the SMWS, come to the save the day for us malt enthusiasts.  By releasing odd casks like this 77.24 we get to see another side of the distilleries.  This is the kind of stuff that makes single malt whisky as much fun as it is.  In this case I’ll move forward with the hopes that there just may be more impressive whisky in the warehouses of Glen Ord that isn’t destined for mediocrity!  This is a hell of a cask, served up at just the right age:  A solid 23 years.  Good on the SMWS for scooping this one.

‘Nough said.

Nose:  Quite some pepper and spice.  Polished wood.  Caramel apple.  Think there’s a touch of smoke there too.  Ruby grapefruit with sugar.  Some peach and some of the most perfectly ‘in-check’ vanilla I’ve yet encountered.  Poached apple with mild x-mas spice.

Palate:  Smoke and peppery spice…maybe chili.  Citric tang.  Fruit salad.  Old cask notes and toasted oak.  Leaves behind an old school, almost kerosene-like, smoky candlewax and oak.  Close to an aged Talisker, to be honest.  A beautiful whisky.

Thoughts:  Glad to have tried it, but one of those bittersweet drams that leave you wanting more, all the while knowing that you can’t have it.  Better to have loved and lost, as they say.

 

– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 7:42 am