Bowmore 11yr Single Cask – Bottled for the SMWSA – Cask number 3.156

Islay region – 700ML – 750ml bottle – Go here to join the society & gain access to their bottles

I am really enjoying these single cask Bowmores!  First I had the Master of Malt 26yr Bowmore, then the 3.154 SMWS Bowmore and now this.  The Bowmore really seems to shine as a single cask.  Then again, it could just be that there are groups of really smart people choosing exceptional casks.  My guess is that it’s a combination of the former and the latter.

Either way, Joshua is a happy boy.  This expression follows in the shoes of the other Single Cask Bowmores I’ve tried in the sense that it is delicious.  Notes:

On the nose Flowery & sweet.

Reminds me slightly of the candy sweetness of the Master of Malt Bowmore 26yr Single Cask.

Hopscotch on hot asphalt, August 1977.

The smoke is there for sure.

A sweet smoldering fire (like a Swisher Sweet cigar has just been put out).

Lemon lollypops.

Surgical soap (I feel like I’m about to get another tattoo).

On the mouth Perfect mouth feel.

Not super chewy, not thin at all, just lip-smacking.

Much smokier than the nose had suggested.

Like burning flowers.

Think mums and daisy (sweet and earthy).

Finish Increasingly floral.

And now an herbal blast of chamomile and jasmine (Hard to think that there could be a “blast” of something as soft as chamomile or jasmine but, the notes did come on strong for me).

Mouth is slightly numb.

I’m ready for some dental work.

In sum Truly lovely.  The balance between the sweetness, florality (did I make up a word here?  I think I did.  Where are you Oxford English Dictionary people??) and smoke is scrumditiliumptuous and perfect.  A great summery smoker of a dram.

Highland Park 10yr Single Cask – Bottled for the SMWSA – Cask number 4.142

Islands region – 700ML – 750ml bottle – Go here to join the society & gain access to their bottles

So, beyond bottling some fine whiskies, the SMWS (in America) puts on a series of tasting events called “The Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza“.  The “Extravaganza” is now in it’s 17th year.  If you’ve never been to one of their events, you may want to change that, and soon!

Perhaps I can help.  I’ve been working with the good folks at the society and they were kind enough to extend to me a discount code for my readers; specifically for people who are not members of the SMWSA.  Tickets to one of their Extravaganzas, for members, are $120.00ea, non-members are $135.00ea.  If you use the discount code JMS10, all of you non-members can purchase your first two tickets at the member price of $120.00.  Not bad!

For more information on the SMWS events and on how to purchase your tickets, click here.

See below for a full listing of their fall events schedule.  I always jump at a chance to meet my readers so, for those coming to the Boston event, drop me a line: jewmalt [at] yahoo [dot] com – I’d enjoy the chance to talk with you.

Now, onto the review of what I think is a fine Highland Park:

On the nose – Chewy sweets gums like Jujyfruits; the lemon ones specifically (these are also known as wine gums to my friends on the other side of the pond).

Increasingly fruity and altogether tropical (papaya, horned melon, mango).

Very tangy and a deliciously smoked backbone.

Not smoky but smoked; like smoked cheese (interesting, I’ve been finding this note in a few of the whiskies I’ve had as of late.  Maybe I shouldn’t do these reviews on an empty stomach…).

Rosewater chews/Turkish delights.

On the mouth – Hello you little shapeshifter.

I think this is more a transformer than it is a whisky – tons of sweet coconut; both toasted and the milk thereof, salt, nail polish and vanilla.

What started off as a thin mouth feel gets viscous, the taste of the smell of hot plastic milk jugs (tee-hee, I said jugs…).

The smoked quality I got on the nose is gone giving way to some nice sharp cheddar notes but the body now has a smoky tone to it (just around the edges).

Like I said, this is a transformer, not a whisky 🙂

Finish – Makes the mouth water with hints of powdered sugar and the rosewater pops again.

Long and strong like bull.

In sum – Another summer dram with lots to offer.  Very different from any OB Highland Park I’ve had but hey, that’s OK.  It’s more than OK.  It’s wonderful, surprising and welcome.  Thank you single cask whiskies, thank you SMWSA!

As a reminder, a short while back I did an interview with Alan Shayne (President of the SMWSA and an all around great guy).  To read that, click here.

Macallan 19yr Single Cask – Bottled for the SMWSA – Cask number 24.110

Speyside region  – 750ml bottle – Go here to join the society & gain access to their bottles

This particular expression of Macallan came as part of a 4 pack “welcome to the club kid!” package from the good folks at The Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America.  This package also included 100ml bottles of the following: Linkwood, Highland Park (soon to be reviewed) and a Bowmore (soon to be reviewed).

This welcome pack also included a very cool SMWS lapel pin that one of my daughters promptly lost on me.  I’ll have to buy a new one.  Oh well, the joys of fatherhood!

Let move right onto the tasting shall we?

On the nose Big fat sherry nose with a side of minty mojito.

Sharp vinegar notes.

Spiced pulled pork from back when I…

A) was not a vegetarian and…

B) did not keep kosher.

Then, on to fruit cakes and fig newtons.

Orange and gasoline.

Ah now, with water this sherry bomb comes to life with raisins and dates.

Some marzipan rears it’s head.

On the mouth Soft chocolate notes from the get-go.

Sweet and salty with some underlying notes of over-steeped orange pekoe tea.

Not a chewy mouth feel but pleasant.

With water this dram turns into a piece of whisky bubblegum – it’s THAT chewy!

The flavors do not change however, they just round out and get very soft.

Finish Lots of tobacco and chocolate bubble up and my mouth is left with a fizzy numbed feeling.

In sum The SMWS Macallan 24.111, in my opinion, was better – This was a nice sherried whisky but not one that wowed me in any big way.  Very grapy/winey/fat sherry for me and, it’s just not what I seek out in a whisky.

This being said, I think fans of a sherry bomb would go ape-shite for this expression.

SMWS 3.154 – Bowmore 9yr Single Cask 58%

Islay region – 58%ABV – 750ML bottle – Go here to join the society & gain access to their bottles

Today begins a full week of SMWS whisky reviews.

I am a fairly new member of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America (from here on out to be referred to as SMWSA).  I’ve got a few friends who’ve been members for a while now and I was going back and forth; should I join? shouldn’t I join?, etc…

For those of you unfamiliar with the society, the SMWSA is the American arm of the parent society based in Leith, Scotland.  Every month they offer up new exclusive whiskies to their members.  Whiskies you can find NOWHERE else and they are all Single Cask, Cask Strength expressions.  Their whiskies come from over 127 different distilleries (Most are Scottish distilleries but they now include Japanese expressions such as Yamazaki, Nikka and Hakushu).

Back to my becoming a member — again, I was really hemming and hawing over whether or not to join the society.  YES I would have access to these great whiskies but hey, there’s a membership fee involved…  It wasn’t until I started talking to, and began reading reviews from, my fellow whisky blogger Jason of Guid Scotch Drink that I decided to bite the bullet and join.  This is perhaps the most scrumdittilyumtious bullet I’ve ever bitten.

For information on the SMWSA including their current whiskies and how to join in on the fun, click here.  If you are outside of the US, click here for international branches.

This is the third bottle I purchased from the SMWSA and I did so for two reasons.

Reason #1It’s a 9 year old Single Cask Bowmore coming in at 58% alcohol by volume (a young peaty, high ABV whisky? Sign me up!)

Reason #2I love the titles the good SMWS folks give their whiskies and this title did not let me down.  They entitled it “Burning Heather, Charcoal Embers – and Gunpowder!

So, how does it taste?  Does the title give us an indication as to what we’re about to taste?  Mayhaps… let’s see:

On the nose Very fragrant, almost flowery.

Sugared lemon pinwheels.

Slightly salty (think sea salt and nori).

Dried flowers + sunlight + magnifying glass + 9 year old boy.

Sweet oak scent.

On the mouth Mouth-wateringly sweet and explosively peaty – HUGE attack!

Not smokey, almost like an electrical fire in the mouth.

Buttery and lemony at the same time.

Dead honey suckle and sweet herbal teas.

As high in alcohol content as this is, I found that that with time and a bit of patience, no water was needed.

FinishLong and oaky – now the peatiness is more of a natural wood-burn smoke.

A sparkler down the center of the tongue.

In sumUnique, invigorating and lovely.  I’d say the title did not let down.  This is explosive and flowery.  Light and zingy as well.  A warm fall or oddly warm, early spring day is a perfect time for this dram.  Today was a warm fall day so, it was quite perfect.

This was the wake dram that Jason of Guid Scotch Drink and I enjoyed a few weeks ago when he came by for a visit.  And I have to say, it was the perfect way to start the day.  A true wake-you-up drink that’ll beat coffee, Red Bull, Rock Star… whatever…