Tag Archives: SMWS

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…

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) will be launching something very cool on Friday

This just came across my desk here at the JSMWS HQ:

“Subject: Sneaky peek at The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s Spirit Cellars whisky selection engine (launches on Friday)

It’ll not be launched until Friday Sep 10, but if you log on to www.smws.com/the-spirit-cellars just now you’ll see how widgets like Moodbot, Flavour Bandit, Phrenology Lab and Palate Equaliser will help users select the right, single cask, single malt whisky for them. It’s just got bottles available to UK members at the moment but will be rolled out across the world in due course.

As you probably know, the Society has an Outturn of around 20 new bottles a month and an ever-changing catalogue of available whiskies. Even the most dedicated malt whisky enthusiast is going to need some help finding their way round this incredibly diverse collection, so The Spirit Cellars was born.

It’s a bit of fun, but it’s got some serious technology and research running it. The complex tasting notes of each of the Society bottles are run through advanced algorithms developed for the computer dating industry and this is the first time the software has been used in the UK. The Spirit Cellars also runs using live stock data so users can buy their matches should they wish.

The Spirit Cellars is an organic beast and will evolve at the suggestion of its users. If users can think of a widget that’ll help them, the Society will look in to developing it.”

Not only am I a whisky dork (and a big fan of the SMWS) but I am a technology geek as well.  I’ve fiddled around with some of these tools (after having visited www.smws.com/the-spirit-cellars) and I was pretty impressed by what they’ve got going on so far.

As you know, I focus in on suggesting malts by mood or season and to have access to cool widgets that do the same thing for the SMWS bottles???  Very cool.

Scotch Malt Whisky Society – Fall tastings for the US

As you may or may not know, I am a member of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (of America).  And in case you’re not aware, the SMWSA does 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 wanting to come out and meet yours truly, I will be at the Boston event.


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