Review: Recent SMWS-Releases

Just before Christmas, these bottlings filled by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society rolled in. Let’s put them to the test while we have a white landscape out there. The second load will be reviewed soon.


Auchentoshan 11y.o. SMWS 5.27, 1999, second-fill Bourbon Hoshead, 58,3%

Comment: Malt, lemon zest, hay, heather, licorice, vanilla, altogether not a very convincing dram.

Score: 77


Glen Moray 39 y.o. SMWS 35.55, 1971, Refill Hogshead, 50,3%

Comment: A whole lotta Bourbon wood influence, which is ok for an old whisky of this kind. All I miss is originality.

Score: 89+


Macallan 20 y.o. SMWS 24.117, 1990, first-fill Sherry Hogshead, 55,4%

Comment: This is a great Christmas Dram (yes, these notes are late 🙂 ) and quite typical of a Macallan. Wonderful cigar smoke, orange peel, sweet malt, sherry, apple, raisins and cinnamon are its key elements.

Score: 89-


Scotch Grain Whisky 21 y.o. SMWS G-8.1, 1989, 51,2%

Comment: Very rum-like (which is not a bad thing) and loaded with vanilla, citrus aromas and marshmallows. I couldn’t find the exact grain distillery – soon to be revealed.

Score: 86


(Isle of) Jura 21 y.o. SMWS 31.22, 1988, second-fill Bourbon Hogshead, 56,5%

Comment: A very complex and creamy dram with beautiful spice-combo. It also offers sweet malt, ginger bread, licorice and Bourbon-Cask oak  character.

Score: 89+


Laphroaig 10 y.o. SMWS 29.101, 2000, refill-Sherry Butt, 587 btl., 52,8%

Comment: A weird Laph somehow, you have to like it extremely herbal (weeds) and dirty. Aside from the typical notes of peat, seaweed, rusty fishing-boats in the harbour and all that stuff you get sour and lemony aromas, quite some acidity, sherry and flinty sulphur in the nice finish. However, it lacks power in the middle. Not bad, but there are better ones out there.

Score: 86


Ardbeg 7 y,o, SMWS 33.101, 2003, first-fill Bourbon Cask, 245 btl., 59,6%

Comment: Typical Ardbeg, but not as interesting as other releases. A nice whisky anyway.

Score: 88+


Port Charlotte 8 y.o. SMWS 127.12, 2002, Bourbon Barrel, 160 btl., 66,3%

Comment: Funny, this one also heads towards ‚Ardbeginess‘ in some moments but it is saltier and more on camphor, rooty peat, flints and iodine. A great whisky at a young age – again. Look out for Port Charlotte.

Score: 89

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