Here comes part two of my review of the recent SMWS Christmas releases from those not so crazily sought-after distilleries we all often underestimate. Have a look if the second tier could surprise and step up to the plate.
Aultmore 13 y.o. SMWS 73.41, 1997, 2nd-fill Bourbon Hogshead, 286 btl., 58,8%
Comment: Autumn fruits, many peaches, apricots, like homemade jam. Then I am getting hay, hints of ginger, white pepper and vanilla. Seems more mature as its age would suggest. It tastes a bit more spicy (ginger, pepper again) with a bite and needs some water, but overall it renders the same profile like the nose and adds a nice maltiness, dried flowers and a licoricy touch. Almost creamy with more water, long finish. Aultmore keeps surprising me.
Mortlach 14 y.o. SMWS 76.79, 1995, first-fill Sherry Butt, 551 btl., 56,3%
Comment: Sherry, smoke and spice at first. The wine’s sweetness and the malt’s dry character battle in the nose. Some dried fruits, tea and white pepper are watching in the background. The typical raisins and sherry cream show up on the palate along with some spice, smoke and figs. Some water helps the balance.
Tullibardine 21 y.o. SMWS 28.23, 1989, Refill Sherry Butt, 57,7%
Comment: Unusual (plants, herbs), mature, fruity, malty, slightly dry with discrete spice. Big tea notes, toffee, pears, peaches, grass, flowers, earthy traces, altogether like a green house in the nose. It tastes more fruity than expected with a lot of natural caramel and vanilla, quite nice but not overly complex. One for gardeners and botanists 🙂
Caperdonich 16 y.o. SMWS 38.20, 1994, Refill Hogshead, 57,4%
Comment: Wow, I like this from the start. Very pleasant, deep and fresh. A bit from everything (citrus fruit, dextrose, moss, herbs and peat, minerality, honey, candyfloss, maritime freshness, etc.), which makes this a true allrounder. It delivers all this on the palate in beautiful balance! No water needed, this is simply great. Recommendation!
Glen Scotia 12 y.o. SMWS 93.46, 1999, Refill Sherry Gorda, 59,8%
Comment: Blue Cheese Dressing, leather, pepper and chili, sherry, grapes with noble rot, Kahlua, mint and leafs. The sherry is not really integrated and seems a bit too raisiny-rotten and cheesy, but the whisky is mild, sweet and creamy on the other hand. I know some people who like this profile but for me it is too much on primary notes of the sherry cask.