If you’re on your whisky journey and you’ve never explored some of the independent bottlings available in the market, I encourage you to give them all a try. From Duncan Taylor to Classic Casks to Black Adder, many of these independent bottlers (IBs) have the incredible goal of offering something unique and exceptionally good to the public from distilleries that might not normally bottle in the style that the IB has chosen. Picking a single cask to showcase a distillery is part of the magic that IBs bring to the table since most distilleries actually vat or “marry” a number of barrels to consistently create a specific house style.
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is a membership based IB that essentially pools resources from its membership base to pick and purchase hundreds and hundreds of unique single casks from well known (and lesser known) distilleries all over the world. Recently they decided to release a single cask pick (chosen by the infamous Ben Diedrich) to celebrate America’s independence. The bottle was only offered in America and I was lucky enough to grab one before they sold out. Almost everything from Glen Scotia seems to sell out really quickly as the distillery has some rabid fans!
I’m not one who typically enjoys whiskies from Campbeltown but one of the most endearing traits about single barrels is their ability to breakaway from the norms of a region. This bottling is no exception. A 13 year expression aged in a first fill port cask makes for a truly unique scotch whisky. Let’s dig into it!
A rose hued toasted straw in the glass. It’s quite gorgeous.
Sweetened light peat with quite a bit of salinity. There’s a shortbread buttery sweetness I keep finding with a touch of milk chocolate. With water, the nose turns into the caramel sweet of port and a bit of dark fruit. What a way to build anticipation!
Initial notes of plum and leather are interesting on the palate and they last until you take a breath where the finish starts it’s process. Oh man. With water, this gem shines! Fresh pan fried bacon drizzled in just a bit of plain maple syrup! Whoa… delicious bacon without the normal offenses of a peated whisky! This is magic!
The finish carries all of the heat, neat. A bit of water destroys the hot edge of the meat finish and replaces it with a bit of peppered bacon grease.
I love the sweet bacon without the typically accompanying flavors of tongue destruction. THIS is what peated whiskies should strive to provide more often! This easy to love and balanced dram is a fantastic example of the goodness that an IB can offer to the world of whisky. It makes me glad to be a member of the SMWS! (We’ll see if I renew lol)
Have you tried this? Are you a member of SMWSA? Let me know and let’s talk about it!