Review: SMWS 120.7 Sweet, fragrant, satisfying

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


So regular visitors to Whisky Rover will know I enjoyed a trip down to London and a session with Malt-Review, where we went through the latest releases from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

During this afternoon we left the confines of the UK experiencing whiskies from Japan and a bourbon release of all things from the Society. I've already reviewed that release from Rock Town Distillery (B3.1) and Nikka Coffey Malt (G12.1). All very impressive, including the expensive Yoichi (116.20) that would set you back £296 if it hadn't already sold out and is already appearing at auction. Impressive company, yet we've saved the best for last with this bottle from Hakushu that trumped all and is probably amongst my favourite releases of 2014.

I'll be interested to see if this one pops up in any award listings during 2015, as seriously its that's good and distinctive thanks to the use of a 1st fill Bota Corta butt. Bottles like this which represent new experiences are exactly why I joined the Society and enjoy whisky. Part of a double pack with G13.1, there weren't many of these and it was another blind purchase. Thankfully a punt that turned out to be right on the money when tasting it in London later on in the week.

Distillery: Hakushu
Distilled: September 1999
Bottled:  2014 (14 years old)
Strength: 55.5%
Edition: 517 bottles
Cask: 1st fill Bota Corta
Price: £229 as part of the Sweet & Spicy Rollercoaster pair
 
Colour: deeply bloody - a showstopper of a colour
 
Nose: wow! Treacle toffee in abundance, juicy sweet raisins and then comes the spices with cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. The meaty richness of roasted beef with caramelised dark muscovado sugar and flat Coca Cola. When this first arrived on our table at the SMWS outpost in London we both felt it had a peated note, which I'm not picking up here at home. Regardless, it is a bold, demanding whisky. 
 
Taste: more treacle and muscovado sugar in abundance.  There's rich, seeping centre within this whisky, an undeniable heart of darkness. A sticky old soya sauce sensation, blackberries, macerated figs and plums.

A bold, unusual whisky that won't be for everyone but its bottles like this that make the SMWS membership so rewarding. These are the types of whiskies I enjoy for pushing boundaries and shattering the safe infrastructure that limits whisky production within Scotland.   
 

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