Review: SMWS G12.1 Oh So Sweet

Saturday, December 20, 2014

These last past couple of months the Scotch Malt Whisky Society have been giving my wallet a real pounding. Last month's release was epic in every sense of the word. I haven't even begun to start experiencing my choices from that batch release when the secrets for sharing stocking fillers arrived.

I was down in London earlier this month and met up with Mark, the Malt-Review guru, at the SMWS London outpost. It's a little less grand than the Queen Street retreat I'm used to. However friendly staff, a comfortable environment and the same fine stash of whiskies result in a splendid home from home. We enjoyed an afternoon of going through their Japanese releases after purchasing our tickets online for £33 each. You can read a synopsis of the afternoon here.

On the original schedule there were 4 Japanese whiskies (this has been expanded again with a subsequent top-up from SMWS), including 2 new grain distilleries. These new arrivals are highlighted by the .1 aspect in the bottle number confirming their debut amongst the liquid chronicles of the Society.


Whilst we tasted these in London I've subsequently armed myself with some bottles to really sit down with a dram and take that journey. Today it's G12.1 which is a grain whisky from Nikka and their Coffey Malt. First up, the vital details.

Distillery: Nikka Coffey Malt (G12)
Distilled: 6 March 2003
Bottled: 2014 at 11 years of age
Strength: 58.9% ABV
Cask: Re-charred hogshead
Outturn: 246 bottles
Price: available exclusively as a double pack with 120.7 for £229 (sold out)

Colour: grilled pineapple

Nose: wow, its aptly named on the aromas alone. This is a sweet trolley on a Caribbean island. More pineapple covered in lashings of honey, succulent peaches, Italian lemons, basil and sweet desiccated coconut. Interestingly the charring seems very light and fragrant; only highlighted by the residue once you've finished a dram.

Taste: those Caribbean flavours persist as does the familiar essence of coconut. More vanilla in the mouth (almost bourbon in its robustness), with banoffee pie and melted caramel. Spices linger with a little pepper, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.   

A lovely grain, perhaps a little too high on the sweet scale for some and one dimensional, but I could quite easily sit down and enjoy a bottle with friends. A real treat to experience a Japanese grain from the Nikka stable.

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