You're telling me I can pay a huge cover charge in return for the privilege to overpay for my drinks once I'm inside? I ditched this crap in the LA night scene two decades ago and I have zero tolerance for it now in the whisky scene(?). No live music or even a DJ? No thanks. Oh, I'm allowed to pay for $100 dinners? Yeah, no.
Yes, Scotch Malt Whisky Society has picked a number of very good single casks over the years, but so have dozens of other independent bottlers that don't make one join a "society" nor charge a $229 fee so that one can then spend $125 on a 12 year old Balmenach, $135 for a 14yo Inchmurrin or $115 for an 11yo Mannochmore. This may be where you and I part ways. SMWS makes no sense to me. I can buy some great whisky for $229 and then pay much less elsewhere for similar young single casks from the referenced distilleries.
Are you finished?
I guess so.
I do have the occasional friend or three to whom the SMWS does makes sense. And that's fine with him and me. I won't be competing with him to buy the next $150 bottle of Royal Brackla. And sometimes he ignores what an asshole I am and then shares samples from his bottles. I love him for it. Makes me want to belong to a club that would have someone like him for a member.
In this case, Saint Brett gave me a sample of this Glen Scotia (and a zillion other things, really). I'm pretty optimistic about a Glen Scotia from a refill ex-bourbon hogshead. Gimme gimme crazy Scotia.
Distillery: Glen Scotia (SMWS 93)
Ownership: Loch Lomond Group (via Exponent)
Type: Single Malt
Independent Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Funny name: Calmac welder’s tea break
Age: 14 years (June 1999 - 2014)
Maturation: refill ex-bourbon
Alcohol by Volume: 58.3%
Caramel Colorant? No
At full strength, this nose is all over the place. Sawdust, lavender, ham, industrial chimneys and grape drink. Really. The palate proves to be less adventurous. It starts with raw cocoa, salty ocean air, ashy peat and a pinch of granulated sugar. That's followed by Frangelico, dried apricots and burnt notes. The finish tastes like a mouthful of gravel...along with some burnt, bitter, sweet, and malty notes.
WITH WATER (~46%abv)
The ashy peat moves up into the nose, where it's joined by wood chip mulch, synthetic fabrics and plastic. There are some coffee grounds, slight floral notes, and a newly opened bag of rubber bands. The palate has become very malty and salty. Brown sugar and subtle smoke meet a wormwood bitterness. Mmm, more good sharp bitterness in the finish. There's the salty coastal note. Hints of smoke and sweetness, along with the rubber band bag.
Without the water, the whisky had me going, "Hmm. Pretty weird, pretty cool." But once I added water I was all "OH YEAH!" like the Kool-Aid Man. At 46%abv, it sits somewhere between good Talisker and older odder-era Ledaig. If you were
Availability - Sold out
Pricing - original price around $130
Rating - 88 (with water)