Last week, I attended another wonderful tastings of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society hosted by one of their German brand ambassadors, Chris Rickert, in his “Room for Liquid Education” at Hamburg’s Fischmarkt. As only four guests found their way to this tasting, the atmosphere was rather cozy – possibly due to the many Christmas parties that are going on at the moment. For me and the other attendees, being part of such a small group offered the chance to have many in-depth discussions about the five whiskies in our glasses, whose combined ages added up to an impressive 122 years of maturation. As usual, Chris also served us two sorts of fresh bread alongside our drams. And since the festive season is already in full swing, he had also prepared some stollen confectionery and delicious chocolate truffles with sea salt.
According to the SMWS, the Glenrothes 35yo was supposed to be first whisky of the evening. But we were in a cheeky mood and changed the order of our drams. So we started with a 27-year-old whisky from Glen Grant Distillery called “Lychee martini”. The more time you allow it in the glass, the sweeter it gets. It offers notes of cucumbers, lychees, nuts and yoghurt when you take your first sniff. The cucumbers and the nuts are very present on the palate, too. Give it some time and chocolate as well as coffee shine through. If you add some water, the slightly wooden note that was also present before, disappears completely and the coffee transforms into cappuccino. We then went on to a malt that was filled into its cask when I was not even half a year old. The 35 years old Glenrothes called “Juicy fruit and perfumed sweetness” spreads its tropical scent all across the room the second you open the bottle. Wonderful notes of tropical fruits and pears are paired with nuts, apples, pineapples and slightly bitter almonds.
Up next was a Clynelish 21yo called “Dark and dangerously good”. After 20 years of maturation in an Oloroso butt, it was finished for one additional year in a first fill PX cask. A distinct spiciness is combined with dark red fruits like very ripe cherries and a good portion of fudge. What a wonderful combination! The second-to-last dram of the evening was a 30-year-old Longmorn called “A sonata of sapidity”. The refill hogshead this whisky was matured in only brought forth 72 bottles in the end. This very oily whisky is full of oranges, leather, winegums, wood and cough sweets. While you have fruit tea in your nose, it changes into herbal tea with the first sip. This was another dram you could easily spend hours with.
We were then served our last whisky of the evening, which was rather young in comparison to the other four drops. But it was no less special. This 9-year-old Ardbeg called “Peat-reek and barbecue char” was fully matured in a second fill Oloroso butt. While there is a nice mixture of smoke and sweetness in the nose, you will discover citrus fruits, marzipan and salt on the palate. As always, I really enjoyed this evening at Hansemalt and was happy for the chance to try these excellent bottlings from the SMWS, which always offer great value for money. If you are still undecided wether you should become a member of the SMWS or not, you should give it a shot and attend one of their tastings. Afterwards, your answer surely won’t be a “No”…
Cask 30.90 “Juicy fruit and perfumed sweetness” (Glenrothes) (Single Malt / 35yo / 43.8% / ~280.00 Euro)
Cask 26.119 “Dark and dangerously good” (Clynelish) (Single Malt / 21yo / 56% / ~140.00 Euro)
Cask 9.104 “Lychee martini” (Glen Grant) (Single Malt / 27yo / 55.5% / ~145.00 Euro)
Cask 7.128 “A sonata of sapidity” (Longmorn) (Single Malt / 30yo / 54% / ~295.00 Euro)
Cask 33.135 “Peat-reek and barbeque char” (Ardbeg) (Single Malt / 9yo / 60.2% / ~140.00 Euro)