In mystery shows like “Supernatural“, shape-shifters often fill the roles of sly and devious antagonists that use their transformation abilities to mislead the heroes and perform their vile deeds unnoticed. This special breed of shape-shifter, which hails from Craigellachie Distillery in Speyside, is different. While it also has a pretty versatile character, its most noticeable trait is brutish force (at least to my somewhat softened nostrils and palate). With an ABV of almost 64 per cent on the one hand and a boisterous temper on the other, it marks the kind of dram you go to when you need to feel alive again, e.g. after a long and draining day at work. One sip is all it takes to animate every nerve and fibre in your body. If Victor Frankenstein had a bottle of “Sweet, succulent shape-shifter” from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society available back in the day, he surely would not have needed to wait for a stroke of lightning to bring his creature to life! As someone, who feels most comfortable with bottles that stay below the 60 per cent barrier, I could not stand face to face with this super-strong shape-shifter every day. But when I am in the right mood, an encounter with the 44.97 from The SMWS marks an invigorating, intense and inspiring experience.
Eye: Dirty gold.
Nose: Sweet, sumptuous and a wee bit dusty. At first, I smell yellow plums, sugared gooseberries, vanilla milk, grated ginger and a fleeting cloudlet of smoke. Then, hazelnut cake with caramel coating. And finally, burnt rice pudding with a pinch of kurkuma powder on top. When I take a deep sniff, the very high ABV stings in my nostrils.
Palate: A full, voluminous mouth feel and a fiery strength that sets the tongue ablaze. Taste-wise, the whisky offers a lot of tropical and exotic fruit notes: pineapple, peach, persimmon, golden kiwi. The afore-mentioned vanilla milk and rice pudding make a return on the palate as well, giving the fruity spirit a good sturdiness. No doubt: This is a real heavy weight! And it packs quite a punch. The longer I let the whisky billow in my mouth, the more it sets my oral cavity on fire!
Finish: The aftertaste is very long and flavorsome. The fruits become a bit more common now; like local garden fruits. There is also an ongoing sweetness and a covibrating spiciness. Towards the end, I get a good amount of toffee and milk chocolate, too.
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Region: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 11 years
Alc. volume: 63.6 per cent
Cask type: HTMC hogshead
# of bottles: 262
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price range: ~60.00 Euro
More info: https://www.smws.com/ (Bottler)