Last weekend, we wanted to take some time to revisit some exclusive bottlings loved by you. We asked members and ambassadors from across our community to provide their take on some of the memorable exclusives they’ve experienced over the years.
Read on to explore each bottling with the original Tasting Note and some flavour notes from our members. We’ve also provided a wallpaper for your phone – we think it works best as a lock screen image, but you decide!
Japan – Cask No. 5.68: Unexpected harmony
A complex concoction of flavours stumbled into unexpected harmony as the sweet aromas of vanilla pods and marshmallows bounced off banana liqueur and aniseed with a revitalising undercurrent of fresh eucalyptus. Green and nutty notes sat between walnut oil and green apples with soft balsa wood and coconut husk. The palate combined caraway with floral tones that with time opened to tropical fruit cordial and thick slices of Battenberg cake. The strong presence of new oak retained a firm backbone throughout, occasionally dipping into cream and milk chocolate that became more dominant on the extended finish.
Takahiro Hashimoto, SMWS Japan
This is the third bottle out of four casks released by SMWS Japan to celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2018. The flavor profile is popular with its light and delicate, wonderful oak scent and anise-like sweet taste. The bottle label has been inspired by Kabuki in Japan, and the brown color of the Kumadori symbolizes a suddenly appearing Yokai (Japanese folk monster). It was just like a bottle title and had an “unexpected”. This elegant flavor was also highly regarded by mixologist’s bartenders, and RAGE COFFEE BAR Café at Ginza area in central Tokyo, this cocktail “coffee hunter ” using the whisky, blended coffee, vermouth, etc. it was accepted and popular among younger generations.
UK – Cask No. 7.227: I’m just a teenage fruit fly baby
The abundantly fruity nose opens with peach stones and a fizzy apricot smoothie. There’s champagne cocktails, melon balls, charred pineapple, medicine balls, spearmint jelly and tropical fruit sherbet. With water comes notes of crisp bread, olive oil, spicy rice crackers, sourdough, pine needles, jelly beans, blackcurrant sweets, nettle soup, cough medicine and fresh nectarines. The mouth is riddled with red fruit teas, green apple, vanilla pods, fizzy watermelon sweets, truffle oil, grilled root vegetables, toasted pistachio nuts and chamois leather. With water there’s old sauternes, orange oils, hessian cloth, sweetened porridge, white chocolate, freshly brewed mead, almond milk and rosewater.
Alan Wood, Glasgow venue team
“This bottling is a quintessential Speyside with a mix of sweet and woody aromas. It’s a classic example of a first fill bourbon cask number 7, light vanilla combined with slight cinnamon notes without water. There is a real note of fruitiness lying underneath it and once water has been added, this whisky very much calms down in the glass letting some of the softer aromas come to the fore.”
Sweden – Cask No. 53.296: Ash on a sponge cake
Burning gorse produced a soft smoke as the salty sea breeze carried delicate wafers of ash that settled on the sticky apricot jam topping of a sponge cake. Ice cream cones melted in the sun with the soft fruit of peaches and cream. The evocative aromas of smoked mackerel and mussels in a cream and wine sauce delivered a lovely combination as they merged with fresh white oak. The palate warmed with a ginger spice alongside a charcoal grill as the coals crumbled away into ash. Sweet and sticky notes conjured images of toasting marshmallows on burnt sticks in a malt kiln before the weight of tar-covered ropes combined with scorched wood on the long finish.
Moa Nilsson, @Swedishwhiskygirl
“My initial feeling when I tried this beautiful whisky was that I was surprised by how robust it was. It’s so rich in its oaky smoke that it would be the absolute perfect companion on a cold winters evening next to a bonfire outside. I immediately wanted to share it with friends to find out what they thought of this briny dram with delicious brown sugar sweetness and intriguing ashy finish.”
Germany – Cask No. 66.158: Someone left a cigar in the boudoir
A very well integrated dram; sweet smoke with marzipan on the nose, alongside the fruitiness of green apple and raspberries. This is closely followed by tree bark and dark chocolate with a touch of ginger. On the palate now, imagine vanilla cream in a cigar box, Demerara sugar and ripe cherries, before a long and dry finish, full of charcoal and salt.
Alexander Gonzales, SMWS Germany member
“When my membership expired in autumn, it was clear that the only option for me was to renew with a bottle. At a tasting in Hamburg I was able to try 66.158 “Someone left a cigar in the boudoir”. It’s taste profile with fine notes of smoke and tobacco, combined with a fine sweetness, absolutely meets my personal taste. And the fact that is was only abailably in my country gives it a special touch.”
Australia – Cask No. 68.18: Triple berry Lamington cake
Jersey caramels and cherry chocolates. Wine gums and fruit Danish’s. Marmalade on the hob. Apricot delight and hints of autumn trips to the milk bar. A bright sherry emphasis hints at raspberry ripple ice cream and peach melba. After considerable time in the glass, milko sticks and warm afternoons on the vineyard.
Matt Bailey, national ambassador SMWS Australia
“The 68.18 Triple berry lamington cake really burst onto Outturn for members back in 2018 after Brooke Hayman, Julian White, and the whole team at Whisky & Alement specially selected this cask. The first feature of the cask was at the Melbourne Members Christmas party which was hosted at Starward distillery. It went down an absolute treat and was an instant member favourite. There’s heavy notes of jammy lamington, desiccated coconut, rich spicy char and a big syrupy mouthfeel.”
USA – Cask No. 93.114: Barbecue in fish nets
The air was filled with the wonderful aromas of rosemary, sage and balsamic glaze. Thick gravy bubbled as blackcurrants and cranberries became singed alongside walnuts in a hot oven. Puffs of smoke blew in through an open window bringing with them wafts of engine oil that had fused with sea air and fishing nets. Water brought about more ashy tones that became lifted by sea buckthorn and quince. Salty bacon crackled in a pan as charred marmalade bubbled like a hot mantle on smoked ham. Fragrant notes of bergamot and dry rosè wine combined with sweet leather and a handful of salted almonds before we arrived at a finish bound by grape seeds and pear skin. After spending 12 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead this was transferred to a 1st fill port hogshead for the remainder of its maturation.
Jason Epstein, SMWS America member
“Upon seeing the pink hues pouring into the glass, the sweet maritime scented nose, and the salty smoke from the grill on your palate transport you to a beachside bonfire bbq at sunset, sitting in a circle around the fire pit with your closest friends, chatting into the wee hours of the morning, not a care in the world.”