Society small-batch single malt hits heights at Ultimate Spirits Challenge

//Society small-batch single malt hits heights at Ultimate Spirits Challenge

Society small-batch single malt hits heights at Ultimate Spirits Challenge

The Society’s small-batch Islay Festival bottling Smoky Maritime Hit wins ‘Extraordinary: Ultimate Recommendation’ award in prestigious USC competition.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s Islay Festival bottling for the United States, Smoky Maritime Hit, has proved a hit with the judges of the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, with an award of 98 points that puts it into the highest category of ‘Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation’ as a Chairman’s Trophy Finalist.

The Society also picked up four other ‘Chairman’s Trophy Finalist’ awards, two ‘Top 100 Spirits’ awards and scores ranging from 94-98 points that add up to our strongest results to date in the USC competition.

Smoky Maritime Hit is a small-batch, single malt release from distillery 10, created from a combination of second fill Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry hogsheads as well as re-charred hogsheads and bottled at 7-years-old. It was produced for the Society’s US branch but shares a similar recipe to the Sweet Smoked Salmon Jerky small-batch Islay festival bottling released here in Australia.

Thousands of spirits are tasted blind for the Ultimate Spirits Challenge by world-renowned spirits expert Paul Pacult and his team, with only a select few making it to the finalist round of their coveted Chairman’s Trophy award.

We are delighted that the team of judges at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge have recognised the outstanding quality of our small-batch single malt bottling that we created for the US for this year’s Islay festival,” said SMWS spirits director Kai Ivalo. “The SMWS is known first and foremost for our single cask, single malt bottlings, but we created both Smoky Maritime Hit for the US and Sweet Smoked Salmon Jerky in the UK and elsewhere as small-batch blends so that more of our members could experience them.

The full list of awards and USC tasting notes are:

Distillery 10 Small Batch Release – Smoky Maritime Hit 98 points / Chairman’s Trophy Finalist / Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation Intense campfire smoke fills the nose from this bright and bold whisky. Crunchy cereal grains, crisp butter toffee, salty snack crackers, and fire roasted red fruits are powerful and integrated on the palate. The finish is full of nutty brittle and light caramel. Utterly delicious.

Cask No. G8.16: Mature and energetic 97 / Top 100 Spirits / Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation Complex and well-aged spirit that shows star anise, caramelized sugar, and sweet custard on the nose, but then explodes on the palate with dark chocolate, orange gelée, raspberry coulis, toasted pecans, and rum-raisin. Add a splash of water to unlock a trove of complex flavors.

Cask No. 12.43: Desire lines 97 points / Chairman’s Trophy Finalist / Top 100 Spirits / Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation Initially a coy nose, this whisky unravels aromas of dried golden plums, heather fields, honey cake, and baker’s yeast. The palate has enormous concentration and a bit of water helps loosen the complex fruit grain character hidden within.

Cask No. 76.148: Grilled lemon-garlic elk steak 95 points / Chairman’s Trophy Finalist / Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation A truly complex and impressive Scotch Whiskey! Endless layers of aromas are generously displayed and keep evolving in the glass. Notes of orange peel, roasted hazelnuts, black vanilla beans, and charred wood are pronounced abundant, leading into the long-lasting, umami finish.

Cask No. 7.255: Giggle jiggle 94 points / Chairman’s Trophy Finalist / Excellent, Highly Recommended An elegant nose, showing dried straw, dried white flowers, and a bit of fresh cedar belies a full-bodied whisky full of baking spice and pink peppercorn. There is more fruit on display as waves of white peach and yellow apple weave through the earth and spice.

Cask No. 112.75: Queen of tarts 94 points / Chairman’s Trophy Finalist / Excellent, Highly Recommended Honey and graham crackers are pleasant and restrained aromas. More powerful in the mouth, the flavors are full of golden syrup, apricot preserves, whole grain toast and spicy mace. Toasted maple sugar is supple on the finish.

To find all of the USC results, visit


About the Author:

Matt Bailey is the National Ambassador and Development Manager for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society Australia. He's tirelessly trying to meet every member and share a dram with you all.

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