The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) will be releasing The Jazz Trio of very rare and select casks this May Outturn, however, you can taste them from this Thursday evening at Partner Bar Whisky & Alement.
Named The Jazz Trio, a set of whiskies all originally born from the same sherry puncheon before being split equally across three different types of cask. The Jazz Trio is a project to showcase the influence of the wood and additional maturation on the flavour of Society whisky.
The spirit from iconic distillery 24 has been matured for over 20 years and then rested in three separate casks for around 2 extra years. True to expectation, after the further maturation, the wood has made a real impact on the flavour.
The concept for the name derives from a comparison with the wood used to make instruments in a jazz trio. When used in different ways, the wood creates a hugely different sound – across drums, the double bass and the piano.
However, they can all still come together and work in harmony as a trio from the same mother cask. Each of the labels therefore features a different instrument from a jazz trio.
Each finished whisky is 22 years old and has been bottled in the Society’s premium livery of black and copper. The three bottles will be retailed together as a set for members, for $3,000 per/set, limit one per/member. Bottles will not be sold individually, and are only open to members of the SMWS as a set.
Commenting on the split cask concept, UK Spirits Manager Euan Campbell said “This was a really exciting experiment for the Society and we are truly delighted with the outcome. As we expected, the wood has made a real impact on the individual flavour of each whisky. The Jazz Trio are three of our finest and rarest releases to date, this is a set of whiskies like no other.”
Full tasting notes
A dark allurement
A resinous, mineralic sherry – almost brittle in its purity – leaps at you from the glass. It evolves into a poetic riddle of camphor, dates, aged Borderies Cognac, supple earthiness, dark brown sugar, pomegranate molasses and aged cigars. There’s cough medicine in there as well, alongside sour cherries, redcurrant jus and cured game meats. Reduction brings forth a sense of long-aged medicines, shoe polish, peppermint tea, eucalyptus oils and pine resin. The sherry remains vibrant, nervous and beautifully poised. The arrival on the palate is mouth-enveloping. A dense, hugely syrupy texture full of salted almonds, white truffle, dunnage earthiness, spiced plum wine, pressed marigold flowers and dried herbs. With water there are more nutty qualities, toasted seed mixes, grassy olive oil, sooty inflections and notes of dry cereals, buttery brown toast and expensive liquorice. A fading, rancio-rich finish follows with notes of salted lemons and dried thyme in the aftertaste. After 20 years maturation in an Oloroso puncheon this whisky was transferred to a 1st fill Oloroso hogshead.
An opulent temptation
The earthiness of the PX sherry strikes first with a dense cloak of autolytic brown bread, leaf mulch, aged walnut wines and cured meats rising from the glass. As this heady veil retreats there emerges raisins stewed in cognac, ancient rhum agricole, caramelised demerara sugar and sweet – almost botrytic – sultanas. Water brings a wealth of aromatic complexity; a sense of ancient balsamic, long-aged Vin Juane, menthol tobacco and aged Chinese tea cakes. Also jasmine and softer notes of earthy chamomile and dried mint. The palate is dense and yet well-chiselled and punchy. Immediately there is raspberry jam, quince, dark chocolate covered prunes, date compote, black pepper and a rich note of damp hessian sack cloth. With reduction comes a saliva-summoning acidity, leavened bread, lambic ale and aged strawberry wine. More autolytic touches such as sourdough starter and soda bread emerge. The finish melts into a chocolatey, darkly fruited, warming olfactory smog. Transferred to 1st fill PX hogshead after 20 years of maturation in an Oloroso sherry puncheon.
A sweet seduction
The initial appearance of orange-flecked gold hints at this whisky’s sherry cask origins. Indeed, the first nosing reveals a gentle abundance of gingerbread, spun sugar and precious nectars. Some quietly luscious fruit syrups linger in the background and between it all lies a warmth of peppery spice, grated nutmeg, cinnamon bark and ground allspice. A little water reveals supple green fruits, poire williams eau de vie and warm, custard-drizzled gooseberry tart. The arrival in the mouth is thrillingly dense, with an enlivening – almost gooey – Muscovado sugar sweetness. Runny honey, aged herbal liqueurs and a kind of sticky rancio all make themselves felt. Water unveils lightness; assorted citrus rinds; pink grapefruit; white pepper and truffle oil. There follows a mineral-flecked, lingering finish that treads the knife-edge of sweetness and drying earthy qualities. Matured for 20 years in an Oloroso puncheon before transfer to a 2nd fill bourbon barrel.