A Quick SMWS Dram and a Tasting Menu


The other night, I was at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Queen Street, trying out the new tasting menu. It was cracking. Each dish was very precisely prepared, and James Zorab from the society guided us through several drams that had been carefully picked to match each dish. In terms of matching, the general feeling in the room was that it was particularly challenging to match a whisky with main courses, but starters and desserts had lots of potential for matching.

At the dinner, I really enjoyed the venison, the lamb, and whisky chocolate mousse, but I maybe found the Sauternes jelly a little too fine dining for my palate. I like food that is a bit more basic.

The great thing for me that evening (apart from brilliant meal and tasting) was that I fell in love. Not with my colleague Tiger (there is already love there), who was also there that night, or with our host Zorab (although he is a very handsome man), but with a whisky. I loved it so much, I bought a bottle the very next day, and that bottle was gone within 3 weeks. Since I tend to blog about such things, let me tell you a little more about my infatuation. Since it only lasted 3 weeks, it would probably be classed as a holiday romance:

44.57 Sea Salted Caramel Pebbles
22 Year Old Craigellachie
Refill Ex Bourbon Hogshead
Filled on the 13th of August, 1990
52.9% ABV, buy it here for £70.90

Nose: Crispy bacon, resin, workshop with wood shavings, well fired pork belly, salted crackers (I am easily led by names of drams), slight honey note, herbal tea note, thyme and a tiny chalk note.

Fascinating, deeply enjoyable and complex.

Palate: Nice salted peanut note, some bacon and charcoal, tiny drop of oiliness, more resin and a spicy note.

Overall: Such an enjoyable, savoury whisky.

Head along to the SMWS, try their tasting menu and see if you end up falling in love.

Chris Hoban



  1. Someone has divined my innermost culinary cravings and put them on a menu on Queen Street. This sounds fantastic!
    I am a big fan of the tasting menu concept: simply sit down and wait while multiple artful, flavoursome and varied mouthfuls are put down in front of you. The addition of whisky to the mix sounds like an experience I shall have to explore and before too much time passes.
    On the subject of the Craigellachie, the SMWS seem to have a brilliant eye – or should that be ‘nose’ – for spotting good examples of whiskies in the textured, meaty, complex categories: your Craigellachie is one instance, but they release some awe-inspiring Clynelishes, as well.

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