Madness Reinspired


It’s the first week of November and, surprise-surprise, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society has a brand new outturn ready. And it’s the biggest one yet apparently. Out today.

So it happens that they quite like us and we quite love them and on the back of these mutual feelings we sometimes get to taste stuff before it is released, which is very nice and handy. And that’s exactly what happened last night!

But before I jot down some tasting notes, a few words about what you can see in the picture above.

The Society has a specific approach to naming their bottlings. As you probably know they give their whiskies discriptive names so that you don’t have to worry too much about the funny numbers. Now they have decided to go a step further and release three bottles with labels bearing artistic impressions of the taste of the whisky inside. The series is called Far Flung Flavours and is a highly limited, highly collectable one-off thing.

Last night a few members of the online-whisky community were gathered in SMWS Queen Street, the bottles were circling the room and the judgements were being passed. I was shell-shocked to discover that most people didn’t like the idea and the execution! Some found it “too jazzy”, some just didn’t care and only wanted to know what was inside. Fair enough. But I absolutely love it. Packaging is a vital part of any high-end product and I am delighted to see SMWS trialing new stuff, being innovative and a bit controversial. Personally I find both the idea and the execution stunning. The bottles look much better in real than in the picture by the way. Tell me what guys think!

Oh, almost forgot. The price of the full set of three is £176. Available only to members and likely to be gone in no time.

Now as to the whisky from the new outturn, we tasted 5 last night: 37.45; 26.63; 35.32; 28.22 and 10.70 – the numbers look really scary when you line them up like this, eh? I’m not too much of a numbers person…

Instead of boring you dead with tasting notes for all of them, I’ll tell you about our winner.


37.45 Slap and tingle
distilled 1987 (22yo)
re-fill hogshead
56.5% ABV

Nose: To me it was marzipan potatoes straight away (they sell them every year just before Christmas at the German market in Edinburgh). Macadamia nuts, coconut shell, floor polish. With a touch of water (even) more nuts and maple syrup. Fresh and crisp for the age. Intense, clear and focused. A cracker!

Palate: Big and salty. Nutty and woody. Pretzels and oranges.

Finsh: Fruity and aggressive.

Overall: It comes from that distillery in Speyside which begins with Craggan- and ends with -more (Did you guess correctly? Are you sure?) and it is not what you expect from them! I have never been their greatest fan, mainly because of the Distiller’s Edition port finish disaster, but I guess I have to revise my opinion now. 37.45 is mature but clean and bright. It’s intense and it’ll keep you busy for a long time. A belter.

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