Last October, legendary whisky expert Charlie MacLean and Society USA director Tom Smith embarked on a tasting tour across the country. The objective was twofold: 1) offer our members the once-in-a-lifetime experience of participating in the Society’s Tasting Panel under the guidance of the Tasting Panel’s first chairman, Charlie, who flew from Scotland to be with us in person; 2) entrust these members with the task of evaluating several casks in a blind format and assessing their readiness for release. Quite simply, our mission was to enable US members to choose their own US exclusive casks for the first time ever while receiving a masterclass in whisky tasting from one of the world’s most respected experts. Needless to say, all parties involved had a splendid time and Charlie cannot wait to join us again! Six exceptional casks were evaluated by nearly 150 members in five cities and the Society has decided to ship to the US the three highest-scoring casks that American members chose for immediate release.
Last month, we released our first cask from this series – Cask 93.140 Bacon on a bonfire – through a lottery that received a tremendous response. If you were lucky enough to be able to acquire one of these precious bottles, congratulations! If not, here is your new chance to secure an equally special, US member-selected Society bottle!
Today, we are very excited to present the second cask from our 2019 Tasting Panel Experience! Cask 3.315 A Moment of Salinity was distilled on the shores of Loch Indaal, nestled in the heart of Islay. The sense of place in this malt pervades the senses with waves of salty sea air, seaweed on wet sand and wildflowers growing freely around the island. The first nosing transports us across the Atlantic and the first sip reminds us that this tiny island yields whisky of enormous flavour. After sixteen years resting in an ex-bourbon hogshead, those members who chose Cask 3.315 decided it was ready to take its place among our treasured collection of exceptional whisky. The notes taken by US members during our sessions speak volumes to the rich complexity of this Islay dram! Aromas from the undiluted nose included “cardamom”, “freshly cut grass”, “liquorice”, “roasted salmon”, “medicine cabinet” and “salsa verde”. The undiluted palate evoked “light smoke”, “brine”, “seaweed”, “smoked paprika”, “faint hint of iodine”, “ginger”, and “wasabi” (yes!). The diluted nose (adding a few drops of water) brought even more creativity with “Mexican hot chocolate”, “oyster bake”, “peppered lobster”, “strawberry rhubarb pie with burnt crust”, “grape jam”, “salty rosemary” and “maritime sea breeze”. Finally, the diluted palate presented “salted caramel”, “saltwater taffy”, “grilled peppers”, “peaty leather”, “orange peel”, “oysters” and even “green chutney with smoked honey”. Clearly, this dram generated an enthusiastic reaction from our participating members and sets the stage for an unforgettable taste experience!
Cask No. 3.315
Title: A moment of salinity
Tasting Note: Initially this one was all dryness and mineralic austerity. Brittle, blade-like and chiselled like a pale blue Adonis. Then more gentle scents began to peep through. Roses, cardamom, bath salts, wild flowers, pine needles and cut grass. Elegance and subtlety abound. Water gave the impression of sea water sloshing into a swimming pool. Seaweed wrapped around plastic water wings. Then more sweetness with grape jam, lemon cough drops and aniseed medicines. The palate opened with a surprisingly oily texture. A rather intense and pronounced salinity and notes of quiche pastry, sun-dried tomato, cumin, verbena, smoked paprika and a kiss of wasabi. Dilution brings salt taffy and toasted marshmallows. The crispness of granny smith apples, tart fruit chutneys, grilled peppers and the notion of lightly peat smoked honey in the finish.
Age: 16 years
Date distilled: February 2004
Barrel: Second-fill hogshead
Outturn: 261 bottles
US Allocation: 261 bottles
PLEASE NOTE: The full cask has been brought to the US, but due to the expected popularity and the relatively limited quantity (only 261 bottles) of this release, Cask 3.315 will not be available for purchase today. Instead, just like successfully done last month, we invite you to enter the raffle below now for a chance to purchase Cask 3.315. Entries must be completed by Wednesday August 26th at 12pm EDT. Winning member names will be drawn at that time. They will be contacted shortly thereafter and will have 48 hours to order their bottle (until FRI 8/28 at 12pm EDT).
Thank you for everyone who entered the raffle for Cask No. 3.315, 'A moment of salinity.' We will be in touch with the winners on Wednesday, August 26, and will contact all member entrants when all bottles have been allocated. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 646-844-1154 or firstname.lastname@example.org.