Our final Tasting Panel Experience release of 2021 is here, and this USA exclusive cask might just be the perfect holiday whisky!
In October 2019, legendary whisky expert Charlie MacLean and SMWS America director Tom Smith embarked on a tasting tour across the US. The objective was twofold: 1) offer our members the once-in-a-lifetime experience of participating to the Society’s Tasting Panel under the guidance of the Tasting Panel’s actual chairman, who flew from Scotland to be with us in person; 2) entrust these members with the task of evaluating several casks and assessing their readiness for release. Quite simply, our mission was to enable US members to choose their own US exclusive casks! Six casks were evaluated by nearly 150 members in five cities and, over the course of 2020, the three casks chosen by our members were released via lottery with immense success. Last year, we were not able to host in-person events, so we took the virtual route, with Charlie MacLean joining the SMWS America team on our YouTube channel for a live tasting of six new samples. American members were represented on the Tasting Panel with Charlie by SMWS America’s management team Tom Smith, Ben Diedrich and Jenna Elie. And members cast their votes to decide which three exceptional casks would be released in 2021!
Today, we are very proud to present Cask No. 30.116 A Christmas Changeling, a cask ready to win you over with holiday cheer! This distillery is no stranger to sherried whisky and Charlie points out how well this distillate takes to a rich sherry-seasoned cask. The nose is mellow with Charlie picking up mixed dried fruits, almonds, walnuts, cherries and Christmas cake. The rest of the Panel picks out a sweet balsamic reduction with Jenna highlighting dates and maple syrup, Ben getting a nutty character and Tom chiming in with figs sauteed in butter. On the palate, Charlie mentions a lightly oily texture with a pleasantly spicy finish. Tom gets plenty of maraschino character with nutmeg and cinnamon while Jenna notes a meatiness reminiscent of a balsamic cherry reduction on a juicy steak. She also wants to pour this all over pancakes as the entire Tasting Panel now turns to pairing this beautiful “Old & Dignified” cask with food. Ben would pair with Jamon Iberico and a pork chop very easily. Tom wants some brisket with his dram and Charlie is reaching for cured meats and Christmas pudding! Aging for 21 years in ex-bourbon and 2 years PX sherry cask creates a dynamic spirit that will leave lucky sippers plenty to unpack as they enjoy the holiday season to its fullest! Society director Tom Smith and Society member Mystery Guest sat down last night to taste this USA-exclusive single cask whisky. Follow this link to check out the tasting and their thoughts on Cask No. 30.116 A Christmas Changeling!
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the expected high popularity of this release, Cask No. 30.116 will not be available for ordering today. Instead, we invite interested members to enter the raffle below for a chance to order Cask No. 30.116. Entries must be completed by Monday December 6th at 2pm EST. 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 Wednesday 12/8 at 2pm EST).
We thank those members who participated in last year’s virtual Tasting Panel Experience and helped select Cask No. 30.116, cheers to your delicious choice! We hope all members across the US can enjoy this very special malt and, while sharing with those near and dear to you, also share in the pride we all feel for our American chapter of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society!
Cask No. 30.116
Title: Cask No. 30.116 A Christmas Changeling
Tasting Note: Fiercely polished mahogany greets the eyes with a deep amber gaze, with thanks given to the casks this rested in. After 21 years in an ex-bourbon casks, it soaked up its final splash of color from its two and a half years in a 1st fill Spanish oak PX hogshead. Lingers in the glass, with soft yet powerful notes of dates and mixed dried fruits, salted caramel, maraschino cherries and pure maple syrup. Almonds and candied walnuts dance into Christmas cake, followed by savory notes of balsamic vinegar reduction, dry Oloroso and cinnamon nutmeg spice. Water introduces lime pickle and mango chutney. The palate, with its viscous texture gifts a light acidity and sweetness, turning into a drying, long, pleasantly spicy finish. Water excites with a sweet and sour, meaty grilled steak with garam masala curry spice, topped with hardwood sawdust. Long and warm finish of Christmas pudding, balsamic and candies nuts! The holiday spirit of spirits!
Age: 23 years
Date distilled: February 1997
Region: Speyside Spey
Barrel: First-fill Spanish oak Pedro Ximenez hogshead
Outturn: 157 bottles
US Allocation: 157 bottles