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Glen Grant SMWS 9.157 I drambled lonely as a cloud...

Old and dignified. Yeah right

3 1073

WReview by @Wierdo

8th Jun 2019

1

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    73

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I have an active imagination. I often end up thinking about stupid fantasies.

How would I fortify my house in the event of a zombie apocalypse?

So I'm watching one of my favourite films John Carpenter's 'the Thing' and at the end Macready is sitting in the snow whilst the base burns swigging from a bottle of J&B. He's joined by Niles and they share the bottle. Both waiting for the flames to dwindle and freeze to death or the other to spout tentacles out of their forehead and murder them.

It got me thinking what whisky would I want for such a desperate situation? I guess anything would do. But hopefully something a bit better than J&B.

A small group of survivors holed up in a house surrounded by zombies. Defences crumbling. No hope of rescue. We won't last until morning. A bottle of SMWS 9.157 would be what I would reach for in such a situation.

Not because it would be what I'd want to drink and share in such a desperate situation. But because the high abv means it would make a really good molotov cocktail and it might also be able to sterilise zombie bites.

So that high abv. There's no getting away from it. 60%+ for a 22 year old is extraordinary. It domainates the whisky.

Neat you pick up green fruits, bolied sweets, coconut and nail varnish on the nose. You take a sip and the fruit blast hits you.

And then the heat kicks in. Aargh!! This must be what fire-eaters experience at work. Bit of water will tame it. So you add a bit of water. No, still burns. Bit more water. No, still hot. Bit more water....

Eventually when you've added a lot more water (5 teaspoons to a 50ml measure) it's tamed from drinking napalm to sipping lighter fluid. Ahhh...this is bearable. But hang on? Where have all the orchard fruit flavours gone? Where's the coconut? They've been replaced by a vague muted sourness and some oakiness.

The SMWS give their whiskies flavour profiles. 'Spicy and dry, lightly peated' etc. This is profiled as 'Old and dignified' which frankly takes the p***. If you did a blind test on this and were asked the age i reckon you'd guess it was around 10 years old. This has spent 22 years in some seriously underactive casks.

The issue with this whisky is neat or with a bit of water there's quite a lot going on but the heat in it makes it almost undrinkable. But then diluted you lose most of the flavours and aromas and are left with a glass of meh! I can't help but feel disappointed with my first bottle from the SMWS. Cost me £112 too. Which is a big deal for me. I don't normally spend that much on a bottle. For £100 I could have had a bottle of Lagavulin 12 CS. Incidentally. If I was holed up in a cabin with a bunch of Connosrs surrounded by Zombies. Not convinced we'd make the dawn. Lagavulin 12 cask strength IS the bottle I'd share around!

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10 comments

@RianC
RianC commented

@Wierdo - Ouch! Sorry to hear this was a disappointment, especially at that price.

If this review's done anything it's made me feel the Laga 12 is good value for money - you should work for Diageo's PR team laughing

16 days ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

@Wierdo thanks for your fun to read review! Very entertaining. Invite @SquidgyAsh in for the Zombie Apocalypse whiskyfest. He has done a few very long and very entertaining zombie apocalypse Connosr reviews as well.

Yes, Lagavulin 12 is certainly among the Greatest Hits and would be highly desirable in such a situation. Certainly Lagavulin 12 would do well for a last drink on earth.

I am not a member of SMWS, but have sampled quite a few of them from friends. Don't give up on SMWS offerings. Most of them are quite good.

16 days ago 3Who liked this?

RikS commented

Nice review. In fact I've seen a few reviews now (www.malt-review.com in particular) expressing some rather "robust" opinions on smws bottling which was an interesting surprise.

15 days ago 1Who liked this?

Wierdo commented

@Victor thanks. I've definitely not given up on the SMWS yet. I'll try a few more bottles for sure before my years membership is up. Can't judge them on one bad bottle. The issue is they don't have a forum or anything like that which means it's hard to know what's recommended and what's not. I think keeping an eye out for what's selling out quick and grabbing a bottle might be a good strategy as I guess if they're selling out quick it means members have tried them at the bars and liked them

@RikS yes I've read the Malt reviews and had a bit of an online discussion with Jason about the high ABV of many of the SMWS bottlings. I didn't realise until he told me that it's standard industry practice to add water to the spirit BEFORE it's put in the cask as well as after.

@RianC yes the Lagavulin 12 is excellent. It's seriously overpriced when you compare it to something like the Springbank 12 CS which is directly comparable and of a similar quality to the laga 12 and nearly half the price. But I love the Laga 12 it's my favourite Islay. So I still pay the premium, however grudgingly!

15 days ago 3Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

@Victor Haven't heard from @SquidgyAsh for quite a while and his blog has been inactive since early 2016. He used to be a regular contributor here. As for the SMWS offerings, my experience has been that they can be brilliant, good, ok, or bad and they are all pretty spendy compared to equivalent OBs and IBs.

8 days ago 3Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

Thanks for the honest review. Not everything is sunshine and rainbows with every whisky. The negative reviews are just as important as the positive ones. And either Springbank 12 CS or Lagavulin 12 CS would do nicely in a Zombie Apocalypse...

8 days ago 1Who liked this?

RikS commented

@Wierdo That's an interesting tidbit of knowledge. Any explanation as to why that is - adding water to the spirit before putting into the cask?

8 days ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@OdysseusUnbound if you don’t want to wait for the Zombie Apocalypse and you want to start now simply grab a bottle of Lambertus.

Lag 12 might have enough power to reset your palate....

8 days ago 1Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

@RikS, I always heard it was a bit of an "everyone does it" established practice to dilute casks at birth to the same ABV (maybe something like 63.5%?), partially - or maybe originally - to make it easy to do fair trades between distilleries.

I always heard it's still the common practice today among most Scottish distilleries, with a few notable exceptions like Glenfarclas and Bruichladdich.


As you can tell from my choices of words here, this is all third-hand hearsay, but I have in fact heard it a number of times. :)

7 days ago 2Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

That would be..."frequently-heard-say".

7 days ago 2Who liked this?

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