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Dubbed the “SMWS Region Rumble”, throughout May and June SMWS are taking members on flavour journey with a total of 10 exclusive bottles to celebrate both the Spirit of Speyside and Feis Ile festivals… and I got to try five of them. 

Along with the special bottlings, SMWS have some special deals on memberships too at the minute:

Islay – Membership + Islay bottle – £110 (save £20)
Speyside – Membership + Speyside bottle – £110 (save £10)
‘Split Decision’ – Membership + Mixed Festival Discovery Pack – £95 (save £10)

As said in the original press release:

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is making May a month to savour for its members with the release of 10 exclusive bottles to celebrate both the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival (3–7 May) and Feis Ile, The Islay Festival of Music and Malt (25 May–2 June). The Society will also be holding a series of events at both festivals, as well as Speyside and Islay-themed tastings at its Members’ Rooms and partner bars throughout the UK and Europe. Both regions have their superfans and this year the Society is urging members to make their voices heard, by joining the online debate between Speyside supporter the Craigellachie Crusader and peat freak the Islay Avenger at https://goo.gl/JgLRDe

SMWS Region Rumble

The SMWS Region Rumble tasting kit

As part of the celebrations I was sent a wonderful tasting kit, put together in association with The Dram Team, containing five of the fabulous drams they’ve launched for the SMWS Region Rumble. Here’s how I got on…

SMWS Region Rumble

107.13 – Glenallachie 8 YO
N: burnt sugar and molten caramel. Thick. Sweet creme brûlée notes including vanilla and menthol notes. Juicy stewed fruits. Tannic oak notes.

P: sweet, juicy, mouth-watering, oaky, fiery, spirity but integrated nicely, with the burnt sugar and spicy notes you almost crave for at this point. White pepper, scotch bonnet peppers and fiery jalapeños on the palate and finish.

Bottle available here

SMWS Region Rumble

9.143 Glen Grant 21 YO
N: sweet, floral, unexpected, herbal but quite muted and calm – I really had to work hard for the deep, dark fruity notes reminiscent of Christmas, but they were there eventually.

P: again quite sweet initially, with amazing fruity, elegant notes and a chalky mouthfeel. Lovely and warming. Buckets of spices develop the more time you spend with it. Short but perfect spicy-sweet finish.

Bottle available here

SMWS Region Rumble

10.141 Bunnahabhain 12 YO
N: soft, unassuming, not s huge amount going on… am surprised… vanilla oak notes notes shine through eventually.

P: Juicy orchard fruits, peaches, apples, chalky, creamy, saliva-inducing, but quite anonymous. Not my favourite of the flight…

Bottle available here

SMWS Region Rumble

3.307 Bowmore 20 Year Old
N: aromatic Peat, heather honey, herbal and menthol notes, bonfire embers. Great colour too!

P: mellow, heavily peated and packed of positively sulphuric notes intertwined with sherried and stewed Christmas fruits. Spices develop with time and on the palate- one if my favourite Bowmore bottlings ever.

Bottle available here

SMWS Region Rumble

29.244 Laphroaig 8 YO
N: deep molten toffee, wow that’s gorgeous, almost huggable. Herbal Peat notes shine through with minty wisps reminiscent of somewhere between a Toffee Crisp and a Mint Aero.

P: peaty marvellousness, spicy and spirity, sweet toffee notes with a rubbery note and texture. Spicy madness on the tongue as a finish. Thick and exciting. Long lasting finish.

Bottle available here

Summary

Mostly very good drams here, and a hell of a lot of flavour within each one… I used to be much more of an Islay man myself, but think, on balance, that the Speyside stunners won for me here, along with the Laphroaig which was exceptional. Interesting how your palate changes over time…

 

 

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