Early september, I discovered there was events where you could taste SMWS whiskies as well as cigars – and boy what that an excellent discovery. This time around, the French ambassadors reached out to me and asked me whether I would be interested in an “exclusive” session where we would taste a whisky selected just for France – SMWS 7.217 – Joie de vivre. This session would again be at Gentleman 1919, which I’m starting to love more and more.
Obviously, I accepted – and I can only thank them for that as I missed the Whisky Live due to friends having the bad idea of having their wedding that week-end. This was then the occasion for me to forget about the sheer pain it caused and soothe my broken heart by downing some drams.
The third SMWS release from Saint George’s Distillery (The English Whisky), a 9 years old first fill ex-bourbon barrel. This one measured against the Laphroaig I had before – which was hard, but I was told it was founded by an ex from Laphroaig based on English peat. Why not?
A very surprising juniper start, followed by sea salt, chocolate and apricot, and at the very end a low key custard.
Attacking on an alcoholic burn. Milk chocolate, very smooth smoke with a slight sea salty after taste.
Finish a bit short yet on sea salt crystals, with this smooth smoke bringing them forward.
I discovered a new distillery with this one. I have absolutely no regret but this one: I waited for the Joie de vivre release on October 10th to make my order and there was none of this release left. My world is misery.
Ah, an old one! 26 years old Glenlossie, obviously coming from the Old & Dignified category, and coming from a refill ex-bourbon hogshead again. A good change from the light drams we had before this one.
I tend not to really go for the Light & Delicate category of the SMWS. Usually, I’m a fan of strong flavours. So I eyed this Glen Grant with some bias, I’m afraid. But heh – why not try? It came from a refill ex-bourbon hogshead.
At first, the typical Glen Grant citrus came out along with some sort of astringency, on a background of meringue and some oak.
Very surprising meringue on the attack! Then lemon meringue pie, lemon meringue pie, and lemon meringue pie again with some slight vanilla at the end.
Short finish, sadly.
It was a surprise as when I mentioned lemon meringue pie, everyone present said “ooh yes!”. It’s not often to feel such a clear cut, explicit sensory experience shared across an assembly of 6.
Sitting in the Spicy & Sweet category, this 12 years old Craigellachie went after a Glenburgie so it had, in my humble opinion, the hard job to follow that up. It was again a bourbon barrel refill, with a high ABV (60.2%).
We started our tasting with a Glenburgie – I can only say I was expecting it very much. I’ve recently tasted a very nice Glenburgie 1995 (the 20, rue d’Anjou edition from LMDW) and was positively ecstatic with it. So I had high expectations for this 8 years old, first fill ex-bourbon barrel.
When I joined the SMWS, I first did it as I wanted to partake of some cask strength unfiltered goodness. Obviously, for a whisky aficionado, this is one of the good places to be a member of.
Then, at one random point in time I realised there was an “event” category on the website where things were actually organised. I remember thinking – surely there’s nothing in Paris. Boy, was that a stupid thought. You can find the full account of my first SMWS tasting session here.
This time around, yet another discovery: I realised there
were events in a small committee at a Speakeasy where whiskies were paired with
cigars. My blood just went boiling at the sheer idea of the combination of
both, being a fan of cigars (H. Upmann & Romeo y Julieta in particular if
you wish to know).
So I purchased my ticket and eagerly went to Gentleman 1919,
in Paris, a quite excellent venue. It was 21h. I got back home at 1h45. Here’s
At last, an Ardbeg release! This one was limited for the Gathering event, and not for sale: quite a treat indeed. I was curious about how it’d differ with the official releases. This one is a 10 years old, 1st fill bourbon – so it was bound to be interesting for a peaty one, in my opinion.