Ah, the annual SMWS dram! I think in every year there has been a Blind Tasting Competition, there has been at least one Scotch Malt Whisky Society whisky involved in screwing up the rankings.
The highlight of this messing up things was the sherried Arran that someone got 100 points on, without knowing the whisky beforehand. That was an interesting turn of events. I think yesterday not a whole lot was changed in where people are, compared to others. Of course there were some shifts, but not people from place 25 suddenly hurtling into the top 5 or so.
Anyway, I did guess Speyside, so I got points for that. For it’s 56.5% I find this a very gentle dram, since I had it at 46%. I randomly picked Braeval, mostly because I didn’t really like this whisky and I wanted to pick one that I generally am not thrilled about either. Braeval it was.
Very timid after dram #9, even though it apparently has a very comparable ABV. Some toasted brioche, butterscotch, caramel and almond cookies.
The palate has a lot more oak and it feels a bit ‘engineered’ (see below). Lots of spices and a lot sharper than the nose was. Ginger, cinnamon but also oak, pear and peach. Quince too. Some jam and stewed pears.
The finish is suddenly dry with stewed fruits and sweet spices.
I find this a very inconsistent whisky, and the fruity flavors are not to my liking either. It reminds me of the Blair Athol 1988 we had last year in the Competition. Especially because of that stewed pear note, and I don’t enjoy that in my whisky (although I love stewed pears).
Anyway, pastry on the nose, spices on the palate and fruit in the finish makes this a rather erratic whisky, and after finding out it’s from a Toasted Oak cask, I am not overly surprised. What I am surprised by is that this is a Glen Moray. Normally I like their whiskies better than this one.
By this whisky tasting a bit ‘engineered’ I mean it tastes a bit like the casking and racking was done based on a certain desired outcome. That’s what I find often happens with charred oak, toasted oak and things like that. Some virgin oak whiskies have it too. Naked Grouse is a good example of it.
Glen Moray 1994-2015, 20yo, 1st Fill Toasted Oak Hogshead, 56.5%. It used to be available from SMWS for some £ 99.