[This is one of many shorter reviews we’re posting on current Scotch Malt Whisky Society offerings (sporting Lo-Mob effects on the pics). Check out the beginning of this other post for more on what we’re up to with these posts. If you want to find out more about the SMWS or their bottlings, you should visit www.smws.com]
The color of the SMWS G1.8 is akin to mahogany stain on an oak table: a curious match, but one that works and begs for closer inspection. Swirling the dram in my glass leaves a bubbly sort of rim at the top, a bit like the spume a wave deposits on shore before retreating back to the ocean, suggesting that now that it’s managed to escape, it WILL NEVER GO BACK to the liquid hellfire 125.8 proof motherlode.
On the nose, new red potatoes, still flecked with moist soil, doused in key lime juice, extract of orange, fresh cilantro, and distilled essence of a newly-paroled prisoner, waiting at the gates for release. Clean linens and Walla Walla onions hashed with veal piccata (heavy on the capers) into an alchemical mixture with gin. It’s a Thanksgiving cornucopia of riches on the table, if the Pilgrims were led by the oddly Mormonesque love triangle of Julia Child, Margaret Thatcher, and Elvis Costello.
(I’m…afraid to pour 125.8 proof whisky into my mouth. Give me a second.) After rubbing aloe vera on my hand, I can type again: the flame erupting from my maw burnt my paw. Rich flavors, like the heavily-trod floor of the Musée du Louvre on “National Take an Ostler to the Musée Day.” The mouth screams “Beeswax!” and “Unripe Mango!” and “Leather-bound Family Bible!” so I recommend plugging your ears when you sip it. The finish extends down the gullet, through the stomach, into the GI tract, and exits my tingling toes. Autumn leaves, glow-in-the-dark 5-inch stiletto heels, Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi) bark, and fuzzy puppy jostle together.
After ascertaining that my tongue still exists, I add a (perhaps overly) generous dollop of water. The nose loses fruit and gains in juniper berries. It’s insistent now: had I been earlier unwilling to ascribe a fine-grained origin to the G1.8, I could no longer deny it. It’s fascinating, but most definitely not malted barley. I am shocked that subtlety is lost–after all, we here at MI Central are nothing if not Masters of Subtlety–but there you have it, as the King said in Amadeus. Too many notes.
The watered mouth is like a parched lawn, grasses and even weeds begging for rain to fall, and greening themselves up after their prayers are answered. By Pan, they’ll never go thirsty again! The flavors are smoothed out, fantastic; sledding down Cinnamint Mountain on Grandpa’s iron-shod teak Wünder-Wagen of Wonders. Finishing with molasses, tongue thrum, and Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Götterdämmerung: The Twilight of My Tastebuds as they enter Heaven’s side door via epiphany.
The SMWS G1.8 is Gone, Baby, Gone. (Get it? G1 = G one = Gone)–Great movie, great cast, great moral reckoning, great dram.