[This is one of many shorter reviews we’re posting on current Scotch Malt Whisky Society offerings (with Lo-Mob photographic effects). Check out the beginning of this other post for more on what we’re up to here. If you want to find out more about the SMWS or their bottlings, you should visit www.smws.com]
Stop, drop, and roll. These words run through my mind as I nose the platinum colored dram. It is intensely smoky. And there’s heat, too; for a moment I think I see the shimmer of the air just above the glass. Put it this way: if my glass had a doorknob on it, I wouldn’t touch it for fear of burning my hand. On the mouth it’s Corn Nuts™ scorched in a pan, then dropped onto coal embers. But equally intense are high, bright candy notes, a sugary sweetness so enticing that it would draw children away from Wonka’s factory and into Upton Sinclair’s. Brown sugarcubes reduced to a liquid in low heat and then gradually brought to a caramelly, bubbly, pop-crackle-pop burn. Maple syrup drawn from an underworld forest, then dribbled from a lead thurible over asphalt waffles. A poorly-ventilated bakery heated with yeontan that makes crème brulée. The finish is long; the sweet and smoky tastes chase each other like strands of a double helix in the dream of a biologist.
The SMWS 53.157 is turrible–In the mouth of Sir Charles Barkley, it refers to something exceptionally bad. But in my mouth, this whisky is a revelation.