Last October, legendary whisky expert Charlie MacLean and Society USA director Tom Smith embarked on a tasting tour across the country. The objective was twofold: 1) offer our members the once-in-a-lifetime experience of participating to the Society’s Tasting Panel under the guidance of the Tasting Panel’s actual chairman, who flew from Scotland to be with us in person; 2) entrust these members with the task of evaluating several casks in a blind format and assessing their readiness for release.
Quite simply, our mission was to enable US members to choose their own US exclusive casks for the first time ever while receiving a masterclass in whisky tasting from one of the world’s most respected experts. Needless to say, all parties involved had a splendid time and Charlie cannot wait to join us again! Six exceptional casks were evaluated by nearly 150 members in five cities and over the next few months, we will present the three highest-scoring casks that members chose for immediate release.
Today… after much anticipation… we are proud to present the first cask from our Tasting Panel Experience! Cask 93.140 Bacon on a bonfire is a seventeen-year-old malt hailing from the harbor village of Campbeltown. A wonderful symphony of coastal delights is complemented by just a kiss of confection from a second-fill ex-bourbon barrel. Earthen accents and maritime muscle combine for a perfectly orchestrated expression of the oily & coastal flavour profile.
The members who helped choose this cask remarked that it was an “entirely complete” whisky with smoky barbecue, smoked salmon and aged Jamon Serrano driving the neat nose and palate. More of the “seaweedy” maritime and “vanilla cupcake” confectionary character was picked up by members on the diluted nose and palate, along with “burnt pineapple”, “orange blossom”, “salted honey” and even “lubricated bike chain” (whatever this means) as one member put it….overall, an unquestionably brilliant dram!
What goes better with a brilliant dram than a brilliant whisky expert?! We are very excited to welcome whisky expert, writer and Society Tasting Panel Chairman Charlie MacLean to our YouTube channel this Thursday, July 16th, at 12pm EDT for a wee chat with our members! Charlie will join us to discuss his experience as Society Tasting Panel Chairperson and field any questions members have while tasting Cask 93.140! To join the live tasting and discussion, please click here: The Tasting Panel Experience Live Tasting with Charlie MacLean.
Cask No. 93.140
Title: Bacon on a bonfire
Tasting Note: The initial impression was one of chalky minerals and a vibrant maritime influence. Notes of rock salt, iodine droplets, sea spray, charred shellfish and charcoal embers slipping away on a brittle coastal breeze. A drop of water and we found a new earthy quality as dried seaweed mingled with roasted escargot, damp cellar earth and silk mechanical oils. Unequivocally excellent whisky! In the mouth the arrival was mouth-coating and beautifully balanced. Sweetness and salt sparring on a seesaw. Jambon, lime butter icing, distant BBQ smoke and a sensation of mints after a cigar. Water offered greater sinew and depth. Smoked pumpkin oil, cloves, lighter fluid and salted toffee drizzled over charred pineapple. Totally enchanting and evocative.
Age: 17 years
Date distilled: May 2002
Barrel: Second-fill barrel
Outturn: 198 bottles
US Allocation: 182 bottles
We thank those members who participated in the Tasting Panel Experience and the selection of Cask 93.140 last year. We hope all members across the US can enjoy this very special malt and, while sharing with those near and dear to you, also share in the pride we all feel for our American chapter of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society!