SMWS 150.1 ‘Let’s Go West’
Nose: There’s an immediate creaminess to this followed by wood driven notes of spicy oak, caramel and vanilla. Cereal notes come through too alongside digestive biscuits. A little orange citrus, eucalyptus plus some pine resin. A little grilled pineapple comes to the fore also. Water brings out marshmallow, coconut shavings and milk chocolate.
Palate: Citrus and spice on arrival. Clementine, lime then pepper followed by fresh nutmeg. This is followed by vanilla fudge and brown sugar. The casks kick in now with oak shavings, rye spice and clove. It turns a little herbal towards the end with a slight menthol tang. Water brings out more clove spice and pepper heat along with aniseed.
Finish: short to medium length with rye spice and oak tannins lingering alongside sharp citrus too.
Score: 7 out of 10
Overall: I’ve had some interesting experiences with West Cork releases in the past, ‘interesting’ being the operative word. Certainly not everything they’ve released has been a roaring success, but then again, which distillery always gets it right?
This one piqued my interest upon release just to see how the SMWS would treat the base spirit and how an ex-rye cask would interact with the malt. Thankfully the rye cask has not dominated the malt but has added top notes of clove and peppery spice that integrate pretty well with the malt. It is also quite well balanced between the nose and palate.
Well £75 for a 7 year old Irish whiskey may seem a tad steep but compare it to the Glendalough 7 year old Mizunara cask single malt, which incidentally is also sourced from West Cork before the finish is added, costs £72 and is bottled at 46% rather than cask strength and the SMWS bottle looks a much more attractive proposition. Having tasted the Glendalough I can tell you that in terms of taste the SMWS blows it away too.
I look forward to seeing what 150.2 from the SMWS brings.
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