SMWS Advent Calendar: Day 15

On day 15 of the SMWS Advent Calender we’re surprised by a 14-year-old Glenburgie. A distillery that on paper was established in 1829, but which is said to have been founded as early as 1810 as an illegal whisky distillery. It was also the first ever distillery to be led by a woman, namely by Margaret Nicol in 1936. To run a distillery as a woman in the 1930’s must have required quite the adventurous spirit, which makes today’s dram’s nickname Adventurously Awesome all the more fitting. Let’s find out just how adventurously awesome this dram is!

Tasting Notes: Society Cask 71.79 “Adventurously Awesome”

ABV: 58.7% (117.4 proof)

Age: 14 years old

Distillery: Glenburgie

Bottled by: The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Category: Single Malt Scotch Whisky

SMWS Flavour Profile: Spicy & Sweet

Chill-filtered: No

Natural Colour: Yes

Nose:

The first thing that comes off the glass is marshmallows. I’m also getting Turkish Delight covered in thick wallops of powdered sugar. I’m finding some chocolate on the nose as well, which together with the marshmallows creates an image of s’mores in my mind. The ever so slight apricot notes hint towards a marmalade instead. All-in-all plenty of complexity, albeit all very much in the sweeter regions of the flavour wheel. Water doesn’t do much to the nose, other than dull it just a little bit.

Palate:

In contrast to that nose there’s a lot more different flavours going on here. Especially peppers show up on the palate very brightly. I would say cayenne and chili peppers to be precise. In fact, it reminds me a little of chili con carne, with the texture resembling ever so slightly the graininess from brown beans. The marshmallows are still there as well, but they’re completely washed out by that spice I mentioned before. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced peppers as clearly as this, it’s resembling a spicy dish very closely. The fruitier influences almost make me think of a curry paired with a nice chutney, though I remain that the heat resembles a chili more than a curry. Water weirdly enough reveals fizzy water on the palate, dulling much of the spicyness from before and also bringing forth the slightest honeyed note.

Finish:

The finish of this dram is long, with those hot peppers of the palate lingering just like a bowl of chili would. It resembles chipotle sauce more here, and there’s some ever so slight savoury notes on the finish as well. Which somehow makes me want to go to Subway and order one of their subs with a nice big dose of chipotle sauce on top. There are also light citrus notes on the finish, but once again it’s hard to notice anything beyond the heat of this dram. A couple of drops of water pushes honey to the front of the finish, but it also makes the chipotle even more prominent. I truly left me feeling like I’ve just finished a spicy Mexican dish.

Verdict:

This dram is so weird. It has such a gentle and soft nose and yet it packs such a wallop on the palate and finish. And never have I tasted anything so pepper forward, that I half expected the dram was infused with some (like you would do to oil by leaving a few peppers in it). Now I know this isn’t true, but still… it’s fun when flavours are so bold you almost start expecting something like that. Which makes me absolutely love this dram. I find it far from the best dram we’ve had on this Calendar, because palate and finish are far less complex than some of the other drams we’ve had. Yet I find myself wanting to explore it time and time again, the same reaction I had when I first tried a peated whisky. This dram sure is adventurously awesome, and I wish I could get myself a bottle of it. It would end up very high on my wish list for sure.

Rating:

90/100

How did I know this was a Glenburgie? Just look at the code and find it in my SMWS bottle codes list!

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