SMWS Advent Calendar: Day 16

Today’s dram seems to be going a bit through an identity crisis. On our little bottle from the SMWS Advent Calendar, it clearly calls itself A Romp in a Flower Meadow. However, the original bottling on the SMWS website calls itself A Romp in a Meadow. Perhaps the dram didn’t want to be associated with flowers anymore? All joking aside, this is day 16 of advent and today’s dram is a 10-year-old Aultmore from a first fill ex-bourbon barrel. Let’s see whether flowers belong in the name, or not!

Tasting Notes: Society Cask 73.133 “A Romp in a Flower Meadow”

ABV: 62% (124 proof)

Age: 10 years old

Distillery: Aultmore

Bottled by: The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Category: Single Malt Scotch Whisky

SMWS Flavour Profile: Sweet, Fruity & Mellow

Chill-filtered: No

Natural Colour: Yes

Nose:

The nose on this dram is… rather non-existent. There are some slight medicinal notes, specifically a “Dettol” antiseptic smell. There’s a little bit of yellow grape in there as well, but it’s very faint. I’m not able to detect much of the high ABV in this dram either, which is an accomplishment of its own at 62% ABV. But everything is just very muted. Perhaps I’m getting a cold? Water reveals a lot more substance to the nose though, so perhaps it’s not a cold after all. I’m getting liquorice on the nose now as well and specifically looking for some flowers I’m finding the slightest hint of roses.

Palate:

The palate brings much more than the nose on this one. The first thing that hits you is a slightly bittersweet note, that’s vaguely reminiscent of Amaro liqueur. There’s some liquorice in there as well. For those growing up in the Netherlands… do you recall your grandfather pulling Wybertjes out of his pocket in church to hand you a few (essentially to keep you quiet during the sermon)? That tiny diamond shaped candy comes very close to what I’m getting here. As you swirl the liquid around in your mouth a bit, you’ll get some black pepper as well as soon as the dram hits the back of your palate. Water turns up every aspect of this dram. It doesn’t change the palate all that much, but it gives it a lot more power. Even the already thick mouthfeel gets turned up a notch, making this dram almost chewable.

Finish:

The finish is sweet with a very strong liquorice presence here as well. Though it becomes somewhat sweeter than it did on the palate. There’s some slight honey in the finish, that makes honey liquorice a more apt descriptor instead of wybertjes when it comes to the finish of this dram. The finish is quite long, but it does lose its strength rather quickly. Where it’s powerful at first, it lingers for a long time in a very mellow way. Water empowers the finish, causing some of the bitter salmiak notes to linger on the sides of the tongue as well now. Other than that, the flavours stay the same.

Verdict:

I had to look very hard to find flowers or anything resembling a meadow in this dram. With some water I did get the slightest hint of roses, but all-in-all I find this a liquorice bomb. Aside from me not agreeing with the name, I do like this dram a lot. I’m a big fan of liquorice notes in my whisky and this dram transported me right back into my grandparents living room (where a glass jar of assorted liquorices was always present). It’s not, however, a complicated dram. The nose is as unimpressive as can be and the palate a finish are nice and pleasant but don’t offer much else beyond that. It reminds me so much of liquorice that I almost feel like I may as well just eat some actual liquorice instead of sipping this dram. Pleasant but not spectacular is my final verdict on this dram. Which means I wouldn’t turn a glass of this down, but I won’t be putting it on my Christmas list either. When you pour yourself a dram of A Romp in a Flower Meadow, add a couple of drops of water to get the most out of it!

Rating:

75/100

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

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