SMWS Advent Calendar: Day 12

Tonight, me and my fiancée took our annual lightseeing route. A little drive through Vinkeveen, Loenen and Loosdrecht, to appreciate all the festive decorations people put out. Especially Vinkeveen was as magical as ever. We had the Christmas songs on full blast, some Christmas snacks for the road, and when we came home there was a dram waiting for me in my advent calendar. Tonight, it’s By This Great Clatter, a society bottling from Macduff (mostly known for The Deveron).

Tasting Notes: Society Cask 6.50 “By This Great Clatter”

ABV: 57.9% (115.8 proof)

Age: 12 years old

Distillery: Macduff

Bottled by: The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Category: Single Malt Scotch Whisky

SMWS Flavour Profile: Juicy, Oak & Vanilla

Chill-filtered: No

Natural Colour: Yes

Nose:

This dram was aged in a 2nd fill ex-bourbon barrel. Which just like yesterday’s dram should allow for more of the distillery character to shine through. The cask strength is very noticeable on the nose of this one, be careful when you approach the glass! Despite its initial bite, it is a very pleasant nose. There’s sweetness in the form of thick molasses and candied apple, way more than the colour of this whisky might lead you to expect. There are also some floral notes, producing a smell akin to scented soap. Perhaps even some rosewater. Yesterday I was talking with Tim – a fellow whisky lover – who stated that with some drams you just want to put a few drops behind your ears, like you would do with good eau de cologne. This dram falls into that category for me. A few drops of water take the bite away from this dram a bit, but it also dulls the other flavours. The molasses turns to brown sugar, and the apple loses its candy layer.

Palate:

The first sip enters your mouth quite laid back and mellow. Giving of flavours of cloudy apple juice and elderflower. It then quickly transforms to a more powerful version of itself, due to a healthy amount of cinnamon spice. There are also some raisins here and a good amount of sugary, buttery dough. Giving this palate a close resemblance to grandma’s apple pie. There are also some yellow grape and brown sugar notes. Giving this dram enough complexity, while remain approachable, easygoing, and above all… sweet. Water takes much of the spiciness away. The cinnamon is still there, but it loses some heat. In fact, it changes from apple pie to cinnamon buns.

Finish:

The finish has a medium length. With that apple pie really taking centre stage. But this time around it’s not the apple pie as you’re eating it. It’s walking into the kitchen while it’s fresh out of the oven, the air so thick with it you can almost taste it. There’s the ever so slight presence of tannins, but it’s barely noticeable as the focus really stays on that apple pie. Water turns the volume up on the tannins a little. But thankfully grandma’s apple pie stays strong here even with that slightly more bitter note.

Verdict:

By This Great Clatter is another dram that I would easily pick out as a crowd pleaser. It might not satisfy the most experienced dramblers – looking for an adventurous dram – but I doubt people will find much to dislike in this whisky. The flavours of apple pie and cinnamon buns give it a comfortable feeling. Like comfort food, but in this case it’s a comfort dram. I’m not in love with this whisky, nor am I in awe of the flavours it has achieved. But I am comfortably pleased with this dram, and sometimes that’s all you’re really looking for. Why it’s called By This Great Clatter is a mystery to me though.

Rating:

85/100

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

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