SMWS Advent Calendar: Day 2

After a rather disappointing first day of advent (whiskywise), I don’t find frankincense or myrrh behind door number two, but gold! It’s a dram of SMWS “Gold Rush” from Society Cask 122.42. Which means it’s from a distillery I know and love, the highly versatile Loch Lomond. But it’s a bottling of Croftengea, which is one of Loch Lomond’s brands I’m not yet familiar with. That makes me eager to find out what flavours the dram has in store for me. And how it compares to some of the distillery’s labels I’m more familiar with.

Tasting Notes: Society Cask 122.42 “Gold Rush”

ABV: 58,4% (116,8 proof)

Age: 9 years old

Distillery: Croftengea (Loch Lomond)

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 nose is sweet and delicate. Apples are very prominent and if I were to be more precise, I’d say Golden Rennets. The kind you use to make apple pie. With that in mind I’m also picking up some dough, like the topping of an apple crumble pie. But when I try to shift my focus on the apples to the back of my mind, some yellow grapes also starts to show up. The yellow grape notes float somewhere in between a white wine and a sweeter less alcoholic white grape, like children’s champagne. If you’re able to imagine a fizzy Muscatel, that’s probably what comes closest. Water brings forth a lemony green tea note, while muting some of the other flavours a bit.

Palate:

The first thing that came to mind was: Oh yeah, there’s that fizzy Muscatel again. But then came the spice, and it came with a force. It’s intensely powerful, but in a very pleasant way. It doesn’t become bitter at any point, instead it’s coated in thick luscious honey. If heated honeycombs sprinkled with bits of red pepper would be a dish, it would taste like this. If you pair it with a glass of Muscatel that is… A drop of water definitely calms down the peppers a bit, unfortunately it also dilutes the honey influence and it brings forth some tannins I wasn’t able to discern before.

Finish:

This dram has a more medium finish on the palate, but it does possess a nice fading warmth that spreads through your chest and lingers for a while. There are some ever so slight tannins here, but they’re covered in a floral type of honey. The kind that matches perfectly with a hot cup of tea. If comfort food is a thing, this dram’s finish deserves that label more than anything. I’m picking up on some lavender here as well, and all together it’s a very peaceful warming experience to enjoy after each sip. Here the water ruins the dram for me a bit, the tannins take over with the honey and lavender fading away into the background. I miss the honey taking center stage.

Verdict:

Sometimes you taste a dram that is so enjoyable, you don’t want to change it one bit. And this SMWS Gold Rush is definitely one of them. That’s why I waited till the very end to add the tiniest amount of water, because I did not want to spoil this dram. For a 9-year-old this is a stellar dram. Perhaps it’s not the most complex you’ll ever get to taste. But that honey note is so beautiful and well balanced that I find myself enjoying every second I spend with this dram. Adding water to it did spoil it somewhat though, but since that’s my own doing I won’t account for that when giving my score. My conclusion with this dram is that I wish it was still available, because it would have been placed high upon my Christmas list.

Rating:

90/100

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

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