SMWS Advent Calendar: Day 22

It’s a grey Thursday afternoon, and Christmas is only a couple more days away. On a grey day I’m always happy to find a peated dram, so today’s surprise from the SMWS Advent Calendar suits me well. It’s 14-year-old peated Tobermore, in other words it’s a Ledaig. It has been aged in a refill ex-bourbon barrel and it’s nicknamed Maritime Crisp Enthusiast. Let’s find out how well it suits today’s weather in the Netherlands.

Tasting Notes: Society Cask 42.57 “Maritime Crisp Enthusiast”

ABV: 57.2% (114.4 proof)

Age: 14 years old

Distillery: Tobermory (also produces Ledaig)

Bottled by: The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Category: Single Malt Scotch Whisky

SMWS Flavour Profile: Peated

Chill-filtered: No

Natural Colour: Yes

Nose:

There is some peat in here for sure, but the first thing I’m getting from the nose are sweeter influences. There’s vanilla and some honey, and behind that I’m starting to get the maritime character mentioned in the name of this dram. There’s some sea spray and some seaweed notes as well. Only after these layers do I start to detect hints of peat. A vegetal kind of peat, that makes me imagine throwing some driftwood into a campfire at the beach. But it’s distant, like you’re picking it up on the breeze, but you’re not actually standing next to the fire. Water makes the nose even more delicate, almost turning it a bit faint. The peat is now undetectable.

Palate:

The very first thing I’m getting from this dram, is a dry white wine. But that only last ever so short though. As notes of sea spray, liquorice and peppered steak take over. The mouthfeel has a nice playful way of switching between oily and creamy, depending on where it hits the palate. And the peat really starts to shine here. It manifests itself in the best possible way, by giving me hints of bacon grease dripping from the grill onto the smouldering charcoal. The palate takes the campfire from the beach and turns it into an oceanside barbeque. Water turns up the sweetness by a rather big margin, making honey the dominant element this time around. The peppered steak turns into a honey glazed ham. There’s still some crushed black pepper in there as well though, but it’s become more disconnected from the meaty flavours.

Finish:

The finish of Maritime Crisp Enthusiast is long, sweet, salty and full. I’m getting salted liquorice as the main element here. But there’s still some smouldering lumps of charcoal drizzled with grease in there as well. A honey note rounds it all off. Making sure that none of the flavours ever become offensive or overwhelming in any kind of way. This truly is a dram to sit back and relax with and it fits today’s weather to a charm. Most drams of this Advent Calendar saw an increase in their finish after adding some water. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with this dram. Water takes away some length and makes a slightly less salty type of liquorice the dominant flavour. I’m thinking kokindjes (for my fellow Dutchies out there).

Verdict:

I liked this whisky a lot. I’ve always had a weakspot for Ledaig and you’ll always find their regular 10 on my shelve. This dram is considerably better than their standard offering though, and I would love to add it to my collection. It has everything in a whisky that I love, and it gives me a feeling of great warmth and comfort. Maritime Crisp Enthusiast is not the most complex dram by any means, but I don’t care about that all that much. This I would drink to cheer myself up, after a long hard day. And it would work! The only recommendation that I will give is to not add water to this dram, it didn’t bring forth a lot of new sensations. It mainly just dulls the dram a bit. And that’s just not what I’m looking for.

Rating:

89/100

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

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