Scotch Whisky Review #191: SMWS Big Swirl 10 Year Blended Malt Batch 07 (2007)
Cask Type: Blend of 1st fill Spanish oak sherry casks and ex-bourbon casks before final maturation of over 2 years in 1st fill American oak sherry casks.
Age: 10 Year
Color: 1.2, Chestnut/Oloroso Sherry.
Nose: (according to the wife) It’s really earthy. There’s a little bit of ground coffee and a little bit of oak. However, the most dominant note is that of cigarette smoke and ashes. Not pleasant.
Palate: It starts off with a warm note of wild honey with just the right amount of sweetness. That honey gives way to a very strong and warm fruit jam/compote note. It’s hard to pinpoint what fruits exactly are in here but various red berries come to mind. The fruit note continues with a bit of wine, specifically a bit of Korean plum wine and a bit of Korean black raspberry wine. Towards the back comes a very strong cooling note of menthol.
Finish: Medium in length. Menthol tobacco is all that remains, with the cooling notes continuing on from the palate being joined by a bit of earthiness.
Conclusion: This blended malt by SMWS has left me scratching my head a bit. On one hand, there are a lot of really lovely fruit notes from the fruit jam/compote and in the wines. They’re warm, inviting, and at that just right amount of sweetness. On the other, there are notes that either don’t seem to fit in–such as the menthol–or are just outright unpleasant–such as the cigarette ash. Ultimately, while I wanted to love this, the end result is a rather confusing whisky that’s perfectly drinkable but could use more work. The menthol notes are, at least for me, too jarring of a change from the warmer fruit notes that come before it. The cigarette notes in the nose made me actively avoid smelling this further as well. Still, this is a very interesting whisky by SMWS and I hope they’ll continue to release them!
Final Score: 74.
Scotch Whisky Review #191, Blended Malt Review #8, Whisky Network Review #264
- 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
- 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
- 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
- 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
- 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
- 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
- 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
- Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.