The Scotch Malt Whiskey Society moved their Global Gather to a virtual event this year and sold the bottles that would have been released there online instead. That worked for me and I went ahead and grabbed all 3. I’m a fan of most IB Longmorn and Highland Park bottlings I’ve had and I’d never had an IB Clynelish before so I was curious.
Age: 15 years
Abv: 118.8 proof
Nose: The PX influence is very clear with sticky sweet dark fruit and a little spice.
Taste: Butterscotch, dark cherries, holiday spices, nutty notes toward the end. Very viscous mouthfeel.
Finish: Long and lingering with warm spice and sticky sweet notes. Almost like a figgy pudding.
8 - an excellent bottle I’d like to have at home
Age: 16 years
Abv: 108.6 proof
Nose: Vanilla, baking spices, malt
Taste: Honey then clove then spices. A bit of ethanol burn despite the reasonable proof.
Finish: Long and hot with black pepper and cinnamon notes.
6 - a good whiskey I’m still happy to drink
Distillery: Highland Park
Age: 17 years
Abv: 113.6 proof
Nose: Charred oak, slight brine, something almost cloyingly sweet cotton candy maybe?
Taste: Smoke, oak, caramel, warm spices and a bit of funky rum notes. Great mouthfeel.
Finish: Long and lingering with smoke and oak notes balanced by sweet vanilla and caramel.
7 - a great whiskey I’d order at a bar
Overall I enjoyed all 3 of these though the Clynelish was easily the most mundane of the bunch. The PX Longmorn was delicious and would be a great dessert dram while the Highland Park was also tasty and very unique, at least for my experiences with that distillery. The PX Longmorn was the definite highlight for me.
As far the the SMWS tasting notes go I can see where they were coming from on the Herbal Reveries and the Abracadabra but the only thing I got in common with them on the When Pineapple Met Pigeon was the smoke!
Overall while I enjoyed these I was hoping for a bit more from a sort of special release by SMWS at the price point of $450 for all 3. Some of that is certainly the tariffs’ fault and while I am aware that SMWS has made some tradeoffs on quality for quantity I was hoping this release would hold a higher bar.
TL;DR: The Longmorn and Highland Park were great and had something unique about them compared to OB offerings. The Clynelish not so much. All 3 were good whiskies and I’ll certainly enjoy them