Smögen’s first on-going release comes ten years after the distillery produced its first spirit in the form of Smögen 100 Proof. The whisky is produced from heavily peated malt (optic) and is a vatting of 11 oloroso sherry quarter casks. Bottled bearing a 6 year old age statement, this first batch release consists of 2436 bottles. You can purchase one from Master of Malt for £94.95 – though be aware, the site currently lists the bottle size as 70cl – and I’m only aware of Smögen releases at 50cl, so this may or may not be an error.
Nose: Savoury sweetness. Burnt toffee and freshly baked pastry cases join maple wood chips and morello cherries. Smoke is part burning logs, part pine needles and part iodine disinfectant. A backbone of malty distillery aromas (toasted and fermenting cereals) is supported by some outlying oddness from white board makers and marmite spread across toast. Dilution presents overt strips of bacon and amps up the prominence of the peat influence - kiln dried logs smouldering in a fire pit set against earthy leaf fires and moist bracken.
Taste: Rather interesting and unexpected – a textural delivery of uncooked lardons alongside plenty of red berries and a pronounced steely and salty minerality. Resinous tree sap and leafy greens are joined by impactful smoke that’s much more prominent than the nose alluded to, and significantly dirtier - coal dust and burnt electrical circuit boards. In the back palate a powered sweetness akin to smoked sherbet. The addition of water once again promotes earthiness – forest floors, damp soils, ferns and a trip to the stationer for some Pritt Stick.
Finish: Quite long with dry oakiness offset against leafy freshness whilst wood smoke persistent till the very end.
Smögen 100 Proof is not for beginners – nor those that don’t like a bit of eccentricity with their whisky. The flavour combinations are intricate (particularly for the relative age of the spirit) but at the same time, they’re a little densely bound before they are diluted – and even then present what might be viewed by some as complexity, but by others as a challenge. Nevertheless, everything is well balanced an in-step, and as someone who enjoys as trial as much as I enjoy left-field aromas and flavours (particularly of the peaty kind), I find this latest offering from Smögen rather compelling.
Review sample provided by Highfern Ltd on behalf of Smögen Distillery
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