A Sponge Smögen is an interesting thing to behold. Especially with a back label packed full of emojis for tasting notes. Edition No.19 was matured in a 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel for 8 years before 261 bottles were released at 59.3%.
OK, let’s do this🔨 ⏰
👃: Fascinatingly atypical. Calamine lotion, paint thinners, cooked meats and earthy peat are at the core – a real straddle across natural and manufactured aromas. Damp vegetalness runs throughout – leaf mulch, ferns, brackens and smouldering waterlogged trees struggling to kindle. In the background – minerality from electric fire stones and pumice – lifted by a sheet of slightly burnt toffee. Dilution sadly offers far less definition throughout – ozone, petrichor and dusty sheets of rolled pastry. All fine – but a considerably distance away from the bottled ABV in terms of overall fidelity.
👄: Less headstrong on the arrival but building in impact throughout. Ash and an unexpected punnet of dark berries and plums are joined by greengages and apricots. The mid to back-palate offers far more power with shingle and gravel alluvialness buried under a sack cloth full of fireplace soot. Water again seems unbeneficial - touches of chalkiness, lime margaritas and toasted cereals – but without the wild off the rails character that is offered at higher strength.
🏁: Quite long. Mineral, earthy, almost inky and certainly very sooty – with just enough fruity sweetness to balance.
The 2012 Whisky Sponge Smogen impresses with its ability to present as both dirty and clean concurrently. It somehow manages to be both precise and yet wild at the same time – contrasting aromas and flavours converging but miraculously never clashing. Neat. Alas, there’s a touch of hydrophobia here which limits the expression to the admittedly well-judged bottling strength - otherwise I could have easier score this even higher.
Review sample provided by Decadent Drinks