SMWS 42.44 Winter warmer

Posted 06 July 2018 / In Tobermory
The Dramble's review of SMWS 42.44 Winter warmer

Bottle Name: 42.44 Winter warmer

ABV: 58.5%
Distillery: Tobermory
Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Region: Islands

This oddly named Ledaig (released during a heatwave in the UK) has been matured in a refill ex-bourbon hogshead for 9 years. Peated profile.

Nose: Meaty, earthy, fish tank – wonderfully odd – it can only be another SMWS 42. There’s quite the juxtaposition of aromas here – ribs and roasted meat joints, pungent earthy smoke and a bucket load of brine and minerality – and yet it works – as Ledaig often does. Fruitiness is kept to a minimal, but there are touches of lemon zest which add tang. Likewise, sweetness is lower than in a lot of bottlings – but there is some and here its delivered via rolled pastries and an interesting underlying nuttiness. The addition of water brings out an aroma that I always expect with peated bottlings from this distillery – rubber.

Taste: Oily and dirty. BBQ’s meats and some oily engines in a rubber factory. Peating is quite ashy and chalky here and is played off against citrus and grapefruit. Minerality runs throughout – granite and quartz. The combination of chalky, citrus and mineral makes for a particularly sharp and tart development that is also increasingly drying. Reduced, the fruits are much softer, but tangy citrus is still firmly in charge – perhaps a bit too much

Finish: Medium, sour, citric, mineral and rubbery.

An idiosyncratic Ledaig as always. This bottling is a touch different to recent SMWS 42s – it’s particularly heavy on the sour and sharp notes. Whilst water reduces these adding to the overall balance, to my taste, Ledaig works best when these tart and mineral elements feel completely in-step with the underlying pungent, slightly dirty peating. No easy feat, but here, they’re just a touch off. Nevertheless, if you’re a big fan of Ledaig, there’s lots to like here and I’d certainly not turn away a dram of this.

Score: 86/100


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