Review #1615 – Balmenach 15yr SMWS 48.110 “Sooooternes”

The Schtick: This is an independent bottling by SMWS of spirit distilled at Balmenach. Aged for 15 years in a first fill Sauternes Barrique, this release was bottled at cask strength without any coloring or filtering. Let’s get to it.

Review #1615 | Scotch Review #521

Distiller: Balmenach

Bottler: SMWS

Brand: SMWS

Selection: N/A

ABV: 56.6% ABV

Age: 15 Years


Nose: Sweet and buttery, loaded with lime, honey, slivered almond and wine sweetness. Fresh baked cake, some vanilla bean, white wine. Leaning towards dessert and wine forward, though not in a pungent sherry way. Nice balance with lots of enticing flavor.

Taste: Medium mouth feel and excellent control of the ethanol. Sweet cream, lemon, buttered bread, pepper and some wine sweetness. Not as bready as something like a Ben Nevis but its there, along with some lovely cracked pepper. Light caramel, a hint of Sauv Blanc grape sweetness with acidity. Really unique, quite enjoyable.

Finish: Short to medium finish, but its earthy, loaded once more with fresh bread, peppery and steadfast. The flavors hang as long as they are able, before wisping away cleanly with a hint of pepper and smoke. Waxy fruits – primarily apple and pear linger with the pepper.

Overall: This is really something, and its quite unique. It reminded me of a blend, if you told me you had taken some Ben Nevis, some Springbank, some Teaninich and Clynelish and blended it. Very good release, and a nice uptick in quality from SMWS while my doubts were starting to get the best of me.

Thanks for reading!

Rank: 6


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Decoded:

0 | Unscored | New Make Spirit or Personal Selection.

1 | Disgusting | So bad I poured it out.

2 | Poor | I wouldn’t consume by choice.

3 | Bad | Multiple flaws.

4 | Sub-par | Not bad, but many things I’d rather have.

5 | Good | Good, just fine.

6 | Very Good | A cut above.

7 | Great | Well above average

8 | Excellent | Really quite exceptional.

9 | Incredible | An all time favorite

10 | Perfect | Perfect


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