There was a famous scene in Seinfeld which involved a a conversation between George, Jerry, and Newman about postal workers and why there “the guys that always go crazy and come back with a gun and shoot everybody”. This was Newman’s response to George’s question about “going postal“:
Because the mail never stops. It just keeps coming and coming and coming. There’s never a letup, It’s relentless. Every day it piles up more and more, but the more you get out, the more it keeps coming. And then the bar code reader breaks. And then it’s Publisher’s Clearinghouse day…
Thanks to the dedication of the US Postal Worker, I get more than my fair share of mail every day, but with the exception of the occasional magazine (Esquire, Road and Track, Whisky Advocate), the vast majority of my mail involves the monthly bills. But every so often (I guess to keep ME from “going postal”), something special arrives…
A little over a week ago, I received the following four whisky samples from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America:
- Cask No. 76.84 aka “Feisty and zesty”.
- Cask No. 39.83 aka “Yummy and mouth watering”.
- Cask No. 4.153 aka “Kerosene delight”.
- Cask No. 53.157 aka “Paint your own picture”.
For my first review of this series, I chose Cask No. 76.84. Here are the always entertaining Society tasting notes for this whisky:
Someone reported a hint of paint at the start, but we mainly identified dried fruit (dates, figs, pineapple, papaya, Christmas cake). We also found orange zest, spearmint, blackcurrant and liquorice. The palate had a nice chewy texture and feisty assertiveness, with flavours of leather, pepper, tobacco, Madeira wine and spicy marmalade on burnt toast. The reduced nose offered prunes, Jaffa cakes and lemon and lime jelly, with slightly burnt fruit-cake. Candied orange, dark chocolate and glazed ham graced the reduced palate, making it mouth-watering, but with a dry finish. King Malcolm defeated the Danes at a spot near this distillery.
Without further ado, here are my impressions of this whisky…
- Appearance: Rich amber color. Long, thin streaks form after giving the glass a swirl.
- Aroma: A spicy sweetness immediately comes through. Dried figs. Maple syrup. Molasses. Cinnamon. Allspice. Nutmeg. Ginger. Could this be what Christmas Cake smells like???
- Taste: Very light mouthfeel, i.e. rather thin. The sweetness comes through immediately when it hits your tongue with lots of brown sugar/maple syrup notes. After a few seconds the flavors intensify and the spices start to build rapidly. It really heats up the middle of my tongue and the roof of my mouth with an intense cinnamon spiciness. Lingering cinnamon and chili pepper finish with a hint of bittersweet chocolate. Very astringent as well.
- ABV: 57.8%
It took at least 20 minutes for this whisky to open up and reveal its true colors (this is all very normal by the way, given its high ABV). Thankfully, this whisky was well worth the wait. This is is not a dark and brooding whisky like the offerings from Islay. All of the flavors in Cask No. 76.84 (according to whiskyportal.com, this whisky is from the Mortlach distillery) are bright and very well pronounced, i.e. you don’t have to dig too deep to discover what this whisky is all about. The Society recommends that you have this with coffee, but to be perfectly honest, I would like to try this with some dark chocolates or maybe even a cigar. I really enjoyed this whisky and was particularly impressed at how it balanced its sweet and spicy characteristics.
Thanks again to Gabby Shayne (click here to meet The Whisky Sisters) of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America for sending us this sample.