SMWS Exotic Cargo Blended Malt Scotch Whisky Review, £45

let’s begin

This is an incredibly exciting release from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

For a long time now SMWS have been releasing their own single cask releases and now they have turned their hand towards blends.

They have always been an exciting bottler, looking for the very best malts all across Scotland and producing some highly sought after expressions.

Their new blend, Exotic Cargo, is set to follow suit.

It is made up of pre-blended malt that was first distilled in 2006 and has been matured in first fill sherry casks.Only 1937 bottles have been released.

It was then put to the Tasting Panel at SMWS to sample the dram at different strengths and decide which was best. They settled on 50% ABV and from there, a legend has been born.


The sherry is an important part of this malt, as SMWS’s Spirits Manager Euan Campbell states, “I wanted to create a big, bold blended malt, showcasing a heavy sherry influence.”

He has certainly achieved that, and Exotic Cargo is rich with sherry flavours.

The nose opens with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg spice. It is warming and slightly sweet, with a little hint of vanilla running through it.

The vanilla gives it depth, allowing the cinnamon and nutmeg to really bounce off it. This intensifies the flavour and makes it really intriguing.

There is a nod towards oak wood as well, which further builds on the effect of the vanilla and wraps everything up quite nicely.

The palate is bursting with flavour. The vanilla blossoms into caramel and thick black treacle, giving it a chewy and smooth mouth feel.

Sweet nuts and apple blossom also appear, giving Exotic Cargo a slightly floral flavour.

Candied limes and oranges come though and melt into the caramel and vanilla. The fruity notes go well with the oak wood, which is full of dull but rich flavours.

There is more warmth coming from cinnamon spices, this time with a hint of all spice and chilli. The chilli is especially interesting and goes perfectly with the floral notes.

The finish is lingering and full of flavour. Oak wood and citrus fruits really come through, with a wonderful kick of cinnamon to round it all off.

Tags: Blended MaltExotic CargoScotch Malt Whisky SocietySMWS
Picture of Greg


My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

You might be interested in

More from the blog

Leave a comment

Login / register