Borrowing a word from the vernacular usually used to describe fortified wines, SMWS 37.119 Plum Sauce Rancio-Fest is an exciting journey in taste.
What’s in a name?
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society are well known for their focus on transparency. The independent bottlers want their members to know just about as much as they can about their malts.
To do this, they employ a intriguing labelling system that brings in codes and colours to give the consumer as much info as possible.
It all starts with the numerical code given to every individual malt. Each code represents two things; the distillery it was made at and the number of casks they have had from that distillery previously.
Then we have the colours used on the label. Each colour represents a different flavour profile, which can be found on the SMWS website. This gives the drinker an idea of what the malt will taste like.
Tasting Notes for the SMWS 37.119 Plum Sauce Rancio-Fest
Well with the SMWS 37.119 Plum Sauce Rancio-Fest, we know from the number 37 that it is a Cragganmore malt. Craggenmore is a Speysider, so we already know a little about the flavour profile, in that it is likely to be slightly sherried and spicy.
And Plum Sauce Rancio-Fest does not disappoint. In fact, it is brimming with sherry notes. That is what the Rancio refers to in the name. Rancio is a word that is used to describe oxidized wine that is very dry to taste.
This malt has been matured for 14 years in a Pedro Ximenez Hogshead so many of the dry notes from that sherry have transferred over.
The nose on Plum Sauce Rancio-Fest immediately offers up a spicy sherry note. It is incredibly rich and aromatic, with lots of plum sauce, mahogany wood, leather and tobacco notes. The flavours are all very earthy and alive.
The palate is intense and absolutely overflowing with flavour. Star anise, red wine, honey, herbs, more leather, a brief hint of wood smoke, dark cherries and lots of liquorice, all make a stunning appearance.
Almonds and turpentine, with big notes of salted caramel and aromatic teas come out eventually as well.
It finishes on sweet honey and caramel with a dash of spice and fruit.
The flavours are very well rounded and the sherry notes play a major part overall. This is a smooth and complex malt that will have you returning time and time again to see what else you can draw out of it.