Whisky Review #117: SMWS 30.97 “Dancing On A Volcano”

After an extended hiatus, I’m finally back! November was a rather busy month due to several new developments and events, which hampered my ability to provide any reviews. There was also a fair bit of inertia in play, but that’s to be expected.

As such, I endeavour to provide at least two reviews per week up till the end of this year in order to cover the backlog and the majority of these reviews will focus on the expressions which I sampled during my visit to the Kaleidoscope Bar in London.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Kaleidoscope, it is the SMWS bar located at Devonshire Square and it is also the only SMWS bar in the city which is open to the public (i.e. Non-members).

Let me preface this review with the sentiment that I was only supposed to spend about an hour and a half at Kaleidoscope during my visit. Needless to say, that plan went out the window fairly quickly and I ended up spending closer to FIVE hours at the bar. No regrets though!

This week’s review focuses on an SMWS expression which was distilled in 2007, matured for 9 years in a first-fill European oak sherry butt before being bottled at a cask strength abv of 64.7% by the SMWS and was bestowed with the name “Dancing On A Volcano”.

While I shall not overtly name the distillery from which this expression was sourced, the answer can be found elsewhere in this review if you were to look closely.

So, let’s jump right into the review!

sdr
SMWS 30.97 “Dancing On A Volcano”

SMWS 30.97 “Dancing On A Volcano” (64.7% abv)

Colour: Deep mahogany

Nose: Initial entry presents a perfumed and densely sherried nose which is rather punchy due to the high abv. The nose is redolent with rich red fruits (apricots, nectarines and prunes), dates and demerara sugar. With time, cinnamon, white pepper, a touch of rancio, allspice and oak emerge and are complemented by supple leather, tobacco pouch, cigar leaves and sherried raisins. (21/25)

Palate: Initial entry presents a mouthful of rich, sherried goodness which coats the palate well. The rich red fruits and sherried raisins from the nose emerge alongside the hints of cinnamon and white pepper as well as some alcohol. This dram is no slouch and the abv is definitely apparent. Rancio, tobacco pouch, cigar leaves, supple leather and demerara follow though and the palate stays true to the nose. The white pepper morphs into black pepper after some time and there is a slight ashy undertone. (22/25)

Finish: Medium to long on the finish, with lingering wood spices and some of the demerara and sherried raisins carrying through to the very end alongside the black pepper hints. (20/25)

Balance: A rather feisty and youthful sherried expression which exhibits a fair bit of heat, but is also rather well-integrated and enjoyable. The mouthfeel is oily for the most part but exhibits a fair bit of dryness towards the end. (20/25)

Rating: 83/100

This expression was rather interesting and showcased some of the elements that I like from this particular distillery, which is located in Speyside and is owned by a company which owns distilleries in Easter Elchies and Kirkwall (hint hint).

I’m not entirely sure if Kaleidoscope still has bottles of this one left, but if they do, please give it a try. I reckon that it may surprise quite a few people with its character.

Until the next review, have a wonderful week ahead.

Slainte!

Brendan

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