SMWS G15.4 Thermonuclear Banana – The name says it all!
This week’s Whisky Wednesday Review is yet another beauty expression from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. January is a crazy time for the Whisky industry with a ton of exciting events happening here in the PNW. So, let’s start this month off with a dram that is, in my opinion, one of the SMWS’s best kept secrets!
Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. First off… a little background. The Scotch Malt Whisky Society was founded in Edinburgh in 1983 and is a membership organization that bottles and sells single cask whisky. They purchase casks from distilleries all over Scotland and other parts of the world, bottles them and sells them to their members. Each cask must pass an expert whisky tasting panel of independent whisky connoisseurs from all walks of life before it is put into the iconic society green bottle as an SMWS expression.
All their whiskies are bottled at cask strength with no chill filtration or added colour as to present the whisky to the members as the distiller intended it to be. This, and the fact that no two casks are identical, ensures that each expression is unique and of limited supply. Many of the casks come from distilleries that produce whiskies that go 100% into blends and do not have their own retail bottling. This is an incredible opportunity for whisky fans to taste rare or lesser known expressions. None of their expressions will have anything on the bottle indicating which distillery the cask came from. Instead they use a number coding system which is supposed to keep its origins secret. But, thanks to modern technology, one can simply ask Google to decode it!
G15.4 is a grain whisky from Loch Lomond Distillery called Rhosdhu. Rather than being made of malted barley like single malt whiskies, this spirit is made with 100% unmalted barley. This grain whisky was a gold medal winner at the Independent Bottlers Challenge in 2018. It was aged for 10 years in a 2nd fill Hogshead and bottled at 58.3%ABV. There were only 239 bottles available and are, most likely, hard to find today.
Nose: Fresh baked Banana Nut Bread and then wave after wave of tropical fruits.
Palate: Creamy mouth feel, A truck load of Bananas and nuts, fruit salad topped with heavy cream and honey.
Finish: Long, more tropical fruit and cookie dough.
Rating: 9.8/10 (And not peated to boot!)