Tasting note: Highland Park 2002 SMWS 4.235 (14-year-old, "Beach bonfire embers")

Highland Park 2002 SMWS 4.235 Beach bonfire embersColor: White wine

Nose: Lemon slices with a very light touch of smoke. Above that lingers a floral note with vanilla and a salty breeze you might associate with an autumn walk on the beach.

Taste: Salty liquorice with soft smoke. Thin mouth feel. Water improves the balance by introducing green tea, but the peat remains subdued.

Finish: Getting dry quickly. You get more peat now, but it's still only "lightly peated" as suggested by the categorization over at SMWS.

Comments: Solid whisky that does nothing wrong but doesn't really stand out either. Don't overthink it, enjoy it at the beach.

Rating: I rated this whisky 82 out of 100.
(Nose 21, Taste 21, Finish 20, Balance 20)

View on Whiskybase

Tasting note: Dalmore 2008 SMWS 13.49 (9-year-old, "Apple olive oil cake")

Dalmore 2008 SMWS 13.49 Apple olive oil cakeColor: Pale gold

Nose: Apple juice and raspberries with a touch of caramel.

Taste: Apple tart with plenty of cinnamon. Relatively spicy, perhaps coming from the 60.3% alcohol content. You can really tell this is a young cask strength whisky. There are hints of caramel and honey, but they're overshadowed by the cinnamon spiciness. Water brings the spiciness down a notch without revealing any additional flavours.

Finish: Medium in length with stale apples and damp oak.

Comments: Average outing from the "Spicy & Sweet" category at SMWS. It's okay really, just not memorable at all and somewhat unfinished.

Rating: I rated this whisky 77 out of 100.
(Nose 20, Taste 19, Finish 19, Balance 19)

View on Whiskybase

Tasting note: Old Pulteney 2001 SMWS 52.21 (15-year-old, "Tropical breezes fill the sails")

Old Pulteney 2001 SMWS 52.21Color: Deep copper

Nose: Makes a sherry-like entrance with a deep sweetness from raisins and caramel. Moments later I get more of the influence from the red wine finish, dark grapes with a very slight sourness. (Water uncovers some earthy notes.)

Taste: Wow, deep sweetness indeed! Lots of toffee with dried fruits again, raisins and dates. There is some creamy dark chocolate, too. Salt caramel on top of that. Wonderful. (The addition of water adds oranges and berries into the mix.)

Finish: Medium. Dark chocolate with walnuts, dried oranges and dry oak.

Comments: Very enjoyable dram from the "Deep, rich & dried fruits" category at SWMS. After 14 years in a bourbon barrel it was transferred to a first-fill ex-red wine hogshead for a one-year finish. The red wine influence is rather shy though. Could easily be mistaken for a sherry whisky to be honest -- not that there's anything wrong with that! Like this one a lot.

Rating: I rated this whisky 88 out of 100.
(Nose 22, Taste 23, Finish 21, Balance 22)

View on Whiskybase

Tasting note: Aberfeldy 2008 SMWS 60.26 (8-year-old, "Mojitos and muscle rub")

Aberfeldy 2008 SMWS 60.26Color: Jonquiripe corn

Nose: Tropical fruits, most prominently pineapple and banana, with a bit of citrus and mint which I guess the "mojito" refers to.

Taste: Sweet and again fruity, ripe oranges and bananas. Although this is a young whisky bottled at 61%, the alcohol isn't biting. When you swallow, there is a peppery spiciness in the back of the throat, but it doesn't last long. Water brings out more of the sweet citric flavours (lime).

Finish: Relatively brief. Sweet with vanilla and lime. The oak doesn't show itself really.

Comments: Solid young whisky from the "Young & Spiritely" category at SMWS. I like its sweetness but obviously the whisky lacks complexity, though that's fine considering it's a single cask that had a mere eight years to age.

Rating: I rated this whisky 82 out of 100.
(Nose 21, Taste 21, Finish 20, Balance 20)

View on Whiskybase

Tasting note: Octomore Masterclass_08.2 (2008/2017, 8yo)

Octomore Masterclass_08.2 2008/2017Color: Auburn

Nose: Earthy peat with apricot jam. There are hints of smoked meat, grass and flowers... barbecue in a hayfield? But what jumps out at you the most beside the very pleasant peat is the fruitiness and sweetness from ripe oranges and berries.

Taste: Wonderful right from the first sip! Gentle smoke with plenty of oak and dark chocolate. Sweet red fruits, cherries and strawberries, mixed with slightly bitter yellow fruits, oranges and apricots.

Finish: The peat stays with you but does so in the background, leaving room for cherries and bitter chocolate to shine through. Red wine grapes and dry oak later.

Comments: This is a lovely dram with peat that is gentle and perfectly balanced alongside sweet aromas. No water required at all.

Rating: I rated this whisky 91 out of 100.
(Nose 22, Taste 23, Finish 23, Balance 23)

View on Whiskybase