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Hidden Gems: January 2022

At The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, we are on a passionate pursuit of the world’s most unique casks of whisky. This month I took on the oh-so-difficult task of tasting through the selection of whiskies available to Society members in America. The objective? To identify the hidden gems that may have been overlooked since their release.

You see what fascinates me most about Society whisky is that oftentimes the casks that turn out to be the most memorable are also the most unexpected. They frequently come from lesser-known distilleries or appear relatively unassuming on paper. Yet when finally uncorked, the spirit will thrill and delight unlike anything before it.

Here are three (3) Hidden Gems to consider for your home collection: 

Cask 71.80 Powershake
When choosing a whisky that can be enjoyed by everyone including family, friends, and fellow whisky lovers, it’s hard to go wrong with the Juicy, oak & vanilla flavour profile. These whiskies tend to be full of bright, zesty flavours and typically offer an impressive amount of depth and complexity for their age. Cask 71.80 Powershake represents this flavour profile at its finest. At 13 years old, it’s had just enough time to develop layer upon layer of fresh, fruity notes, vanilla sponge cake and custard, and a delicate array of nutmeg, cinnamon and sawdust. The texture is brilliant and at 56.7% ABV, the delivery is bold and mouthwatering.

Cask 19.52 Firm and classical
It’s been over five years since a cask from Distillery 19 has reached our shores and what a return it is! Cask 19.52 Firm and classical is a deep and complex spirit boasting intoxicating notes of stone fruits, honey and mossy bark. It’s an 18-year-old whisky that evokes the character of a spirit even older. If you enjoy the more delicate and nuanced flavours of an old Highland whisky matured in American oak, this checks all the right boxes.

Cask 3.328 Wish you were there?
Given the popularity of Islay whisky these days, you might be surprised to see this one featured in this month’s Hidden Gems. The truth is, I’ve decided to squeeze it in on the basis of the shocking realization that it’s still available today! Rich, smoky and complex, this 17-year-old casks evokes the greatness of a smoky, maritime malt with fantastic depth and character. Oftentimes when a peated whisky is left to age this long it can become somewhat mellow. At 58.0% ABV, Cask 3.328 Wish you were there? is still packing a punch while offering elegant characteristics that demonstrate its age. Whisky like this is becoming harder to come by. I say let’s enjoy it while we can!

Slàinte mhath!
Ben Diedrich