Whisky Review – SMWS 39.95 – Caressing, warm and friendly

SMWS 39.95 – Caressing, warm and friendly
61.2% ABV
221 bottles only
£44 from SMWS.co.uk

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society write up goes:

The nose, fresh and attractively youthful, tumbled aromatic antics of vanilla, gorse flowers, sandalwood, scented candles and melon, plus plentiful sweet suggestions (stroop waffles, toffee ice-cream, lemon puffs, Edinburgh Rock, white chocolate). The palate also provided intense sweetness in the form of butterscotch, brown sugar, toasted marshmallows and custard creams; but we also found marmalade and black tea bitterness, white pepper, orange blossoms and ‘licking a new stave’. Still refreshing, the reduced nose conveyed pot-pourri, icing sugar, nougat and pancakes with lemon and honey. The palate now seduced us with its caressing sweetness and friendly warmth. From the east Elgin emporium.

Date Distilled: 7 May 2004
Colour: Pale buttercup
Age: 9 years years
Flavour : Young & spritely
Cask Type: Refill ex-bourbon barrel
Whisky Region: Speyside Lossie


Fresh, floral, lots of zingy citrus fruits. Orange, lemon, lime, sour apple. Creamy barley sugar sweetness. Some light wood shavings. The nose is quite alcohol potent so don’t dip your nose in too deep. Vanilla. Time in the glass and more icing sugar, confectionary, and a little bit of rum intensity. Some burnt sugars, caramel and toffee are also coming through with a little more air and patience. Fascinating, varying nose.


ABV popping, but all the time there is a lovely sweet and sour going on, lots of citrus and oakiness. Some effervescence mid development. Mouth watering through the ABV tingles, fades to more creamy vanilla custard and honey.


Shortish-medium. Creamy then drying oak, fizzy vanilla sherbert, then sweet again with some intense sweetness of barley sugar/honey/brown sugar.

Adding water.

Added a good few drops, probably a teaspoons worth.
The nose has more floral oaky notes now. But in no way overpowers the plentiful citrus (orange & lemon dominate) oils and peel. If anything it’s more intense. Something medicinal now, lozenge like. The palate is now sweeter with still the lemon bitter zing, but to less effect. Much more honey, vanilla sweetness, lighter sugars, buckets of barley sugars, chewy vanilla toffee, lemon sherberts, really mountains of flavoursome sweet shops. The finish has long longer with some prolonged juiciness, sweet shops, drying out with some light oak tannins, and a little sherbert dib dabs. The lemon sweeties stay around for ages. Still tasting them after some 15 minutes after my last drop.
Added some more water, 5 drops or so. The nose now has a lot more floral and the citrus has taken a back step. The palate is much lighter, less intensive, still very flavoursome, but lacking some of the balance in the sugar vs the citrus, with the sugars taken the forefront now with less juicy intensity to the citrus. The finish now concentrates more on the floral oak side of things. This dram with a little water is superb, with too much it can loose that special something.


This Linkwood is full of surprises, lots of variation. A very explorable, changing nose. When diluted an explosive flavoursome palate. Really memorable and one I want to revisit.

Thanks to my mate Ben Cops (@bencops) for sending a sample this way, much appreciated. Bottle bought. Lol. 🙂