The SMWS asked me if I'd like to preview the upcoming January list. After a brief conversation (in which we confirmed the Pope's religion and the lavatorial habits of bears), we had an amicable arrangement. I'd taste nine of the upcoming drams, and retain full editorial control. They... they... well, when I figure out what's in it for them, I'll be sure to let you all know.
It's hard to give an impression of the whole list when you've had just under half of it. But I think 2018 is off to a good start.
The highlight was the floral, fruity Glen Grant, which I gave a well deserved 4.5 - I'm looking forward to drinking it again as soon as possible! Also worth a try are the deep, fruity, bready Glentauchers and the sweet, oily, lemony and moreish Bunnahabhain. Both scored 4, and are well worth trying.
(I didn't read the outturn list until after I'd reviewed the whiskies, so had no idea the Bunnahabhain was exclusive to offers - and paired with the Glentauchers! What a combination!)
There are quite a few spicy drams on the list - and yet I feel I should note that the wonderfully named "Charge of the spice brigade" still scored a 3.5 and has a great set of accompanying flavours that help temper the spice. The Cragganmore and the Laphroaig were also pretty decent drams that I think are worth investigating.
As ever, I write my tasting notes primarily for myself - I've added a little explanation of a couple of scores, but that's all. The very best thing you can do is get yourself to a Society venue and try them yourself - but if you can't do that, then I hope these notes help.