It’s very roughly translated from the original Dutch saying, but that’s how I would call this review. The Smögen 2014 9 Years from Wu Dram Clan already received rave reviews on WhiskyNotes and Whiskyfun, subsequently selling out. And today’s sparring partner, another 9-year-old Smögen bottled by WhiskySponge a few years ago, is also long gone.
But then again, I write this blog for my own pleasure first and foremost. Of course, I’d like it if my readers enjoy what I’m doing, but I only have limited liver capacity – and way too much whiskies to review. That means I’m not always super current with my reviews, even though I try to be.
But anyway, Smögen. Arguably the brightest star in the Nordic whisky sky. It’s products are highly sought after, praised by many a whisky critic, and said to be the European mainland’s best alternative to Islay whiskies. Even outcompeting some of the long-established distilleries on this legendary Hebridean whisky island, which includes the likes of Lahproaig and Ardbeg.
That’s lofty, very lofty indeed. But it might just be true.
Smögen 2014 9 Years (59.8%, Wu Dram Clan, C#14)
Nose: Damp spruce, licorice root and coffee beans alongside pine needles, but also a good amount of fruits. Think ripe pineapples, tinned peaches, cured lemons and even a hint of grapefruit. There’s smoke alright, but it’s not grabbing all the attention. Hints of bung cloth, tobacco, menthol, and vanilla custard too. Rather brilliant stuff. Taste: Thick, oily mouthfeel. A wonderful combination of bonfire smoke, chewy bread and many fruits. Big citrus notes – the grapefruit and peaches make an encore. Somewhat briny, touches of white pepper and soft minerals. Finish: Notes of chalk, more fruits, some spices and lingering notes of charcoal.
Well, shit, this is better than I expected, even though the reviews from Ruben and Serge were glowing. It’s just that the smoke, fruity spirit and cask are in great harmony. Should’ve tasted my sample earlier so that I could’ve snagged a bottle.
Smögen 2012 9 Years (57.1%, Whiskysponge, 261 bts.)
Nose: It’s light yet big, if that makes sense? Bitter lemon pith, licorice root and oysters combined with light minerals, seaweed and earthy peat. Also a touch of dried cow dung. It’s the spirit character that does a lot of the talking here. Taste: A nice viscosity, this is all about the raw barley. Smoked husks, pot ale and bran, as well as intense peat smoke, ashes, a pinch of salt and more lemons. Finish: More of the above and very long.
It's rare for a whisky to be this raw and naked, yet the Smögen 2021 9 Years by Whiskysponge never comes across as spirity or too young. I would think that's a huge testament to the quality of the new make.
Samples provided by Decadent Drinks & Wu Dram Clan