The latest release of the elusive Smith’s Angaston whisky has dropped today with an 18-year-old and 20-year-old available through the distillery directly.
From the 1950s through the 1970s South Australian wine merchant Samuel Smith & Son produced a whisky called Smith's Imperial Vat Whisky. The modern-day, extremely rare single malt bottlings date from a series of runs in 1997, 1998 and 2000 when that old still was brought out of retirement. That period was when Smiths, now part of Yalumba, were distributing Glengoyne in Australia and then-production manager Peter Wall AM fired up the stills while acting head of the company.
The still was eventually decommissioned in 2001 and has only been re-commissioned since in 2011 and 2014. Rich and cask driven, these whiskies have been released every few years and have become increasingly hard to find. The release of the 20-year-old today is one of the oldest Australian whiskies released to market, especially domestically. That particular expression has been dedicated to the late Wall.
Today’s releases have been offered to Yalumba’s whisky subscribers via email, with any excess allocation – if there is any – likely to filter through to retail and on-premise. They are limited to one per person through the company, over the phone number provided in the email or through the order forms sent out this afternoon.
It is believed that would-be purchasers need to be on the company's existing database.
The two expressions released today are:
Smith’s Angaston Whisky 20-Year-Old
Originally tasted in August 2012 and left to sit until it turned 20. Cask 970331 is the final cask of the 1997 distillation runs. 264 bottles at 46.5%, $195.
Official tasting notes: Light golden amber in colour this emanates spice, gingerbread and dark orange chocolates. This is a real winter warmer with Christmas cake, brandy snap, honey and spices developing over time in the glass. Shows a tang of grapefruit and poached pear with liquorice and sweet maltiness. Delivers a crisp attack of spirit, narrow and long with a dry honeyed finish. Very elegant.
Smith Angaston Whisky 18-Year-Old
A 2000 vintage from cask 970637 which has been topped up with small amounts of 1997 and 1998 vintages. 142 bottles at 46%, $175.
Official tasting notes: A very deep, brooding colour and intense flavour. Barley sugar, stewed fruits and a round, full palate with soft, velvety layers of golden syrup, dried spice and cumquats. This delivers butterscotch and vanillin floral overtones with soft sweet malt and crème caramels. The spirit is bright and lively finishing magnificently long and sweet with maltiness and spice. Big, rich and intense.