Bottle - Cask # 53.456

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Cask No. 53.456 Peated



Opening the door of the shack we are met with the smell of burning wood in the fireplace, burnt sugar and a plate of smoked maple syrup cured bacon. Seated around the shack we share a piece of maple pudding cake with a coffee spiked with spiced rum.

Water toned down the smoke and let the sugary sweetness shine through. Maple syrup and vanilla cake were back on the menu. Burned toast with cream cheese and a dusting of ashes and then smoked salmon with a smoky hickory glaze. This spent 6 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead before being transferred to an American oak oloroso hogshead. Cask selected, bottle named and tasting note written by Canadian member Mathieu Dureau for The Gathering 2023. Here's his overview of the experience:

When I arrived at The Vaults on the first day I had no expectations or any idea as to what I was getting involved in. After introductions to the staff working the event, we hit the ground running. The first exercise was to do blind nose tests and try to figure out the profile of different styles, which was much harder than expected, but so rewarding. 

The second exercise was the tasting of the different whiskies, and that was equally challenging, but it expanded my world on what can be done just from using different barrels & the aging process. Those two exercises really brought into focus what the soul of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society is about and gave me a much deeper appreciation of what the SMWS does.

When it came to the selection of the whisky chosen for Canada, my partner Melanie and I were very nervous since we've never done a tasting panel or even written any tasting notes. It started off by blind tasting three different bottlings which had no markings of any kind and then we had to choose our favorite. The next day was spent writing the  tasting notes and choosing a name for our selection, and that was the biggest challenge.

Luckily there were people like Olaf [SMWS Ambassador] and Miguel [manager of The Vaults] who were around to help, as after tasting drams and having lunch our  palates and noses were getting tired. We started off with the initial story and image we were  trying to convey and that's when they both came in for the save; they were able to help provide different viewpoints on the taste and nose, and helped us describe our story, and with that help/guidance we were able to put the final touches on the image we were trying to convey:  the palate and the nose brought back memories of sugar shacks which are very popular here in Quebec and the Ottawa region, and pudding chômeur is a sweet vanilla cake with maple syrup. For us how we came about choosing the name is that when you arrive at a sugar shack you get the smell of camp fires and on the palate you get the sweet taste of something like maple syrup, and so we wanted to come up with a name that was truly Canadian but also had something about the region where we live and our parents grew up.

The second aspect of the trip that that will forever be in my heart is the hospitality and the kindness of the people within the organization; the staff at The Vaults were the most amazing hosts, they provided incredible food, allowed us to sample so many different whiskies and if we had any questions they were always willing to answer. We also met people from 18 different countries and got to know a little about them and their cultures. 

Overall this was a truly amazing and unforgettable experience that will always be near and dear to my heart and the other best part of the trip was that Melanie has been converted to a whisky drinker!!!

Mathieu Dureau 14  

Age 9 years
Date Distilled 3 April 2013
Initial Cask Type Ex-bourbon hogshead
Final Cask Type 1st fill Oloroso hogshead
Region Islay
Outturn 295 bottles
ABV 57.9 %