Maverick 40th anniversary bottling

AGE: 12 years
DISTILLED: 21 June 2010
REGION: Speyside
ABV: 50%
CASK: Refill bourbon hogsheads, then Spanish oak first fill oloroso and second fill Spanish oak Pedro Ximenez hogsheads
SPIRIT TYPE: Small batch Single Malt
FLAVOUR PROFILE: Not assigned because it’s a small batch blend… but would very much be in the Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits category

Back label notes

The definition of a maverick is an unorthodox or independent-minded person. In 1983, Pip Hills founded The Scotch Malt Whisky Society based on an idea that everyone said wouldn’t work. Pip wanted to bottle whisky straight from the cask, unadulterated, because it retained maximum flavour. And he was right: people loved it, and the Society was born. He was a maverick in its truest form.

This expression is a celebration of the iconic sherry cask. For its creation, we selected some bourbon hogsheads of Speyside Single Malt. We moved the whisky to a selection of oloroso and Pedro Ximenez-seasoned hogsheads, all made from Spanish oak, for varying length of additional maturation; between two and three and a half years. We then blended the casks together to create this dark and rewarding dram.

Label art

Our bespoke Maverick artwork was created by Glasgow-based artist and graphic designer Andy Rogerson. This unique bottling is part of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

Tasting Notes

The aromas of freshly waxed, natural marble floors, mosaics and terrazzo tiles were followed by a fruity scent from apricots, peaches and plums, before a cup of Assam tea and fig, apple and raisin bread pudding joined the party. On the palate, we found American-style blueberry and banana pancakes with lemon juice and maple syrup, as well as cardamom and orange-spiced rhubarb on top of fluffy French toast. Following dilution we discovered dark chocolate, marshmallows and a sherry mango trifle. To taste, a traditional ‘blood & sand’ cocktail, named after a 1922 film about a Spanish matador, using equal parts of Scotch, sweet vermouth, cherry liqueur and orange juice.

Euan Campbell, SMWS Head of Whisky Creation

“On a recent trip to Jerez I was thinking about how much there is to explore in whisky, particularly the cask that the whisky is matured in. And I had this kind of sense of excitement that I imagine our founder Pip Hills had back in the early days when the Society was just starting.

So that kind of feeling was the inspiration for putting Maverick together. This is very much trying to encapsulate that excited feeling of discovery within whisky.

It’s great fun, and this is really the most exciting part of the job. When I get to sit down with a row of samples and really start to assess those and start to decide how they might fit together, that is so much fun. So I started looking at our sherry matured stocks and I came across a Speyside Single Malt, this is drawn from Spanish oak, oloroso, and Pedro Ximenez casks. What I was trying to do was get a nice balance between the kind of dry oloroso character, nuttiness and the sweet Pedro Ximenez decadent side. So it’s a combination of those two cask types and both in Spanish oak.”

Pip Hills, Society founder and ‘Maverick-in-Chief’

“I think it’s lovely… it makes me smile – very, very nice whisky indeed. I see from the bottle that it’s been in two or three different kinds of cask, which is not something that – being old-fashioned – I approve of all that much. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and this is perfectly lovely whisky. Very, very rich, it has light fruity notes, but also dark fruity notes, it smells like Christmas cake and black bun, that sort of thing, and dried fruits. It’s floral as well, which you would expect any good whisky to be. There are deeper underlying notes which I think are aldehydic flavours and sherry-related flavours, which presumably since it spent some time in a sherry cask, you’re getting that.”