SMWS 4.235 Beach Bonfire Embers

"A slightly disapointing example of the 4.something number they release almost every months at the SMWS with too much cask and not enough distillery character"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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Highland Park features almost every month in the list of crazy-titled releases from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (at least in the time when I was a member). I got a set of samples back then, which included this 13-year-old from 2002 that originates from a refill bourbon hogshead, but I never got around to actually taste them. So time to crack this little bottle open! And no funny finishing from the lads at SMWS HQ.


Very fruity with lots of orange sweet. Are we sure this was a refill cask? A distant minerality, and after a while a hint of smoke. Not that much else. Water brings some more tropical fruits, fruit skins, and much more balance now. Still whispering with hints here and there. Lemon meringue, orange and carrot cake, creamy butter croissants, yoghurt and dill.


Minerals, barley, beach pebbles. Still not much of the embers. Water brings more balance, a nice acidity and a surprising dryness. More oranges, maybe some other citrus fruits and a few earthy, leafy notes. The finish is zingy and persistent.


Slightly disappointing that this could not express more Highland Park and less cask influence. I cannot imagine that this was the best cask they could choose from or probably just a miss-hit between the large row a monthly 4.something turn-outs. Maybe I should become a member again in the future to try to make amend. Not a bad prospect, is it?

What others say

Whiskybase: 85.86 (16 votes) * @PhilipStorry: 4.5/5 *@YummyWhisky: 82/100
Read for yourself

A sample was purchased from


these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
Nose 80%
Taste 78%
Balance 83%
Depth 79%
Finish 81%