We were introduced to Samaroli as the Italian house that makes the rums-to-collect by bartenders at the San Francisco rum/tiki institution Smuggler’s Cove. Once we discovered their scotches, we were sold. Their bottles generally run in limited editions of just a few hundred each, and their peated scotches and rums easily rank as my top favorites.
In this review, I taste their 2008 first edition (2015) made to commemorate the year when the proprietor Silvano Samaroli turned over the reins to his successor Antonio Bleve.
This is a complex whisky that transforms during a tasting. It’s very hard to place a distinct flavor, and the ethereal taste seems to meld into different flavors while you sip. The first note for me is always a soft smoke but it turns toasted marshmallow-y and a bit like strawberry balsamic.
Sometimes, I taste dark chocolate. The end tends back toward smoke, with a pop of peat and ginger. The mouthfeel is light and delicate – not meaty and muscular, so be warned if you’re looking for a heavy-hitter.
8/10 – Excellent.
Description: Complex and changes flavors, with a smoky overtone throughout.
Unfortunately very difficult to procure.
Fun Facts about Samaroli:
- First non-Scottish and non-English independent Scotch whisky bottler
- One of the early pioneers of bottling cask strength whiskies in the 1980s and also one of the first to embrace no age statements transparently
- Samaroli is known for their Laphroaig bottlings, including one that went for 60,000 British pounds in a recent auction
- Silvano Samaroli recently passed away in 2017. Although he had given over management to Bleve, he was still heavily involved in the blending until his passing, thus catapulting many pre-2017 to collector’s items.
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