Review #5: SMWS Dark Side of the Melon

This bottling came along with our entry into the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Unfortunately, we think we know why. The SMWS bottlings that we have tried have nearly all been good to exceptional – but this one is sadly a dud.

SMWS 13.56 – Dark Side of the Melon

Tasting Notes

First impressions (no water)

Nose: Vanilla, candy sweetness like a Jolly Rancher apple and pear

Palate: Round banana and pear at the front, then ends in a fiery hotness like a white dog whisky that obliterates all taste buds. After about 5 rounds of tasting, there was a flicker of orange and melon on the mid-note before the heat takes over.

Then we added water.

Okay this round, we tasted chocolate at the front and a more creamy mouthfeel with melon. Then lingering heat. Still hot.

So we added even MOAR water.

“It’s not bad. Okay but also not that great.” Chocolate covered caramels and honey on the front then a refreshing cucumber or melon-y spa day vibe. But there’s still the heat at the end. It’s not the alcohol percentage (we drink a lot of high proof and cask strength whiskies), it’s just… young-tasting. And hot. Did we mention hot.


Score: 5 out of 10

Overall: Needs a lot of water. And then more water. Finally turns into chocolate and spa day (cucumber and melon) but it took a long time for us to agree with the “melon” in the title and we may have been primed… Okay, we were primed.

About the Bottle & Other Facts:

  • Highland (13.56: 13 is Dalmore, and this is #56 from the distillery bottled so far by SMWS)
  • Cask: Refill barrel
    Age: 9 years
    Date distilled: May 2008
    Alcohol: 60.7%
    USA allocation: 60 bottles
  • SMWS is now 25 years old in America and won the world’s best whisky at SF World Spirits Competition in April. We have tasted a lot of amazing SMWS whiskies at the Barrel Thief in Seattle (highly recommend their flight on Sunday for 50% off!)
  • Costs a membership fee to be able to purchase their bottles

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