Review #2: Samaroli 2008

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.

Bottle of Whisky with several bottles behind it, backlit

Samaroli 2008 Whisky Review
  • Score - 8/10

Tasting Notes

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.


Complex and changes flavors, with a smoky overtone throughout. Unfortunately very difficult to procure.

Quick overview of our scoring system

Additional Information

  • ABV: 43%
  • Just one of 600 bottles.
  • 7 year old whisky, speyside.

About Samaroli

  • Established in 1968, Samaroli is the 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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