Around the world with the Society
Here’s a flavour of what’s been going on at the world’s most entertaining whisky club
The first collaboration with our friends at Wasted Degrees brewery in Blair Atholl is underway, with the team there ageing a bespoke stout for around two months in a Society quarter cask that previously sat on the bar at The Vaults.
The first fill oloroso cask is from distillery 71 and had been named in a competition by member Eilidh Douglas as Cigars stubbed out in strawberry jam when it was filled at The Vaults on 6 May 2021. Wasted Degrees brewed a bespoke stout recipe for it, creating a malty, rich, roasty, dark one-off inspired by their current stout recipe, which was filled into the cask on 28 March. It will age for up to two months in the cask before being returned to The Vaults to be filled again with a Society whisky. After that, The Vaults team will host a special tasting event at the end of June to pair the Wasted Degrees whisky-influenced stout with the stout-influenced Society whisky. Watch this space – and for more collaborations with Wasted Degrees in the future.
Kai and Euan from the Society’s Spirits Team were in Jerez, Spain recently, continuing their quest to track down the finest sherry casks for our whiskies. Pictured are a selection of SMWS marked casks made by Tevasa cooperage, in a warehouse in Sanlucar de Barrameda (the northwest end of the 'sherry triangle') with delicious oloroso and Pedro Ximenez wines from Bodegas Baron. Look out for these casks to start making the journey to Scotland in 2023.
Tune into Whisky Sisters
Whisky writer and Unfiltered contributor Inka Larissa has launched her own podcast, together with Glasgow-based whisky lover Jennifer Rose, called Whisky Sisters. They paid a visit to the Society’s Members’ Room on Bath Street in Glasgow recently to catch up with venue manager Calum Lawson. You can tune to find out more from Calum, Inka and Jennifer at www.whiskysisterspodcast.com
On his bike for charity
SMWS member Rob Richardson is on a mission to cycle to every single malt distillery in Scotland starting this month, to raise money and awareness for the charities Cash for Kids and Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance.
Rob starts his mammoth mission at Bladnoch distillery near Wigtown in Dumfries and Galloway in mid-May and hopes to finish by going the extra mile all the way to Shetland, to the Saxa Vord distillery.
In between, he’ll be visiting more than 140 distilleries across Scotland in a journey of around 2000 miles and taking six to seven weeks.
“I’ve always loved exploring and have done expeditions before, and I get itchy feet every few years for a new challenge,” says Rob. “I had a vague idea about doing this before, probably over a few whiskies, and then when the first lockdown happened two years ago, I started to properly plan it – as much to give me something to focus on as anything else.”
Rob is hoping to collect a bottle from every distillery he visits, which will then go to auction, with all the proceeds going to his chosen charities.
He’ll also be on Islay at the same time as the Society is planning our Open Day at Islay House, and he has invited any members who want to join him that day to show up on their bikes at Ardbeg distillery at 9am on Friday, 27 May. The aim for the day is then to cycle acros the island to Kilchoman, via Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Bowmore and Bruichladdich, a journey of approximately 30 miles.
To find out more about Rob's expedition and how to donate or get involved, visit www.whiskyventures.co.uk
The Society’s entire team of ambassadors from across Europe visited Scotland in April for a series of tastings, seminars and a chance to hear from Society founder Pip Hills at The Vaults. The team also toured the new SMWS warehouse which is taking shape in Uddingston as well as the Society’s Members’ Room in Glasgow
We’re all delighted to be back out in force at festivals near and far, including appearances at Italy’s Roma Whisky Festival for the first time, with ambassadors Mauro and Alessandro Leoni along with Ivan and Francesco from 28 Queen Street and our regional development manager Chloe Scott. Elsewhere, Chloe was on hand at the WFNN (Whisky Festival North Netherlands) with SMWS honorary ambassador Hans Offringa, and ambassadors to The Netherlands Monique ten Kortenaar and Ansgar and Thomas Speller.
A taste of Canton in Kunming
The team at SMWS China held a food pairing tasting in March in Kunming, where around 30 guests gathered in a gourmet restaurant to savour four Society whiskies paired with typical Cantonese food, including a cold plate, seafood, poultry, meat, soup and dessert.
Top marks in Australia
After two years of postponement, The Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championship returned to Sydney, Australia in April. Over 150 competitors gathered at The Art Gallery of New South Wales in front of eight whiskies with an answer sheet that listed nine whiskies. They had 30 minutes to match the whiskies on the table to those listed on the answer sheet – and one of them was a red herring. There were two rounds of taste-offs (to decide fourth place) and first placed Seamus Carroll scored an impressive 8/8. After the competition, competitors and guests enjoyed canapés and drinks from a selection of pop-up bars from different brands.