Around the world with the Society

Here’s a flavour of what’s been going on at the world’s most entertaining whisky club

Australia events back in full swing

Events in Australia are back in full swing, with SMWS ambassadors taking a taste of the Society’s Rare Release festival bottlings on the road to meet members across the country. Alex Moores led a tasting of the six drams at the Kelvin Club in Melbourne, while Matt Bailey supplied some exclusive insight into the background of some of the casks.

In Canberra, Drew McKinnie took members and friends on a journey through each of the six festival releases at our local partner bar, Hippo Co.

The awards haul grows

The Society’s most recent success in the International Wine and Spirits Competition, the International Spirits Challenge, the Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition, Scotch Whisky Masters and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition has brought our tally of medals for this year alone to 41, with 259 awards for our whiskies since 2018. “We’ve had a great year of awards already and to get our best-ever result in the Scotch Whisky Masters and superb results in the SFWSC to add to our haul is fantastic,” said SMWS spirits director Kai Ivalo.

“We and our members prize the experience of exploring flavour above anything else, and the variety of bottlings recognised here with the highest-level Master award is testimony to the quality we offer – and to the expertise of the Tasting Panel in making sure that what we bottle for members is always a cracking whisky.

“Our members know that already – but to be recognised by our industry peers is always rewarding. The fact that we’re approaching 260 awards across various competitions since 2018 also demonstrates how consistent we have been in offering amazing limited-edition whisky to our members.”

On a mission, and on our bikes

While on Islay, Unfiltered editor Richard Goslan joined SMWS member Rob Richardson as he ticked off some of the distilleries on his epic charity cycle around every working distillery in Scotland. Rob is on a mission to raise money and awareness for the charities Cash for Kids and Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance, riding from Bladnoch in the south of Scotland all the way to the Saxa Vord distillery in Shetland over the course of around six weeks and 2,000 miles. Richard was happy to cycle from Ardbeg to Bowmore and then leave Rob to it!

Catch up with Rob at

Festival flavours

It’s been a long three years, but finally we were back at various festivals throughout May for the first time since 2019 – culminating in a grand party on Islay. The Society took over Islay House on Friday, 27 May for a fantastic day of whisky tastings, Highland Games and good times, as delighted members returned to the island for a week of whisky-fuelled fun. We caught up with some of the members at Islay House for a special Islay edition of our Whisky Talk podcast that you can listen to here.

We also had a fantastic online evening to taste and share our six Rare Release festival bottlings for members who couldn’t make it to Islay, in the company of Society social media guru Mads Schmoll, master brand ambassador John McCheyne and ambassador to The Netherlands, Bob Wenting.

To watch the Rare Release tasting, click here

Jubilee juice

The beginning of June marked The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years of service. The SMWS got into the spirit with a special bottling, Cask No. 108.58: One fancies a sherry, paired with a limited-edition whisky-flavoured ice cream named ‘Bohemian Raspberry’ at our UK Members’ Rooms.

ABOVE: A lovely line-up for Canadian members on Vancouver Island

Canada’s back!

After a two-year pandemic hiatus, our Canada branch was delighted to return to the Victoria Highland Games with a master class hosted by Victoria ambassador, Adam Bradshaw. In-person tastings have now resumed at all partner liquor stores in Canada, much to the delight of members.

New German home

We are delighted to welcome Bremen's Lemon Garden to our increasing circle of German partner bars. The team around owner Mario Ippen not only stands for first-class cocktails and perfect service, but also cultivates an intense passion for Scotland’s water of life.