Around the world with the Society

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

China to the fore

Our China team has been out in force recently, with a series of events taking place in the south of the country. They had five Society drams on offer to participants at the Hey Whisky fair in Shenzhen, followed by a mini-gathering at a nearby book-cafe, with a special tasting including a Vaults Collection dram and a China exclusive bottling.

Next up was a series of four tastings across different cities in Guangdong province, bringing the SMWS to local whisky lovers – including a Society first with a tasting on a golf course.

McCheyne’s travels

Like everyone else, SMWS global brand ambassador John McCheyne’s travels may have been curtailed over the past couple of years, but he’s making up for lost time with his first visit to Australia to host a series of tastings in Melbourne and Sydney.

John presented a tasting to a full house at Society partner bar Whisky & Alement, before heading to Sydney for a special evening at the Royal Automobile Club of Australia.

Hamburg cruise

Members in Germany took to the harbour in Hamburg for a special tasting aboard a historic steam police boat. Now known as the Otto Lauffer, the boat was built in 1928 at the Hamburg shipyard H.C. Stülcken Sohn and served as a harbour police boat for 40 years on the Elbe. The Otto Lauffer retired from active service in 1968 and is now part of the harbour museum.

The Society’s German branch did two tours around Hamburg harbour with 12 guests each, with a tasting that included four peated and one non-peated SMWS whiskies as well as a rum, guided by ambassador Thom Glas.

SMWS in Spain

The Society not only has a new branch in Spain, it now has its first official partner bar – with more on the way. La Whiskeria in Barcelona hosted the Society’s first tasting in the country in July, hosted by Diego Borràs Moreno. You can read more about the new Society branch and La Whiskeria in our partner bar feature here.

Whisky pilgrimage

Society member Charles Melvin made an extensive whisky pilgrimage from his home in the United States to Scotland with his wife recently, including visits to The Vaults and Queen Street in Edinburgh and Bath Street in Glasgow.

The ‘Scotch Connoisseur’ tour was organised by Scholarly Sojourns and included visits to Highland Park on Orkney and Wolfburn in Thurso, before taking in Clynelish, Balblair, Glenmorangie and Tomatin on the way to the Craigellachie Hotel. Next was Campbeltown, Islay and finally a visit to the Society’s Members’ Room in Glasgow.

“It was a whisky lover’s dream trip,” says Charles. “We tasted so many great drams from so many flavour profiles. The SMWS sites welcomed us as a member and are a must-visit if you go to Edinburgh or Glasgow. But what really made this trip so special were the people of Scotland – they were so welcoming, especially after two years of limited travel, and the passion of the distillery staff is contagious. I would encourage members to put a trip to Scotland on your bucket list. You will walk away with a greater appreciation of whisky and some very special bottles to remember a great experience.”

Bazaar events

The Society is delighted to be back for the first time since 2019 with its Whisky Galore Bazaar, taking place on Thursday, 24 November in the opulent surroundings of the King’s Hall at The George Intercontinental Hotel in Edinburgh, from 12 noon until 6pm.

As well as five glorious drams, including two exceptional whiskies from The Vaults Collection, guests will enjoy a three-course meal and the opportunity to sample and purchase a fantastic selection of whiskies and spirits on the day – including a preview of the Big November Outturn.

Tickets are £80 each or there are tables of 10 available for £725 – keep an eye on for more details.