A Gathering to remember
For the past 40 years, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has been a club of kindred spirits, where people can come together to celebrate the finest whisky in great company. September is a month to practise what we preach, with our annual Gathering celebrations. And in our 40th anniversary year, we went bigger and bolder than ever before, as the Society’s Mhairi Mitchell reports
The Society held some brilliant events during our special Gathering month of celebrations, kicked off in style by venue manager Simone and the team at our London Members’ Room at 19 Greville Street.
They held an unforgettable evening at our neighbouring restaurant, The Bleeding Heart, a long-established and extremely popular French restaurant that offers superb food in historical surroundings within the centre of London.
ABOVE: Society members at our party at The Bleeding Heart
It takes its name from the yard where it is located which, according to the history books, was named after a 17th-century beauty, Lady Elizabeth Hatton, who was found murdered there. A fitting venue for a Society enriched with its own history.
Members got to enjoy a welcome drink, six hand-selected drams that showcase the Society’s diversity of flavour plus a magician, prize draws and canapes. This intimate and stimulating evening gave members the chance to savour some of the world’s most exceptional whisky while connecting with other like-minded whisky lovers.
Another fabulous event for The Gathering was held in Queen Street, as members enjoyed a tasting panel experience with Olaf Meier. Olaf has been a member of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society since 1992, an ambassador and Tasting Panel participant for 20 years and chairperson for 12 of those. Members immersed themselves in the wonderful world of Society whisky by trying five tasty drams in the company of Olaf. They learned about the language of whisky and how the Society was at the forefront of finding a new way to talk about what was in our glass.
ABOVE: The Society’s Guinness World Record online tasting pack
Our spiritual home, The Vaults, was under renovation during the Gathering, but that didn’t stop the celebrations. We continued to bring members together by inviting them to take part in our biggest party ever, to celebrate 40 years of discovery and whisky adventures, with our attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the largest online whisky tasting. The online whisky tasting will have been and gone by the time you read this, but have we done it? You need to hang tight to find out the result!
We’ve also released a series of exclusive Gathering bottles this month which have been selected by the competition winners from around the world who we brought to The Vaults in February. They took part in a two-day cask selection Tasting Panel experience to choose a cask for members in their countries. The lucky winners have now ended up not only with their own bottle name and Tasting Notes for each of their exclusive Gathering releases, but even a photograph of themselves on the label. How about that for a prize!
Now it’s your turn! We’ll be running the competition again in early 2024 for another batch of lucky members from across the world to travel to our spiritual home in Leith to select casks for our Gathering celebrations in September 2024 – so keep your eyes peeled for details of that coming your way soon.
ABOVE: Win a prize to travel to The Vaults and select a cask for The Gathering in 2024
The prize includes a two-day sensory experience and training event on cask selection, selecting and writing the Tasting Notes for The Gathering 2024 bottlings, meeting and sharing the experience with members from around the world and much more.
To enter, head over to our website to read all terms and conditions and submit your entry form.
The closing date for entries is 10am on Tuesday, 31 October 2023. The winners will be notified by email within 48 hours of the prize draw. The email address submitted on entry will be used.
Wherever you are, we look forward to celebrating many more birthday bashes together with great drams and good times!