Lust for life!

These have been challenging times for all of us in so many ways across the world. But as I sit here with a dram in Leith, I believe it has never been more important to pull together as an international community of members and whisky adventurers. Whatever obstacles we may face, we remain bound by the ambition and spirit that our founder Pip Hills set out for us, all those years ago, and find comfort in that sense of belonging

The last 18 months or so have seen our lives in a state of flux. We have been forced to disconnect from physical spaces and find new ways to engage with each other online, in parks or over garden fences. This has started, stopped and started all over again, and for much of this time we’ve been physically separated from people we love and care for. It’s left us all feeling understandably uneasy and unsettled. We hope that the Society has continued to bring you not only outstanding whisky but a form of escape and pleasure, through our virtual pub sessions and regular online tastings, and a chance to get together with whisky-loving pals from around the world.

Covid has undoubtedly forced us to re-evaluate how we work, think and live our lives. Some of those changes may stay with us, and one of the positives to come out of this experience is that we will continue to build member benefits and experiences on screen as well as in person. We want to create even more excuses for a chat over a whisky – it’s what makes our world go round, after all.

Alongside this, we have also had to deal with changes across Europe due to Brexit – and this has caused unfortunate turbulence to the logistics and service of our European members, causing frustration to us all. It’s an area we’re continuing to focus closely on to make sure we can find the most efficient ways to look after everyone in Europe, and we thank you again for your patience if you’ve been adversely affected by this situation.

ABOVE: David at The Vaults, the Society’s spiritual home in Leith, Edinburgh

Alongside everything else that’s been going on this year, many of you have now invested in the Artisanal Spirits Company, owner of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. We were delighted to see how many members were prepared to become shareholders and demonstrate their commitment and belief in the on-going success and development of the Society. The extra funding that our listing brings will support our ambitions to bring you more than ever before – more exceptional whisky, more entertainment, more experiences – and a very bright, exciting future. We will welcome more members into our family – because that’s who we are and that’s what we do. Everyone is welcome, and as we grow, we hope to see more people visit us, enjoy our events and spend time together, all around the world.

We’ll be doing a member survey soon to hear more about what you want today – and in the future – and to help us plan accordingly. Alongside this, you’ll notice changes in our Membership Services team and how we help and look after all of you. As part of developing what we bring you, we will do a whisky release every week in 2022 in the UK to expand the range, opportunity and chance to get hold of our precious one-of-a-kind bottlings. We will also be celebrating and embracing our global community of members with local and international celebrations and seasonal holidays. Look out for a special Burns Night in January to kick off a year which we’ll be celebrating with a renewed lust for life.

I’ve always believed this club of ours is pretty special, thanks of course to the unique range of flavours and bottles that we create for you, but even more so because of our members that come together over a dram for a blether. The events of the past 18 months have re-enforced for me just how special that is. At a time when many of us have been at home, stuck indoors but connected virtually, I want to thank you all for sticking with us and for your membership and support. Your spirit, energy and dedication sit at the heart of this international, flavour-pioneering club of whisky lovers.

Here’s to a new year that celebrates the good things in life. Let’s raise a glass to those all around the world: here’s to good health, good fortune and the stuff that makes us smile. From everyone at the Society – we look forward to seeing you soon.


David Ridley, Chief Member Champion