I keep humming and hawing over the idea of being a member of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.
It’s a members club for a start, I’m with Groucho Marx on that one, and I still don’t like the daft names they give their bottles and the numbers and all that, it creates an element of mystery which can often come across as both elitist and confusing and must put many people off from buying their bottles, remember, not everyone is a whisky geek.
That said, I’ve been a member a couple of times so I can get specific bottles and what has always stopped me in the end is a lack of members bar on my door step.
I’ve been told, but Edinburgh has two, yes it does, but I’m not in Edinburgh and I’m not traipsing across to my home town for a whisky, no whisky is that good, but now, well, the SMWS are launching a Glasgow bar, in the town too rather than the West End where I half expected it to be so it’s actually within reach, so that was a bonus.
Anyway, it’s nearly Christmas and there are a few Membership offers just now, and I can reveal that to celebrate the SMWS Glasgow bar they are offering 20% off at the moment.
I have, obviously, received a sample pack which you can get as part of a membership deal, there are several different memberships offers including straight forward renewal, drinks with a Brand Ambassador or a bottle thrown in with membership, I’ve done this as well as getting my three 20cl bottles.
Remember that membership is the way to buy SMWS bottles so if these are of interest to you then fill your boots.
The sample pack I received was once again full of decent liquid, I can moan all I want about the labels but you can get some seriously powerful whisky here for as low as fifty quid, with an age statement, barrel types and all that stuff which everyone seems to like these days.
Let’s take a look at the two drams I took most out of.
Converting Vegetarians 29.266
This is a 60.9% 2nd fill ex-bourbon cask Laphroaig 8 Year Old for £75
One of 249 this Laphoaig is a rare beast indeed because I really like it and I rarely get on with Laphroaig.
This isn’t a big full review because it’s not the time nor the place but this is a very balanced wee dram. It’s very powerful at 60.9% and needed water and a little time in the glass but there is a lovely balance of smoke, charred meat, pepper and toffee to make this work a treat.
Daft name though.
A feather bed in a gentlemen’s study (what does that even mean or imply?)
This is another whopper at 59.6%, 10 Year Old Glen Ord 77.60
One of 264 bottles this is a Glen Ord, I know next to nothing about Glen Ord and it’s one thing the SMWS can offer is the chance to try whiskies that aren’t on the market all that much, much like quality Laphroaig.
Lots of water needed but needed very little time in the glass.
Easy drinking for a big dram, baked apples, blue raspberry slushie, honeycomb and all the nuts, roasted nuts, peanut butter, peanut oil, GET YOUR HOT CHESTNUTS here as the man with a HOT CHESTNUT cart near my old flat in Edinburgh used to bellow. This feels a lot older than 10 Years Old would suggest some dusty old bookshelves and some tobacco, need to learn more about Glen Ord.
And there is the thing about SMWS. Independent bottlers like SMWS have the opportunity to release weird and wonderful bottles many of which have little or no official releases.
I have somewhat mellowed over the years regarding the daft names and numbers on bottles which I still feel a bit elitist but again, I’ve tried about dozen bottles over the last couple of months, five from the SMWS the rest from chums, and all have been reasonably well priced and quality drams, which I like a lot.
So, is it worth joining? Well, I’ll be getting a membership because I think the prices are right and I’ll be able now to get to a club and try individual drams.
I buy a handful of bottles per year, I don’t buy many single cask bottles but I would like the opportunity to be able to buy the recent blends that the SMWS have released which have all been corking whiskies.
If you buy a lot of bottles, particularly these stronger cask bottles, then yeah membership is worth it, same if you have a members room nearby.
I’d also like the chance here to thank a couple of people, Angie who might as well be a brand ambassador for the SMWS, she’s sent me some offerings and never stops going on about them and Spirits and Wood on Twitter, another advocate, and here’s the thing, neither are paid to big up the SMWS, they are just Twitter people who have become real life friends and absolutely rave about the SMWS because they love the place, in fact I don’t know many people who don’t like it once they start buying bottles.
I’ll come back to you this time next year and let you know how I’ve got on.
Here, have a link with a discount code attached.