November Outturn 2022 Article
Whew. What a year. Seriously. I probably say this every year, but every year is such a rollercoaster that constantly challenges, changes, and creates incredible experiences.
November for us is the bumper edition of Outturn for all your stocking stuffers and holiday drams to keep you going. Yes, there is going to be a December ‘top up’ Outturn again, but November is when we really REALLY pull out all the stops and drop all the goodies.
It’s also a great month for reflection. A great month to look back at all the member experiences and feedback, and see where we can improve, grow, and do more for our members every month. It’s a time for looking ahead, as well. With an eye to 2023 and what we have planned — it’s a milestone year again, but this time for the WHOLE club, not just Australia branch. We’re coming up on 40 years of the club globally, which will mean some rather special casks to celebrate this milestone with.
2023 is 40 years. 40 years since Pip Hills and some mates got together to share the love of single-cask, cask-strength whisky. Lots to look forward to here, and as I’ve said more times than I care to recall, there’s never been a better time to be a member. But before we head into 2023, it’s time to look at 2022, and what a ride we’ve been on.
At the time of writing, we’ve hosted over 75+ events this year already, and that’s just the in-person ones! We started the year a bit bleak on
the calendar with the looming last of the lockdowns from Covid still lingering, so January and February were a bit lean on Society experiences, but by the time March rolled around we were truly back into the swing of it. In March, we launched our biggest membership drive ever with ‘March is for Members’, which oversubscribed by some margin, but live and learn. March this year was also the triumphant return of the Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championships (aka the ‘whisky champs’), which saw our Vanessa Wilton take out 3rd place, Simon Cook win 2nd place, and Seamus Carroll take out the top prize and honour of 1st place at the Champs this year! And yes, before you ask, Champs will return…
Other highlights this year included getting back to Scotland in April to catch up with the international team, start really mapping out the next few years at The SMWS, and even squeezing in a few distilleries I’d not visited before, like Glenkinchie and Holyrood distillery. Glenkinchie had the most incredible visitor experience that really played around with flavour and sensory appreciation (heard that before somewhere?) and Holyrood had some of the most experimental and wild new make distillates. Ever tried a 180+ hour ferment of Japanese Sake yeast? Whether this produces a better end result (being whisky) is yet to be seen, but fascinating at the very least, and great to see this kind of innovation taking place.
This year we also teamed up with three new Partner Bars: Beneath Driver Lane in Melbourne, The Captain’s Balcony in Sydney, and more recently, Terrarium in Perth with longtime collaborator David Stucken, who’s now also our new WA State Manager, so lots going on there. We’ve kicked off our Blues & Malts nights with Beneath Driver Lane, Outturn Preview Tastings at The Captain’s Balcony, and Gathering launches with Terrarium. This year has been busy!
Then in May, we kicked off the Scottish whisky festivals simultaneously with the UK with six new single malts from the different whisky festival regions across Scotland. The Highland festival ‘Hazelnut bubblegum’ was an absolute standout for me, especially as I was on a Spicy & Dry kick at the time! Then in June, our little focus tastings at Whisky & Alement resumed post-Covid with a deep dive into the ‘heresy history’ of the Society with our experimental malts and blends over the years. Rolling into July, August, and September we saw the whisky shows and festivals return finally. We presented at the Feis Ile show in Melbourne, the Oak Barrel Whisky Fair in Sydney, and then Whisky Whisky with the Supping Club in Brisbane. No rest for the wicked! Nothing beats getting out and about again, connecting with members, and rediscovering what the love of whisky really looks like in person.
So now we find ourselves at the pointy end of the year. The moment when we get to fill our stockings, load the trolley up for Christmas or whatever you like to celebrate over summer and enjoy each other’s company. For this bumper Nov Outturn, we’ve really wrapped up some goodies, experiences, good reads from members and more. We’re also dropping the hottest membership offer of the year: join the club and every new membership gets you a free, yes, FREE bottle of our latest experimental malt, Smokus Fruticosus. Flip to that page to read all about it.
In the meantime, get your marker out, or start your screenshots, for your favourites to grab on Outturn day, Friday 18 November at midday AEST. Here’s to 2022, and here’s to looking forward to 2023!
This article features in the November 2022 Outturn — bottles will be available to purchase on Friday the 18th of November at midday AEDT exclusively to members of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Not a member? Click here to learn more about the world’s most colourful whisky club.