Introducing Peat Faerie

Launching 16th November is the Scotch Malt Whisky Society's hugely-anticipated bumper festive Outturn! It's not only our biggest offering of casks and good reads each year, but for 2018 has had an entirely fresh redesign to really brighten everything up in time for Christmas. So with that said, it's high time we formally announce that the Malt of the Month for our bumper festive Outturn [...]

Edinburgh Revival!

You wait almost 100 years for a malt whisky distillery to come along… and then three turn up at the same time. Edinburgh is about to see a remarkable resurgence in its malt distilling world, with the first new distilleries opening up since Glen Sciennes – also known as Edinburgh distillery – closed its doors in 1925. Unfiltered set out to meet the people behind [...]

Introducing BenRiach!

This month has the debut of a new distillery for Australian members of the SMWS, so let's make it Malt of the Month! Founded in 1897, BenRiach has a distillery history story not too unlike many Scottish distilleries throughout history; periods of closure due to either wars or running out of money. However, where BenRiach didn’t stop was in that infamous Scotch whisky downturn of [...]

Back to Basics: Start with Flavour!

Newcomers to the SMWS might be bamboozled as to what all these words and numbers are in an Outturn, and even where to start once they get their first Outturn in the mail. Longer-term members might just be looking for superstar codes or cask-types they’ve memorised, instead of focusing on exploring and flavour. Today, I’m stripping it all back and getting back to basics on [...]

Member reflections on 35 Years of the Society

In 2018, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society has been celebrating 35 years as a whisky club, bringing people together through the appreciation, enjoyment, and community of fine dramming on great spirit. While we've seen a lot of changes in 35 years, or 16 years for the Australian chapter, some things never change: we are still bottling only the most rigorously panel-approved single cask spirits on [...]

Winners of the Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championship 2018!

Last Saturday night saw the biggest whisky tasting in Australia take place with the Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championship for 2018 kick off. We'd like to formally congratulate the winners of the Champs, plus a huge round of applause to all who competed at this absolutely packed event! 3rd place: Matthew Wooler (NSW) 2nd place: Matt Whisker (NSW) WINNER: Australia's Malt Whisky Tasting Champion 2018 [...]

The Whisky Champs Pre-List for 2018 is here!

The Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championship (AMWTC) for 2018 kicks off this Saturday, and back by popular demand the pre-list of 50 x malts is now disclosed 72 hours before the start of the Champs. Below is the pre-list of fifty (50) malt whiskies for the Whisky Champs this Saturday. Eight (8) of which will be in front of you come this Saturday, plus the one [...]

35 Years Of Visionary Spirit

35 Years of the SMWS  Last year we celebrated fifteen years of the Australian branch of the SMWS. This year we look at the bigger picture and celebrate 35 years of the SMWS changing the whisky landscape forever… When The Scotch Malt Whisky Society was formed, the wider whisky industry was in turmoil and experts dismissed the idea of selling single cask, single malts as [...]

How to win the whisky championship in 2018

How to win the Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championship on 28th July 2018   The Champs are fast approaching and I’ve already had a few friends and colleagues ask me “so what’s in the lineup huh?” and “have you got any tips on how to improve my chances of winning?”. All these kinds of questions I’ve been strictly tight-lipped on answering, until now…   The [...]

First Prize Announced for the Champs

For Immediate Release: The SMWS formally announces 1st Prize for the Champs next month!   Ladies and gentlemen, you heard it here first. The Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championships (or 'Champs' for short), to be held in Sydney next month, is the biennial whisky tasting event that sees someone crowned the whisky champion of Australia. It’s the biggest whisky tasting in the country, proudly hosted [...]

What’s in a name – or a number?

With the Society’s release of a new distillery code, 135, we thought it might be time for a refresher course in our curious system of coding bottles. Pay attention – this could get a little complicated… The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s unique system of coding its bottles began when the Society was founded in 1983, with the release that year of its first four bottlings of [...]

The hidden sleeper whiskies worth exploring…

Not all whisky has to be superstar, just tasty... Anyone who’s sat down for a few drams with me will know that I have a certain affinity for Society single cask offerings where the distillery doesn’t get much core-range profile. This is often an exciting opportunity to taste something you'd normally never see, and in a unique flavour profile. These are Society offerings from distilleries [...]

Discover Single Cask Armagnac!

Let’s discover Armagnac! Take a flip through this month’s Outturn and you’ll notice we’re releasing our first single cask Armagnac in years. It’s been a while between casks, but we mustn’t rush perfection! So with that in mind, let’s discover what Armagnac actually is and how to properly appreciate the fine French spirit. Armagnac is the oldest French eau-de-vie, dating back to the early 14th [...]

That’s a wrap! Archie Rose x SMWS pop-up bar comes to a close.

And that's a wrap! Thanks to all the members, guests, friends, colleagues and first-time whisky explorers who made the effort of coming out over three cool nights at Archie Rose Distillery & Bar for the SMWS pop-up in the Mezzanine. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and from chatter online it looks like we need to seriously look at doing this with other Partner Bars [...]

Announcing Archie Rose x SMWS Pop-Up Bar

ARCHIE ROSE DISTILLING CO. AND THE SCOTCH MALT WHISKY SOCIETY COLLABORATION (ARDC x SMWS) For three nights only, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society is forming a collaborative pop-up bar for the Mezzanine Level at Archie Rose Distillery, where we'll be 'bringing the Vaults of Edinburgh' directly to Sydney for members, guests, friends and colleagues to come along and enjoy! From 4pm on the 3rd of [...]

The Finished Article

If moving whisky from one cask to another adds complexity and flavour to the dram, what’s not to love about the practice of finishing, asks Billy Abbott... Finishing, when we’re talking about whisky, is a fuzzy thing that can be boiled to down to a simple process: transferring whisky from one cask to another for a bit of extra maturation before it’s bottled. It can [...]

From mystery to mastery with Cognac at the SMWS

You may have noticed a few more 'C' casks coming through the SMWS of late, including the extremely old C3.1 pictured above. Let's lift the veil on these and explore a bit more... When the Society first bottled a cask strength Grain whisky, there was furore. When the Society first bottled single cask Japanese whisky, there was upset. When the Society first bottled a single [...]

Q&A: What is the Vaults Collection?

What is The Vaults Collection? The Vaults Collection is a group of the finest and rarest single cask, single malts, carefully selected from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s impressive stocks. They have been released from the depths of our treasure trove of casks, after decades of careful maturation and nurturing. The Vaults Collection represents a chance to journey back into whisky history, including the opportunity [...]

Get to know G15

A new code for the Society emerges and is released this month! G15.1 'Lead us to temptation'. This is a 9 year old single cask, single malt, grain whisky made from 100% malted barley. What?! You read that right. G15 is a unique whisky, produced in a distillery unlike any other in Scotland. It's legally a grain whisky, but using malted barley, and this is [...]

Introducing Exotic Cargo

Prepare yourself for something completely different, as the SMWS unveils its first ever blended malt Scotch whisky The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has always sought out the best single cask, single malt from distilleries both across Scotland and beyond. But we would never shy away from taking an experimental approach in the pursuit of new flavour experiences. With that in mind, we set out to [...]

Meet a member: Four questions for David Stucken from Bar Lafayette!

Bar Lafayette is at the forefront of a great drinking culture in Perth, led by an enthusiastic and considerate team including Bar Manager David 'Xander' Stucken at the helm. I found time to chat with David recently for a quick-fire of four questions to see what made him tick!   Matt Bailey: The Society is 35 years old this year! While every member has a [...]

Back to Basics: Making the most of Outturn

Back to Basics 2: Scoring that special bottle you’re after on Outturn. Our full monthly Outturn at the SMWS is released to members on the first Friday of each month from Jan-Oct, then in November we have our bumper festive edition for November-December! So how do you go about jumping on that special single cask you’re after? Here’s five tips to make it easy: Tip [...]

Press Release: Shirt Bar Barangaroo to have entire SMWS Outturn each month!

NSW & Sydney Members: You asked for it, we delivered! If there's one piece of recurring feedback we get from members of all walks, but especially NSW, is that they would like to taste whiskies from the upcoming Outturn before committing to buying a bottle. Partner Bar powerhouse Whisky & Alement have long had this treat for VIC members and still open the full Outturn [...]

Where we’ve come from – and where we’re going

It’s been quite a year for The Scotch Malt Whisky Society and our members. Let’s take a moment to reflect on everything that’s happened, before we look ahead to 2018.   As we enter 2018 and look ahead to our international 35th anniversary next year, it’s hard to believe how far The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has come. And yet…our team is still based here [...]

Welcome Bar Lafayette to the SMWS as Partner Bar!

We’ve had an absolutely massive year at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society this year, and it’s the  members being a part of Australia’s best whisky club make the journey worthwhile! From our 15th anniversary of the local branch, to winning the IBC top gong of Independent Bottler of the Year 2017, we’ve had lots to celebrate this year, so our final formal announcement for 2017 [...]

Society named Independent Bottler of the Year for Whisky Magazine IBC Competition

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has been named Independent Bottler of the Year in Whisky Magazine’s prestigious Independent Bottlers’ Challenge (IBC) competition! The SMWS has concluded a wonderful year of recognition for its single cask, single malts by winning the title of Independent Bottler of the Year in Whisky Magazine’s Independent Bottlers’ Challenge competition. The Society also won the awards for Independent Bottler of the Year [...]

How to have your whisky in a cocktail and eat it too

As far as booze related debates go, the one about how whisky should be drunk is as evergreen as it gets. How many times have you been told that expensive whisky should only ever be drunk neat (with perhaps a touch of water if you must) and that the quickest sure fire way to ruin it would be to put it in a cocktail? It [...]

Welcome The Lost Ones Basement Bar to the SMWS!

The SMWS Welcomes The Lost Ones as our latest Partner Bar The Scotch Malt Whisky Society would like to formally welcome The Lost Ones Basement Bar as an official Partner Bar. If you were to tell me there’s a whisky scene in Ballarat just a few weeks ago, I’d have a hard time believing you at face value. I’m not so much of a ‘city [...]

Bread & Whisky: An Unlikely Perfect Pairing

It was a little over 20 years ago that matching whisky to food and hosting whisky dinners became a “thing”.   When the Society first launched in Australia in 2002, many of our earliest events were actually whisky dinners.  Always in the pursuit of the “perfect match”, we’ve spent the last 15 years going out of our way to match and pair SMWS whiskies to many [...]

An Orkney Experience Like No Other: Highland Park

There’s something I like to say often about how Society experiences are truly unlike any other, still, in 2017 and beyond. The Society was hosting whisky events before there were ‘whisky events’ in Australia as commonplace, and we still to this day continue to push the definition, the experience, and the full-flavour of single-cask, cask-strength whisky, like no other. A series of 'Distillery Focus' events [...]

How to host your own whisky tasting at home

As members we know that we’re in great hands with The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s expert tasting panel when it comes to bottling our rare single casks. The assessment of whisky is a tough job, but somebody has to do it! But what comes after panel approval is the bottling of the cask, the release of the cask to members, and then the all-important tasting [...]

Say hello to our new single cask spirits

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is, and always will be, about sourcing and offering to members the best single cask whisky in the world. But we also have an enduring passion to seek out the finer things in life, resulting in our soon-to-be-released Single Cask Spirits collection.   The Scotch Malt Whisky Society was founded by characters with a spirit of curiosity, who went to great [...]

How to get the most out of your whisky in 2017

As the Ambassador for what I regard as the world’s most incredible whisky club, I’m constantly blown away by the amount of newcomers to the category of great whisky, and even long-timers, who love learning more and more about the remarkable dark spirit. I’m still learning every day new things, new malts, new distilleries working with the Society, new adventures in other spirits etc. When [...]

Wollongong Whisky Dinner: Kneading Ruby

The fascinating tapestry of members from around Australia getting together, exploring flavour, and enjoying the great things in life, continues! Earlier this week I had the pleasure of meeting more Wollongong members, catching up with old friends, and enjoying an incredible dinner at Kneading Ruby paired with five Society single cask expressions. A small photo gallery below courtesy of our friends over at Dramnation: [...]

What do whisky brand names and age statements have to do with it, anyway?

Some will scour their Outturns for the oldest whiskies available, with the most recognisable distilleries they can find. But let’s entertain a new approach. Let me tell you the story of the evening I fell madly in love with the lower age statement and the more obscure distillery. As you probably know, Scotch whisky must be matured for three years. Aside from time, the cask [...]

Welcome to the Melbourne Whisky Room

Imagine you’re walking through Kyoto… the rich tapestry of sights and sounds from the warm brick corridors to the welcoming glow of a small bar with something unique to offer. You’d absolutely love a dram right now and the Society logo catches your eye. The familiarity of of quality and reminder of cask strength adventures you’ve had before, so you walk in. The feel is [...]

Whisky & Alement take out top gong at TimeOut Bar Awards 2017

Melbourne Partner Bar, Whisky & Alement, have taken out two of the biggest awards at the 2017 TimeOut Bar Awards: top gong Bar of the Year and Best Bar Team. We can't say we're surprised given their consistently strong level of service and Society offering of often 50+ Society single casks for members and guests to sample, but we are absolutely over the moon for [...]

The Fire Rises! November release of 127.44

Each month we go to great lengths to offer up the 'cream of the crop' of casks out of Scotland, Japan, America, Wales, Ireland, and recently France! Our Outturns truly offer up the best of the best for members. While no cask is objectively 'better' than any other (such is the journey of sampling all the flavour profiles) some of our releases are something very [...]

Whisky Freedom 2016 Perth

It’s not any stretch of the truth to say that most of the whisky focus when it comes to events, bars, and festivals is often centered around the east coast, specifically Sydney and Melbourne. That’s great if you live in Sydney or Melbourne, but not so great if you live 6+ hours away on the west coast. Thankfully, that’s been changing a lot in the [...]

Kingsbarns Distillery Profile

In case you missed it in Unfiltered March, SMWS UK Ambassador Phoebe Brookes visited Kingsbarns Distillery to meet its Founder Douglas Clement. Here she discovers why the former pro golf caddy decided to open a distillery. As home to one of the oldest and most iconic golf courses in the world – the Old Course at St Andrews – the Kingdom of Fife is well established on the Scottish [...]

Archie Rose x SMWS: We have lift off!

We’ve arrived! Our tenth Partner Bar, Archie Rose, launched last night with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in our short but very select list of Partner Bars in Australia. Kicking off the evening with an Archie Rose cocktail using their new navy strength gin or a sample of the white rye, Society Ambassador Matt Bailey led members and guests through a dram of 48.72 and [...]

A Year of Firsts: Announcing B4.1

A Year of Firsts! Hard to believe it’s almost October, and what a year we’ve had so far with some absolutely incredible events and casks still in the pipeline for this year. This year, for me, has really felt like a ‘Year of Firsts’. Our first ‘Challenge the Panel’ event in Sydney as created by myself and conceptualized by Scott Mansfield, our first Flavour Behaviour [...]

Archie Rose & SMWS: A partnership made in heaven

Being a Partner Bar with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society is something we take pretty seriously, and something which you’ve no doubt seen some of the changes to over the last 12 months for members. It’s now my pleasure to announce the latest Partner Bar to join the Society is none other than Archie Rose. Archie Rose was founded in March 2015 by Sydneysider Will [...]

The Launch: The Gresham joins the Society as Partner Bar

It’s official: The Gresham has successfully partnered with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in being the latest Partner Bar in Australia to serve up our single cask delights for members and non-members. The Gresham, barely three years old as a venue, is set on the corner of Queen St and Gresham Lane in Brisbane CBD and in that short time has already established itself as [...]

Introducing: The Gresham as Partner Bar

Formal Announcement: The Gresham joins the Scotch Malt Whisky Society as our latest Partner Bar. The Scotch Malt Whisky Society would like to proudly announce that Brisbane’s top spirits destination, The Gresham, joins us in being the exclusive Partner Bar for Queensland. A true icon of craft drinks and premium service, The Gresham was the ideal choice for the Society to partner with in Brisbane [...]

Independent’s Day Melbourne 2016

  Being ‘independent’, in any field, is a funny term the more I think about it. It’s something that always truly excites me through both opportunity and innovation for product. In this case, great spirits. The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is at it’s core the world’s biggest whisky club. An international community of like-minded whisky lovers who have at one point tasted a Society single [...]

SMWS C1: A milestone for the Society coming next month

There’s something truly amazing on our shores as of this August, and I challenge you to really have an open mind to what’s coming up in Outturn. Come this August, we’ve got a meaty Mortlach, a youthful Linkwood, and a cracking peated Bunnahabhain on offer among other delights. But you’ll also notice the release of C1. C in this case stands of ‘Cognac’. This is [...]

The Magic of Youth

Age statements and youthful maturity are a funny mix. I thought about writing an epic-length essay on age statements while looking at the industry as a whole, but realised that not only has that been covered by many great whisky writers already, but I feel as though the point may be lost. From tomorrow, we’re releasing what I believe is the youngest Society bottle ever [...]

Guess the Whisky is back!

For as long as I’ve been drinking and enjoying whisky, I’ve had a soft spot for the fun and intrigue that is blind-tasting. This doesn’t necessarily mean blindfolds or secret panels, but it does command some attention to your nose and palate that instantly removes your eyes from the actual brand and preconception of how something ‘should’ taste. This part for me is crucial. A [...]

Bar White Oak Launch at Partner Bar Whisky & Alement

Sometimes it’s easy to say something has been a long time coming, but in the case of Bar White Oak, it really is a labour of love and ultimately realisation of a dream come true. Bar White Oak is officially Australia’s biggest Japanese whisky collection set up as a bar-in-bar ‘consumable exhibition’ inside our Partner Bar Whisky & Alement, Melbourne. Curated by Kelvin Low, Brooke [...]

Project: Flavour Behaviour comes to Melbourne, Australia

VOLUNTEER WHISKY TASTERS WANTED FOR SECRETIVE ‘PROJECT FLAVOUR BEHAVIOUR’ EXPERIMENT The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is looking for volunteers to take a personality test and sample rare whiskies. How would you like to sample rare whisky in the name of scientific research, for free? The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is looking for 60 volunteers to take a written personality test and taste up to twelve [...]

How to get the most out of your dram

Any time I conduct a tutored tasting, I always take time at the start of the event to spell out some of the more basic and fundamental things you need to do in order to best appreciate your dram.  Many people have come up to me afterwards and expressed their amazement at how much more fulfilling and detailed their whisky experience was when they followed [...]

Giants of the Scotch Industry

If there is one thing you can't accuse the Scotch whisky industry of being, it's static. Interestingly, the industry markets itself on holding steadfast to time honoured traditions, and yet it has never been more dynamic and innovative. Things are always changing, including the very business of owning, selling, opening and closing distilleries. Corporate mergers, takeovers and buyouts have been a staple of the industry. [...]

What’s the difference between peat & smoke in whisky?

One of the common questions we get at Society tastings is about the difference between peat and smoke. The terms are often used interchangeably, and we often (incorrectly) assume that one infers the other. It's easiest to discern smoke as opposed to peat by assessing a whisky in terms of  - nose, palate, and finish. NOSE: Smokiness is obvious to discern on the nose; it's [...]

Register as a Taster!