The Scotch Malt Whisky Society Australia would like to welcome our youngest ever member to the Society, Jack Berry, who is 18 years 4 months old. I had the pleasure of meeting Jack through his father Rod who is already a long-term member of the Society at our Whisky & Jazz night a few weeks back. Among other things, Jack asked me if he should become a member of the Society. I replied on the night “I’m not going to say whether you should join or sell you the benefits you already know, but what I will say is that I wish I was getting into single cask Society whisky at your age and developing my palate for the good stuff!“. The next day Jack signed up, received his membership pack, and his father Rod can now live in hope that he’ll be buying his own bottles rather than just drinking his!
I caught up with Jack and Rod yesterday at our Partner Bar Archie Rose for a dram and mini-tour of the distillery (with special thanks to Dave Withers for his time) while asking Jack about his whisky journey so far:
Matt Bailey: What was your first Society whisky experience?
Jack Berry: I’ll never forget the first time my lips were graced with a Society whisky. It was on the evening of my 18th birthday, this year (2016). I was given a bottle by my dad that was distilled 15 days before I was born, and was perfectly named ‘To the manor born’ (27.107…Mmm Springbank….) He told me he had bought it about a year previously and had tucked it away for me. It didn’t last long – I cracked it open later that night. I had just returned from a night at a wine bar with my partner’s family and was looking forward to a dram. We lit a fire in the fireplace and decided it was the perfect time to crack open the bottle. As soon as it hit my lips I was speechless… It was absolutely delicious.
MB: What do you personally find fascinating about single cask whisky?
JB: I think my favourite thing about single cask whisky is the diversity and complexity between expressions. I love how in one dram you can taste gravel, burned tyre and ash, and in another you can taste all three courses of a classic Christmas feast. I also love the multi-sensory experience – being able to taste the whisky, smell the aromas, see the colours, feel the warmth in your nose and throat, and hear the stories of all the little distilleries scattered throughout Scotland and the world!
MB: Is there a particular Society flavour profile that you have an affinity for?
JB: It changes all the time. A couple of months ago I would have said the ‘Young & Spritely‘ young bourbon barrel expressions, but now I am absolutely entranced by the peated sherry style – it’s just so damn rich and delicious.
MB: How and when do you normally enjoy your Society spirits?
JB: Usually in the mid-late evening with my dad or close friends. It has very much become a bonding experience for me and dad. Sharing a common love for single cask whisky has helped us spend more time with each other and have those deep chats that so often get lost in the business of life. With my friends, It’s usually accompanied by chats about philosophy or politics or enjoyed in the afterglow of writing a new song.
MB: Is there any rhyme or reason to your whisky collection so far?
JB: It is very much a beginners collection at this point, I have to admit, but I do have three SMWS expressions already and three commercially available whiskies. The commercially available expressions I have include Oban 14 year old, Balvenie 14 year old Caribbean cask and the Talisker 10 year old. To be honest they sit at the back of the cupboard most of the time, as they pale in comparison to my three SMWS expressions – 27.107 ‘To the manor born’, 39.114 ‘So many colours in the rainbow’, and November’s 35.151 ‘Curiosity dram’. At the moment my favourite is the 35.151 Curiosity dram, but I am hanging out to scoop up a peated and/or sherried beast in February Outturn fingers crossed!
MB: what do you like most about being a member of the Society?
JB: I love having access to such diverse and intriguing whiskies from throughout the world, and being able to go to events and meet a variety of people with the same passion. I don’t think I would have the same passion for single cask whisky if the society was not around, you just can’t get access to whiskies like they release anywhere else. Love your work Matt!
Thanks Jack and Rod for taking the time to share a ploughman’s platter and a dram of 3.256 at Archie Rose and agreeing to be our first member profile for WhiskyWise! It goes to show that it’s never too early to start your Society adventure through single cask spirits!
Archie Rose is proudly an Official Society Partner Bar and is located at 85 Dunning Ave, Rosebery NSW 2018 and the bar is open every day from midday. Show your membership card for a 15% discount off all drinks.