Highlights online this month include:

  • Unmasking flavour: Could an unwanted and unwelcome accessory of life under Covid actually help to unlock a whisky’s aromas? That was the proposal put to us by Society founder Pip Hills, who discovered that a teaspoonful of whisky on a face mask provided the perfect medium for inspection and analysis, if not for actual drinking. Unfiltered asked Tasting Panel chair Kami Newton to put Pip’s proposition to the test, along with three masked Society members.
  • Bottling 150 landmark: As the SMWS presents its landmark 150th distillery bottling to members this month, it feels appropriate to reflect on how far we have travelled beyond our own shores to explore a world beyond the single cask, single malt Scotch that’s at our core. Ambassador Alex Moores in Australia takes us on a whisky-fuelled Society journey around the world – pour yourself a suitable dram and enjoy the trip.
  • West Cork Distillers profile: From working as deep sea trawlermen to founding Ireland’s first distillery in 14 years back in 2003, it’s been quite a journey for cousins Denis and Ger McCarthy, along with their friend and food scientist John O’Connell. The Society’s Lee ‘Connas’ Connor found out more about the team from West Cork as the SMWS release our first bottling from this Skibbereen success story.
  • Where flavour comes alive – Juicy, Oak & Vanilla: March has arrived and with it, the promise of spring and longer days. Since this month is a celebration of rebirth, trees and coconut-scented gorse, Julien Willems takes a look at the whiskies in the Juicy, Oak & Vanilla flavour profile.
  • News and events round-up: The Society has been active around the world over the festive season – here’s a flavour of what’s been going on at the world’s most entertaining whisky club.
  • Spring into Edinburgh, whisky city: Spring is the ideal time to take a trip to Edinburgh and explore the city’s rich whisky offerings – from learning more about the spirit, visiting a distillery, diving into the Society’s world of single casks and finishing with a nightcap before retiring to your room above the historic Vaults. Moa Nilsson is our guide on this whisky-fuelled spring break in Scotland’s capital.
  • A Japanese spring: Spring is a season of new beginnings, marked in Japan with a celebration of the country’s cherry blossoms as the country emerges from winter with a beautiful burst of colour and scent – and an excuse for an outdoor party. Mads Schmoll caught up with Janelle Ong from our SMWS branch in Japan to find out more about the spirit of hanami.
  • Whisky history – Breaking new ground: As the Society releases its landmark 150th distillery bottling this month, it’s hard to appreciate what a ground-breaking move it was to first offer members whisky from far beyond the shores of Scotland. In this feature from issue 5 of Unfiltered, published in October 2009, we reflected on the release of our first Japanese whiskies and the visit of Masataka Taketsuru’s son Takeshi to The Vaults in 2002.
  • Industry insider – Sheila Burtles: Profile of the trailblazing scientist who was co-founder of the first ever whisky flavour wheel. Kirsten Speirs reports on Sheila’s ground-breaking career in whisky and how her achievements have helped shape our understanding and enjoyment of the water of life.
  • Member profile – Billy Abbott: SMWS member and self-confessed whisky nerd, Billy has a well-deserved reputation as a respectful, authoritative and trusted commentator on all things whisky – so much so that he is now officially an author. His first book The Philosophy of Whisky hit the shelves late last year. Society ambassador Lee ‘Connas’ Connor caught up with Billy to find out what makes him tick.
  • Share a dram with…James Freeman, SMWS executive head chef.
Read the full issue