MEMBER PROFILE – SAM HEUGHAN: Outlander star and whisky fanatic Sam Heughan joined Vic Galloway in the SMWS Members’ Room on Bath Street in Glasgow recently to take part in our Whisky Talk Malts & Music podcast series. In this edited extract, Sam discusses his growing passion for whisky, his appreciation of the SMWS and his current and future plans for the whisky and wider spirits world. Includes links to Malts & Music podcast and video.
SMWS AT 40 –SPIRIT OF REBELLION: Cast your mind back, if you’re old enough, four decades to 1983. That’s the year The Scotch Malt Whisky Society was founded, against a backdrop of distillery closures, a ‘whisky loch’ of blended spirit that couldn’t be drained, and an industry that showed little interest in single malts, and even less in single cask whiskies. As SMWS spirits co-ordinator Julien Willems writes, it took a rebellious attitude to challenge the status quo, something the Society has been doing consistently over the past 40 years.
SMWS TASTING PANEL LANGUAGE: Finding the perfect word to capture the complex flavours in cask strength Society single malts isn’t an easy task. When the Society was founded in 1983, the language used to describe whisky hardly existed. Here, an SMWS Tasting Panel insider spills the beans on the language of whisky and how the Society was at the forefront of finding a new way to talk about what was in our glass.
VALENTINE’S DAY – CELEBRATING THE SINGLE LIFE: Forget the cliché of red roses and chocolate this Valentine’s Day, says Mads Schmoll. For her, true romance lies in the exquisite singledom of a one-off Society cask.
DISTILLERY PROFILE – SHELTER POINT: From farmland on Canada’s Vancouver Island, the SMWS is delighted to welcome Shelter Point distillery into our ever-growing roster of exceptional international whiskies, as distillery 152. Charlene Rooke reports on the distillery’s background and the introduction of the Society’s first bottlings from a Canadian location with a distinctly Scottish influence.
WHISKY HISTORY: NEIL GUNN – A VOICE FOR SCOTLAND: The writer Neil Gunn had a passion for ‘true’ Scotch whisky which was largely unmatched by the ever-eroding industry which encapsuled his writing career. Gunn had a deep-rooted connection to the Highlands and was arguably ahead of his time in terms of his vision towards the golden spirit, as Gavin D Smith writes.
TALKING BOURBON WITH BRENT ELLIOTT, FOUR ROSES: Bolstered by the craft movement in the US, there has been a bewildering influx of bourbon brands from across the pond popping up in the UK. Scotch Malt Whisky Society brand ambassador Lee ‘Connas’ Connor caught up recently with Four Roses master distiller Brent Elliott to explore how traditional whisky drinkers can understand different bourbon complexions.
SHARE A DRAM WITH… MIGUEL TRELEANI, assistant venue manager, The Vaults.