This month:

Gathering preview: If it’s September, that only means one thing at The Scotch Malt Whisky Society – it’s time for our annual Gathering celebrations to get into full swing. And in our 40th anniversary year, we’re going bigger and bolder than ever before.

Guinness World Record tasting: For this year’s Gathering we’re going global, as we attempt to achieve an official Guinness World Record by bringing members together for the largest ever online tasting event. Here’s everything you need to know to be part of whisky-drinking history!

International whiskies: Since we formed in 1983, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has been all about celebrating Scotch whisky in its purest form, often from lesser-known distilleries around the country. But for more than half of our lifespan, we have also been seeking out the best whiskies from beyond our own shores, as Julien Willems reports. 

Maverick tasting: A pygmy goat Pilates whisky tasting…have we finally taken our ‘maverick’ tastings theme too far? The Society’s Duncan Gorman rounded up some adventurous members to find out what happens when you combine cask strength whisky with a bunch of boisterous animals…

Distillery profile – Matugga Rum: A taste of rum at a family gathering led husband-and-wife team Jacine and Paul Rutasikwa on the path to setting up their own distillery in the town of Livingston, near Edinburgh. Mads Schmoll paid a visit to uncover the fascinating story behind Matugga Rum and how it blends elements of African, Caribbean and Scottish cultures and heritage.

Whisky journey: Flowing themes of family, history and whisky combined when Scott Mansfield from the SMWS team in Australia took a much-delayed emotional journey back to Scotland, where his roots connect with the place distillation was first recorded in the country.

Val McDermid: Crime writer and whisky enthusiast Val McDermid shares her passion for The Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

Record breakers: As The Scotch Malt Whisky Society prepares to try and set a Guinness World Record for the largest online whisky tasting on 30 September, Gavin D Smith takes a look at other record breakers from across the wider whisky world.

Member profile – Seiji Murata is a Scotch Malt Whisky Society member in Japan who has turned his passion into a popular YouTube whisky channel @CROSSROADLAB. Last year, SMWS Japan and Crossroad Lab teamed up for the exclusive release in Japan of Cask No. 53.419, which went on to win the Superior Gold award at TWSC 2023.

Partner bars – Japanese gems: Japan is a must-visit whisky destination, and the Society has a fantastic range of partner bars where you create an unforgettable whisky experience with some of the most dedicated and knowledgeable bar owners in the business. Unfiltered editor Richard Goslan met up with Shoichi Tamura from Bar Selene and Shuichi Nagatomo from Bar Oscar when they visited The Vaults to find out more about their bars and their passion for Society whisky.