This month:

SMWS EXPERTISE – Blazing a flavour trail: The Society’s flavour journey began when our founder Pip Hills first experienced the wonders of single cask, cask strength whisky, an epiphany which sparked 40 incredible years of flavour trailblazing. As Duncan Gorman reports, Pip’s discovery of whisky in its purest form has informed everything that the Society is about, creating a whole ecosystem of flavour expertise to bring members an endless variety of sensational whiskies.

SMWS AND SHERRY – Sweet smell of success: The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s first ever bottling in 1983 was a sherry-matured whisky from Distillery #1. Since then, we have bottled casks in their thousands, but as our dedicated programme to increase the volume and variety of sherry-matured whisky comes of age, 2024 is promising to be a celebration of sherry casks at the Society, with 12 months of flavourful whisky discoveries ahead of us, as Julien Willems tells us.

DISTILLERY PROFILE – Journeyman: In our relentless search for new whiskies to tantalise and engage your olfactory receptors, we’ve travelled across the pond to Michigan, home of Bill Welter and Journeyman distillery. SMWS ambassador Lee ‘Connas’ Connor caught up with Bill to find out what their spirit is all about and what members can expect.

FLAVOUR FOCUS – Barley basics: Throughout 2024, we’re going to be looking at the origins of flavour in our whisky, from the very beginning to the end of the production process. Gavin D Smith kicks off the series with a focus on the humble barley grain, and how some distilleries are experimenting with different varieties in pursuit of flavour character.

SMWS DISCOVERY – A night out in Melbourne, Australia: The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has members and branches around the world, and this year we’re going to be doing some whisky-related globetrotting with the help of some local knowledge on where to go on a night out – and the SMWS partner bars where you can find a home-from-home. Adam Ioannidis gets us started with the perfect night out in Melbourne.

SMWS MEMBER PROFILE – Simon Dedman: Simon Dedman has been a dedicated member of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society since the 1990s. From his love for whisky passed down from his father to his adventures across distilleries, we delve into his passion for the Society, his unique whisky room in Portugal and how whisky has become a catalyst for lasting friendships, as Mhairi Mitchell finds out.

SMWS ADVENTURES – A very different Prague spring: The vintage Lagonda belonging to Society founder Pip Hills played an instrumental part in our whisky club’s foundation, carrying the first precious cargo of single casks from Speyside back to his Scotland Street home in Edinburgh to share with friends. In 1990, Pip Hills and his brother-in-law Dick Pountain decided to take a road trip to Prague in the Lagonda, to witness Václav Havel’s inauguration as president of the Czech Republic. The magazine The Classic Motoring Review subsequently commissioned Pip and Dick to write a piece about the journey – and how Society whisky helped to make it a success.