This month:

SMWS EXPERTISE – THE TASTING PANEL: Two words which have become synonymous with the Society over the years and which have been a constant in the Society’s communications, marketing and coverage since the early days of the 1980s. So ubiquitous are they, in fact, that it has become easy to overlook the significance of what the Tasting Panel represents, how it works and what it has delivered for the Society’s members over the years. Angus MacRaild has been one of the Panel’s chairs for the past seven years, and here reflects on its functions, and what he’s learned from his role.

SMWS AND SHERRY – FROM SPAIN WITH LOVE: These days, you can find whisky matured in all manner of different wine casks. But how did sherry, of all varieties, become so closely associated with the finest Scotch? Iain Russell has been doing some digging to find out.

KNOWLEDGE – CASK FEVER: The media today is full of warnings of the perils of investing in whisky casks. Some schemes are allegedly offered by unscrupulous operators, who prey upon the naive and unwary in what is essentially an unregulated market. But buying whisky as an investment – with all its inherent risks – is nothing new, as Iain Russell reports.

DISTILLERY PROFILE – COPPERWORKS: The American Northwest is proving to be a hotbed for craft-led industries. Seattle alone has a strong wine making tradition, followed closely by a bustling craft brewing culture. But whiskey? SMWS ambassador Lee ‘Connas’ Connor caught up with Jeff Kanof, vice president and co-owner of Copperworks Distilling Company, to find out their role in the area’s growing distilling scene.

FLAVOUR FOCUS – MALTING: Once a distillery has decided what variety of barley it will be using, the humble grain has to be malted before it can germinate and ultimately produce a range of aromas and flavours that carry through to the whisky in your glass. Gavin D Smith explains how that happens, and how malting can influence flavour.

SMWS DISCOVERY – A NIGHT OUT IN MEXICO CITY: The passion for outstanding whisky is truly global, and The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is helping to spread the love with our bottles available in an ever-growing selection of fantastic partner bars. Our first location in Latin America is Salón Rosario, a must-stop destination in Mexico City where the whisky culture is on the rise. Join J. Torrivilla for a local’s whisky-fuelled night out in a captivating and ever-evolving destination.