Key Reminder: Trust your bartender. I was tipped off by Bramble to head just down Queen St. in Edinburgh for a visit to the Whisky Society, or SMWS (Scotch Malt Whisky Society). Upon walking into a fancy row house, I initially felt out of my league as a non-member in this club. I soon found a little bar in the front room that welcomed me to sit down and peruse their menu. Without a single distillery named on this list; I was deeply confused.
Laura came to my rescue and started to explain their pursuit to delicious, expertly bottled whisky; single cask whiskies are hand selected and purchased from various distilleries and aged seperately, only to be bottled after an indepedent panel determines they have passed the test of balance and taste.
Each bottle has approximately a 100 word tasting note and two numbers. The first number signifies the distillery the selected single cask was purchased from and a period seperates it from the second number which denotes the cask number (could be the 3rd, 55th, 174th etc. cask purchased from the same distillery). Truly entertaining are some of the bold names attributed to a particular cask, such as A Polar Bear’s Birthday, Hansel and Gretel at the Savoy, and Could Pacify a Mob.
The variety, meticulous attention to quality and passion for whisky made me soon inquire about membership. I learned there were additional venues in London and Scotland, along with partner bars and international branches which stocked varieties of the iconic green bottle. Laura could see how enamored I was and sweetly offered to give me a private tour of the members’ areas that showcased great event spaces and views of the city. Take a look at their incredible venue below.
SMWS puts out an award-winning quarterly magazine, offers heaps of benefits including discounts to their members and keeps you updated on tastings and events – it was through their ‘menu’ that I learned that World Whisky Day was occuring that weekend. What I loved about the Whisky Society was that after walking in the door, they were approachable, made me (the only female inside at the time, besides staff) feel welcomed, and push you to approach the spirit differently, using flavor profiles and taking the branded distilleries and age out of your decision making process. Thank you SMWS for an incredible tour, tasting and experience!
Cheers! – Ciara
By the way, not a chance in hell is this sponsored. This place is simply just awesome it needed its’ own post.