Whisky talk has always been (almost) as important to the Society as what’s in the glass, as we’ve shared tastings, adventures, insights and discoveries over the years. As we near the end of our 35th anniversary year, our members’ magazine Unfiltered is bigger and bolder than ever before, bringing the Society’s colourful whisky experiences to life and leaving members involved, enlightened and entertained

Reading Time: 3 minutes

We know you love your Society single cask, single malts. But we also know that every whisky tells a tale – of the landscape it comes from, the elements that went into its creation, whose hands were at work in the distillation and maturation process.

That’s why we’ve set such great store at the SMWS since our foundation in 1983 in supplying our members not only with a constant supply of treasured green bottles, but in telling the stories that lie behind the whiskies.

We started out 35 years ago with a basic bottling list and its description of our whiskies, exploring new ways of talking about the spirit and developing our unique approach to Tasting Notes.

By 2006, the newsletter had developed into the first issue of Unfiltered, named for the Society’s practice of bottling its whiskies direct from the cask without any chill-filtration. The first 12-page publication included articles about blending by Compass Box founder John Glaser, and a profile of North British distillery by Robin Laing to tie in with the release of the Society’s first single grain whisky, G1.1.

By the end of 2008, to coincide with the Society’s 25th anniversary, Unfiltered had tripled in size to 36 pages and was reinvented as a quarterly members’ magazine, packed with whisky features, profiles and interviews, printed on glossy A4 paper.

That first issue of our relaunched Unfiltered opened with a statement of intent about what we would not do, in terms of churning out run-of-the-mill, recycled press releases. Our mission was always to be different, to be more challenging, more stimulating – and yes, more adventurous.

Since then, we’ve taken members on journeys not only to every whisky-producing region of Scotland but to the US, Japan, Australia and beyond.

We’ve conducted tastings on ski slopes, mountain tops, in the middle of rivers and around beach campfires.

We’ve cycled across Islay, driven a Mustang around Bourbon country in the US, delved into the worlds of Cognac and Armagnac and immersed ourselves in the sherry triangle of Jerez.

Members thirsty to expand their whisky knowledge have consumed in-depth features on every aspect of the production process, from the impact of fermentation and yeast through to the mysteries of maturation, hearing from industry experts and master distillers about every step of whisky’s creation.

As well as telling whisky stories, our ability to take members on a visual journey has been central to Unfiltered over the past 10 years, with regular photographers Mike Wilkinson and Peter Sandground demonstrating an unfailing eye for the unusual and offbeat with every assignment they’ve undertaken.

To celebrate a decade of Unfiltered in its present format, we’re marking the occasion by making every issue available exclusively to SMWS members as a digital magazine. If you are logged in to smws.com from the UK or EU, you can find all 40 back issues under the Unfiltered tab on the homepage.*

There, you’ll find a digital version of every issue, which you can flick through and read using the story ‘pop-up’ feature to make it a better reading experience when you click on a story. If there’s a specific subject you’re looking for, for example to search out one of our distillery visits or some knowledge about a certain whisky-related subject, you can search for it throughout the entire archive.

We’ve also increased the number of pages in Unfiltered from 36 to 44 for 2019, bringing you even more whisky-related knowledge and photography than ever before.

We hope you enjoy settling back with a dram and catching up on 10 years of Society adventures and whisky stories – and we look forward to providing you with many more in the years to come.

*Members outside the UK or EU should check their local Society website for access to the Unfiltered archive

Unfiltered is delivered four times a year to members of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. To sign up and receive your own copy, visit www.smws.com/whisky-club-membership