When The Scotch Malt Whisky Society was founded in 1983, it had a simple mantra: that it should be ‘cheerful, iconoclastic and a lot of fun’. It might be 35 years since Pip Hills and his pals set up home at the rundown Vaults in Leith, but in terms of that mantra, very little has changed – apart from how many more members have become part of the fun.
We now count more than 26,000 of you as belonging to our whisky-loving family, devotees of our constantly changing offering of single cask, single malts, spread across the world. Now we’re inviting you all to join our 35th anniversary party, whether you live within strolling distance of The Vaults or on the other side of the world.
On Thursday, 6 September, members who can make it along to the Society’s spiritual home are invited to celebrate our 35th anniversary with a tasting with a difference. Our master brand ambassador John McCheyne will lead us on a journey down memory lane, looking back at 35 years of the Society.
Following a champagne reception and some photograph fun, you’ll be treated to a three-course menu featuring retro classics as you’ve never seen them before and accompanied, as always, by some tremendous Society drams. There could even be dancing, so if you haven’t got your ticket yet be sure to grab one to join your fellow members in experiencing a night to remember.
Saturday, 8 September sees the Society in a new location as we take over Queen Street Gardens in Edinburgh, just a short walk from our 28 Queen Street Members’ Rooms. From 12 noon we’ll be revelling in the atmosphere of our very own whisky festival, with food, drink, music and good times for all. With a tasting glass in hand, sample your choice of Society whiskies on offer – and don’t forget to pick up a dram at our Historic Stock Bar, featuring some of our most special Old & Rare bottlings.
As it’s a special anniversary celebration, we’ll also bring along some friends to be part of the fun. A selection of distilleries will be showcasing their own malts, Chapel Down will be serving sparkling wine and Edinburgh Beer Factory will be bringing along their Beer Van if you prefer a pint. We’ll have live music throughout the day and special masterclasses running in the nearby Members’ Rooms. And of course, no garden party is complete without a BBQ, so grab some grub and enjoy the summer vibes with good company and great drams. Get your tickets here.
But you don’t have to be in Edinburgh to join our anniversary parties – we’re going to bring them to you, no matter where you might be. Our final fling in September will see us bring together members from all corners of the world to join us for a special event at The Vaults, in our first ever virtual whisky tastings.
John McCheyne will host the events on Monday, 24 September, featuring five drams from our limited edition 35th Anniversary Discovery Pack. We’re going to stream the tastings live from The Vaults, with members across the globe able to savour the same drams together, alongside John’s expert commentary. We’ll have multiple tastings to allow for different time zones, which will be hosted on the SMWS UK Facebook page. To find out more and order your five-dram Discovery Pack, visit https://campaign.smws.com/virtual-tasting/
There will also be a series of 35th anniversary events and tastings taking place across the UK and Europe, with SMWS ambassadors leading the special gatherings at various Society partner bars, so check www.smws.com/events for a get-together where you are, or check your local SMWS website for other 35th anniversary events in your part of the world.
We truly believe whisky tastes best when shared, so whether you can make it along to one of our events in person, or you can log in to one of our virtual tastings, we hope you find a way to join the fun.