If you’re starting out on your whisky journey The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is the perfect place to learn

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Whether it’s by chatting with one of the Society’s knowledgeable bar ambassadors, joining fellow members at a colourful and enlightening tasting event, visiting a partner bar or immersing yourself in the pages of Unfiltered and our online features, we can help you broaden your understanding of whisky – and along with that, your appreciation of what’s in your glass.

Here are our top 10 tips to take your whisky knowledge to the next level in 2019.

Visit a distillery

There’s nothing quite like making a visit to a distillery to increase your whisky knowledge, and build a connection not only with that place but with the part of the world it’s situated in – and the people who produce the spirit.

There’s never been more choice about what distillery to visit, or more opportunities to get up close to the distilling process, from the intimate such as Isle of Raasay to the massive new Macallan distillery.

Let the distillery visit you

The Vaults holds regular distillery visits on Monday evenings, where members can learn more about a distillery from a visiting ambassador, sample their own bottlings and compare and contrast them with single cask Society drams.

Learn how to distil

From Springbank’s week-long immersion in every aspect of distilling to Ballindalloch’s one-day ‘Art of Whisky Making’, more distilleries are offering hands-on whisky-making experiences. A couple of lucky SMWS members who won a prize to take the Ballindalloch course can testify about how much they learned and enjoyed it.

Visit a whisky festival

It could be joining the full-on experience with the Society in May at Feis Ile on Islay, the Spirit of Speyside, Campbeltown or one of the hundreds of other festivals taking place across Scotland and the world throughout the year – grab your chance to sample a huge variety of drams and meet kindred spirits along the way.

Delve into our partner bars

If you can’t make it to one of our UK Members’ Rooms, the Society has a network of around 100 partner bars around the world where you’re guaranteed a warm welcome and a stunning selection of drams, including of course a range of Society bottlings.

Attend a Society tasting event

Sampling a well-chosen flight of whiskies, presented by an expert Society ambassador and shared with a group of fellow enthusiasts is the ideal way to compare, contrast, learn – and have a bit of fun at the same time.

Go back to school

Earn yourself a serious accreditation as a whisky brain with one of Edinburgh Whisky Academy’s SQA-accredited diplomas, which you can undertake in person or online.

Search Unfiltered’s archive

Society members can now access 10 years of whisky knowledge in the digital archive of your member magazine, where you can search for any subject across every issue.

Organise a home tasting

You don’t always need to come to us – why not put together your own whisky tasting and invite some pals over to share a dram and your thoughts about it.

Read a book

Whether it’s one of Society Tasting Panel chair Charlie MacLean’s, Unfiltered columnist Ian Buxton’s or whisky bard Robin Laing’s collection of poetry, you can always settle down with a book and a bottle for some home-based education and entertainment.


Of course the best way to expand your knowledge and love of whisky is by joining The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. To find out more and to sign up, visit www.smws.com/whisky-club-membership

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