First seen back in 2017, The Vaults Collection is a group of the finest and rarest single cask, single malts, carefully selected from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s impressive stocks. We’re adding three special new bottlings to the collection for 2019, and its time to meet them….

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Our first releases under the name of The Vaults Collection came in 2017, as the Society approached its 35th anniversary year, when we bottled Cask No. 24.129: Meeting an old master and Cask No. 25.70 In a perfumed garden – our last cask from a historic, and now closed, distillery. We released a third award-winning bottling, Cask No. 29.234: Smoked and salted toffee apples at the end of 2017.

Any bottling released as part of The Vaults Collection is a hidden gem, the like of which is rarely seen and will never be repeated. We’re delighted to introduce three new bottlings which have been selected to be part of this elite collection.

The first three releases from 2019 are Speyside bottlings, but all utilise different casks for maturation, resulting in widely varying character and flavours.

One thing all three have in common however, is the exceptionally high score they each received from the Society’s Tasting Panel, highlighting them as the apex of the Society’s aged stocks and earning them a place in The Vaults Collection.

Each bottle is decorated with our copper logo and ribbon, and will be housed in a brand new presentation box, exclusive to the 2019 Collection.

Cask No. 24.137: The French polisher’s delight is from a much sought-after Speyside distillery. It was distilled on 19 October 1988, making it 30-years-old, and has been matured in a first-fill bourbon barrel. There were only 169 bottles gifted from this cask, with a strength of 41.1% abv. The Tasting Panel assigned it a Spicy & Sweet flavour profile.

Antique wood and polished mahogany bestowed a vintage feel as the spice of sandalwood joined the wax polish inside a French polishers’ toolbox. However, the toolbox concealed sweet delights as meringue and banoffee pie lurked beneath a layer of cinnamon and nutmeg. Turkish delight nestled behind a veneer of marmalade with the soft fruits of lychee and guava sitting snuggly in a tray of pencil shavings. As we rummaged deeper the palate became a laminated sandwich of honey, fudge and caramel wafers around a core of ginger tingle. We stripped back layers of crème caramel, vanilla custard and apple pie fresh from the oven to find the bare wood of old seasoned oak. Finally, delicate notes of jasmine tea brought defined elegance to the lasting finish of maple syrup and digestive biscuits.

Cask No. 41.118: Memory lane is from a Speyside distillery rarely seen as a single malt and known for its rich sweetness. It was distilled on 28 September 1988, making it 30-years-old, and it was matured for 27 years in a bourbon hogshead before we transferred it to a first-fill American oak Pedro Ximenez hogshead. There were 244 bottles from this cask, with a strength of 49.2% abv. The Tasting Panel assigned it an Old & Dignified flavour profile

A beautiful nose. Full of sweet fruit jellies, biscotti, lemon curd, sweet red wines, camphor, hessian cloth, damp dunnage, golden sultanas, plum sauce and concentrated raisin sweetness. There’s also fudge, tablet, peach fuzz and chewy toffee. With water there’s more sooty waxes, paraffin, lamp oil, spiced plums baked in Calvados, liquorice, heather honey, rancio, dates, prune juice and very old salty oloroso sherry. On the palate we find flambeed banana, caramelised brown sugars, milk chocolate, silky earthiness, clotted cream, chocolate sauce, old herbal liqueurs and botrytis. Water brings out aged meads, soft waxes, camphor, bandages, coal hearth, beurre noisette, sticky toffee pudding, black truffle and sautéed mushrooms. Matured for 27 years in a bourbon hogshead before being transferred to a first-fill American oak PX hogshead.

Cask No. 76.143: Wherefore art thou rancio? is from a Speyside distillery renowned for its unique distillation process. It was distilled on 22 October 1987, making it 31-years-old, and it was matured for 28 years in a bourbon hogshead before we transferred it to a second-fill Moscatel barrique. There were 231 bottles from this cask, with a strength of 56.2% abv. The Tasting Panel assigned it an Old & Dignified flavour profile.

We are nosing a dried orange on a mahogany desk. All around us: camphor daubed wooden boxes, menthol tobacco, earthy dunnage and mixed fruit chutneys. There is a leathery quality as well, along with black pepper, cranberry gravy and a sense of aged pinot noir. Some walnut wine and hazelnut liqueur in the mix as well. Water elevates the aged qualities. Lots of fragrant tobacco, tea leaves, rancio, fresh apple, melted butter, salted toffee and aged Armagnac. The palate displays an intense spiciness. Lots of dried orange segments, and old fruit bowl too long in the sun, rich caramel, cherry Bakewell and cinnamon bark. With water it’s a spiced treacle sponge with balanced tannins, aged Muscat dessert wines, vanilla essence and pear tart tatin. Matured for 28 years in a bourbon hogshead before being transferred to a second-fill Moscatel barrique.

The three casks from The Vaults Collection 2019 are available to buy online today (£305 – £995), or as 10cl samples in our Members’ Rooms.

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