The SMWS was founded at The Vaults in Leith in 1983, with a vision of sharing the delights of undiluted, unadulterated whisky drawn from a single cask. As we approach our 35th anniversary, we have delved into our unrivalled collection that we’ve built up over the years to select a handful of outstanding casks, appropriately named The Vaults Collection after our iconic home. These are whiskies the likes of which are rarely seen and will never be repeated.
So what casks have been unveiled from the depths of the SMWS warehouse, prestigious enough to launch The Vaults Collection?
The first is Cask No. 25.70 In a perfumed garden, a 26-year-old bottling from a Lowland distillery that closed its doors in 1993, meaning products from this once-prolific and much revered whisky-maker are increasingly hard to track down. Our cask yielded only 170 bottles. And what’s more, this is our last ever cask from this distillery. It’s not only a bottle of whisky, it’s a true example of whisky history.
Joining this remarkable cask is 24.129: Meeting an old master an absolute gem from an iconic Speyside distillery. Cherished around the world and famed for its sherry influence, this bottling follows the distillery’s traditional style and has aged for 27 years in the finest sherry casks. First, maturing in an ex-oloroso butt before being moved to a first-fill Pedro Ximenez cask to give it the complex, rich, layered flavours that have become synonymous with the famous distillery.
The Vaults Collection is presented in our iconic SMWS green glass, with our round logo paying tribute to The Vaults itself. The logo is printed in a copper foil, reflecting the copper stills which have given birth to these whiskies, and the bottles are housed in a black wooden box. Through a circular window, our logo can be seen on an envelope that holds the story of the whisky.
The Vaults Collection will be amongst the most expensive bottlings ever released by the Society – but with good reason. The casks hand-picked for The Vaults Collection are at the apex of the Society’s aged stocks. They represent some of the oldest whiskies from our warehouse, which we have resisted bottling until they have been allowed the time to reach their perfect maturation.
While all our single cask bottles are by definition unique, the rarity of The Vaults Collection means that each bottle is a once-in-a-lifetime bottling of liquid history. A bottle from The Vaults Collection will take our members back in time to experience distilleries which are no longer producing, traditional styles which are rarely seen, or experimental casks that break with a distillery’s signature flavour profile. Casks of their type are getting harder to come across with every year that passes, and once they are gone, they will be gone forever.
We held a tasting with whisky expert Charles MacLean, who praised the quality of the whisky in both of the initial bottlings in The Vaults Collection.
About 25.70 In a perfumed garden he said: “This is an exceptional example of this closed distillery’s remaining stock, which is rare and diminishing with every passing day. Its freshness and vibrant character shine through in a classic example of what was considered the Lowland region’s leading distillery. You’ll never see it’s like again.”
About 24.129 Meeting an old master, he said: “An absolutely gorgeous dram and a wonderful example of this distillery’s traditional style of classic sherried whisky, as it was made in a previous era. It is big, voluptuous and stimulating, with a deeply complex texture. Precious as it is, I wanted to pour myself another dram immediately.”
We know whisky enthusiasts all over the world will be clambering to get their hands on the bottlings from The Vaults Collection. Luckily for you, these are for members-only, and will be available on general sale from 2 October 2017.
24.129 – £980
25.70 – £875