Since we started out with a single cask, shared around with a few curious friends and their empty lemonade bottles, the Society has always had a mischievous, maverick streak. A thirst to break with convention. To go our own way. To do what we enjoyed, and not what we were told. To shake things up and never be boring. Why be serious when you have seriously good whisky?
Our 40th Year sees us celebrating our founder and ‘Maverick-in-Chief’ Pip Hills, going back to our roots and igniting the Society’s original mischievous spark. Here’s to 40 years of whisky adventures, and many more ahead!
1st, 2nd & refill hogsheads Spanish oak oloroso, Spanish oak PX & bourbon
The aromas of freshly waxed, natural marble floors, mosaics and terrazzo tiles were followed by a fruity scent from apricots, peaches and plums, before a cup of Assam tea and fig, apple and raisin bread pudding joined the party. On the palate, we found American-style blueberry and banana pancakes with lemon juice and maple syrup, as well as cardamom and orange-spiced rhubarb on top of fluffy French toast.
Following dilution we discovered dark chocolate, marshmallows and a sherry mango trifle. To taste, a traditional ‘blood & sand’ cocktail, named after a 1922 film about a Spanish matador, using equal parts of Scotch, sweet vermouth, cherry liqueur and orange juice.
In March, the SMWS is celebrating new distillers with illustrations by our old master, Bob Dewar. We are releasing a series of 10 bottles for markets around the world, selected from three of the UK’s newest distilleries and all illustrated by the Society’s original illustrator, Bob Dewar – the artist who was instrumental in defining our look when we started out 40 years ago, and whose artwork still adorns the ceiling of our spiritual home at The Vaults.
The ‘New Wave’ celebrates new distilleries and hidden gems – it’s a symbol of everything that the SMWS is all about.
Our original spirit dating back to 1983 was to celebrate access to new experiences – and to help out, we brought back the original house illustrator to marry up that original spirit with a new wave of bottles.
Trying new whiskies has always been part of the endless discovery journey for Society members, and that’s as true today as it has ever been. Our ‘New Wave’ is a look forward, with an interpretation of flavour by our old master, Bob Dewar, on each bottle label.
Euan Campbell, SMWS Head of Whisky Creation, said: “The distilling scene is vibrant and it's a pleasure to work with distilleries old and new. All of these releases are from our new make fillings programme, so we've seen them develop from day one and are delighted to see these releases with the artwork of a key figure in the Society’s history.
“Trying new whiskies has always been part of the endless discovery journey for Society members, and that’s as true today as it has ever been. Our ‘New Wave’ is a look forward, with an interpretation of flavour by our old master, Bob Dewar, on each bottle label.”
As The Scotch Malt Whisky Society celebrates its 40th anniversary, founder Pip Hills recounts his single cask epiphany on the Aberdeenshire farm where it took place – thanks to his friends, a rusty combine harvester and a whisky-loving farmer’s lemonade bottle.
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