Around the world with the Society

Here’s a flavour of what’s been going on at the world’s most entertaining whisky club

SMWS at the Great Escape

Society whisky was a hit with artists and music professionals at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton in May, with a special tasting presented by Wide Days music convention organiser Olaf Furniss. Olaf presented a pair of Society bottlings at the Old Ship Hotel as part of a special reception hosted by Wide Days in partnership with Creative Scotland. Long-standing Society member Olaf also caught up with DJ Vic Galloway to sample four Society whiskies and match them with different songs for the latest episode of Whisky Talk: Malts & Music, which is available online now at

Fresh awards haul

May saw another bumper month of awards medals for the Society, both in the UK and Japan. In the International Spirits Challenge (ISC), the SMWS not only matched but bettered last year’s performance, with four Gold medals as well as an outstanding Double Gold award for Cask No. 37.132: Ginger bittersweet dark chocolate marzipan. In Japan, our team also won two Superior Golds and three Golds in the Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition, with Cask No. 24.140: Sublime nectar and Cask No. 76.146: Dancing Sevillanas in the moonlight taking the top awards.

Vaults turns Mexican

Members at The Vaults got into the Mexican spirit in May to celebrate the nation’s festival of ‘Cinco de Mayo’ on 5th May, as well as the opening of the Society’s first branch in Latin America in Mexico City. The evening included Mexican food served up in the courtyard as well as a tasting of the suitably named dram, Cask No. 100.33: Chamoy from Mexico.

Festival flavours

The SMWS has been back out and about, taking our festival Rare Releases and accompanying ‘memory boxes’ to festivals across the country. Spirit of Speyside was first up at the end of April, with music, drams and much more at the Craigellachie and Dowans hotels, as well as drams at Glen Moray distillery.

At the National Whisky Festival in Glasgow, the SMWS introduced our memory boxes to the public, giving them the opportunity to sample Society drams with various items that could transport them back to a specific time in place.

The memory boxes were back at the London Whisky Weekender event, where chef Bruce Clyne-Watson presented his selection of specially created memory-provoking canapes to feature alongside each of the Society’s six memory boxes. Bruce contributed to our Flavour Hunters Festival Livestream at the end of April along with senior lecturer in psychology, Dr Ansgar Endress, to shed light on the workings of our memories.

To watch the Flavour Hunters Festival Livestream, click here

Aromas of smoke and oil

SMWS member and Ducati engineering specialist Tyler Lunceford – who we featured in February’s Unfiltered – teamed up with The Vaults for a special ‘Smoke and Oil’ tasting at his workshop in Leith on Thursday, 7 April. SMWS ambassador Dean Marinello showcased five amazing smoky, oily and grungy Society whiskies, matched up with some of the amazing bikes in Tyler’s workshop. The drams were served up with street food from The Vaults’ kitchen.

ABOVE: Beneath Driver Lane bar, Melbourne, Australia

New Society homes in Australia

The Society’s branch in Australia has announced two new partner bar relationships, in Sydney and Melbourne. The Captain’s Balcony is located in an 1800s Victorian building near The Rocks in the heart of Sydney’s business district, and specialises in whisky, cocktails and craft beer. Beneath Driver Lane is Melbourne’s premium blues bar, with live bands every Friday and Saturday night in its dimly-lit, atmospheric basement location in the city’s business centre. Find out more at and

Austria charity success

Society master brand ambassador John McCheyne and Chloe Scott from the EU team visited Austria in May, hosting a tasting in Vienna and checking in on the country’s partner bars. SMWS ambassador Hannah Unterguggenberger rounded off the trip by hosting a charity tasting at our partner bar in Stadl an der Mur, Murtalerhof. The event raised €3000 (£2,500) for the organisation Doctors without Borders and the work it is doing in Ukraine.

The Captain’s Balcony bar, Sydney Australia