The Scotch Malt Whisky Society Finds a Home in KL
Whether you think of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) as the world’s foremost whisky club or the world’s preeminent independent bottler of exceptional single cask whiskies, it’s beyond question that the coveted whiskies they bottle and release are eagerly anticipated by connoisseurs and collectors alike.
Founded in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1983, the SMWS now boasts over 25,000 members in more than 20 countries around the world. The large majority of the selected whiskies they bottle each year come from malt whisky distilleries in Scotland, but in more recent years, they have also chosen and bottled fine whiskies from the US, Japan, Wales, Ireland, and India, as well.
As the spirits hail from unique, individual casks, whiskies from the SMWS focus on flavour profiles (rather than distillery names or regions) and their labels usually carry evocative or even whimsical names, along with pitch-perfect tasting notes. The SMWS devised a colour-coded flavour profiling system on their labels, covering a range of characteristics from Young & Spritely to Oily & Coastal. This way, whisky aficionados can snap up the whisky styles they most appreciate. Like it Sweet, Fruity & Mellow? Old & Dignifed? Heavily Peated? All of these profiles are represented.
The whiskies adhere to the Society’s strict policy of only bottling exceptionally high quality single cask whiskies (meticulously chosen by the Society’s famed Tasting Panel) at natural cask strength, not chill-filtered, and with no added colouring.
It is this strict dedication to quality that makes the SMWS one of the world’s best-known independent bottlers of whisky. It was recently named Independent Bottler of the Year in Whisky Magazine’s 2018 Independent Bottlers’ Challenge (IBC) competition, the sixth win for the SMWS in the past nine years.
A TASTE FOR MALAYSIA
Recently, Members of the SMWS Malaysia were treated to a night of exceptional single cask whiskies when SMWS Master Brand Ambassador John McCheyne conducted a tasting at The Whisky Bar in Kuala Lumpur. One of the most respected figures in the Scotch whisky industry, McCheyne has been an ambassador for the SMWS since 2007, and the Society’s master brand ambassador since 2017, representing the SMWS at a global level.
During the event, McCheyne led a tasting of three single cask whiskies from the SMWS
- SMWS Cask No. 7.179: Opens Like A Flower
- SMWS Cask No. 54.51: Insanely Drinkable
- SMWS Cask No. 53.244: Vanilla Chimney Stacks
The Whisky Bar, located in Changkat Bukit Bintang, is Malaysia’s first-ever SMWS partner bar and hosted the tasting event. The second SMWS partner bar, The Cabinet, was added just recently, giving patrons who are in the Bangsar area a great venue to enjoy these whiskies; they hosted a separate SMWS tasting the night before! It’s a real testament to the city’s growing appreciation for quality Scotch whisky that Kuala Lumpur has not one, but two SMWS partner bars. While certainly not unprecedented – indeed, several cities around the world boast two partner bars – the fact that KL is home to two of only six SMWS partner bars in the whole of Southeast Asia certainly speaks to the rising levels of interest here.
A CLUB FOR CONNOISSEURS
Members of the SMWS enjoy many privileges, including savings on pours of these exclusive whiskies at SMWS partner bars around the world, full access to limited bottlings, exclusive access to Members’ Rooms, a free subscription to the Society’s award-winning magazine, Unfiltered, and more.
If you’re serious about single malt whiskies, it’s certainly worth taking a look at The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. In Malaysia, these fine single cask bottlings are distributed exclusively by Wholly Spirits, located in Desa Sri Hartamas, and served at the only two SMWS partner bars in the country, The Whisky Bar in Changkat, and The Cabinet in Bangsar.